Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Blessings galore

As open and honest as I usually am on this blog, there is one thing that is very difficult for me to write about. There is a part of pride that I deal with in a big way. Money. When I was growing up, we did not have money. I did not get to be a pee wee football cheerleader, attend ballet or tap classes, gymnastics or anything extra curricular until I got into junior high. But I always wanted to. When I lived with my Dad after my parents split up, I never had lunch money and I remember feeling like the biggest dork while I was in the pep club in 7th grade because I did not have Guess Jean overalls. All the girls in Pep Club had Guess Jean overalls and every color of Keds you could imagine. They would gather at lunch and talk about their moms taking them to the Espirit Outlet in Dallas over the weekend. Oh how I longed to be one of those girls. After school, I never had a ride home so I walked. I did not want the other Pep Club girls to know that I lived in crummy apartments so I walked a back way. That way no one would see me walking home. We all know that junior high/middle school can be tough especially for someone like me that had no idea what she would walk into when she got home each day. But I lived with a lot of shame. I did not want anyone to know that I did not have lunch money so I would sit at lunch and act like I was not hungry or I would find enough change and buy a coke and chips. That was my lunch just about every day or I had nothing at all. So when it comes to money, or the lack there of, my pride comes to surface in a big way. Especially now!

When we moved into this house a year ago, we had no idea what was ahead. We did not plan on Jeremy injuring his back. He has worked for UPS for twelve years and during that time he has called in sick ONCE. So his back injury has been very difficult for him to handle. His pay went down drastically because he was put on light duty. He is still on light duty but praise the Lord he is finally getting to work normal hours again, so his pay is almost back to normal. Daily I am praying that he does not get put on full workers comp. That would be devastating. A lot has happened this year and it seems that our finances have reached a terrible place. There are things we are doing to help relieve us of so much debt. But it will be a process to say the least. I started a Holiday Baking Business last November and grossed almost $2,000! Even though I will be a big pregnant woman with my third by that point, I still plan to do it again. It was a huge success! I also have been babysitting my friend's kids. She has four so I have helped with the younger two. That will be ending in a couple of weeks but I am constantly praying that the Lord will give me opportunities to make extra money. He has provided every single time!

My UPS man, my husband, is the most hardworking man you will meet. His boss called here last Saturday night to ask him something about work. He was leaving for vacation with his family but wanted to check with Jeremy on something. Jeremy had gone to the movie store so I answered the phone. I am a talker and it's easy for me to make conversation with a stranger so I jokingly said, "Uh oh! What did he do?" His boss said, "Jeremy? Nothing. He is our best driver at the Dallas hub and we are sick about his injury. We just want him to get better. But since he is on light duty he is really helping us teach other drivers. He has more knowledge of the routes than we do." Wow! That was a great thing to hear about my husband. I started thinking about Proverbs 31 and what it says about her husband being respected at the city gates. I am so proud of Him. As I write this I am realizing how much I need to tell him too. He's having such a hard time right now and I need to serve him in every way. I need to praise him! I did not start this post with Jeremy on my mind. I wanted to share with you all that God has been doing for us. But even as I write the Lord is showing me what I need to do for my husband.

So last month some of our really good friends sent us their tithe check. They were in the process of finding a church home after moving and knew they needed to tithe but didn't know where to send their tithe. We got their tithe check! I did not ask for money, I did not hint about money. She knew what our circumstances were and the Lord placed my family on her and her husband's heart. Not too long ago I wrote a check for $100 and gave it to a family in need. I had no idea how bad we would be struggling soon after that. We had no clue that when we came back from my 30th birthday vacation in Mexico that Jeremy would be badly hurt. Oh how I wished I had that $100.00 back as well as all the money we had spent on the cruise! But the Lord gave that money back to us, actually he quadrupled it! Then several weeks later we were at a tough spot again. Jeremy had cashed in two weeks of his vacations, we had nothing in savings and things were getting scary. I wondered how I was going to get diapers, groceries, etc. on what was in our bank account. That night the doorbell rang it was another good friend with a car full of groceries and a gift card to Wal Mart. I did not ask her for money. I did not hint about money. She knew our circumstances and the Lord placed us once again on someone's heart. I knew it was from the Lord when she said, "I prayed while I was in the grocery store about what to buy. I know some of the stuff you buy just from coming over here but I really prayed that the Holy Spirit would speak to me." She had no idea that we had been eating a ton of strawberries. Actually it has been a craving of mine during this pregnancy. She pulled strawberries out of the bag and said, "I don't know if y'all even like these but I felt like I was supposed to buy them." Of course, tears came to my eyes. I was AMAZED at what the Lord had done! I always but 2% milk and whole milk. She did the same. I buy a certain cheese, certain lunch meat and whole grain bread, so did she. After she left I remember that she had also brought a card for me. I opened it up and there was a $30 gift card to Wal Mart which helped with diapers and the next week's grocery bill. God is good! I was so blessed and I know that my friends are going to be blessed in such an amazing way because they were obedient to the what the Lord has showed them to do. (To both of my friends, you know who you are, thank you. You bless me just about daily. We may be on the phone or talking in person, but both of you are truly the greatest friends I could ever hope or pray for. I love you both so much.)

