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On Faith, Tithing, and Learning Lessons

24 May 2013
I wrote this post in November, but at the time it was too close to my heart to publish it. Now that it's been a while, I feel more comfortable sharing it. I am so grateful that I had this beautiful experience. It changed my life.

Oh my friends. I am so blessed. And on the one hand, I want to share this experience with you all SO much. But I don't know how. Because it feels so special and sacred to me.

It's no secret that Hawk and I suck at money. And by Hawk and I, I mean mostly "I." If Hawk was single he'd be great. I have improved 1000% over the last year, but we still usually end the month scraping by on our coin jar (we call it Digi-Piggy as it's a digital piggy bank, and Digi-Piggy has his own theme song in our house.)

Recently I have struggled a lot with the principle of tithing. Actually, my whole life I have struggled with this principle. We were able to get it together earlier this year and last year, but the last 2 months or so we have slipped again. *I* have slipped again. This month I even pulled the money out of our account so we could take it to church that Sunday - and then I had to go to the doctor and pay $100 in medication costs and and and.

I have felt guilty, but it's not like I was throwing the money away on partying or drugs (well...) or even frivolous stuff that we need like lightbulbs or clothes or whatever. I have tried to be careful. But here we are, and I am silently accusing the Lord - "look, I know you want me to pay tithing and I want to WANT to pay tithing. but I SUCK at faith based principles. I'm sorry. I'll try to be better but this is scary and I want to be able to eat and drive my car occasionally."

So tonight we are at Walmart buying bread and eggs. This lady appears to be stalking me throughout the store but I am NATURALLY PARANOID so I am reminding myself as we walk "she's not following you, it's okay, it's just a coincidence." And then over by the freezer vegetables she comes over to me and says "I hope you don't think I'm totally weird, but the Lord is leading me to give this to you." And she hands me a folded up bill. And I look at Hawk for help, but he just shrugs. So I say "well thank you," and she nods and walks away.

And then I look at the bill in my hand.

$100.

Are you kidding me?

And the first thought that comes in my mind is "now you see? I will take care of you." No matter what. Even if paying tithing means we are out of money for the month, the Lord will take care of me. My brain went immediately "this is Him showing you - if you had paid your tithing already, see? You'd be fine, because of that lady."

I just. can't. even.

I am so grateful for her. Yes, the Lord lead her to me. And while we'll never starve, and we'll probably always look like we get by all right, we still struggle. It sucks, but it's the way it is right now. And there were more deserving people than me in the store. I know, because I followed one lady around with 3 screaming (SCREAMING) boys under the age of 4 and just felt so bad for her. At least I only have one screaming boy.

I am also so ashamed of my own failures and lacking. If I had trusted the Lord instead of leaning to my own understanding... But then again, I think this is the nicest way I've ever had to learn a lesson. I mean, I can just picture Heavenly Father up there smiling and kind of going "see? I told you," but in a nice way. I want to give Him a great big hug.

Anyway, I didn't know what to do in Walmart. We stood there for a few minutes while I tried to scoop my jaw off the floor. Then we kind of ran out of there because it would be kind of awkward to run into that lady again in the aisles, let's face it. I could have gone on a grocery spree right then and there but I restrained to letting Sparrow pick a side dish (he chose some Steamer rice that was disgusting) and a treat (Toaster Strudels.) And my treat was a Diet Coke and some Dibs to share with Hawk.

And then we got home, and we got some kind of "you overpaid for something so we're gonna send you MONEY" check for $200. And it whacked me in the head again. "I will take care of you." OKAY. OKAY I GET IT, I SWEAR.

This is not the first time this has happened. Last Thanksgiving, our bank had a serious miscommunication with us and withdrew almost our entire paycheck to pay for some government thing (we owed taxes or something.) Our account was -$700 in the hole, and we still had 2 weeks before another pay day, plus LOTS of driving we wanted to do as my dad was in town and we never get to see him or his family (they lived out of state at the time.) I paid our tithing anyway and somehow we made it through that month even with our constant driving.

Last Christmas I was getting ready to take back Hawk and my boring gifts (socks, pants, etc) to the store so we could have money to make it through the end of the month. And an anonymous person had $100 delivered to us.

We are so blessed. And yet I am so blind.

