Why I Hate to Waste

Can I just preach to somebody for a minute?

Eight years ago, when we got married, we lived in a teeny tiny 500 sq ft house that we rented from my aunt and uncle. It had 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and a kitchen with carpeting. Even at half the rate we would pay to live anywhere else nearby, we struggled to make the payment along with the utilities. We scrapped and scraped. We ate frozen pizza, spaghetti, and protein bars an awful lot. We didn’t eat much that was fresh. We called both sets of parents and hinted until they invited us over for dinner. I’m sure there were times we just flat-out asked if we could mooch off of them.

There have been times when we didn’t have health insurance. There have been times when our heat was turned off. There have been times we owed so many people money that I felt ashamed, hopeless, and buried from the weight of it. I turned down offers to go out with friends because we “weren’t spending money on that right now”. I began to feel like a broken record. We had no credit and couldn’t get credit cards – the one we did get, we maxed out almost immediately, for a whopping $300.

It must have been difficult for our parents to watch us go through that.

Today, I spent $240 on a dress I will wear one time. Like it was no big deal. Like it didn’t matter. Eight years ago that was half our rent. We would’ve had to save for MONTHS to be able to afford a $240 dress. We wouldn’t have spent $240 on a dress. That was unspeakable. $240!! There was a time when I felt excruciatingly guilty for spending $5 on something like mascara. The difference does not escape me.

But money is cheap.

I’m reading a book and at one point while telling a story, the author says, “Cheap, cheap money.”

Money is cheap.

I’m not going to lie: we didn’t get to where we were by trying to keep up with the Jones’. We put our blinders on and stretched our dollars, every last penny of them. My incredibly money-smart husband threw money at our debt until it disappeared. It hurt. It ached. All that hard earned money tossed away, with no physical thing to show for it. It felt like we worked and worked – for awhile, only my husband worked and worked and worked, worked himself to exhaustion – and then wrapped our money in a pretty package and tossed it in the garbage. It was hoping, and hoping, and being excited about bringing in more money than normal, only to have it be gone, handed over to someone who had a claim on it before we even earned it. They owned us.

Lord I hate debt.

Sure, I wanted our own home, one I could paint and decorate and fix up with new furniture and appliances. But we didn’t have the money. We lived off our meager incomes and sometimes the generosity and pity of our parents. Still we dreamed of things. We’d walk through furniture stores and point out the things we liked and say, “someday.”

I remember the first time we bought new furniture. I can literally count on one hand the things we’ve bought FOR OURSELVES, NEW. The first thing was our bed set. Somehow we had saved up extra money and put it in savings. We needed a new bed. But I was looking at our savings account thinking, I want to hold onto this as tight as I can! I don’t want to spend all this right now on a BED. I wanted to go up to that finance desk and tell them, YES! “Sign us up. We can afford to make a monthly payment on this bedroom set. Look how we paid off the debt we used to have. Just look! Look how we’ve brought up our non-existent credit scores. And now you hand over the bed and the dresser, and we’ll sign a piece of paper, and we’ll pay you slowly but surely.” What could it hurt? There was no interest for the first year at least anyway. But my hubby, that man is smarter than that. God gave him a gift with finances. We paid cash for that bedroom set. Here I was, worried that we had spent the last of our reserves. Worried we wouldn’t have enough. Worried we would be in the red again before we stepped foot out the store. Not trusting, not understanding that YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE MORE MONEY.

Why spend it before you have it?

Even sillier yet, why owe someone for something when you can just pay them right there?

You know what’s funny? People say you will never be ready for kids – and they’re right! You can read all the books, take all the classes, take your vitamins, and store up money for years and years – and society will still convince you you don’t “have enough” to support a child. (Because society always tells us we need the newest, best, fanciest gadgets and equipment and furniture and gear.) But having a child forced us to support ourselves better. I don’t mean in a cold, obligated, grudging sort of way: “I have to provide for this child so I have to get a better job.” Maybe for the man it’s like that. Maybe that’s part of the process, though I think it’s more a feeling of duty and honor. But to me – our situation started changing when we had a child because along with a child come all these other things… namely, bigger dreams.

You want to experience life through their eyes. The first time they swing at the park. The first trip to the pumpkin patch. The first Christmas. The first obligatory mall picture, on the Easter Bunny’s lap. There is so much of life to experience, and you want them to experience it ALL.

