Multiplying Money

Looking at the budget once again, she shook her head. They weren’t going to make it. Why did they think they could afford a house that big anyway? They should have limited themselves to the cheaper houses like she had wanted. But her husband didn’t agree with her. And neither did God, apparently, as He had led them to a house way over her budget.

Now as they were waiting to close on the house, she kept studying their finances, trying to figure out how they could possibly add the mortgage payment to their already tight budget. It would help once they sold the trailer they were living in, but for now, they would have to manage both mortgage payments. True, the trailer payment wasn’t very high since they had locked into a great rate a decade before when they had bought the trailer. But still. Numbers don’t lie. And when she compared their income to their bills and living expenses, it just wasn’t enough. She feared, deep down in her heart, that within a few months, they would lose their new house because they wouldn’t be able to make the payments.

She went to bed that night still worried, not having found any answers.

As she slept, she dreamed.

She was in a grocery store doing her weekly shopping. She pushed her cart down one IMG_20180521_212134311row after another, picking up the basic foods her family would need for the next week. Vegetables, ground beef, chicken, soup, cereal, milk, bread, peanut butter, juice, and several other items found their way into her cart. After completing her list, she headed to the front of the store to check out but suddenly found herself walking down the snack foods aisle. Picking up a bag of chips, she placed it into her cart, along with some peanuts and a bag of popcorn.

She woke up knowing God was trying to tell her something through this dream. She quickly wrote it down so it wouldn’t fade away like most dreams. Then she puzzled over it as she got ready for work. “I was shopping. I had gotten everything I needed. And I was buying junk food. Stuff I didn’t need…”

And then she knew what God was telling her through this dream. He was telling her not to worry about the finances. They were not going to go broke trying to make the mortgage. In fact, not only would they have enough money to buy everything then needed, they would even have enough to buy extras. Stuff they didn’t need but wanted.

She didn’t know how that would be possible, but she placed her faith in His message. And as the months went by, and their mortgage payments were made and necessities bought, there was always just enough money left over to pay for extras like soccer fees, kids meals, and family outings.

She didn’t know how He did it because their income didn’t increase. All she could think of was, just like He had multiplied the bread and fish to feed the multitude of hungry people, maybe, just maybe, He had multiplied their money. Numbers may not lie, she thought, but my amazing God is God over everything, even numbers on a piece of paper.

Failing Does Not Make Me a Failure

She woke up at midnight and couldn’t get back to sleep, so she stayed up.

Failed at sleeping.

She took her early morning walk but got tired so cut it short.

Failed at walking.

She tried to transfer some photos from her phone to her desk top computer, but phone wouldn’t recognize the computer.

Failed at picture transferring

She ate her normal breakfast and lunch, then continued eating everything she could find throughout the afternoon.

Failed at dieting.

She attached a zipper onto the tote bag she was making, only the fabric got pinched and the stitching was uneven.

Failed at zipper attaching.

She hemmed a pillow she was making, taking four tries to get it passable – not good, but not bad enough to try again.

Failed at hemming

She thought about doing her afternoon walk, but couldn’t make herself go.

Failed at walking, again.

She tried to clean up a pile of clutter, but got overwhelmed and stopped.

Failed at clutter removing.

I’m such a failure, she thought.

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“You’re not a failure with Me.” came the quick but soft voice she had come to recognize.

As she thought about those words, she gratefully realized that she may have experienced many failures that day, but SHE was not a failure in the eyes of God.

God knew just what to say and just when to say it. Amazing what a difference those few words made!

You Are the Nightlight of the World

Feeling sad and discouraged, she read the words in Matthew 5: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  (v.14-15)

Really?

Where was that light when an old friend told her, “I don’t need Jesus. I don’t want Jesus.” She had been too confused to respond. How could anyone not want Jesus?

Where was that light when she visited her siblings? The discord she found there had worked its way inside her until she had gotten drawn into it. OK, maybe not as deeply as they were, but still. Where was her light?

Sadly, she read Matthew’s words again and thought, if Christians are the light of the world, I must be a nightlight. And I don’t seem to be doing a very good job at even that.

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That next couple of days, she kept getting the message to persevere. To take things one step at a time and not compare herself with others. She sighed. She’d rather be a bright light in the lives of those around her, but if the best she could be was a nightlight, then she’d persevere in being that nightlight. Yet, deep in her heart, she continued to struggle. How could Jesus be happy with her when her light was little more than that lamp under a bowl?

Years later, she received a letter from a friend.  In it, he described a vision he had had. He had seen a small girl, standing before Jesus, head down, ashamed because she feels she’s disappointed Him. He saw Jesus lift her head and tell her…

“I’ve told you time and time again – I love you just as you are. I didn’t create you to be a flame that bursts forth with brilliant light. You are my glowing ember and you will warm the hearts of many, many souls.”

Astonished, she knew this had to be from God. She had never told this friend about her struggle with not being a bright enough light. As peace replaced the struggle in her heart, she thanked God for this friend’s courage to share that message with her. And she thanked God for caring enough to let her know that being a low level light – a nightlight – was exactly what she was made to be, and it was OK.

“God, after all the times I ignored Your reassurances out of fear and doubt, You never gave up. Thank You for loving me enough to find a way to get Your message to me loud and clear. You’re amazing!”