Sometimes, life throws you curve balls. As we’ve struggled through the ups and downs of our journey to get out of debt, that is one thing we’ve learned without fail. I briefly mentioned some unexpected expenses in this article, but we had another rough patch this month.
But hand in hand with that lesson is another. That as sure as there will be heartache and struggle, we also have a God who will provide. We have a Savior who does not leave our side when life gets rough.
So you’re probably wondering what this has to do with me crying over a quarter. Like I said, it’s been a rough month. Despite the excitement of finally starting my blog and enjoying the new baby, we got some hard financial news this week. It seems this happens each time we get our noses to the grindstone in regards to our debt.
When Micah was about 10 months old, we sat down and got a plan in place for the future of our family. We were going to rebuild our emergency and then pay off X, Y, and Z. Once we did that, we would talk about having a second kid. I found out I was pregnant less than two weeks later.
The following year, while still figuring out just how to file ministry taxes, we ended up owing money at the end of the year-one more bill to add! Then began our search for a Pastor position for James, while trying to rebuild our emergency fund once again after it being depleted during my maternity leave with Zay.
Around the same time, we had gotten the news that my childcare center, where I’d been working for almost 8 years, was going to have to close its doors. Then, James’ truck stopped running. Time to buy a car!
And now here we are (another surprise baby later); I’ve been taking care of kids in our home for some extra income, and we made a plan to pay off our debts by the end of 2018. So maybe I should have expected some bad news.
I won’t go into details here because we are spending the next few days (along with our friends and family) in heavy prayer that the situation will be resolved. If it is not resolved how we hope, we aren’t really quite sure what that will entail for us, but certainly our payment plans are derailed.
I’ve spent a lot of the last week crying, my feelings hurt and my frustration with the situation building. It’s been a very scary time. But once again, I’m reminded that God is in absolute control. Nothing happens in my life without his knowledge.
Now, back to the quarter. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, we do most of our grocery shopping at Aldi. For those of you who have never been, the buggies (or carts, as my husband insists that they’re called) are linked together near the door, and you have to put in a quarter to remove and use one of them.
Now, I love doing little things for others. Sending anonymous gifts, leaving little surprises for people, etc. So this may seem silly, but when I go to Aldi with my quarter, instead of taking my quarter back when I return my cart, I leave it. It’s obviously not a huge gift, but maybe someone will be a little happy to get to take home an extra quarter.
So last week, we got some devastating news. We spent the evening crying, praying, and trying to figure out what to do from here. The next morning, we got ready to go get our groceries for the week. When I went to grab a quarter from our coin jar on the way to the car, I discovered that it was our last quarter.
Our last quarter. My first thought was a little selfish and a little faithless. I told God that we always try to give to others, even when we don’t have much to give. I asked Him who would take care of us now? Now that we’re in trouble, who will help us?
Y’all, I know that God provides. I know that we will be taken care of and that everything is going to be just fine. Troubles are part of life whether I like it or not and despite this moment of fear, I will continue to have faith.
When Job lost almost everything in his life, he responded in a way that the rest of us can only hope to imitate in times of trouble. In Job 1:21, he says, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
So regardless of the difficulties we are currently facing (and believe me, it’s nothing compared to what Job was going through!) we will continue to praise, to trust, to serve. We will keep in mind that we serve a good God.
Back to the story: I grab our last quarter and head out to the car. We make our way to Aldi, still discussing our problems. We finally got to Aldi, and the kiddos stayed in the car with James while I ran in to grab a few things. Usually, I would just carry whatever I’m getting, since it’s not much, but I needed two gallons of milk, and so I had to get a buggy.
In all my years of quarter-leaving, I’ve never gotten a quarter in return. I’ve given and given without receiving. But last week, there was a quarter in the buggy already. And I cried. I couldn’t believe it. It’s amazing how God sends reminders to us just when we need them most.
One of our favorite songs is “Bring the Rain” by MercyMe. The song says,
“Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there’ll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain”
My tears the previous evening were of heartache, but here I was, at the grocery store, with happy tears in my eyes. God is faithful. And no matter what the outcome is of this situation, we will praise Him.
Have you gone through a hard time recently? How has God reminded you of his love and provision?