Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Last Year

It’s been a very long since I’ve written… in the beginning, it was because I was too busy to write (what with buying a house and starting a new job and all) but after awhile, I was just out of the habit and didn’t really think about it. I figure I should get back at it though.

Lots has happened since the last time you heard from me. My husband and I bought a house and moved in, I got a new job, we celebrated our one year anniversary by going on a trip to Wyoming and Colorado and we got two new kittens. The most exciting thing, obviously, is that Daniel and I have been married for a year. As I think about what our lives were like one year ago, I’m amazed at how much God has blessed us. When we got married, neither of us had a job. We were living off the little savings I had, the little savings Daniel had and Daniel’s student loan money (since he gets way more in loans than what he actually needs to pay for his classes). Of course, our first order of business was to find jobs. Since Daniel was looking for a more specialized job than I was, he had a much harder time. After a month or so, I got a job as a checker at Dillons. Daniel finally got a job a few months later through a temp agency as an accountant for SCKEDD (South Central Kansas Economic Development District – a government subsidized business that weatherizes the homes of very low-income people). Between our two jobs, we barely had enough to live on. It was discouraging at times, but we kept praying and besides, as newlyweds, we were happy just being together. At the beginning of this year, SCKEDD hired Daniel permanently (instead of him working for SCKEDD through the temp agency). Besides the relief that came with Daniel finally having a permanent job, he also got a pay raise. Well, we were doing okay financially. We had talks about the future and I started thinking about a house. I knew that owning a house was an impossibility at that time, since we didn’t have the money for a down payment, but it didn’t stop me from thinking and hoping. I kept hearing about the First Homebuyer’s credit that the government was offering and I kept thinking… and thinking. Finally, I came up with an idea of how we could get a house with no money for a down payment. We’d borrow money from the bank or a family member, use that loan for the down payment and closing costs, file our revised tax return to get that money from the government, than pay back whoever we borrowed the money from! It was a brilliant idea, if I do say so myself! My parents agreed to let us borrow the money from them so we started looking for a house (this is March). We finally found the perfect house… by chance. We’d spent the afternoon looking at five or six other houses, none of which we liked. We called it quits for the day and were on the road heading away from the last house we’d looked at when our realtor (who’s also a deacon at our church) honked for us to pull over and said that there was another house for sale that was real close to where he lived. It wasn’t in the location where we were looking (we were looking at houses outside the city and this one was in the city) but we agreed to go look at it. As soon as we walked in the door, we fell in love. Daniel kept saying “I think this is it…” Needless to say, we bought it and are very happy there.

At the same time that we were looking at houses, I got a job at Exacta Aerospace. I got hired by them through the temp agency that Daniel had used… they liked Daniel so much and thought he did such a great job working for them that they recommended me for the first job opening they had, even though I had no experience in that area. Somehow, I got the job. And, I should be hired by Exacta next Monday (instead of working for them through the temp agency) which will mean benefits and, hopefully, a pay raise.

As I think back over this last year, I’m amazed at the blessings that have been showered upon us by a God Who’s obviously taking care of us… but I think it’s more than just blessing. We remained faithful to Him and He rewarded us for that. In our most difficult times, we still tithed and helped others who had less than us. I firmly believe that’s why we’ve been so blessed. The Bible is clear “He who sows sparingly, will reap sparingly, but he who sows generously, will also reap generously.” If we show that we can be faithful when we have little, God will reward us for that. Our challenge now is remaining faithful when we have much. Somehow, it seems much harder to give when 10% is a lot more than $50 a week. Now that we have a house, the hoard mentality is stronger than ever. I can just hear the devil whispering “ya know, you better save every penny you can… if either of you loses your job now, you won’t be able to make your house payment and will end up foreclosing.” That’s a very scary thought, but it’s superseded by the evidence of this past year. We have nothing to worry about. As long as we remain faithful, God will take care of us. That’s why I feel so strongly about giving (whether it be to our church, to charities, to people we know who need money, or even sending care packages to soldiers). I don’t want God to regret blessing us. I want Him to see that we took what He gave us and used it to help others.

One last thought: our money isn’t really ours anyway – it’s His. Ever notice that it’s a lot easier to give money away when it’s someone else’s? If we just keep in mind that it’s not our money, it’s makes the giving a lot easier.

4 comments:

  1. There are many times that we are faithful and God does not choose to bless us materially. There are many times when bad things happen to Christians who know and follow Jesus - we are not immune to the ills of this world. The question is, will we remain faithful during those times of suffering? Will we remain rooted when no blessings appear? Will we remain strong in Him when life all around brings heartache? It's easy to remain steadfast when life is good and things work out the way we think they ought to. It's a much different perspective when we've lost everything we thought we had and we still, like Job, say, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!"

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  2. I completely agree with you. Hopefully it didn't sound like I was preaching the "Health and Wealth" doctrine, because I don't agree with that doctrine at all.
    I'm just amazed at the number of Christians who never give (whether it be tithing or charitable giving) and then wonder why God isn't blessing them.
    On the other hand, there are those who give and because of other circumstances, they aren't blessed. Maybe it's punishment for or consequences of sin (past or present), maybe God is testing their faith, maybe He's trying to get their attention, or maybe they're just not ever going to have material wealth. But that doesn't really matter, does it? Since heaven is our goal, material things will never compare to what we're going to "have" in heaven (riches beyond imagination that we won't even want because all we'll want to do is sit at Jesus' feet and worship Him).

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  3. No, I didn't think you were preaching the Health and Wealth doctrine - no worries there. Just two more comments: 1. Where do you get your info re: the number of Christians that do not give? I don't know that we can make the assumption that there are a large number of Christians that never give. Has there been a study done? Were you speaking of Christians at Parkview, or? Also, personally, I do not believe God punishes us for sin. Jesus took our punishment on the cross and in my opinion, I don't believe that God metes out punishment to us. We pay consequences, and those sometimes are life-long, and affect a great many others, but I do not believe that's the same thing as punishment.

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  4. My former pastor has preached on tithing a few times and has cited studies that show less than 10% of Christians actually tithe. You can google it... on wikipedia, it says that, according to a Barna Group study, on 6% of born-again Christians tithed in 2002. With the economy getting worse, I can only imagine that number is decreasing. (So, churches in general, not one particular church).
    Personally, I think God punishes Christians from time to time. Yes, Jesus took our ultimate punishment, but that doesn't mean God doesn't punish us in smaller ways when we sin. Hebrews 12:7-9 is pretty clear about God "disciplining" us. Anyway, my opinion :)

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