January 30, 2013

Steadfast and Sure…

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:45 am by Broken & Brave

It was the Fall of 2001. I was pregnant with my son, Luke, about six months along. My husband was self-employed at this time, no longer working at the University. We had been on a faith adventure, trusting God to fill our client base and pay our bills. It was a decision we had made prior to the summer Olympic games in Sydney, Australia in 2000. We had decided, upon returning from the Olympics (we had traveled there with a few athletes my husband trained) he would not return to the college.

One of the great risks of being self-employed is insurance. What do you do? Many people even admonished us, cautioned us and maybe even strongly discouraged us for our decision if only for the assurance of insurance. Our minds were decided, we knew this the path the Lord had for us. Whenever people would ask, the question we seemed to get asked a lot, “What will you do for insurance?”…we would always reply, “God will be our Benefactor. We will put our faith in Him, not Blue Cross (the provider we had at the University)”.

As you can imagine, though exciting, there were struggles and fears associated with such a big step. But, here we were, one year later and another baby on the way…and no insurance. Having babies is expensive enough with insurance, but on top, I struggle to deliver and my Doctor will not allow me to birth babies naturally. I was able to have my first natural, but after my second child was born by C-Section, my Doctor informed me that it was a miracle of God that I was able to deliver my daughter on my own, my hips too narrow.

My C-Section with Luke cost us about $20,000 (the larger portion to the hospital and then to the Doctors). Ouch! My Doctor is great, like a member of the family, so she agreed to only charge me the average of what she acquires from insurance and she set up a payment plan that worked with our budget and ability. She was wonderful! So, once a month, when I was scheduled to see her I was also scheduled to make a payment toward my bill. Even though she worked to make it affordable, it was still terribly expensive.

This particular month in the fall of 2001 that I am sharing about now, was financially tough for us. Many of John’s summer training clients had gone back to school and many others were in season of their sport (though athletes train all year round, there are definite “seasons” where they tack on a lot of extra conditioning and strength training). I used to really struggle with worry over finance. It’s an area God has had to radically transformed me. Back in 2001 I was still learning how to take financial risks for the Lord even when it didn’t make sense on paper. I’m not sure if I have shared before, but I was always the girl who saved what she earned, payed her bills on time every time and if I couldn’t afford it, I didn’t buy it. I was comfortable with tithing on my income, our income, but I was a little more apprehensive about anything sacrificial above and beyond this. I struggled to break free from my dependency to like how everything financial “looked on paper”.

God was up to something and he was stretching me and blessing me with deeper eyes to see how Amazing and Magnificent he is and he also likes to show up and show off for me!

I was sitting in church one Sunday morning, pregnant (so hard to sit through church when you are pregnant, especially when you are 5’2” and pregnant). There was a certain guest speaker that day, a local evangelist who came to our church to speak on occasion. Our church his home church. He was there to preach and share about his exploits for God reaching out to the hurting youth of America. He had a trip coming up and was hoping his home church could help him out. My husband and I both really believed in what he was doing through ministry and we always enjoyed his preaching, but I wasn’t really considering helping on this day. Oh sure, I wanted to help, but I knew I had a Doctor appointment that week and I barely had all of my money together to pay the bill. In fact, I didn’t have much else but the money to pay the bill. I was hording it like crazy, afraid of not having it or running out of funds. But as the minister spoke I was compelled, and then I was surprised. In that moment, I heard the nudge of God to actually give him money! Do you know that feeling, when God is trying to get you to do something, but you really want to ignore him or rationalize all the reasons why it couldn’t possibly be what God wants? It was that kind of moment for me. Not only was I afraid of what I was hearing, but then I got a very specific dollar amount blaring in my head. God wanted me to give him the entire balance I was saving for the Doctor. WHAT??!! But all I could hear over and over was this dollar amount and my heart began pounding. I waited as long as possible before sharing this information with my husband. My husband doesn’t worry about money like I do and he absolutely knows and trusts my ear for the Lord’s Voice. So, he looked at me and said, “Better write the check”. So, out came the checkbook and I wrote it, envelop stuffed it and I put it in the offering bucket just in time. I knew if I waited until after service I would have chickened out!

All week I fretted about this bill. I dreaded them asking for the money and my telling them I didn’t have it. I couldn’t afford to get behind on this bill. I was scared. My appointment came and went, but it was a busy day in the office so they forgot to ask. They  had always asked before. I felt like God was being kind to me because He knew how embarrassed I’d be to not have the money. So, I left my appointment that day, but continued to worry about it (I used to worry about finances A LOT).

The following day I received a phone call from the Doctors office. My stomach tightened, I just knew they were calling to ask if I could bring in the money. I DIDN’T HAVE IT because I gave it to the preacher! The receptionist was very polite and she was calling about the outstanding balance on the bill. See, I was scheduled to pay off the balance BEFORE my third trimester. I was already six months pregnant and hadn’t paid it off. No doubt to me they were calling to demand payment.

All my worry, all my fretting, all my fear. It was all for nothing.

Do you know what she said? She was calling to apologize to me. I was a little confused but silently listened. She apologized for they had made a mistake on my account. Apparently, someone had anonymously paid my entire remaining balance somewhere around the end of my fourth month of pregnancy. The notation hadn’t made it into my file, so they had continued to charge me every month and I had continued to make payments. So, she apologized for my inconvenience, but could I come by the office to collect the refund check they had for me? ISN’T GOD COOL!!! The check I got from her was double the money I had given to the evangelist. God knew all along that money was waiting for me. He probably even had a hand in the misappropriation of my account, all so he could do a few things…

  • Number One so he could build my faith.
  • God wanted to test me and then bless me for being obedient.
  • The Lord wanted to bless the evangelist who needed finance so he could reach more teens with the Gospel.
  • God wanted to bless the person who generously paid my bill.
  • I pray God is right now blessing you by encouraging your faith to trust Him with your finance.
  • I also gained wisdom on the hoops to jump through when you are cash pay. If you find yourself in that situation, contact me, I can give some pointers. My next child, cash pay via C-Section only cost me $5,000!

How many times do we want to help financially, but we examine how our life looks on paper more closely that the King of Kings promises look on His Paper…the Bible?

He is bigger than anything you can imagine and more creative than we could ever think! He wants to bless you. He wants to use you. He wants to encourage and provide for others through you! Do not be afraid! If I can grow in financial faith and do what seemed unthinkable at the time, you can do it for sure!

1“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  2“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4

When we give it is to come from the generosity and purity of our hearts desire to help another and never out of any compulsion to receive attention or praise. I wanted to help the pastor and I wanted to obey God. I want to please my God. I do not tell you this story for any reason other than to encourage you to step out in ways you have never stepped out before. For there is a time to give in quiet submission, but there is also a time to testify of the miracle. My focus is my miracle, not my gift. If that weren’t the case, I would be telling you the denomination of my gift. If my only blessing (because I share this story) is the fruit you produce by the encouragement you receive through this writing of my financial miracle, then I consider it worth it! You are fairer than ten thousand. How do I know? Because God created you and He only uses the best materials and quality. God is crazy about you, that’s why He died for you, and  He wants to see you exceed beyond your own wildest imaginations! He is Steadfast and Sure. Don’t be discourage or afraid, He is with you, Beloved, He is with you.

I seek the Lord, ever, on your behalf…

~Nicole

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