Sometimes people ask me how I manage to stay calm, organized, and intentional with four little kids in the home. There are definitely things I do and choices I make to create that environment (see Practical Ways to Stay Rested, Do the Next Thing, and How To Catch a Break), but it would be disingenuous to leave it at that, taking all the credit for the way my household runs.
The fact is that I am picked up, encouraged, helped, and propelled forward daily by the workings of Jesus in my life. When God says I will strengthen you and help you (Isaiah 41:10) it’s no joke. I choose to take him up on his offer and I am consistently amazed by the ways in which he makes good on his promise.
As an example, this week I experienced a total “Touched By An Angel” moment that still has me reeling.
I’ve mentioned before that finances are tight around here. Now don’t you start feeling sorry for me – we clearly aren’t starving over here. No real need has ever gone unmet. We have plenty. My pants actually tell me I should have less! But because we live in a culture where the illusion of wealth surrounds us, we have had to learn the art of being content living within our means. At the moment, living within our means equates to never eating out and sticking to a relatively tight grocery budget, among other things.
Admittedly, I sometimes fail to accurately forecast and plan for the month ahead and I find myself halfway through our entire month’s grocery budget one week into the month. When this happens, we spend the last week of the month following a pretty “minimalist” menu – or as Dave Ramsey says, beans and rice, rice and beans.
Such was the case this month, when some unexpected expenses came up to derail the grocery budget a bit. Over the weekend I admitted to Eddie how off track I was and we joked about how many ways you can cook lentils, which we would be eating until April.
He’s a good sport. I have a good husband.
Beans and rice it is.
Two days later I was sitting on my living room couch in the afternoon when a woman I didn’t know came and knocked at the door.
“Hi. I’m Becky. My mother recently died and she had a deep freezer full of home grown fruits and vegetables from her garden as well as meats and cheeses. Someone told me you might be able to feed your family with this.”
She rolled an ice chest into my garage and together we stuffed my freezer until I literally could not fit one more thing. There were strawberries and peaches, green beans and zucchini. Chicken, beef stew meat, and lots of steak.
Steak! It was laughable. I never buy steak! Here we were, content to spend the month on a lentil diet and God sends us STEAK!
It’s been a week and I still cannot figure out how this women knew to come to my house. I did ask who told her to come but her answer was vague and ambiguous. Maybe I’m not supposed to know.
Now, this doesn’t happen every day. A food angel doesn’t show up with a steak delivery every time I overspend, just like there’s no flu fairy who comes to watch my kids when I get sick or cleaning elf that arrives unannounced to scrub that poop accident out of my carpet.
The point is that when we choose to look to God as our source of strength, our encouragement, and our guide, we open the door for him to prove his promise true – in ways we would have never even thought of. Sometimes it’s in the form of an unexpected gift and other times it’s just the dose of energy we need to make it until nap time. It’s the encouraging verse that unexpectedly comes to mind and the general feeling of peace that washes over us in moments of high anxiety.
God has given me four children, a home, and a husband, and with that brings the potential for stress, difficulty, and chaos. But it doesn’t have to be that way. And in our home, generally, it’s not. The everyday state of the household is ordered, peaceful, and contented.
But it’s not because of me.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.