I love seeing big numbers in my bank account (especially since I so rarely see them).
I knew our tax refund check would be substantially larger than most years once we filed our taxes post-adoption. I envisioned all we could do with a few extra thousand dollars.
I planned to take my recently adopted teenage son, Juan David, on a short trip back to Colombia to visit his older biological brother, while we agreed to allow our younger son, David, to go on a mission trip to Colorado with church. Hopefully we could use the rest of the money to take a vacation as a family, possibly to visit my own brother in Pennsylvania or to spend a week on a beach.
Those big numbers finally landed in our account the same day I noticed the airline prices drop, so my husband urged me to buy our plane tickets to Colombia right away. But without confirmation from our son’s older brother about the dates, I waited.
I gave a percentage of our refund to a church and then wrote a check toward a friend’s mission trip to Romania. The rest of the money, surprisingly, made me more anxious every day. I placed way too much security in those numbers, and I feared seeing even a penny go to waste.
“God, you know the desires of my heart and the needs of my family. Please help us use this money wisely by showing us how to stretch it as far as it will go.”
Pretty soon all my plans started to backfire. Our timing did not coincide well with my brother’s summer plans, so we couldn’t go to Pennsylvania. Juan David’s brother had already arranged his own travel throughout the summer months, meaning we couldn’t go to see him, either. So, we signed David up for the mission trip, and we planned a family trip to Florida as a way to bring our summer to an end. We eagerly anticipated summer’s arrival.
Until my husband, Mike, called me with unsettling news.
“I lost my job today.”
Who knew how much security could be wiped out with one simple statement.
No more excellent health, dental, or life insurance coverage. We lost forty percent of our income. Three weeks of vacation. Convenience. Consistency. Seniority. Twelve years of earned respect in the company. Gone.
Suddenly the truth about where I placed my security became blatantly obvious.
What would we do without his paycheck? Now our “pleasure” money would have to cover his wages while he searched for employment, rather than cover the vacation we dreamed about.
We walked this road years earlier, one I hoped to never travel again. I remembered the trials, the debt that piled up, the bills we couldn’t pay, and the anxiety that held me captive for months (years) on end. No wonder I had such an unhealthy relationship with money and with numbers. “Please, God, not again. Not now.”
The disappointment ran deep, yet I couldn’t help but find myself grateful as I recalled our last unemployment episode twelve years ago. Grateful for how far we’d come, for the blessings we experienced over the years, for how our faith grew exponentially after watching God faithfully take care of us. We now lived nearly debt free, with several thousand dollars in the bank, contrary to being penniless (and deep in debt) the last time. We had resources built up that didn’t exist the last time we faced this situation.
As if God sensed my self-sufficiency in our own resources, I heard Him gently whisper to me.
“Those numbers don’t matter. I took care of you when they didn’t add up, and I will take care of you now. Lean on Me. Haven’t I shown you that my calculations always trump your numbers? Remember when . . .”
How could I forget the day someone anonymously dropped food off on my doorstep or when a friend gave me so many new clothes that my closets and dressers literally overflowed. Or when a stranger standing in line behind me paid for my groceries, not knowing a thing about our recent adoption expenses?
Memories of miracles flooded my thoughts. God exchanged our totaled classic pick-up truck for a truck twice its size and value. He provided me a bilingual teaching position I wasn’t certified for, within a district that agreed to pay for my certification. He connected us through e-mail to a Christian school in Colombia that had a furnished apartment for us to stay in at only a fraction of the cost of a hotel.
I remembered that day the insurance called to say they’d cover the damage to our camper (that we didn’t have properly insured) and gave us double the price we paid for it. How could I deny God’s faithfulness when our new giant RV that we got for less than half its worth sat right in front of my house?
The numbers never could have multiplied themselves on their own like they did in all of the scenarios above. My calculations never could have blessed us so richly. Who was I to draw my security from numbers in a bank account?
Isn’t God more than enough? More than sufficient?
I know we put our money and our desires in His hands and asked Him to show us how to use it wisely. He kept us from spending it on our pleasures, so now we trust Him to stretch it through my husband’s unemployment, to a blessing on the other side.
How can I write so often about God’s faithfulness and then not feed off of it in a time like this?
I don’t know what tomorrow holds. But for today, I am choosing gratitude. I wait expectantly to see God do something far greater than my numbers could ever achieve.
El Shaddai, the all-sufficient One, the Lord God Almighty.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9a).
Stay Connected With Rachelle
Follow me on my blog: www.fromtheheartofrachelled.blogspot.com
Read our adoption story, in pieces, on my book blog: www.unexpectedtearsbook.blogspot.com
Or purchase my book, Unexpected Tears, on Amazon:
(The sequel, Painful Waiting, is still in production.)