A rare picture of both of us that I actually like. A reminder of who we are, where we came from, and where we're headed. I see the two of us together here and other images, photos snapped through the years, flood through my mind. Pictures of a baby-faced boy when we were dating, of the night we got engaged with the bouquet of roses on the table before us, of our wedding, of our trip to the Oregon coast, to Portland, in our first apartment together, in front of our Christmas tree with our first baby, at the hospital with our second baby and our 1 year old... being eaten by mosquitoes as we tried to get a picture of our family of five a couple months ago.
We have come so far.
I don't talk much on my blog about really personal things; I get a little anxious revealing the innermost workings of my heart and of our family to just anyone on the internet world but I'll share a glimpse here.
For various reasons, we are really tight on money this month -well, every month but especially the next few months- and it is a struggle for me to trust that God will provide for each need we have; the deductible for our insurance after the baby is a lot, my car needed a repair, and several other factors completely drained the wiggle room in our budget that I carefully maintain. [I really want to take Financial Peace University with Dave Ramsey but in the meantime we are working on following his steps to get some of this debt paid off. We are discussing several options including car changes but we move a little slow on those kinds of changes sometimes.]
So after squeaking some extra away from our grocery and household budgets this month we were still coming up short for gas money until we are paid again later this month and I have been praying the last few days for God to provide miraculously in a surprising way. "Lord," I said yesterday while washing dishes, "you know our needs and our desires. You know I am fearful that we won't have enough for our commitments. Please provide a surprise as you often do for your children."
In order for His surprise to make sense, a little story is needed. A couple months ago at a church where we were speaking, a lady walked up and put a $100 bill in my hand for "whatever we might need it for." At the time we didn't have any specific need so we saved it knowing summer would be tight without Jesse's substitute teaching income. Jesse kept the bill in the box of materials we use for speaking at churches, but I thought he must have brought it out at one point because there was a loose $100 bill in an envelope with my grocery and clothes budget that I couldn't account for. I stuck it with the money we have been saving for our little family get-away next month.
"Where is the rest of the money to pay for our little cabin going to come from?" I wondered with some anxiety but tried to put the thought out of my mind, figuring the Lord would either provide or we would cut some of our other budgets out in favor of our need for a trip away after the chaos of summer ministry.
Seeing Jesse look anxiously at our budget last night, I mentioned to him that we did have a little money I had been setting aside the past number of months for our trip and he looked with such relief and surprise at me that I gave him a hug! "Where did it come from??" he asked, knowing there isn't extra money each month since we plan so carefully each penny we need to spend - most of it going to bills. I reminded him about the money the lady had handed me at the church. "I thought we had spent that somewhere already!" he replied.
This morning, Jesse was preparing for a church visit we will make tomorrow as well as a trip to Seattle to speak at another church next Sunday. While organizing and repacking the materials, can you guess what he found?
He walked into the kitchen with a $100 bill in his hand, grinning huge.
We have no idea where the original $100 bill I had discovered came from but I am thanking the Father just for hearing me and displaying His love to us by such a specific answer to such a specific prayer. He is good to me, far better than I deserve!