But experiences cost money.

I remember when we were trying to qualify for a house, explaining to Aubrey when she asked for a treat at whatever fast food joint we happened to be passing, that we were saving our money for our house. After awhile I could just ask, “Do you remember why we’re not spending money on that right now?” and she could answer accurately. And then she stopped asking altogether.

The thing is, God knows us.

He knows our weaknesses. He knows my natural inclination would be to try to keep up with everybody else; He knows I hate to feel left out, and if left to my own devices, I would do things I couldn’t afford just to fit in with everyone else, just to feel included. He knows I don’t like to settle for anything less than the best. Not because I’m haughty – because I’m unsatisfied with living life at any rate less than the fullest.

I thank God often that for YEARS, we couldn’t qualify for a credit card. Thank GOD He slammed that door shut TIGHT! Where would we be if we had just racked up debt on credit cards and paid the minimum balance? Oh, we might’ve looked pretty on the outside, but on the inside we would be writhing, uncomfortable, despairing, trapped, owned.

Romans 13:8 says it plainly: “Owe no man anything, except to love one another…”
That hung on our wall in our first apartment for 2 years. (And not in a pretty Pinterest frame either – hand-written on a piece of white printer paper, held up with scotch tape.)

Freedom is in owing no many anything except for love. Why? Because if you owe people money, that will be your first priority. Debt overtakes you and chases you down. It keeps knocking until it gets its fill. Debt is ruthless. Debt owns you.
You work for your creditors instead of working for yourself.

When we have no debt left, what we’re left with is the freedom and ability to fully pursue God’s calling on our life.

I thank God we were taught delayed gratification. Thank GOD! The time for us to have those things we wanted would come eventually, but it wasn’t then. It wasn’t when we were scraping and struggling to pay the bills as it was.

I thank God He blessed me with a husband with a gift for finances. With a no-nonsense attitude when it came to getting out of debt. I thank God He gave me a hard-working man who is willing to do whatever it takes to provide for his family. I thank God He gave me a husband with dreams and ambition, who is not satisfied with just ‘okay’. And I thank God for a husband who loves and delights in his family; who is not tight-fisted with his earnings.

I thank God we learned this: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11) PEACE. I thank God for peace.

The peace that I can purchase a $240 dress without feeling guilty for a month, wondering how we were going to make up that money we spent on something we couldn’t afford.

The peace that I can spend money on clothes each month and it’s not a big deal. It’s not a big deal!! You know what? For years I wore clothes that were not ‘in style’, that were old, or frumpy, or plain, or didn’t fit right, or had baby vomit stains on them, which most of the time I didn’t pick out for myself, but which were always practical. They were hand-me-downs, or gifts, or clothes I had greedily salvaged from storage in my parent’s basement, or from my old closet. And let me be clear: I was thankful to wear them.

Now I am thankful – and PEACEFUL – wearing clothes that fit properly, that are new, that are even a little bit trendy!!!!

For example. Ankle boots that are ‘wine’ colored. They have a heel. They are impractical. I am absolutely, 100% peaceful about that purchase. I got a GREAT deal on them, and I didn’t spend money we didn’t have. I don’t care that they don’t match everything. I LIKE THEM. So I bought them.

Let me say it one more time though: it does not escape me that for the first 7 years of our marriage, I did not buy things just because I liked them. I bought things only if the one I currently had was broken, ripped, or falling apart, and only if I absolutely needed that item. And then I likely bought off the clearance rack, and/or waited until a holiday or special occasion when someone gave me a gift card so I could afford it.

I don’t regret it.

I am really thankful we had those years, because now I can really appreciate when I spend money. I have these moments like today, where I just hand over my debit card for a large purchase, and I almost brush right by it.


And then, when I’m driving away, or scrubbing dishes, or folding laundry, I’ll think… “I just spent $XXX on such-and-such item… without batting an eye.” And I can’t think that without remembering what it used to be like.

Man, God has blessed us.

God is not closed-fisted with His blessings.
Malachai 3:10: Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

When God blesses us, and He begins to open the windows of heaven, do you know what it looks like? I’ve only seen a glimpse, and here it is: THERE WILL BE MORE, AND MORE, AND THERE WILL BE MORE BEFORE YOU RUN OUT.

