Preface: I've gone to church virtually all my life. I've been tithing since my first job, a neighborhood paper route I got as a young kid. I am very passionate about our Creator and I love Jesus. The Bible is my absolute favorite book. A few years ago the church I'd attended for 15 years had some head pastor "issues" and seemingly almost over night my church was no longer. So many people left and so many people came that before I had time to blink the church that I'd taught Sunday school in for ages, the church that I attended 4 mission trips with, the church that I'd spent almost more time at during high school than what I spent at school was not really my church any longer. I stopped going shortly after my baby Abe came along and I've had very little motivation to find a new one. I have trust issues and I'm not one that easily finds a brand new "family." I say all that to end at: a few years back I also stopped tithing.
The story: Every day I thank the Lord for being our protector and our provider. I know that He blesses us and that He protects us. He is in control and to add to that our debt and financial messes are from pure stupidity on our parts not because of any shortcoming on His part. A few months back I heard that still small voice say, "You need to start tithing again." I always respond to these sort of things and I politely replied, "really? now? This is quite possibly the tightest our finances have been in years. You can't be serious." To which I heard the still small voice say, "Yes, now. If you are faithful I will bless you." I don't need much more than that these days. I've learned it's not best to ignore the quiet nudges.
Last night on the coldest most snowy most windy night I can remember in a very long time our furnace stop kicking out heat. My husband had just left for work when I discovered the house growing cold. The temp in our house dropped from 69 to 60 in just about an hour. I figured with a lot of blankets and snuggled in bed together that little Abe and I would be fine through the night but I was a bit scared at how cold it could get with the horrid weather outside. I turned the furnace off completely and let it sit a bit twice before I called my husband to let him know there was an issue and that we'd need to get it fixed asap in the morning. Staying warm was the foremost thought on my mind but of course I'm thinking all the while about how much this repair would cost, where I would come up with the money for it (things should not be allowed to break after Christmas), and how would tomorrow be as it grew colder and colder, would I need to find some place for our three furry kids to stay, how would I prevent the pipes from bursting once it got to freezing temps, would a furnace repair man even be available in this kind of blizzard... oh, the thoughts.
My husband ended up calling his sister who lives down the road from us. She came and picked up me and little Abe to spend the night in her living room. His car seat was in the car my husband took to work but her kids were sleeping, her husband was home (he had to shovel out their driveway at just about midnight before she could come by and get us even) and little Abe was able to sit in his cousins car seat on the ride over. It's a good thing she's got 4wheel drive too. The roads were filled with snow and not plowed in the least. It was quite the adventure. I hardly slept last night. I couldn't stop thinking about how cold my home was getting and hoping it wasn't too cold for my other babies. I kept questioning, and I felt wrong doing so, but "why this Lord? how are you going to provide for this? we can not afford this." I was hoping for a miracle of sorts. I kept saying "thank-you Lord, I know that you are our provider, you are our protector."
My husband came home from work to a 40 degree F house. The animals were fine. And for some reason before calling a furnace guy, all I can think is that is was by the leading of God, in snow up to his waist and temps around 0F he walked over to the side of the house that the furnace intake is on. We don't walk over there as it's the opposite side of the driveway. We don't drive past there since it's not the direction of anything we go to. And I've mentioned it before, my husband is NOT handy. I don't know why he thought to look over there at all. There was a drift of snow that came to the bottom of our windows. The air conditioning unit and the furnace air intake were completely buried, just gone. He shoveled all the snow away from the intake, went inside, turned the furnace on, and there came the heat.
Conclusion: Sometimes stupid things happen and you are forced to cart your 2 year old around in the middle of the night in a horrendous blizzard and inconvenience family members and then in the end you feel very blessed for things to have worked out just perfectly. I'm feeling very thankful. Much like the time the tire blew out on my van and instead of it becoming one of the worst days ever it was an exceptionally awesome day. <linked here
The Lord is most certainly my provider and protector and I think maybe it takes a little shaking up of things here and there to help me see this truth more clearly. He tends to work that way, the shaking up of things. To many it might just look like Murphy.. you know, Murphy's law; life happens. But to me it looks like a subtle reminder. I think I'll continue to listen to the still small voice even when it asks me to give away money I hardly feel I have. In my mind I'd be foolish not to.
(I felt this post needed a p.s.)
p.s. I just visited the post about my van and oddly enough the tire blew out on the exact same day last year as this year's furnace incident. I'm not sure if I should eagerly await January 8th from now on or be a little nervous as it approaches. How odd.