counting blessings

God has taught me something in the past year about myself. I do not know how to handle money. I’ve always thought of myself as pretty money-savvy. I handle the finances in our family–well, I write the checks; Gabe makes most of the money. We’ve tithed faithfully for almost 10 years of marriage. I buy things on sale. I don’t like the mall. I love garage sales. I can be generous (when I want to be).

Yet, I still didn’t get it.

We’ve moved 10 times. Our financial status has changed approximately 15 times. One year we made less than $15,000. One year we made a very, very lot. The other years, we were somewhere in between.

Here is what I’ve discovered: God wants me to trust Him with every dollar I have. He wants me to use each one carefully–not be a miser, but spend prayerfully. He wants me to wait patiently when I want something–just maybe He will provide it later without my help–or my money.

God blesses more when we have less. In the times when I raked in a lot of money doing freelance writing, our bills were higher, we bought more things we didn’t need. In the tight times, I have humbled myself and asked God for the simplest blessings (ones I couldn’t afford), and He blessed my ever-lovin’ socks off.

I just have to share a few blessings from the past few days. Things that “happened” that spoke louder to me than you could know. Where I felt God say, “Marla, I love you. I care enough about you to show you personally, so personally, that every little bit of your life is important to me.”

–Saturday–needed some groceries. Gathered some clothes/toys to take to Once Upon a Child. Asked God for $20 (worked last time). Got $31. My grocery list was $32.

–looked around Once Upon a Child w/Livi and Ava while we waited. Saw a Dora shirt for Nina. She looooooves Dora. Only $2. Felt God telling me to wait. Huge box in the mail today from a xanga friend I met once at  MOPS–clothes for the girls. Including four Dora things.

–Grocery store again Sunday after church. (poor planning on my part) Had $2 left. Felt the urge to put it in the glove compartment. ?? Went to hospital to visit new baby that night. Had to pay for parking–we had no cash. Except for the $2. Parking–$2.

–Wanted to buy a gift for baby. Gabe offered to go get it at Wal-Mart. I had a shirt hanging in the closet–a gift that didn’t fit. Never go to Wal-Mart. He returned it. Same price as gift.

–Wanted to do a little family photo shoot at the beach. Have never done one with our family of five. New clothes not in budget. Livi and I started looking through drawers and closets. Found 2 sets of “matching” outfits for all five of us. I have NO idea how. (Gabe is beside himself with excitement–that was sarcastic, for those of you who have asked that I point that out.)

–One month a year, Gabe gets 3 paychecks instead of 2. This one comes on the first day of our vacation.

There’s more, but you get the point. Someday, if my books stop going out of print, lol, and we have tons of money, I want to live my life trusting GOD, not my earning power. God’s not against me having lots of money. He’s against me living like I’m the one who filled the storehouses. I can empathize a little with Job when he got his four-chapter reprimand from Almighty God. “Where were you when I…? What do you know about…?”

Money in my pocket does not equal license to spend recklessly. Love recklessly, yes. Obey recklessly, yes. Show grace and forgiveness recklessly–absolutely.

I look forward to the day when I have a lot of moo-lah yet still live like every dollar is God’s to be spent wisely–and truly depend on Him to meet every need.

Thank you, guys, for your great response to the Blushing deal. Thanks for the big orders and the great title/cover ideas. Keep ’em coming!

12 thoughts on “counting blessings

  1. Anonymous

    What a great reminder… and I love the honesty of your posts! We have been so focused on reducing debt… and now I’m struggling with trusting God that we will be able to pay for an unexpected orthodontist treatment! Thanks for this and for being so real!

  2. terriwright

    Kirby and I both taught. That is the definition of poor. We also always got paid only once a month. Scary. And I am terrible with money….I thought we’d be rolling in dough when we got married, because Kirby cleared over $300 a month!!!!

  3. Hoffmom

    I thought the original title was cute and different.  Oh well…what do I know about publishing!  You could do a cover with one of those comical, big-headed character sketches of you (blushing of course) and Gabe in wedding regalia!  It would be a completely different feel (funny and more personal), but maybe it would snag people…and I did laugh alot while reading it!  Granted, people who have been married more than a decade might find it more amusing than the newlyweds it’s written for.  For us, it was funny to return to some of those early memories and realize we weren’t alone!  🙂

  4. stephaniedawnbasham

    God is so unbelievably awesome that I don’t even know how to thank Him sometimes. I’m glad He can read the thoughts in my heart and I don’t always have to make them into words. 🙂

    God is good!

  5. filledeparis

    Great post. Thanks for sharing God’s goodness with us. I find that He is always more generous than I deserve! Your thoughts remind me of a verse:
    “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
    -Luke 6:38, NLT

  6. gsowell

    What amazing blessings! I am blown away by the glove compartment thing. I NEVER use ours. If I felt I should put $2 there, I would probably ignore it…Wow. God is amazing!

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