There is something else pretty amazing that He did. I am still sitting back in total disbelief over this one! When I was pregnant with Ava Beth, I bought maternity clothes constantly. I was singing a lot and wanted to have something new to sing in. I love fashion. It has always been kind of my hobby you could say. I love trends, I love things that are only in style for a short while. That's just me! My husband says his hobby is fishing and mine is buying shoes and clothes! He's totally right! When I was pregnant with Josiah and Ava Beth I was able to spend more. We had a smaller mortgage payment and for a while only one car payment. I felt really blessed to have the clothes I had during my pregnancies. After I had Ava Beth I decided to loan my maternity clothes out. I really wanted to bless someone else. Without going into the details, I found out a few months ago that my maternity clothes had been lost. Then a few weeks ago I was told that they were placed in a trash bag and accidentally thrown in the trash sometime after Christmas. I had denim jackets, denim skirts, tank tops, a bathing suit, jeans, so many things. Also I loaned Josiah's baby bedding that was Pottery Barn Kids and it is gone too. That hurt pretty bad too because my inlwas gave that to us as a gift. I was hoping to use it again if I had another boy. Honestly even though they are just clothes, I don't think I have ever grieved over something so much. When I found out I was pregnant with my third, the grief only intensified especially knowing our financial situation. I was not offered any compensation for all that was lost and DAILY, DAILY, DAILY, I have to pray about forgiving the people involved. But through the battle in my mind over this, I have prayed that the Lord would replace that which was stolen from me. My heart was pure and joyful in loaning those clothes and baby bedding out. Of course now I will probably never loan anything again, I will just give instead of loan. Since this is my third child, I am showing now. I am only thirteen weeks but my flat belly is no more! On Saturday someone said, "Your belly is so cute. It's like a little basketball!" But I quickly said, "I should not have a basketball at thirteen weeks! This should be here at sixteen or seventeen weeks!" My point is, I am showing and my need for maternity clothes is instant!

My best friend, Rebecca, lived across the street from me for almost for years until we moved last Summer. We have always been inseparable and that's why we built our homes across the street from each other. I can tell her anything and she knows EVERYTHING about me, EVERTHING! My kids call her Aunt Rae Rae and she will be in the room for the birth of our third child. We are close! So obviously she knows my situation. Last week when I realized I was not going to be able to wear normal clothes within the next week, I got really down. Jeremy told me I could spend $30.00 at Old Navy's Summer sale! I went online and I got a bathing suit and two really cute tank tops plus shipping for $30.00! I was starting to feel better! Rebecca calls me every single morning but I missed her calls a few times last week. She finally got a hold of me in the afternoon and said, "Just listen to me. Don't say no. I have been praying about this and I talked to Greg about this (her husband) and this is what the Lord has clearly showed me to do. Friday we are going shopping. I have $100 to give you for maternity clothes! You can pick them out, I know that's what you would love to do!" Even as I write this, I cry because God is so amazing! We went to Grapevine Mills (my favorite place) and I got some VERY cute stuff at the Gap outlet and a few other places and I still have $55 left! During one of my quiet times with the Lord I felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me that the clothes would be replaced with better things than I had before. A few days later, I got that call from my best friend Rebecca telling me I had $100 to spend. (Rebecca, I love you so much! I mean Betty Sue, I love you so much. Love, Barbara Jean.)

I don't share all of this to make you feel sorry for me. Don't! God is providing in the most incredible ways. We are starting to see the light too and I think we will be able to get caught up soon! I am praying! But if we weren't in this predicament, we never would have been able to see God bless us in the many ways he has through other people! We have not gone without once! In fact I was able to buy the kids a few things too. So if you are need of ANYTHING, just know that the Lord will provide. He has for me!