I don’t like to waste things because I know the value of them. I know money is cheap cheap cheap, but still people live without running water. They have houses – if you can call them that – with dirt floors, and no soft mattresses for beds. Maybe some straw and a blanket if they’re lucky.

We’re so RICH. I make coffee in the morning, and pour it out to make fresh coffee in the afternoon. I pour. it. out. Down the drain. It pains me to do it. I know what it’s worth. I know there are people in the world who, even if they had money to buy coffee, wouldn’t. They’d buy something more practical, like seeds to plant a garden, so they could have food at harvest time. What use is coffee if you’re starving?

The worst I have to do to get hot water is wait a few minutes for a machine in my basement to heat it up.

I don’t have to walk miles and miles with a huge bucket or basin.
I don’t waste half my day walking to retrieve it.
I was not kept from studying in school because I had to help my mother carry water back and forth every day…
Carrying what weighs half my body weight back to my home, to ration and boil before it can be used.
I don’t have to worry about catching disease from the water I drink, which runs freely from a faucet in my home any time I turn it on.
Or which I can afford to buy bottled nicely in plastic packaging.

I no longer hate to waste because I’m afraid where the next portion will come from; I hate to waste because I know that everything we have has value.

Delayed Gratification + God’s grace = Abundance

Delayed Gratification + Abundance = Appreciation

My God is faithful. He may work in mysterious ways, but sometimes He gives us little glimpses of why He does what He does; we can look back on our past and see His hand in everything.

I am so thankful for the blessings we’ve been given – relationally, spiritually, financially, physically, emotionally. We truly have so much that we do not “have room enough to receive it.”


STAND Through the Storms

I am posting this mostly for myself because I want to be able to refer back to it. If you are going through a storm, and you feel like you’ve done all you can do physically, relationally, spiritually, every way, rest assured that the Lord is fighting your battle for you, and all that’s required of you now is to STAND in His presence and faithfulness, waiting and watching for the victory.

So, following is a list of scripture that assure me that God is fighting for me. I just have to remember to use my spiritual eyes instead of my physical ones. *See notes on Ephesians 6 and Romans 8:37.

The first in this list, Ephesians 6 tells you what exactly the armor of God is. If I’ve done this, I know I’m standing in a strong position.

Ephesians 6 – Put on the full armor of God… and, having done all, STAND. *Read the entire chapter*
Eph 6:13 – Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
AMPLIFIED – Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].

Exodus 14:14 – The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.
AMPLIFIED – The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.

Deuteronomy 31:8 –  The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
AMPLIFIED –  It is the Lord Who goes before you; He will [march] with you; He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you; [let there be no cowardice or flinching, but] fear not, neither become broken [in spirit—depressed, dismayed, and unnerved with alarm].

Deut 3:22 – You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.

Deut 20:4 – for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.

Isaiah 45:2 – I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.

Romans 8:31 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:37 – Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
*Once, when I was studying this verse, I asked, what does it mean to be MORE than a conqueror? Since a conqueror is one who has fought and won the battle, how can I be MORE than a winner? And God impressed upon me that I am more than a conqueror because HE fights the battle, yet I get the victory. Did you get that? HE does the fighting… WE get the reward!

Psalm 145:14 – The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.

2 Chronicles 20:17 – You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed.

Psalm 41:12 – But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.

John 16:33 (AMP)-  I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

Isaiah 30:18 – Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
(AMP) – And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you andshow loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

Seasons, God-incidences, & Moving On

ecc 3

One thing that has become blazingly clear to me these past several years is that God wasn’t kidding when He spoke of seasons; just look at the beginning of Ecclesiastes 3:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Sometimes I know what season I’m in while I’m in it; seasons of tragedy, for example, are obvious. Sometimes I can’t really tell until I look back on it. My seasons are not defined by the calendar, or the changing of the weather. My seasons are defined by what’s going on in my life and what God is teaching, as long as I’m open to hearing it. Because of that, I’m probably the only one who can define my seasons most of the time. There aren’t always marked physical changes apparent to onlookers.

I just began a new season, and this one is marked by a big outward change: a new job.

