With five children on a limited budget, finances are always a challenge. It seems that no matter what we do, we have month left at the end of the money. Recognizing that God is always the One who provides for our needs, sometimes I wish He would provide the money so we could purchase what we needed, and even what we just wanted. Instead, He seems to delight in providing for us through much more glamorous and humbling methods.
Lately, though, I've been too overwhelmed at the extent of God's provision to really think about being embarrassed because of it. Let me explain, and then you can share the awe.
First, someone wrote out a check to cover most of the costs for sending three of our five daughters to a local Christian school. Then, someone took my daughters shopping for school clothes - AND PAID FOR THEM!! Not only do I hate shopping, but I honestly wasn't sure how we would manage to purchase even the basics of a school wardrobe. Someone else said they are going to help us with getting school supplies, and my sister-in-law gave our oldest daughter the jump drive she needs for 5th grade. This is all just for school.
Someone gave us a bunkbed set, making it possible to rearrange beds to accommodate a crib. Since we're expecting baby number 6 in a matter of weeks, that is a good thing! One of our partnering churches hosted a shower (even though I wasn't able to attend) and blessed us with LOTS of clothes. Others have passed on baby clothes they aren't using, and my mom has done just a little shopping (ok - more than a little!), so we are set with clothes for at least the first few months. And, along with the bunkbed set, we were given a dresser to put all our baby clothes in. After spending most of a day looking for a used dresser without success, I appreciate that gift even more.
It is sometimes difficult to be the recipient of others donations. Going through hand-me-down clothes can be overwhelming, and you don't always have the latest style. I'd love to be free of the stress that comes with a trip to the grocery store or at the gas pump (the last trip cost $85 and didn't fill our tank!) because I'm nervous about how much it will cost and if we'll have enough for what we need. I would love to take my girls to McDonald's for lunch or buy pizza for dinner just for the heck of it. I'd love to have money to pay a babysitter so my husband and I could go on a date. I'd love to go shopping without a calculator, and not worry about the total when I got done.
But, when I think of all God has blessed us with just in the last month, it is humbling. The God of Creation, who created the entire universe and calls each of the stars by name; the God who puts presidents in office and kings on thrones; this same God is concerned with little things like where my daughters go to school this fall, what they have to wear, and where they sleep. This God, who keeps the planets in space, has provided a place to keep my son's clothes. Wow. In light of that, how can I be anything but grateful?!