Friday, August 9, 2013
I hesitate to say we've been worried about money, first of all because I don't want our family and friends who read this to be concerned about us (more than they already are) and secondly because it just sound so...faithless. Unspiritual. Carnal.
But there it is. Maybe I don't want to call it "worry" but it's something and it is consuming a lot of our discussions. Should we get an extra job? Should we pursue this or that? Should we give up on looking for a house? Can we cut the budget more than we already have? MONEY.
I kind of hate it.
So then this happened: I was picking up a card at Hobby Lobby for some friends who were getting married. I love Hobby Lobby. And I love it more now that I've realized we can buy cards with Bible verses in them without driving thirty minutes away to the nearest Christian Bookstore.
Anyway, on with the story (yes, I am telling one): I only had a card to buy. They had three checkout lines open (unusual at our store but that's not part of the story). I chose one and ended up behind a nice looking young adult. She was paying cash. She handed over her cash to the cashier but she was $1.20 short.
"I'm so sorry," she said to the cashier and then to me. She sent her boyfriend out to the car to look for a couple more dollars or enough change to cover it.
I was already digging in my purse / diaper bag (too much trouble to carry two bags these days. Black diaper bag for the win.) See, I was also going to pay cash for my purchase. And I had my envelope at hand. I had a dollar and quarter out before you can say, "Dave Ramsey Envelope System".
"Let me pay that," I said.
"Oh my goodness, are you sure?" This flustered, nice young woman stammered. I laughed and handed the cashier the money. The girl left after saying thank-you a few more times. The cashier told me, "That was really nice of you."
I didn't expect a Nobel Peace Prize for my five quarter expense but I felt like a million bucks. I had that nice, comfortable feeling you get when you've done something nice for someone and no one was making you or even asking you to do it.
Five minutes. $1.20. Feeling good that even with all our stressing about money, I could still help someone else.
And then this happened later that day:
We were spending some time with my sister, her husband and my nephew. They had come to see our rental house and spend a few hours in the afternoon with us and the kids. We were talking. (When my sister and I are together, there is a lot of talking. Other folks squeeze in when they can.)
Then my sister reaches over in her backpack (she doesn't do the separate purse / diaper bag thing either. Backpack for the win.) and tosses a little baggie at me. A baggie full of quarters.
"Can you use these at the laundromat?"
"Good. You can have these and I don't have to carry them around any more." (She said something to this effect. That may not be a direct quote.)
You have to understand that the laundry has been one of the stresses of this move. No washer and dryer in this house means schlepping our stuff to the laundromat once a week. And it takes money our budget doesn't really have. I've been squeezing it out of other things in our budget. So doing laundry is also related to the money stress.
I paid the rest of someone's bill. Then my sister gives us a bag of quarters as if they were play money and useless to her.
And God was smacking me over the head with that baggie.
"Do you get it? The money is mine. Dollars, quarters, it's all mine."
This is what I know about God (and also about my sister): she didn't give us the quarters because we had given something to someone else. God is so good that He probably would have inspired my already generous sister to give us those quarters even if I had just impatiently waited for that young woman to pay her own bill. But He didn't. He used the two different incidents to teach me something about Himself and about me.
Does this mean He's preparing a house or a part time job or a less stressful situation for us? I don't know. What I do know is He's God. All the quarters are His. I'm thankful I get to be a part of giving and receiving the blessings of His quarters.
And later today, when I lug all these baskets to the laundromat, again, I'll be smiling a little more than I usually do.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17