Thanks for reading such a long post. I pray that the Lord will bless you like he has blessed me and my family!

Ephesians 3: 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

(PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT ABOUT THE MATERNITY CLOTHES. I did not mention it to have all of you get mad! :) Okay?!)

10 comments:

Dee said...

From one link to another I found your blog and have read through a LOT of it (yes, I have spent some time on the computer). You certainly have the gift for being in Womens' Ministry!! I am amazed at your honesty - I can completely relate with your prideful money issue and I still struggle myself. Also - back on your 7 things you fear --- DRIVING IN THE RAIN --- that is a BIG fight with my DH too (I even look forward when we are taking trips to see if it is going to rain to prepare myself) AND the one about things happening to others' families -- that too disturbs me. I start the What If's???

Keep up what you are doing -- and may God bless you!!!!!

Rebekah said...

Amanda, I totally know what you mean about God providing. This spring my husband took a new job at a missions agency (this was a dream job because we've always wanted to follow God to the mission field - but He hasn't led us - and my husband is a marketing genious...it's the perfect job) and we were very thankful to God. The challenge was that it was going to be a significant pay cut. Leaving the corporate world to a non-profit was a huge leap of faith, especially in the area of finances. My husbands past is similar to yours and it is a priority for him to provide for his family...so it really was a tough decision. BUT...God has provided beautifully. A highlight - we actually had a friend GIVE us a truck. Yes. We knew God wanted us to sell our SUV (very pricey) so it could help with the financial transition and we didn't have any money for another car...so our friend gave us his. It was unbelievable! But you are so right - God does provide. It is so awesome to see how He is providing for you. Thanks for sharing!

momteacherfriend said...

God is good! All the time!

V. said...

The hardest thing about money lessons is that we still need to praise and be thankful EVEN when we are without.

It is easy to say God is Good when we see him provide....is he still good when we DON'T see him provide?

What if you had to wear your husbands' t-shirts instead of maternity wear? what if you had to use towels for diapers? Would God still be good?

We are right in there with you with our money struggles (no job yet for either of us). Every day I have to fight down those forces who want me to say God isn't good or he isn't providing. HE IS..! He sees the larger picture and knows what is good and perfect for us.

When we can come to the place of COMPLETELY TRUSTING in him regardless of our circumstances, He will move mightily in our hearts and lives. Comfort is not our goal...sanctification is...

Much love from Canada (where it's been 90 degrees for the past month!)

V.

Amanda said...

Dee, I can't wait to visit your blog. It is always comforting to meet another christian woman that struggles with the same things. That's the gift I recieve in sharing all of my junk. You then tell me yours! :) You have blessed me!

Rebekah, I can't wait to go to your blog too! Thank you for sharing your testimony of how God has provided for you. It gives me so much hope and it excites me to see how others are experiencing God in such a miraculous way!

V, you are right! We have to praise him no matter what! You say things all the time that remind me of how good we really have it. you know? Also, don't even complain about 90 degree weather! It's in the 100'2 HERE! :)

Amanda said...

I meant to type 100's!

V. said...

The blessings flow both ways sister!!!

Love you,

V.

Kellie said...

I never have anything to say anymore when I get through the blog and then the comments. I just know you and your writing are day to day blessings to me. I praise GOD for you.

Christy said...

Amanda, I too can relate to this... Jeremy and I after 8 years got pregnant... I got insurance 1 month and 5 days before getting pg. God is SO good!

Imajackson said...

Amanda,

I am new to your blog through the comments section of Amy Wilhoite's blog. I found your comments to be in line with my own and so I came to your blog.

This post could have been written by me...we are pretty similar. I also struggle with the desire to have "money to burn" and to always be the center of attention. It has been a great area of growth for me as well. I finally came to the conclusion that if I am always up front then I am robbing that opportunity from other women...somehow the idea of that selfishness was what opened my eyes. I also have lived in the lean years and even now every dollar counts. We live in an area that has the lowest wages to highest housing costs in the nation. So every day my DH and I thank God for his job that pays the bills. We have one baby (9 mo girl) and would like to concieve in September...but we aren't sure how we will pay for the medical bills!

Thanks for the honesty in your writing..it is fruitful.