Yes, as a fallible human, I love when God comes through in really cool tangible ways. I'll give you a couple of recent things that you skeptics can chalk up to luck and good timing. But I know different.
If you recall, back in February, I had a lovely little lesson in why you should always call to cancel a ticket. That set me back quite a bit of cash. I freaked for a short bit and then gave it over to God. Or tried. In my prayer to him, I was specific. I just said, ok, I screwed up here. Please find the money from somewhere to pay this ticket and all of my other obligations. Just somehow make my money go farther.
I think I blogged about how I was astounded to not only pay all my bills but to have some left over. Then God rocked the whole bonus-I-didn't-think-I'd-get thing. That took care of summer camp for Pokemon Boy, some lawyer payments, some credit card debt and padding my savings. Oh yah - and I got to give a big huge chunk to my church! That was so fun.
Then I did my taxes. I'm married filing separately. If you've done that, you know you get nailed. But I happily found out I qualify for head of household. Which gives me a better tax standing than filing separately. And I actually got money BACK! Over $1000! I was just dumb founded. So I socked more away into savings. And wrote another check to my church.
Now let me just comment on why giving actual money to my church thrills me so much. When I found them in 2005, I was new to the area. New to having a huge mortgage and various house costs and bills. I had just bought all the start up furniture and large equipment you need to maintain a house and yard. I had no money. Plus, the hubby wasn't too keen on throwing money away (ie - giving it to a church). So I tossed a bit of cash in here or there. Not much. In talking to my pastor about my feeling crummy about not giving what I wanted, he told me there are other ways to tithe. Like giving your time to the church. Which I was already doing - food service, worship team and teaching. I was like, YAY! That's awesome. And felt much better.
But it always gnawed at me that I wanted to give money to the church. And that I was financially able to but didn't feel comfortable going against the hubby's sentiments. So I told God, ok, I'm going to start donating the food for food service to the church. It will be part of my tithe. It will be small. So please accept it and help me to increase it. Over the weeks, the food service increased from small $20-$30 amounts. Hubby wasn't thrilled. Well, after hubby became "future ex", and after I was done wallowing in the pits of depression, I remember coming to a realization one day: I am solely in control of all of my finances! I can give whatever I want to God!
Yah, well, hold on cowgirl. I was also a newly single mom. I was suddenly paying for child care and lawn care and thought more expenses were coming. I was terrified I was going to lose my house and who knows what. I was freaking out. But I said, ok God, I'm going to keep doing the food service. I just need you to figure it all out and help me be able to do it. At that point, I stopped paying attention to the food service grocery bill. I'd just tell them to ring it up and I'd pay for it with my own groceries and didn't freak. As I started putting the receipt in the collection plate with the food service sub-total circled...I noticed that - little by little - it was getting bigger. And somehow, I was still paying all of my obligations. I started giving a monthly support amount to KLOVE, too. Which was something that made former hubby scowl. So that also makes me happy - that I can do it freely now.
So I've been tithing but not with an actual percentage. And not with checks or cash. So to be able to actually get these windfalls and write checks for 10% or more? That totally ROCKS my socks! Yes. I'm a dork. But it thrills me.
That's where God has been growing my tithing experience. Any time I get tight or scared financially, I give it over to God. I ask him to help the money show up and help me make it. And he does.
Now here are the most recent examples:
I have a wonderful friend who owns a house up in Boston. Their bathroom (the only one) fell apart the other day. They were told they'd have to strip it down to the studs and redo it all. To the tune of like $15K. So here are two wonderful people with a little boy who now have to somehow come up with $15K. They had been working hard at sending extra into their mortgage payments to build up equity. She was trying to cut back on work hours to spend more time with her cute kid. It all looked like it was about to blow up in her face. So we were IMing about this and I said, ok, let's ask God to handle this. He'll fix your bathroom without derailing your plans. I mean, God knows what you're trying to do and I'm sure he's on your side to raise your son yourself! So right there, I asked God to somehow find them the money. And in a way that would be so very obviously from him. I IM'd her that I had prayed for her and like a minute later she types, Oh my goodness! Just got off the phone with hubby. The contractor just gave us a new estimate that is $5K less than the last time!!!! Coincidence? Luck? I think NOT. We were both blown away. I believe her exact words were "God is freaking me out!" I love it!
Then last night I paid my bills for mid month. And the checking account got very slim. Ouch. I didn't want to touch the savings I've been working to pad. That is still earmarked for summer camp and other things. Not to mention, I'd like a padding in case I'm laid off, etc. But I moved a couple hundred from savings over to checking and wasn't too happy about it. But oh well.
This morning, I get a letter from my mortgage bank. I opened it and tossed it in a "to be filed" pile. But later, I looked at it because it was an escrow breakdown and I wanted to see if I needed to pad my escrow. Then I notice a note in small print saying "These calculations indicate the projected escrow balance will be more than the allowable low point. The resulting surplus is attached." Yah, at the bottom is a check for over $500!!! AND...get this...the minimum monthly payment amount went down by about $50.
I'm telling you, pray specifically. Pray big. Pray believing God cares about the little things as well as the big things. Don't let guilt stop you from asking him for help. I could write a whole BOOK on how he has taken care of the little things all through 2007 and still this year.
Yup. More proof that God's gotchyer back.