We’re in a season of being very careful with our finances at the moment. I hope even when we are in seasons in the future where things aren’t so tight that we continue to put into practice the things we’re learning now. We’re thinking about the way we spend God’s money (since it’s all His) in light of eternity, and living in a more and more disciplined way, so that we can give more away. We hope to keep living like this for the rest of our lives.
Something all of this has been teaching me is patience. It seems like before I left the States, when I was working a 9 to 5, if I wanted something, I went out and bought it. I didn’t think much about it, unless it was really expensive. I hadn’t really submitted my finances to God’s leading. Now that we’re here, and in such a different situation, I’m careful about my spending. We are living on a budget to cover the bare necessities, and we trust God for what we need beyond that.
One thing I’ve committed to the Lord is the desire to make our flat feel more like home, and to decorate, despite the fact that it’s not really in the budget for me to do so. I just trusted the Lord to provide as He saw fit.Â I wanted to print out some pictures to help spruce things up a few weeks ago, so I picked some that I thought would be great and went to the Kodak picture maker at the grocery store. I was eager to get way more pictures than I needed, and fell back into the old mindset of spending without really thinking. The machine printed out a receipt, which I handed to Mark. He was going to wait with the Bear for the photos to print while I finished the shopping. A few minutes later Mark came over, because the machine wasn’t working. We began to discuss the photos being printed. Â I realised I had just attempted to print out way more pictures than I needed, and we would’ve had to pay more money than we really had for this non-essential. Fortunately, the machine was broken and wasn’t going to print the pictures anyway! I got a second chance, and just chose two or three favourites, and went through the cropping and printing process again. The second time around, the machine was still broken and wouldn’t print. I was really discouraged and kind of wanted to give up.
We decided to go the pharmacy across the parking lot that also had a picture printer, and I printed out the two photos I really wanted, and that was it. I planned on just finding old photos to fill the other frames, and I used creative means to fill in the gaps for one photo that was too small for the frame. Â I felt good about ‘making due’ and not going overboard, but part of me still would’ve liked some good pictures of the Bear (instead of the old ones of Hero Hubby and me) to go in the frames.
I promise I’m getting somewhere! So, yesterday the Bear and I went across the street to the grocery store to get a few essentials. I ran back to switch one item for another while we were at the checkout, and some of the ladies who bag the groceries were smiling and playing with the Bear. After I finished paying and got things packed into the pram (stroller) to head back home, one of the ‘bag ladies’ came up to me and started saying something in Afrikaans. I apologised that I couldn’t speak Afrikaans, and she repeated herself in English: There are photos of the baby over there.
I went to the cigarette/lottery ticket/customer service counter, and another lady produced these absolutely beautiful photos of the Bear. (The photos I wanted had printed out when they fixed the machine.) They showed me each of them and another lady literally grinned as she held each one up that she liked! I think they’d looked through them a few times. 🙂 Â My heart was sore because I knew I didn’t need to spend money to buy them all. We don’t really have it to spend. I asked if they were going to throw them away if I couldn’t buy them, and explained that I had already printed out two of them at another store and I didn’t really have the money to buy them all. The lady behind the register said I would have to buy them or they’d throw them away, but the other two ladies also looking at the pictures said they couldn’t throw them away because they were just too beautiful. They started speaking to the lady behind the till in Afrikaans, and then one of them said:
“Do you have 15 Rand?”
15 Rand is less than $2 or about Â£1.20, and is less than a third of the original price. I definitely could spare that much for those gorgeous photos!! I was overjoyed when they rang me up and almost in tears on the way home.
Just a few days ago, I was thinking about a story a friend of mine shared at a Bible study I attended years ago. She was talking about how her family’s finances were very tight and she couldn’t really afford to buy makeup. She’d given this concern to the Lord, because she always wore makeup and it was really difficult for her. Shortly afterwards, someone showed up on her doorstep with makeup. We all rejoiced at God’s goodness.
When I remembered that story, I asked the Lord, “Lord do you really care about that kind of stuff? I know you do. Sometimes it’s hard to believe I guess.” And yesterday, He showed up with my “makeup” and it blessed my socks off. We serve such an amazing God. And He does sweat the small stuff — He is intimately acquainted with our ways. In His timing (this is where the patience comes in) He supplies in His exceeding abundance.
The Sermon in a Nutshell: Bring your cares to the Lord, the big ones and the small ones, and trust that with patience, in His perfect timing, He will supply your every need, with exceeding abundance!