Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Gift of Faith

I can't believe we are already in December. Kind of like, where did all this snow come from? We are in it, up to our knees, fluffy and white. Last weekend, 17 inches of it blew in, over the horizon, at the sound of 30 mph, all day and night. I looked out my window that Saturday morning, and all I could see was white out. No road, trees, or farm fields.

Being snowed in was all right by me. It's been awhile since we had a MN blizzard. I think the last time I even spoke the word, 'blizzard', was when a popular ice cream franchise had them on sale, last summer. I spent the day, inside, cleaning. The hard floors had collected their own little farm of dust bunnies, with the couch hiding the majority of them. In time, I had clean floors, and a mind that was trying to declutter, in the process of it all. Like piles of mail that needed sorting, so the thoughts in my head needed filing...and discarding.

Our budget was on the top pile of worries, for me. It's Christmas time, meaning extra shopping and gifts for the people in our lives. It's winter, meaning a slower pace, and less income. And it's me, the one who tries to balance it all...did I mention that math is not my best subject? For me, the most useful tool on the internet is online-banking. Without it, I would be completely lost.

In my support group, I shared some of these concerns. Call it a prayer request, because that's what it was. I needed the faith to believe that God would take care of this...take care, of us. My husband, calm person that he is, is not overly concerned. I admire his faith in believing God will provide extra jobs, even though it is winter. I'm thankful that he is so solid and peaceful, when I am at times, a little shaky.

Looking in the months ahead, it doesn't add up. On paper, the bottom line reads 'below zero', and I'm not talking about the temperatures here . Still, a chilly number, however you want to look at it. We've decided that eliminating our giving is not an option. In God's economy, this cannot come out of the equation. Don't ask me how it works this way, but it does. So here I am, more motivated than ever to cut our expenses...and then wait and see.

I am delighted to say God hears our prayers. He is always more than enough. Just days later, a check came in the mail. One that we were not expecting, from a place that we thought we had finished doing business with. I called the company, just to make sure this sizable amount was really ours. It was an overpayment that came back to us, at the perfect time. I said to my husband, holding the check, "This is God at work!" He agreed. I feel undeserving, so much of the time, because I know that all that we have is really His. And yet, I can't contain my excitement at how He works out the details of our lives, giving us just what we need.

The last couple of months, I've been in a study with a mixed group of women, from the local area. I love the fact that we go to different churches, and yet, there is a unity of spirit among us. I'm enjoying the homework, learning more about the God who knows me, inside and out. Isaiah 64:4 says, "Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him."

That verse came alive for me, this week. Some thoughts I've considered: If my bible sits at rest, collecting dust bunnies, does that mean the words inside are dead? If I allow the cares in my head to go stir-crazy, with no place to go, does that mean there is no God of the universe, who won't hear my silent prayers? If I walk alone, in my struggles, how certain can I be that there are others out there, feeling the same way?

We are not alone. We have similar needs. To be loved, to be heard, to have a reason for living. God loves you more than you can imagine. So much, that He came in human form, walked among us for awhile, died for our freedom, and wants to live in our hearts, forever. I know this, but sometimes I forget, get distracted, or selfishly go my own way...for awhile. I'm glad that deep within, there is that whisper of a voice, calling me back.

I sincerely hope, for each one of you, that this will be a Christmas to remember. Maybe it's a hard year, ending with devastation and loss. Or it might be over the top, filled with much joy. For many of us, it can be business as usual, getting caught up in the traditions, the hustle 'n' bustle of the season. Wherever you find yourself this year, I pray that you are one step closer to the heartbeat of the Father. He is not too far away. And He does act on behalf of those who wait for Him.
Merry Christmas!