Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Empty Bank Accounts and Hearts Filled with Joy

I praise the Lord because he advises me...
You will teach me how to live a holy life.
Being with you will fill me with joy;
at your right hand I will find pleasure forever.
(Psalm 16:7,11, NCV)

It happened unexpectedly, as it usually does. I checked my bank balance and saw an amount significantly lower than I expected. With only $15 and four days until pay day, this was problematic. So I gathered all the cash I could find and warned my husband not to use our debit card. That was Sunday.

I must admit that the event came with a mix of emotions. I was already aware that we had been looser with our spending than we should have been, but I was struggling to make changes to improve our situation. A little less take out and a little more effort in our kitchen would have gone a long way. This knowledge brought guilt and regret. It was definitely humbling.

On Monday morning I made a plan for making it to Wednesday, using only the cash I had scraped together. Breakfast was easy. We already had plenty of cereal and oatmeal at the house. Lunch would also be easy - leftovers or sandwiches. We aren't very creative for daytime meals, but I like for dinner to be special. Don't get me wrong, we don't pull out our china.  We don't even have real china. In fact, dinner is often eaten sitting in front of the television, but the dinner meal is the one that warms my heart. Using a grocery store card with an unknown amount and a $20 gift card to a BBQ restaurant, I felt like God had provided, and I knew it we'd make it without an inconvenience to my family.

The grocery store gift card was for a store I don't frequent, part of the reason it had gone unspent. When I arrived at the store I was pleasantly surprised to discover it had a $50 balance. Again, I felt certain that this was God's means of provision. Not only was I able to buy the items needed for veggie wraps for dinner that night, I bought several sides for dinner Tuesday night to accompany the $20 of tri tip I would order from the BBQ restaurant.

On Tuesday I was reminded that God's ways are better than my ways (Isaiah 55:8). About 10am I realized I hadn't checked the mail on Monday. I opened my mailbox to find two small Amazon deliveries, a Christmas card, and two other envelopes I hadn't expected to come.  I knew the first envelope would come eventually but did not expect it to come that quickly. It was a reimbursement from my college for my Spring semester fees. My heart was filled with joy thinking about when I had discovered that this money was owed me.  I still don't know how or why it happened.  The fee waiver must be requested, and I had not made a request.  But at this moment of need, it was exactly what I needed.  I was reminded that God's timing is always right, even in hardship (Ecclesiastes 8:6).

But what about that other letter? I opened it and saw a refund from my insurance company for overpayment of my premium.  I have no idea why this money came, as I guarantee you that I paid only the amount requested when I renewed my policy.  It was the third of three Christmas gifts that would help to restore joy until me.  Those gift cards and fee reimbursements were gold, frankincense, and myrrh to my spirit.

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