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Friday, September 23, 2005

Conviction

Posted: 2005-09-14T02:08:05Z

Source: There's been a lot of whining going on at our house this week. And the sad thing is, it's not all from the kids! I admit it, I've been having a little pity party over here in my corner of the world. I mean, have any of you noticed that gas prices are getting a little high? (That's sarcasm, in case you didn't notice.) I know that I shouldn't be feeling sorry for myself when there are so many people truly suffering from Katrina, but for the last couple of days I've had a had time keeping things in perspective.

My husband is our sole provider. (Remember that song? I was a closet Michael Bolton fan in high school. Sssh -- don't tell anyone.) And his place of work is not located in the same town as our home. He drives about 45 minutes each way to work. In a mini-van that doesn't get the worst mileage, but it doesn't get the best either. So this latest gas price hike has hit us hard. There wasn't a lot of "give" in our budget to begin with, so the only place to find the extra gas money is groceries or our "slush" fund. We used to call this "entertainment", but it doesn't usually provide much in the way of recreation, so we re-named it. It goes for such entertaining things as clothing, prescriptions, doctor appointment copays, car repairs, license renewals and the very occasional outing.

As most of you parents know, the changing of the seasons usually brings the need for new clothes for the kiddies. Unless your children don't grow from year to year, that is. But mine do. I've been blessed with hand-me-downs from my sisters at different times, and I return the favor. But as I went through the fall and winter clothes for my middle two on Sunday afternoon, I realized they needed some clothes. A lot, actually. Jonathan and Noah are only 15 months apart, and they wear the same shirt size, 6 or 7. In pants, Jonathan wears regular and Noah, the one with no hips to speak of, need slim. Josiah is set, but Natalie needs a few things. And our "slush" fund is pretty empty.

I'd like to say I handled this with grace and peace. A humble and quiet spirit. But that's not exactly what happened. I panicked. I was angry. Not at anyone in particular, just at everyone. Like our governor for not putting a price cap on gas prices. Like Kevin's boss for not paying him more money. Like anyone that crossed my mind at the time.

Then yesterday happened. The brake light in my van went on. A switch on my stove went out. One tiny switch, but a replacement costs $45 just for the part. And I freaked. I pouted. I was mad again, this time at God. Not a good place to be, but an honest one.

During my allotted computer time in the afternoon, my sister instant-messaged me with the news that their truck had blown up and was beyond repair. Not just the brakes, the entire truck. And my husband IM-ed me that the five-year-old daughter of a former co-worker was just diagnosed with Perthes Disease. Not her stove. Her child. In my experience, conviction doesn't often come creeping in. It hits me like a semi and leaves me broken. Which I think is His point.

Today at Bible study I confessed my inability to trust to my prayer partner. We prayed for God to provide, and in the meantime, for me to get over myself. Right after Bible study, a friend gave me a huge lawn-and-garden trash bag full of clothes. Clothes that she told me I could use for my kids or take to the local consignment store to receive credit, whichever I needed. Not only were there many consignment-worthy items, there were 8 long-sleeve shirts in like-new condition in sizes 6 and 7. An hour later my sister IM-ed me with the news that she had been given some hand-me-downs for her son that are too big for him right now, but could I use some size six jeans and pants? At this point I am crying, amazed at God's faithfulness to me when I am so unwilling to trust Him.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God, my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not; Thy compassions, they fail not.
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness;
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest;
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all heaven in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness;
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow --
Blessings all mine, and ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness;
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

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