A short news update & a nice story

10 10 2007

We’ve had two showings in two days to the same people.  Either they’ll make an offer tomorrow, or we’ll never hear from them again.

 Neal is still trying for a job.  His top 2 picks right now are BMXT in Lynchburg Virginia and DAK in Leland NC.  He’s in process with some other companies, too, but those are the ones he’s excited about right now.  The first is our hands-down preference, but we’ll see…

We ran out of money on Sunday.  Neal made me laugh until I snorted in church.  He found a $10 bill on the beach last week & we needed to tithe on it.  I was afraid he’d forget, so when I was walking out the door to church, I tucked a dollar in my pocket.  We checked the mailbox on our way & discovered that our account was overdrawn.  Neal went in to transfer money & discovered there was very little to transfer.  The fees had eaten our savings.  Very worried.  Went to church feeling glum.  Neal says, “Well, we just won’t buy anything this week.”  So I spent part of the service trying to figure out what kind of meals I could make from the contents of the pantry and wondering how my children would react to life without milk, fruit, or bread.  Can you eat peanut butter and jelly on rice?
        When the collection time came, I pulled the dollar out of my pocket & showed it to him.  He laughed and pulled one out of his pocket.  (We take tithing very seriously!)  Then he leaned over and quoted It’s A Wonderful Life.  “Mama dollar and Papa dollar,” he said, grinning, “May they have lots of babies!”  I cracked up and was definitely a “hilarious giver” this Sunday.  We put both dollars in the bucket, of course!
          Well, Monday, when M.R. dropped off her kids, she had something to say to me.  Our previous agreement was that I would keep her children (2 boys 2 & 4, and a girl 11)for five dollars a day for expenses.  They come before breakfast and leave at lunchtime so she can work as a crisis manager or some such at the school.  I love keeping them.  I felt guilty for charging $5!  It was the blessing of God to open a way for Mike to “Go to Preschool” at home.  Even after just two days, his speech had already progressed a great deal, and he was playing and laughing instead of lurking around the house.  I would gladly have kept her children for nothing.  Seven kids in the house?  Ah, who cares!  Personally, I thrive on moderate amounts of chaos.
       But Monday morning, she confessed that she hadn’t been able to sleep the night before worrying about not paying me.  And she handed me a check!  I tried not to take it.  I tried to tell her how blessed I was just by the prescence of her children in my home.  But she insisted.  It was beautifully ironic to think of her laying awake worrying about paying me the same night I was laying awake fretting about how to feed my kids.  Is that God at work, or what? 
       But wait- there’s more!  I thanked her with tears in my eyes and told her what a blessing her money was.  Foolishly, I guess, I told her that I hadn’t known what I was going to do about groceries until Neal got his next check on Friday & thanked her over and over.  Should have kept my dumb mouth shut.  Because at 9pm that night, my own personal angel and her four-year-old brought us a week’s worth of food!  My kids were hysterical with pleasure.  Juice and grapes and Eggo waffles and cheese and meat and bread and diapers!  In the right size!  Milk and muffin mix.  Cooking oil and spaghetti sauce.
       Mike ran up to me and begged, pulling on my robe sash, “Oh grapes, mommy!  I’m so hungry!  I need a snack!”  Donal was practically crying and saying, “Spaghetti sauce AND spaghetti AND salad AND bread!  You’re spoiling us, Mrs. M!”  It was like something out of the Grapes of Wrath.  Which was totally ridiculous, because they hadn’t even missed a meal yet.  They’d just overheard their dad and I talking about what we would do.  I hadn’t even tried to feed them my own special recipe of cranberry olive stirfry yet!  It’s not like we were going to starve.  We HAVE a credit card, for Pete’s sake.  I could have bought groceries if I’d wanted to.  We just thought we’d rather eat wierd food out of the back of the freezer than go into debt right then.  And he’d get a check again on Friday.
       My emotions were quite a mix- shame and elation, frustration, embarassment, and delight.  It was such a kind thing!  Such an example of God’s love poured out, that she should have done that for us.  She explained that she just couldn’t shake the feeling that the Lord wanted her to bless us in that way.  I said, “But you already gave us a check this morning!”  She said, “I know, but He wanted me to.”  I wanted to sit down on the floor and cry.
         I’m glad my heavenly father will help me out in times of desperate need.  I am relying on him to help Neal find a job, to help us make our November mortgage payment, to keep all the bills paid, to help sell our house.  Compared to our needs, a few days without groceries because we miscalculated and were careless with our bank balance was such a MINOR thing.  We felt like fools.  We felt like we deserved a week of eating peanut suprise and home-made rice cakes.
       It was grace, grace, overabundant grace that spared us that.  God and Mrs. M. poured out help, not because we were in desperate overwhelming need, but because they loved us.  Because they wanted to bless us.  She knew very well we weren’t starving.  She just wanted to share.  To make my life easier.  To help me not to worry.  To show me that I’m loved.
      True love is a humbling thing.  It makes you feel like you don’t deserve it.  I guess maybe none of us really deserve it.  But it’s the only thing that makes life worth while.




One response

10 10 2007

great! Got Grace? Oh yeah!
I love it when we don’t get what we deserve but instead get grace. Matthew 6:25-34 is resounding in my head right now. He is Abba. He knows what we need and when we need the bouyant display of His provision, grace and love. Thanks for being real. It was a pleasure to stand next to your family on College Road this past Sunday. Love you guys.

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