Monday, March 7, 2011

Oh How He Loves Us

Blogs are misleading. Most of the time, we only write about things that are good. Pictures that are cute, stories that are funny and recipes that are delicious. We rarely, if ever, tell what's really going on in our lives. I'm guilty of it with this blog. But not today.

One friday in late January, Ben came home with a look on his face that I'll never, ever forget. He walked into th kitchen, leaned against the counter and fought to hold back the tears. He managed to barely whisper out, "I lost my job today and I'm so, so sorry. I'll fix it. I promise." Clearly, he didn't do anything wrong, we live in a time of uncertainty and our economy is wavering. But still, my heart sank, I got angry (not at him) and went numb for a few minutes. Then, in the realization of what was happening I went to our bedroom and cried. Cried tears, cried out to God and my mind went a thousand different directions. "What will we do? We just moved here. How will we pay our bills? Will I have to go back to work? What will people say?" The last question is the worst for me. It stings. That should never have even crossed my mind. But, it did. You see, we've been here before. In September 2007, two weeks before we had Jackson, Ben was laid off from Acxiom along with a lot of other people. I still remember those long 9 months before he found another real job. And even more than the wait, I remember the looks and comments. Not uplifting, kind comments. Mean words, wondering where our resources were coming from and why Ben was taking so long finding a job. Oh it hurt. We are hard working people, why was this happening?

And now, why is this happening again?

I can look back on the 2007 job loss fondly now because I know where God took us. You see, in 2007 we were both working full time, with good income and the thought of saving money or using coupons were the last things on our minds. I remember one evening in January, watching a Fox News Special where the creator of the Grocery Game was featured and I was fascinated with what she was able to get with those coupons! I thought to myself, "Why did I not know about this? Why has nobody told me?" So I learned and saved and my knowledge grew and eventually I was able to use what little we had to more than provide for our family. That saving streak has not ended and because of the struggles that our family faced I started this blog - just one of many savings blogs out there but I get emails all the time from people telling me that they were able to provide for their family because they shopped sales and coupons that they heard about on my blog - not a testimony to me, but to God. I know exactly how they feel and so I'm thankful, so very thankful for how God blessed that time in our lives. It was a struggle, we had to lean on each other, Ben stocked shelves for Keebler at all hours of the day and night and we used our tax refund to go as far as we could make it go and we managed until Ben got a job at FedEx in May.

God was providing for us then and He is doing it now too. Fastforward 3 1/2 years to this January and we're back there again. Not sure why this is happening but trusting that God has a plan. Because He always does. And just as the scripture says,

"25I tell you not to worry about your life. Don't worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food or clothing? 26Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth more than birds?"

I thought I was a humble person until Ben lost his job this time and God allowed me to become more humble. I'll never forget finding an envelope in my purse the Sunday after Ben lost his job, only 2 days after it happened with this note that I'll treasure as long as I live.
Just a simple, "God will take care of you." I wish I could say that I was thankful and excited about this at first but I wasn't. I was angry, I wanted to give that money back. I wanted to scream and yell and stomp my feet. "NO! This is NOT happening again!!!" You see, I want to be the one to give, I want to be the one to bless, not the one that needs it. And that envelope made the job loss real. But you know what? Shame on me. Shame on me for thinking so highly of myself. And shame on me for not recognizing a precious moment between me and my Savior when He loved on me. That envelope was just the beginning. I've gotten envelope after envelope after anonymous envelope filled with provision and scripture since this has happened. And do you know why? Not because I'm special, not because I'm worthy, but because He is good and He loves me. He loves you too.

Do you ever think about that? Truly think about it? The God of the Universe. The Creator of ALL things LOVES you. It blows my mind. I'm so wretched, so selfish, so unworthy and He freely gives, freely loves and I'm blown away. He is God Almighty and His promises are true.

I struggled with even sharing this because who wants everyone to know their struggles and insecurities? I worry about what people will say or think and how our family will be judged. But that makes it about me and it's not about me. If I don't tell you what we're going through then God doesn't get the Glory He deserves for everything He has done for us.

I get scared, I worry and I don't understand a lot of things. But, I've learned so much through this trial. One that is still going on. I've learned how much He loves me. That if it matters to me, it matters to God. I've learned the importance of the body of Christ. I love our church and the other Godly people in our lives. It is so encouraging to see people actually acting like Christians, actually loving on us not because we can do anything for them but because they love Jesus and want to be His hands and feet. It's overwhelming. And last, I've learned that no matter what we're given financially, whether through a paycheck or anonymous envelope it is from HIS hands. We don't earn anything, He gives it. That's humbling and I'm so thankful that He loves me enough to take the time to humble me so that I can become more like my Jesus.

"If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, tis now."


Courtney said...

Wow! Reminds me of a story my dad told me a while back. When I was maybe 2 months old my parents were struggling big time. They were at Subday school and the pastor told them of a family who had lost everything and asked of anyone could provide anything they would be grateful. My dad said they took the last of the money they had that was too buy me diapers and something else and gave it all to the family. He told my mom not to worry thatgod would provide. Now keep in mind my mom stayed home and my dad was a truck driver that had to pay child support for 3 other kids. Sure enough a couple of days later a pack of diapers and some money showed up in my parents front seat of the car!!

sl said...

I can related. My husband lost his job 23 months ago. We had been thru this before. We know God has special plans for us.God had specials plans for your family also. I willpray for your family.

Kristie said...

Thank you for sharing this encouragement.

Cindy said...

Hi, I just happened to pop over from Kelly's Korner and I am so thankful that I did. I am a person who Does sharing the good, bad and ugly of life on my blog. On Christmas Eve I lost my husband and have shared real details of hurt, pain, sadness, loneliness and grief! Thank you for sharing your heart here.
God does love us in the midst of the Good AND the bad days of life. He also wants us to share how He walks with us during those times and to be a reflection of Him in the midst. Sometimes it is difficult for us to be on the receiving end of a blessing but therein lays a reward and story to encourage others. I am praying for your family in this journey.

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing such an honest post.
You shouldn't ever worry for one second what people are thinking ....because I guarantee 99.9% of all people are thinking "Oh Lord - please help them find the right job" and knowing that they could be days or weeks from being in the same position. There is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of.
and you WILL be the giver again. And the difference is ......once you have been on the receiving end - giving is THAT MUCH more joyful and meaningful because you know God carried you through and you see how people respond in so much love that it prompts you to want to pay that forward.
And you are right - God works in mysterious ways and uses all kinds of people and situations to show His love for you and that you can trust him in ALL THINGS!

Ulrika said...

I find it so refreshing that you share this on your blog. I actually don't read blogs to see people's supposedly perfect lives. I treasure the blogs where the blogger opens up and is genuine. There are so many blogs where everything is pink and rosy and parties and gifts and la-di-da. Nothing wrong with that, but my life certainly hasn't been like that although I still consider myself blessed in my life. I sometimes feel like "wow, do people actually have lives like that - worrying about matching cake frosting with table decorations et.c"... :D I think a lot of people struggle to keep up appearances and it would be so much easier if we all just stripped off the facades and let people see the naked truth. Maybe then we could all be strengthened and inspired and be genuine instead of trying to be perfect worrying about what other seemingly perfect people would say if they knew the truth about us.

So - thanks for sharing! Bless you!

K* said...

WOW! just came upon this blog through KellysKornerand it was EXACTLY what I and my family needed today. That picture alone moved me deeply. TYL for assuring me and others through this post/blog.