The restaurant I was coming from was a fantastic place for me for a long time. October would’ve marked 6 years there. Here are examples of things that made it work for me:
– Close to Home
– Accommodating of my schedule (and especially flexible with my kids and the three pregnancies I had while there)
– Seniority (though I hesitate to call it that) I’d earned through what I viewed as consistent and reliable good work
– Coworkers who became my 2nd family
– Food, beer and a concept that I really did enjoy and believe in
– Income; more of it than if I’d stayed at my former office job

Slowly but surely though, it became obvious that there were things that were no longer working for me. At the very least, there had been a nagging realization that this job would no longer work for me in 3-4 years when all my kids would be in school. I knew I would rather work while they were in school, instead of at dinner time 3 times a week, knowing I’d miss extra-curriculars, homework help, and that all important ’round the dinner table’ discussion. I wasn’t sure exactly how I would transition out of this into something else. I figured if all else failed I’d go work at one of the popular, busy breakfast restaurants in the area.

And then things started to happen. A few things that seemed at first unrelated. I found myself increasingly unhappy when arriving at work. Like, the angry, frustrated, continually disappointed, can’t-shake-it-no-matter-how-hard-you-try unhappy. Proverbs 15:15 says it well: All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances]. I consider myself to usually be the one at the end of that verse there, with the glad heart and the continual feast regardless of circumstances. So I knew something had to change when I suddenly was relating more to the despondent and afflicted. My actions were certainly on the verge of becoming evil and my attitude was already borderline.

And then there was THE thing. The ‘last straw’ thing. The thing which I knew before I walked in the door after my shift that my hubby and I would hash out. The thing that I knew was finally the turning point, that even I couldn’t make excuses for anymore. So the hubs and I had the (surprisingly brief) talk, and we were in agreement that I needed to start looking for employment elsewhere. He didn’t really care where, but I wasn’t satisfied applying at a middle of the road chain restaurant. No, if I was going somewhere, I was going to make it count. I started racking my brain thinking of places that weren’t terribly far from home that fit my criteria. And I started thinking of people I know in the industry, and where I could possibly get a leg up in the hiring process.

It was one of those light bulb moments. I messaged a former coworker through Facebook and he confirmed that they were hiring. Perfect! He said to apply the next day, and that he’d let his managers know I was coming. (You know what that means: prepare to be interviewed, just in case.) I was feeling nervous, but knew it had to be done.

Minutes later, I got a text from my current manager. The ‘THING’ that was the tipping point ended up not being any ‘thing’ at all. Nope, it was actually just an arrangement that both of us forgot about, which made it SEEM like a ‘thing’. Instead of causing me hesitation, this actually reinforced the fact that the decision to move on was the right one. The timing was just too perfect: God-incidence #1. I believe it was God just kind of stirring up the pot enough that I couldn’t deny that He was calling me to something else. “Time to go!”

It reminds me of a book I read to my kids at bedtime. “It’s time to sleep, it’s time to sleep, the fishes croon in waters deep…” I always read it in a hushed voice, because the pictures and the content call for it. God was speaking in a hushed voice, but He used really loud circumstances to assure me it was the right step.

So I went in and applied, and before I left I took two out of the three required interviews – one of which happened to be with the staff manager – with whom I graduated high school! The manager who had been there for over 5 years, but immediately after I was hired, quit. God-incidence #2. He was there just long enough for me to be hired. What if I had hesitated? What if I decided that since the ‘thing’ wasn’t actually a ‘THING’, I didn’t need to seek out other employment? What if there had never been a discrepancy with the whole ‘thing’?!?

I remember on my last regular shift I was walking through my section, and thinking, “Take a minute. This is the last time you’ll ever bus a table here.” You know, let the gravity of it sink in a bit. I’m kind of a sucker for sentiment. I tried to be sad, I really did. But I just wasn’t. I had been hard-core training at the new restaurant and I was just plain excited (albeit a bit overwhelmed) about moving onto the next season. I was filled with the peace described in Philippians 4:7 that surpassed all understanding and guarded my heart and mind from any regret or hesitation. God-incidence #3 right there. Because if it had been the wrong decision, I would’ve been conflicted. I would’ve been upset and unsure and unable to focus on the new job (which would have been fatal, because I’m telling you it was INTENSE).

One of the biggest roadblocks to me applying anywhere else these past few years has been the reluctance to leave my comfort zone, expertise, and seniority behind, exchanging it for the unknown, which would certainly require effort and inevitably, starting over from the bottom. God-incidence #4: the training program in this place is designed such that trainees are keenly aware if this will be a bad fit pretty immediately. (Apparently there’s a lot of quitting that happens before even finishing the training.) But the other side of that is the ones that DO excel are recognized. All I can tell you is I had flash cards up the wazoo and a writer’s cramp that would rival that of any professional (writer, or student, or whoever is old fashioned like me and likes pen and paper over a screen any day). I was pretty mentally and emotionally exhausted by the end of my training. I had a bit of a freak out that I was going to fail the final and be inexorably banished from ever working there, ever again.

But of course it was fine. The only question I missed on the 50 question final was one that was not taught to me. God-confirmation #5. Hooray!

And then, though I still think I’m perfecting my footing here, the managers have made it quite clear that I’m doing a great job and they appreciate all I do. This was more than a breath of fresh air. All I’ve been doing is what I’ve always done – my job, to the very best of my ability. It’s strange – in a good way – to be so frankly thanked and appreciated. And you know what? It makes me want to earn my stripes (ha! see what I did there?!) even more.

Every decision requires some trust. I trust that God was actually and literally ordering my steps. It still requires trust, every time I make a mistake and have to humbly apologize or ask a manager to fix something. But you know what they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. (Or, the biblical version: Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? – Isaiah 66:8.)

I’m excited about the new season that’s being ushered in: new job, older kids (this year A&B will BOTH be in school!), and hopefully a whole lot of fun, new adventures that I can’t even predict yet. You can bet I’ll be sharing them here – and all the meals that get us through them 🙂

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. – Proverbs 16:9
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LordAnd He delights in his way. – Psalm 37:23
Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me. – Psalm 119:133

psalm 37 23-4

Free Peace

Reading this verse with new eyes tonight:

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:26, 27 NIV)

1. The Father sends the Holy Spirit.
2. It is through the Holy Spirit that we glean applicable wisdom from the Word.
3. We don’t have worry about remembering EVERYTHING, because the Holy Spirit will remind us when we need it most.
4. So do not fret, but instead be at peace knowing the Holy Spirit has “GOT THIS.”
5. It is Jesus’ peace, not a worldly peace, He is giving us. It lasts as long as we’re willing to receive it, and it is not based on things or circumstances.
6. He does not give His peace to us as the world gives: based on what we’ve done, how hard we’ve worked, what we have, our salary, our degree, our relational status, our family background, our economic history. He gives freely out of His love for us.
7. So don’t allow your heart to be troubled; and do not fear anything… He freely gives us all we need to overcome… He has overcome for us; we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37)!

A few things I’ve been learning in this current season:
1. How to see people the way God sees them
2. How to love the way God loves
3. Because He is a loving God, He is a GIVING God.

Lord, bless us with the resources to be able to give freely the way you give – out of love for your people. Let no need go unfilled. See your church act as your hands and feet as you designed it to. We are willing. Thank you for giving to us so freely without requiring anything from us in return. Thank you that you love everyone regardless of their past mistakes, and you still give freely. Let those who see us see You and Your love.


A better alternative to “SuperMom”

This articulates perfectly how I feel about the mythical “Supermom”.
I’m not a SuperMom…. I’m a Supernatural Mom!


She Shares Truth – Psalm 38

My first response to Psalm 38 was a feeling of unease, and a thought that “I can’t relate. This does not apply to me.” David, who wrote most of the Psalms, lived under the curse of the law – the curse that Jesus redeemed us from. All those rules and regulations do not apply to born-again, blood-washed, freed children of God! God no longer punishes me because of His wrath. He no longer punishes us in the physical realm because of what we’ve done.

But then I remembered what season it is… Lent. (There’s the Lenten Lens again!) We are preparing our hearts to once again celebrate the greatest gift we’ve been given: Our redemption: our sins bought and paid for by Jesus Christ, who was himself blameless.

So this does apply to me – because without Jesus’ sacrifice, this is how I’d live. In constant fear of punishment; constant shame, knowing I’m not enough; constant hysterics, worried about performing the right ritual or what terrible thing would befall me; constant discouragement, because I won’t ever be perfect or able to live up to the law.

And that is why the Father set up the law – for us to realize we can’t keep it. WE NEED HIM.

Praise Jesus, whose sacrifice brought us out from under the curse of the law, and into the shelter of righteousness and grace!

