Back in January of this year, I knew God was dramatically drawing my attention to tithing and finances. I developed a tendency to cling to every dollar I made, but as a single mother, I felt that no matter what I did, we were always broke. After several months of tithing, I began to grow frustrated when I did not see what I thought would be God’s provision. I was giving without knowing why. In my mind, God was asking for grocery money. I stopped tithing.
After two paychecks of not tithing, nowhere closer to any financial peace even with the extra withheld tithe money, God gently addressed my finances again. He knew the cycle would not end until I understood His purposes regarding money. Exhausted, I relinquished: “God, I do not know what You are after exactly, but I know You promised in Your Word You would be faithful. Please teach me. I want to learn. I am so tired. Please give me rest.” With my next paycheck, I offered back my tithe. While I managed to work my budget a little, I knew we would be short again that month.
At church the following Sunday, I answered my friend honestly when she asked how I was doing. Expecting her first baby, she too was feeling financial pressure. It seemed we were both getting financial makeovers. I was encouraged by our conversation. I knew her baby shower was the next Saturday and I was deeply moved to bless her.
Without a budget in mind, I went to buy my friend a gift. I had already tithed and now I was compelled to give! What was wrong with me? When I got to the register, I was biting my nails, staring at each tag as it was scanned and I was defiantly NOT feeling peaceful. Fearful, I threw a quick prayer to God. “God?” I asked. He responded, “Chill, I got you too!” In that moment I experienced what is called the joy of giving. I had faith God was going to honor my desire to bless.
When I arrived at the baby shower I was so happy to have a gift with me. For years I avoided parties because I was embarrassed by my inability to give. This time, I didn’t just bring a gift, we brought a gift. God wanted to bless me and my friend at the same time. Only God knew how to do both.
The day after the shower I went to church as usual. I had the peace of God and didn’t feel worried even though nothing in my circumstances had changed. My previous mindset would have had me crawling to the altar in despair that I literally had no money for food because I was an idiot and gave it all away!
During praise and worship, singing about the faithfulness of God, someone literally slapped $200 in my hand. “Someone told me to give this to you,” he said. I. Was. So. Thankful. God must have enjoyed getting a kick out of surprising me, but in my soul it was no surprise that He provided and was faithful.
It’s funny how God always seems to go straight to the one “thing” locking up all the other “things” on your list of “things” to improve. In my case, it was my finances. The moments of unbearable loneliness and pressure of being a single mother seemed to find a resting place when I gave my finances to God. I certainly do not feel like I’m alone anymore. My daughter has a Daddy who bought her favorite mac n’ cheese (certified organic and mommy approved) and lush red strawberries to take to school. And there IS someone I can hand my daughter over to that loves her just as much as I do when I need rest. There is a provider in our life. His name is Jesus.