A Christmas Tradition

My church has a Christmas tradition.  Every year Scriptures, mostly promises, are put onto bookmarks.  Starting at our Christmas Eve service, the pastors distribute one bookmark per person and read the promise to each one.  The entire process is prayed about for the Holy Spirit to specifically direct that each bookmark will be relevant to the recipient’s life.  We’ve seen some amazing things happen in the lives of people in the church in connection with their bookmark promises.

This past year, my verses were Ps. 37:5 & 6, which are familiar to most of us.  “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.  And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgement as the noonday.”  I knew as soon as I saw my bookmark these verses were going to be important to me this year.

This time last year I was just moving into my own home with all my children.  I was working an entry-level job and knew it would be a struggle to make ends meet.  I didn’t know what direction to go for the future.  I had some vague ideas but no clear, sure direction.  I knew changes were in order but didn’t know what direction they would, or should, take.  I also lost my health insurance and knew I would not be able to maintain regular checks or health care in spite of being at risk for cancer recurrence.

Within just a couple months my boss was routinely bouncing my paychecks.  Then he started involving me in unethical and illegal business dealings.  I had to quit my job the beginning of June.  Meanwhile, I had begun to pursue going back to school and was hoping to start in August.  But there would be no income in the meanwhile.

I had challenges getting into school and wondered whether school was God’s will or just my idea.  But I kept remembering these verses.  I kept having the sense that I just needed to walk forward and see what would happen.  If I gave up because everything looked impossible I would never know for sure if I had undermined God’s plan. 

Meanwhile, everything I tried to do to earn money to provide for my family did not work.  I wanted to be responsible but also needed to consider the needs of my young daughter.  Again, I doubted myself constantly and wondered whether I was being punished or doing something wrong.

But I still kept remembering these verses.  I had to keep walking forward, blindly.  God showed me that I was being extremely anxious, to the point of making myself sick, over issues I couldn’t control – but He could.  And if I couldn’t control them, but He could, I was making myself sick for nothing.

I learned it’s a lot easier to think I would have faith in God to provide, than it was to actually do it.  To choose to walk in peace (something I still have not mastered) when the circumstances look uncertain and precarious is more than difficult – it is only possible by God’s grace.

Through it all God unfolded His direction and provision one day, one moment at a time.  He got me into school, not just at the last minute, but actually on the second day of classes.  My financial aid was approved, but didn’t come through until the second month of school and I had to go to school without books until then.  But I was able to complete all my work anyway.

And God has provided for every bill.  I’ve done whatever work I could find but my finances do not “work” on paper.   It has been only God’s provision.  I have never been able to see more than a day or two, or maybe a week, down the road.  Sometimes we have gone into the day not knowing where money would be for gas in the car to get to school or with no food in the refrigerator.  Somehow God makes it work every time – though I am not always walking in peace on the way!

As we have approached the end of the year, December has shaped up to be the hardest month yet.  No money in sight for the basic bills and definitely not a single penny for gifts for the children for Christmas.  I prayed about it, and I wish I could say I haven’t worried at all.  I’m getting better about it, but I’m not there yet!  This is my first Christmas on my own, in my own home, with my children.  I really wanted this Christmas to be extra special.

Day by day, bill by bill, God has provided.  He has raised up opportunities for me that I didn’t try to create.  He provided money for the children for Christmas.  And He has provided for every bill.

 

Do I know what will happen next month?  No – humanly it looks just like this month, and last month, and the month before that.  For as long as I’m in school, I don’t foresee a change.  That’s a long time; 6-7 years.  But God knows.  He has promised me that if I commit my way to Him, He will bring it to pass.  My responsibility is to just walk it out and trust Him, and that’s a big enough responsibility by itself.

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