the unexpected perks of living in manna-land

Last Monday (on my parents’ 41st wedding anniversary) I got a text from my man-of-few-words daddy: “I know that this is a day of hope and answered prayer for you. Love Dad.”

Little tears pricked my eyes. 1.) because I love my dad. and 2.) because yes, it was a day of hope and answered prayer.

Day One of Gabe’s new job.

17 months after he had to quit his last job because the anxiety/panic attacks were just too much. 17 months of living on manna and tears. To put it in perspective, we (Gabe and I) brought in a whopping 40% of our 2011 income in 2012. And I don’t remember feeling like we had a whole lot to spare in 2011. (And I don’t have 2013 all figured out on paper yet, but yeah.)

Hope and answered prayer indeed.

I’ve blogged about our struggles off and on, but we’ve mostly just kept the financial side of things between us and God (and sometimes a few close friends). It’s been a tricky tight-rope of “are we being prideful by not sharing?” (being pitied is a zero-fun feeling) or “does God just want us trusting him rather than airing it all out for the world to see?”

Yada yada blah blah blah.

Even now, we sit and wait for Friday, September 13, the date of Gabe’s first paycheck. 18 long days after he started working. The bills pile up, and with 8 days to go, they’re already higher than the amount of the check.


I teeter-totter back and forth. Day after day. Week after week. I can do this. I CAN’T DO THIS ANY MORE. I can do this. I CAN’T STINKING DO THIS. I can do this.

But here’s the thing. No matter how hard it’s been (and still is), God is faithful. And our little family of five is pretty lucky (blessed, whatever), because we know some secrets now.

We know that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

And that his economy is upside-down and straight-up AMAZING.

We know that things we thought we couldn’t do without? We can do without.

And still be happy.

We know that people are beautiful and generous and that people who know what it’s like to be in need? Are the most generous of all.

We know how that widow in the OT felt when she kept pouring her oil and it never ran out. We’ve pretty much seen that happen. Like for real.

We know from experience that when everything gets stripped away and you only have God to cling to, the clinging is good. It’s where the real, true, sweet intimacy happens.

We’re richer for being able to empathize a little more with our brothers and sisters in need around the globe.

It takes a lot, lot less these days to make us really, really grateful. And that can’t be anything but good.

Are we ready for the day when we can buy more than $15 of groceries at a time? Yes.

Are we ready for the day when we can pull through the bank drive-thru and the teller doesn’t say things like, “You do realize that even with this $50 deposit, you’re still $120 negative in your account, right?” Yes.

Are we ready for the day when we can replace holey soccer socks with un-holey ones? Yes.

Are we ready for the hospital bills to be paid and the calls from debt-collectors to stop? Yes.

Are we ready to just take a big ol’ breath and relax for a minute? Yes.

But we’ve got no plans to move out of Manna Land, that wonderful, magical, painful place where you’re completely dependent on God’s daily, just-enough provision raining down from heaven.

Because really wacky-awesome things happen here, things you don’t get to be a part of anywhere else.

We’d be crazy to leave this sweet little piece of real estate.

8 thoughts on “the unexpected perks of living in manna-land

  1. Pingback: what goes up and down besides a roller coaster? | Marla Taviano

  2. Sheree G.

    I know, Sweet Sister, I know. In my forties, trying to complete my college degree and graduate so I could take care of two kiddos depending on me and only me. Coming home to electricity being disconnected and no money to pay it. No gas in the car. No groceries. No milk. Negative bank account. No . . . , but . . . God, yes God, YES GOD!!!! We were stretched thin, so thin I thought we would split right in two, but we didn’t. And I cried, and yelled, and maybe said some ugly words really loud all while praying, because He can handle my ugliness. And now, WOW, He has given me a dream job and enough provision to care for my children and to bless others who struggle as I did. And the sweet reminder of people like YOU who prayed me through all of that from cyber-land. Prayers for you and your incredible family! Sleep well, tomorrow is a new day.

  3. brooke

    its incredible to watch God at work.
    even more incredible to see how quickly we lose site of Him when we aren’t depending on him every moment.
    love reading your story. (the happy parts at least)

  4. Amy

    This is the truth and I’ve seen it up close and personal just this week: “We know that people are beautiful and generous and that people who know what it’s like to be in need? Are the most generous of all.”

  5. Heather

    Marla, what a gift to be able to express your feeling and experiences in words for others to be encouraged.
    All I can say is AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!
    Four years ago we entered manna land. We sold our big house, moved 600 miles and followed what we felt was Gods calling for our lives. It’s a crazy kinda wonderful place to be.

  6. Heather Isaacs

    I think what I love most about following you now, is that I can hear your voice as I read your words. Warms my heart.

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