Let me share a secret with all of you readers out there—we’re tight. No, not the “cool dude, we’re tight” kind of meaning (although, I’d like to think we’re cool), but in the “yikes, each dollar is assigned a home and none of them are our address!” kind of way. We’re on a budget, as I’ve mentioned before in this post here. And, if you know much about me, you know I struggle with money fears. I know that we have planned out our budget and we have assigned each dollar a home; and at the end of the month, we are still holding a few dollars in our hands, and so it is deemed a success.
But life happens. Things show up that weren’t in the budget— like ear infections in both boys at the same time, which rings up a simultaneous doctor visit, complete with two copays (for two patients). So the age-old adage of “two for the price of one” just got reversed. One doctor appointment for the price of two. That brought with it two prescriptions. So, the copay and the prescriptions snatched away the dollars we had remaining that month and two dollars from a month prior when we didn’t end up using every last dollar.
Not to mention, my children got these ear infections during a week when I was on special assignment at work and could take no leave. That meant the day the boys got sick, Aaron had to take off early to pick up the boys from daycare and get them to the doctor. Aaron has no accrued leave right now which means that when he’s not at work, he’s not getting paid. This will change on January 1st when his leave is restored, but until then, this is our life. So, he missed out on over five hours of pay on that day. Over that weekend, he acquired food poisoning and missed work on the following Monday. Nearly two full work days during that pay period will be missing. So, not only were we using up the buffer dollars, we were missing out on pay we had counted on.
It’s our policy to not include overtime funds in our budget since these are not funds on which we can hang our hat and depend on. But, we surely include our normal paycheck amounts in our budget—that’s what budgeting is! So these dollars that Aaron missed out on were actual dollars that we were counting on to make it, and now we found ourselves without this money and praised God that we had been sliding all overtime funds into our savings account.
We chose not to pull over any funds from our savings account into our checking account. We knew the funds were present if we needed them. We wrote checks for bills, and ordered more checks to pay future bills. Funny how those checks just slip away and all we’re left with is a carbon copy of who got money. I got a little teary-eyed as we slid into the holiday season and I wondered if our boys would have a nice Christmas. Fortunately, they are very young and won’t mind if they get small trinkets wrapped up as toys. And they’re not interested in the hot ticket items, which keeps us from battling others to get the items first (as if we’d battle anyone for material things anyways). But still, in my heart I was a little sad since we’re on such a small budget right around the holidays.
The Thanksgiving holiday passed and our home was warm and filled with family as we hosted Thanksgiving dinner. We enjoyed the next few days off of work catching up with rest. On Sunday, I wrote a double tithe check since we were unable to attend church the week prior due to Aaron’s sickness, and the boys’ ear infections, and my schedule to work. So, I did the math and wrote out the tithe check to cover what we had received during the last two weeks. When we made our budget, tithes were a total part of it. I was always taught that God will bless you when you give to Him what is His. I had heard stories of people encountering missteps and hard times when they chose to hang onto the money that they should have tithed. We knew in our situation that our budget would only work if we gave to God what He asked of us. Tithing was a must. I put the tithe check in the offering plate at the end of church and we headed home for lunch.
Slowly but surely, Monday morning rolled around and we trudged off to our normal lives of work and daycare and laundry and dishes. Michael woke in such a chipper mood today, as did Noah. It was so nice to have such pleasant boys to start off this Monday in the right way! Once I put Michael’s shoes on him and grabbed his jacket, the tears started. He knew it was time to leave for “school” and he didn’t want to go. I told him that I knew how he felt, but vacation was over and it was time for school. I told him he could take all of his blankies with him—he was holding about five.
He was quiet in the car as Noah bobbed along to the music and I sang and prayed. When we pulled up to the daycare, Michael began crying again. I wore Noah in the front-pack, with his diaper bag slung over my left shoulder, and Michael’s lunch bag dangling from my left arm. I hauled Michael’s backpack with the fresh pack of Pull-Ups over my back, and took up his clean nap-mat under my right arm. I convinced him to leave three blankies in the car for the ride home this afternoon (and in actuality, it was because I didn’t want him to lose all of his blankies since I knew he had one already in his backpack). I lifted him from the car and he stood in place as I locked the car door. Still crying, he asked me to “hold you?” which is what he says when he wants to be held. So, I heaved him up onto my right hip and we made our way to the daycare doors.
Once inside, his crying got louder. Now, I’m not sure if that was because he knew we were getting closer to saying good-bye or if it was because we were now inside tiled walls and floors and cries echoed for that reason alone. I held his hand and talked to him about how fun it was to go to daycare and learn about shapes and numbers and letters. A dad holding the hand of his probably four year old daughter scurried quickly past us, and the young girl turned around to stare at the pack-mule of a mom and her papoose and crying toddler. Quite the show.
As we walked past the Director’s office, I gave a genuine smile and said “Good morning!” She started getting up from her desk hastily and said “Good morning, Reba. I have something to tell you. Your tuition for the first two weeks of December…” (and in that moment I’m thinking ‘Oh no, don’t say that it’s doubled or that I’m late. I’ve totally paid each and every week. Oh, wait, today is December 1st.’) “…has been taken care of.” The smile left my face and it was replaced by tears in my eyes, and a lump in my throat. She saw my change of expression and tears filled her eyes too. She nodded and said “So, that’s an early December blessing.” And I said “Wow. It sure is. Thank-you. Thank-you.”
With teary eyes, I walked Michael to his room. He cried a bit when I dropped him off, but I’ve since been told that he resumed his normal demeanor shortly afterwards and has been his jovial self all day. I dropped off Noah and he wasn’t even crying when I left the room. That was super! I made my way to work and texted Aaron and my mom to tell them of the gift we were anonymously given.
The text messages went like this:
(My conversation with Aaron)
Me: Walked into daycare today. Was informed that someone has paid our tuition for the first two weeks of December. Miracle.
Aaron: Wow. Amen.
(My conversation with my mom)
Me. Walked into daycare today. Was informed that someone has paid our tuition for the first two weeks of December. Miracle.
Mom: You are blessed. I love those miracles. And the nice thing about anonymity is that you get to feel good thoughts about lots of people it might be.
Me: Right. Just wish I could personally thank whoever it was because I’m truly truly grateful and I don’t want to appear ungrateful.
Mom: The blessing makes great blog writing. Maybe inspire someone to anonymously do something for someone else when they read how your heart was blessed. And when someone does that in that way, they are not looking for thanks. They are being cheerful givers. And what a great testimony to your tithe faithfulness! As your daddy says “You can’t out give God.”
Me: It brought me to tears when Stacy told me, and then to tears again when I thought that God is really showing Himself and blessing us when we give to Him what is His.
Mom: My challenge to you is, as you have opportunity, share your story. When someone asks you how you are, share your story.
Me: Thank you. I will share. I don’t want to seem boastful. Just very blessed. Unexpected start to December. :)
Mom: Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord. You are not boasting if you are giving God credit. Can’t keep the light under the bushel :)
Me: :) good point. Love you.
So, to the other readers out there, here’s my challenge to you: Trust God. Give to Him what is His. Trust Him when he lays a need on your heart, and follow in obedience.
This blessing has given me a renewed spirit. It’s lifted my heart and changed my attitude. I feel like smiling more and griping less. I am finding that little things today aren’t bothering me as they used to. It’s incredible what an act of kindness can do to lighten a load and replenish a positive outlook.
“Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.” Mark 12:17
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
‘Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”’ 1 Corinthians 1:31
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15
Whoever you are, thank you again. You have truly blessed our hearts. Thank you for your faithfulness to God. He used you in a mighty way.
Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba