To be brutally honest, I have spent a large chunk of the past six months whining like a sleep-deprived two-year old to God and envying all the cool "stuff" others had.
About a year ago, we had to ask some friends to take our Compassion International Sponsored Child off our hands because we couldn't afford to pay the bill. We've had several conflicts with the landlords at our apartment complex which basically resulted in them threatening us with ridiculous consequences if we didn't roll over and take it, but we can't get enough money put away to come up with a down-payment for a house, and we can't afford a more expensive (i.e. better) apartment. Plus, since I've lost all this weight, practically all of my clothes are pretty much falling off, and most of them are very old and ragged, and I haven't really been able to afford more.
This Christmas, the hubby and I decided we weren't even going to exchange gifts with each other, and I've had to hand-make all the gifts for everyone else on our list. Our finances have even been so bad that I have actually had to ask my parents for money at least once this year (something that just shamed me and my self-image of self-sufficiency to no end), because I couldn't afford to buy winter clothes for my daughter when it got cold out and I couldn't find any hand-me-downs in her size.
So, needless to say, I've spent much of the year rather bitter over what "everyone else" has while we scrimp and save and go without, all in vain it seems. But then, in the past couple months, we started keeping a very detailed budget (my OCD said this would be a better way to keep track of our money). At first, all my l33t math skillz (can you hear the sarcam?) could come up with was a paltry $200 a month that we could maybe save if the price of gas and groceries remained static, and we didn't go out to eat or spend any money on anything except absolute essentials. But then, without any sort of explanation I can come up with, we have ended each the last two months with more than a thousand dollars left over to put into savings. In fact, we had so much extra this month that we were able to adopt a new Compassion Child (as a gift for my daughter for Christmas).
|Popy, our new Compassion Child. |
Look at those cheeks! We looked for a girl with the same
birth month and age as my daughter, and those cheeks sold us!
At the very least she and my daughter will have cuteness in common!
Not only that, but we were also able to pay for two nights at a hotel for a family facing the possibility of spending this Christmas on the street because they can't get a place at a family shelter, and we even bought Hubby a new wedding band (he lost his about a year ago and has been bare-fingered ever since). And there will even be enough leftover next month to fill the gap while I'm unexpectedly out of work for two weeks. Maybe all that doesn't seem like a lot to everyone, but to us, having been living paycheck to paycheck and counting every grudgingly-spent penny, it really is a Christmas miracle.
Then, this afternoon, as I was listening to my devotions while unloading the dishwasher (thank you, YouVersion Bible App and the Chronological reading plan), Psalm 73 came on. This Psalm just struck such a cord in my heart that I had to personalize it. So after the dishes were all put away, I sat down at my computer and wrote the following. This is Psalm 73 if I had written it instead of that Asaph guy.
Psalm 73 (Paraphrased)
A Psalm of CaptainConundrum
- Truly God is good to His people, to those who love and obey Him.
- But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.
- For I was envious of those who have more, when I saw the prosperity of those who don't care about right and wrong.
- For they have it easy until they die; their bodies are toned from private gym memberships and tan from vacations in the tropics.
- They don't have daily worries like I do; they don't wonder how they will pay next month's rent or have to wear clothes that are too big and full of holes.
- Therefore, pride is their sandwich-board; they think nothing of taking from others or ignoring the needy.
- Their wallet swells with crisp twenties; their minds are occupied with manicures, cruises, vacation homes, parties, booze, and one-night flings.
- They scoff and make fun of my faith; loftily, they accuse me of being a blind fool or a bigot and sue people like me because we worship the only true God.
- They claim God doesn't even exist, and they talk themselves up as the only god worth worshiping.
- They buy expensive cars, houses and electronics, they eat out every night, and still they want more, and their friends cheer them on!
- And they say, “How can God let bad things happen? Is there any proof to that God of yours?”
- Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.
- Apparently for no reason, I have tried to live a clean life and clothed myself in Christ's innocence.
- Morning, noon and night, I read articles and Facebook posts that shun me and call me any number of derogatory names because I believe in You and Your Word.
- If I had decided “I will give them some of their own medicine” and stooped to their level, calling names and kicking up lawsuits right and left, I would have betrayed Christ's higher calling on my life.
- But when I tried to understand why things are the way they are, it wore me out and frustrated me,
- until I went to God in prayer; then I understood what that lifestyle results in.
- Of course! You put them in a difficult position; you make everything they work for worth nothing.
- How the point of their lives are made pointless in a single moment, swept away like garbage in the face of what really matters.
- Like waking up from a wonderful dream, O Lord, when you show yourself, you prove all their glory to be nothing but their own imagination.
- When I was bitter, when my heart envied everything they had,
- I was just like them, selfish, ignorant, and shallow; I acted like a wild animal toward you, suspicious and ungrateful.
- Nevertheless, You never left me; you hold me in Your arms.
- You guide me with that still, small voice and the signs of Your work in my life, and when this life ends, You will bring me to be with you, where my every need and desire will be overwhelmingly fulfilled forever.
- Who do I have in all Creation if not You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You.
- My clothes may be holey, my bank account may be in the red, I may have bills I cannot pay and live in a crappy apartment, but God is the strength of my heart and all the riches I could ever hope for.
- Listen up, everyone. Those who keep putting distance between themselves and God aren't going to end well; God gives a sad ending to every life that chooses not to honor its Maker.
- As for me, I will stay as close to God as I can; I have hidden my hopes and dreams and desires in Him, and I will declare His awesomeness to the world.Is there a Psalm or Bible verse that pretty well summarizes a lesson God has been teaching you this year?Please share it in the comments!