Monday, March 5, 2012

Faith and Frugality: 3 Meetings

A letter from one of the boys I sponsor
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"   Matthew 6:25-26 (NIV)

God always provides but not always in the way you expect.

I've been feeling  stretched lately. My job is in transition, and sometimes my work-week is 40 hours. . .And sometimes it's closer to 20. I am embracing the struggle to live within my unpredictable means as an opportunity to practice even better frugality. I have to admit, though, there have been times when I've been a little grumbly about it.

But God is so good, and I have NO reason for murmuring. Here are a few snapshots of my frugal life of late.

  1. I walked through the grocery store not long ago weighing whether or not I could/should afford a loaf of bread (Post car-repairs, pre tax-refund.) Bread wasn't really necessary. . .but it was an irksome thing to have to quibble over and I was grumbling to God, "We're supposed to pray, 'Give us our daily bread. . .' well, haven't I? And yet, I can't afford a loaf of bread. I'll admit, I'm far from being hungry, but still. Isn't this ironic?"

    Guess what? Right then and there, I realized I had six packets of yeast, and plenty of flour in my cupboard at home. He had already given me a couple of months-worth of bread, at least, if only I was willing to do my part and make it. My shame-faced bit of complaining was the real irony. And that led me to realize. . .

  2. I have never gone without. I have never been hungry. And God is so abundantly faithful, that he is not just feeding me on my slim paychecks, but my two sponsored children as well. I have been sponsoring two little boys through World Help since 2009—one from Honduras, and one from India. Through all the tumult of the past three years (a broken elbow, a totaled car, a cut that needed stitches at the ER, unexpected car repairs, moving and paying double-rent for a couple months, and finally needing to buy another car last summer after my savings had just been drained by other things...) I've never even come close to having to pause or stop my monthly sponsor payments. There is always—sometimes miraculously—enough.

  3. One of my uncles—whom I hadn't seen in years and thought was about 1000 miles away—dropped out of the clear blue sky the other day. He was in the town next-door on business, and he decided we should visit over dinner. I was astounded by his unexpected and unmerited generosity. Not only did he treat me to dinner, he had all sorts of friendly encouragement to offer about my life, decisions, hopes--and he insisted on sending me home with two desserts from the restaurant and a basket full of groceries since WalMart was on the way—the kind of groceries I wouldn't usually buy except as treats. I ate strawberries for breakfast today, and every time I open my refrigerator it feels like Christmas. I have almost cried in humble gratitude—not really for the food since I have aplenty, but for what's behind it.

    He couldn't have known how timely his visit and gifts were. I've been fretting a little lately: doubting myself and my abilities, wondering what the future holds, applying for part-time jobs to see if I could snag a little extra income to make things easier. . .And then I was blindsided by extravagant provision and encouragement. It was so clearly a supernaturally kind and unmerited blessing orchestrated by God and carried out through my uncle.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  James 1:17

It was as if God said, "You are not on your own. I know what you need, and I am taking care of you."


Sometimes, reader, times are tough. I pray that you would be encouraged by my stories to trust in God and recognize His caring and merciful hand in your life.


12 comments:

  1. I've heard rumor God has a sense of humor. Today's occurrence seems to suggest it is true.

    I'm grappling to have faith about financial things as well, and then I find two blog entries in my google reader account that speak directly to what I'm dealing with. First Amy Schwartz', now yours. I didn't realize my situation was so common!

    Thanks for sharing, Rissa-my-Rissa.

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  2. Marissa,

    Wow! I love how God works. You have such an amazing testimony hear and a wonderful way with words. I can tell you were an English major! I must say that I found your post both refreshing and encouraging and it was just what I needed. I stumbled on your blog through Pinterest and a post about Spring Cleaning Tips! I needed to read this...God's timing is just perfect isn't it?

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    1. Thanks Ingrid, I'm so glad you were encouraged! :) It's cool how God works some time. I wrote this blog post while my blog was still pretty much "off the map" and I was writing into the void, so I think it's just awesome that you've stumbled upon it later and it has been helpful.

      Thanks for reading!

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  3. So encouraging and what we all need to hear. I too have never gone without and totally believe that God will provide everything we need if we will do our part. Gratitude is what we need to have and then his blessings will be provided to us.

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  4. This post was so inspiring and timely for me. I was stressing out about money this morning as I was doing my budget. This afternoon I happened upon this post and it made me realize that I was being entirely selfish as we have much more than most -- we just lose sight of that sometimes and think we need more than we actually do. Thanks for giving me this inspiration. I'll be checking back often for more of your upbeat, inspired self!

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    1. Aw, I'm so glad to have helped, Megan! :) Thanks for reading!

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  5. MARISSA,
    YOU ARE GOING ON MY PRAYER LIST TONIGHT. I WILL HAVE MY SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS AND SMALL GROUP PRAY FOR YOU EACH WEEK. THAT MANY PEOPLE PRAYING FOR YOU CAN BE A POWERFUL THING.
    YOURS, CAROLYN

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    1. Carolyn, I'm touched. Thanks so much and may God bless you. :)

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  6. Marissa,
    I just found your blog today and have been poking around your site. I have been truly blessed by some of your posts - this one in particular. Thank you for the genuine heart you share and for letting people know the wonder of God's provision.... when only we trust... and open our eyes! I will keep checking back to see what new tips and inspiring thoughts you have. Blessings!
    Sherry

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  7. I really enjoy your site. I too am a freelance writer and sometimes life is tough, but the important thing to remember is, have faith and carry on.

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