On Tuesday this week I sat at the computer desk balancing our checking account. It turns out that after this week’s grocery money, instead of having $75 to carry us through till pay day, we only have $56. This is still ok, but it will not make things easy. It means that there will not be a penny to spare and we must hope and pray there are no surprises over the next 9 days.
Relieved that we will not have to resort to the credit card (the very thing we are trying hard to pay off and thus short on cash), I was still bitter. Tuesday is my shopping day, I take $50 to the Super Walmart and buy groceries for the week ahead. This takes careful planning, keep in mind that it is pretty easy to spend near $50 simply on toilet paper, cleaning supplies and shower stuff, and my money must include food also.
But this Tuesday I had no interest in careful planning. I was fed up and didn’t want to think about how many different dinners I can prepare with 1 lb of Great Northern Beans or how far I can stretch 4 chicken breasts. I decided to forget shopping and after taking a walk sat down to watch The Aviator (a three hour long movie!). By the end of my 3 hour sulk I knew it could not be put off any longer. Out came the cook book and I drummed through hoping for inspiration. My final list of dinners was: Chili (4 meals), Corn Chowder (1 meals), Indonesian Chicken and Rice (2 meals), and Ham and Beans (3 meals).
With my shopping list in hand, I picked up my purse and headed for the door. Although I had done what I was supposed to do, I was not happy about it and definitely let God know. Reaching for the doorknob I clearly heard my Lord say, “Look at what you’re wearing.” Slowly I looked down. Then came the realization that my shirt, shoes and even bra were bought by someone else and given as gifts. The only clothing that I had paid for was my trousers and underwear! I opened the door and headed outside, realizing I was getting into the truck I didn’t pay for and turning on the brand new car radio I didn’t pay for!
As I backed out of the parking space I repented and began to thank God for all He has provided. Although it might take some creativity, I have never known want. I have never been hungry or without clothes.
As I am driving my spirit lifts and not only am I thankful, but I feel safe. The Holy Spirit whispers,
“See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed as one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field which is here today and tomorrow is thrown in the fire, will He not much more cloth you?”*
It is now Thursday, all the meals have been prepared and put into tubs in the fridge and freezer. We also made peanut butter cookies, banana bread, chocolate mocha cake and crème caramel! The good news is that groceries this week only cost $41, so if we run out of milk or eggs we won’t have to search pockets and scrounge around the car for change. God has truly provided for all our needs and we still have more to share.
Interestingly, today’s reading in Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest was taken from the very verse in Matthew the Holy Spirit had whispered to my heart on Tuesday. Chambers writes:
Jesus asks us to consider that “if God so clothe the grass of the field…” how “much more” will he cloth you, if you keep your relationship right with Him? Every time we lose ground in our fellowship with God, it is because we have disrespectfully thought that we knew better than Jesus Christ. We have allowed the “cares if this world”** to enter in, while forgetting the “much more” of our heavenly Father.
The above words sum up my heart on Tuesday. I had let the “cares of this world” take over and had forgotten the “much more” of my provider and protector. How glad I am though, that Jesus does not simply leave me there, but calls me back and asks me to refocus my mind and heart on Him.
*Mat 6:28-30 **Mat 13:22