1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Romans 8:1 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…

For more on the first and second covenant, and righteousness versus the law, click here.
For more on the #SheSharesTruth project, click here

What are you waiting for?

I recently found out about a  community called “She Reads Truth”, which encourages women to read the Word and share how it’s changing them. This is exciting, I thought, right up my alley!
Last week they started an experiment of choosing one chapter of the Bible and She Reads Truth Psalm 130. That chapter was Psalm 130.

What stuck out to me most was Psalm 130:5. It reads, I wait for the Lord , my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.

A few years ago, we were in a transition period.  We were planning and getting ready to buy our first home, but we weren’t in any kind of rush – we were correcting our credit, saving for a down payment, and trying to find  something we liked in the area we wanted.  If you’ve bought a house, you know how it is: having a ‘must have’ list, a ‘want’ list, maybe a ‘do not want’ list. You have requirements, but during your search you end up adjusting and refining those lists based on location,  budget, amenities, etc. At the time, we had flexible landlords and were renting a house for an incredibly affordable monthly rate. We were taking our time because we didn’t have a time limit.

That is, until I became unexpectedly pregnant with our 3rd child.

Now we were in a crunch: we would be hard pressed to fit another baby in this house. So we increased the urgency of our search.

After viewing many properties, we came to one that was a little outside our budget but in a great neighborhood. I remember asking the hubs if he even wanted to walk through this one; the pictures made the layout look a little strange. We figured we might as well – what could it hurt?

We ended up loving the house. It was much bigger than it looked from the outside; there were a lot of nice updates and stylistic details; it had a fenced backyard; there was room to grow. We found ourselves talking about what we could do with the basement space when the kids were middle school age.
Just like my current pregnancy, it was unexpected and surprising in the best way.

Long story short, we chose to put an offer on the house, which was a short sale. If you don’t know what a short sale is, it’s when the bank agrees to sell the house for less than what’s owed on the mortgage.  They do this in an attempt to sell without foreclosing on the property. It’s better for the seller and the bank. However, it can be more stressful for the buyer as they have to wait on approval from not only the seller, but also the bank – and if there are more than one institution involved in the loan (i.e. refinancing through a second bank), it can take even longer. We were told the average time was anywhere between 30-90 days, but it could be longer if there were complications. 

We put an offer in in March. My due date was June 26. Part of the reason we chose this house was because we still needed a few months to save, so we were hoping by the time everything was approved and accepted, we would have all our ducks in a neat little row. We took a risk, because if everything was completed in 30 days, we would not have been ready. But it was a risk we were willing to take. We just prayed over it and had faith it would work out.

It was in this waiting period that I found Psalm 130:5 and posted it on our bedroom wall. I knew that if I fretted about the banks, worried about the seller, agonized over budget and down payment details, I could be blocking whatever blessing(s) God wanted for us.  So every morning I looked at that verse and reminded myself, “my soul waits silently on God ALONE.” My trust was in HIM – not in the bank, or our finances, or even our realtor or loan officer, as awesome as they were. I was placing my faith in Him, and His Word says “they shall not be shamed” (Romans 10:11) and His “Word shall not return void, but accomplish [His] purposes.” (Isaiah 55:11)

As a result, God did these things for us:
1. When we made the original offer, the SELLER’S realtor not only accepted our offer, but suggested we come in lower than asking price. (Who does that?!)
2. We closed on the house June 18. Just enough time to do some painting and move in before my due date.
3. Instead of owing the amount we thought we would at closing, we owed much less. I still don’t understand what happened, except that God worked a little miracle.
4. Because of that, we were able to purchase a much needed larger car (3 kids under 5 = 3 carseats… not really possible in a sedan!)
5. C was actually 5 days past due date, so we had extra time to get settled before she arrived. (By the way, her birth story was another show of God’s strength and faithfulness – for another time of course.)

So… I believe that focusing on waiting on HIM and trusting Him allowed His blessings to pour out and overflow. I bought a key hook fit our entry way that has this verse on it: John 1:16 – “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.” It perfectly described what God did for us, along with Ephesians 3:20 (I like the Amplified version best! ).

Psalm 130 reminds me that I need forgiveness – but I don’t have to be perfect to receive God’s blessings. All I need to do is wait on Him alone.

So what are YOU waiting on?!?

Thank you to the ladies at #SheReadsTruth for following through with this great experiment!