Monday, June 17, 2013

Our very present help...

It's been quite a month. The school year ended, one family member survived a very bad heart attack, other family came to visit, babies were born, I made a huge mistake at work, my daughter took Driver's Ed, etc. and so forth.

But I do have a little something I want to share... one specific tidbit out of the many ways that God displayed His faithfulness to me in the craziness of May and June.

As long-time readers of this blog know, finances are where I fear the most.  Except I will say "feared" because God set me free from the fear that had me so bound up.

I still have to face and stare down that fear, though.  Every time an unexpected bill comes. Every time a paycheck is low.  Every time I sit down to do the bills, knowing that I haven't kept track of things as I should have been and that we might have spent too much.

Sometimes I'm able to stare down the fear rather easily, and other times I have to dig in and camp on my Rock before it lets up.

But it's that last one that comes closest to getting me... the facing my failures in tracking and budgeting as I should. I've actually 'gotten quite good' this year at avoiding them up until the last minute. Every month I've told myself I'll do better next month, and every month I fail. Twenty-plus days each month I'd wake up and spend some time with the Lord, and set the goal to do the bills and get caught up that day. And the first 19 of those days, I wouldn't do it. Then I'd have to. And I'd rest in it for a week. And then the cycle would start again. And lately I started telling myself that if I didn't get it together soon, then things would start snowballing.

I share all that because this is the scene and the setting for what God showed me.

It was early in the morning. My husband had left for work extra early, the kids were still in bed, and I opened my Bible. I turned to the Psalms and read something in Psalm 35 or 36. I don't remember what it was... I only remember that it was worship and blessing and it fed my heart.

But then I glanced over to Psalm 37 and what is underlined there:
The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
That's verse 23, and I've always loved it. I like knowing that God has a plan for me that is established.

But I kept reading... and the following words really jumped out at me:
23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.

 God delights in my way.  That's rather an amazing thought... that not only does God establish a plan for me... that plan is so good that He finds delight in it!  This God who created the universe and galaxies and mountains and things that are so much more beautiful and amazing and delightful... still delights in the plan He has established for me!

I kept reading...
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.

I read those words, and this is what I heard in my spirit:
"You make mistakes and fall, because your steps are not yet steady and sure in this way I have planned for you.  But don't worry. Do not fear. I will not allow your mistakes and falls to destroy you. For I am holding your hand, and when you fall, I will always pick you up, steady you, and continue to lead you down My path."

My jaw figuratively dropped. I have read that verse many times, but never before had I understood the significance.  Read it again.
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.

Peace settled over my spirit, and I realized... I had somehow worked my way into forgetting that I serve a God who is in the business of redeeming my mistakes. Of saving me. Of making up for my failures. Of turning them into praises. This is who He is, and He never said He'll redeem every mistake except financial ones.

And then I read some more:
25 I have been young and now I am old,
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
Or his descendants begging bread.
26 All day long he is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing.


It was like God was saying...
See? Not only does this verse not exclude financial mistakes, this verse specifically includes finances. Even when your financial steps on this path of Mine falter and you fall... even then, I am there, I will not forsake you, I will not allow it to destroy you, and I will still make you a blessing who can be gracious and lend on this earth.

That's the end of that little section of verse, but that's not the end of what He told me. Because at that point, I took a deep breath, I smiled, I thanked Him, and I realized that I still had an hour to spend with God. Should I open my blog and see what He gave me? Should I read somewhere else in my Bible? But He stopped my tide of thoughts.

Do the bills now.

I thought, "Huh? But I want to spend more time with You, God. I haven't had much lately, and I need more. I'll do the bills later... can't I spend more time with You? Won't You speak to me some more?"

I have the feeling God sort of shook his head at that point, because what He said next flipped my thinking on end.

What makes you think we can't do the bills together? You can do them in My presence, you know.

I gulped, took a deep breath, and realized that even though I always prayed as I did them... often begging for help and rebuking fear... I had never quite sought His presence before or while I did them. I somehow had decided that time with God and time with bills were two completely different things.  Separation of God and money, I suppose... and it was revolutionary to realize that He wanted to actually be there in a tangible way.  To hold my hand as I did them!

And so I opened my computer, my spreadsheets, and the banking websites, and He and I tackled them together. And fear didn't even attempt to show its ugly face. Not in His presence. It didn't dare.

I don't think I'll ever be quite the same again...

Psalm 46  
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. .
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

2 comments:

  • Cara@TheSheetBoutique says:
    Friday, June 28, 2013

    Love this post Katie,
    As I'm getting ready to write out 5 checks for property taxes, I can so relate to this. The last five years have taught me God is faithful ~ especially in the details.

    For years I thought that "I earned" my wages but lately I've realized that the wages were all His to start with. Fear be gone... the God of angel armies... is always by my side!!

  • Crown of Beauty says:
    Monday, July 15, 2013

    Hi Katie
    I've been away from many blogs this year... my blog posts are now few and far between... there are just many things going on in my life and I am not in blogland as often as before. And Facebook has also given me an easier way to connect with friends where I only had my blog and email before. But now on this early morning I looked at some of the blogs I am following. And I saw the title of this post - well, I am sure that nothing in life is ever a mere coincidence. So I believe that God had me in mind when He inspired you to write your thoughts down in this post. Fear... it is also something I struggle with. Not the paralyzing kind of fear, but the unspoken, unacknowledged kind that simply lingers at the back of my mind. And it get pushed back so often, just so it doesn't interfere with my daily living... but it's there, and it never leaves.

    So reading this post has sort of widened the crack a little bit more... and allow me to just let the fear come out, and let my Father deal with it.

    Not yet completely, but I am getting there.

    Thank you. Being here this morning is like visiting an old friend. You know this already... but I'll say it again: you are one of my few blog friends who have a special place in my heart.

    Love
    Lidia

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