I hope that someday I will be in a position to bless strangers as these strangers have blessed me. In the meantime, I will thank the Lord for sending them to me, and I will work on adhering to faith-based principles even though they are so hard for me.

Because the Lord will always take care of us.

Also, I promise to never silently yell at anyone who appears to be following me around the store ever again. Even though I am paranoid and think they are coming to kill me or even worse yell at me for Sparrow's shoelaces being untied or something. Do you hear that, people of the world? You can follow me around the store all you want now. I will not think angry thoughts at you anymore. I promise.

Updates

20 May 2013
I keep feeling guilty for neglecting my tiny little blog. So here is what's new in our corner of the universe.

The biggest, best news first. On the one year anniversary of us losing our beautiful townhome (remember the angst? If not, you can revisit it here) we found out that we are going to be able to build a new, all for us house! Hawk and I can't believe it. We had tentatively hoped that it would be possible, but both of us thought that we'd have to do some kind of credit repair/counseling and wait for 6 months for our credit to come back up to a reasonable number. But the builder we are working with took a letter of explanation (we explained just why our credit is so bad - mostly due to the ridiculous amount of medical debt we built up and have slammed away at) and said we were good. Us! Good!!!! What!

The news couldn't have come at a better time. Our lease is up at the end of this month and we weren't sure where to go. Do we stay in Draper, which we adore but it's pricey here, and have me continue to commute daily to Provo for school? Or do we move to Provo, where it's cheaper but also ... not Draper... and have Hawk commute while I walk to school? And what of Sparrow's school? He was accepted to a behavioral kindergarten in our school district, which we think will give him one year boost of extra help so that he can matriculate into public school in first grade.

Our landlords have jerked us around, telling us they were going to raise our rent, then saying they wanted to sell... it was just a nightmare. This place, we call it the Slanty Shanty, has never felt like home to us. We will definitely not be sad to leave it. We have a great neighborhood and I feel bad for making Sparrow leave the first neighborhood friends he's ever made, but... he's as excited as we are. Our floor plan is called the "Hickory," so Sparrow calls our new home "The Hickory Dickory Dock House." I think I'm going to have to buy a grandfather clock, oh yes I am.

We have our date to pick out everything (floor, paint colors, counters, etc) later this week. Our move-in date isn't until September, but we're so excited and I think knowing that our time at the Slanty Shanty has an expiration date will make this summer so much easier to bear.

We are building in a brand new master-planned community in Bluffdale. It's right across the freeway from where we are now, so it's not like it's a huge move. (Hawk says it's about 2 miles away.) The community, eventually, will have 1900 homes, trails, parks and even an elementary school. I will be sad to leave my precious Draper, but we're just across the street, really. And it's going to be so cool to be part of a community from its birth.

The other big news is school. I survived my first semester at BYU and I passed with flying colors! At the beginning of the semester, I thought for sure I would fail but I didn't care. I just wanted a chance to go to school. And then I got my grades in and I can't believe it. I did WELL. I brought my GPA from a 1.93 to a 2.93 in one semester. I even got a B in Spanish, which was my hardest class. (My other B was in my Critical Literary Theory class.) In linguistics, violin and my religion classes, I got A's. The religion class was a hard-won A too. I have never studied like I studied for that class. Whew.

Sparrow is doing great at his school too. We are hoping that he will be able to continue on his medication over the summer. It makes such a difference in his ability to concentrate and follow directions. He's not perfect, and he's still not "normal," but he's closer than he was at this time a year ago. Sparrow recently started violin lessons and he loves it but I have a hard time reminding him to practice, so that has to improve. He also takes a ballet class which ends tomorrow (thank goodness. I can't stand ballet, and I don't think he particularly cares what class he takes as long as he can interact with other kids.) Today Sparrow read his first word on his own - "big." We were in the store and he pointed and said "Mom, that says BIG." And I looked and sure enough! He's been spelling words on his own for the last two weeks - my favorites are the ones he gets wrong. "shef," "qub" (for cube), and "qut" (cute). He can spell zip, cat, bat, boat, ship, sheep, log...well, he can spell a lot.

Hawk turned 30 last month and that was pretty exciting. I am grateful to have such a patient, long-suffering husband. He puts up with so much from both me and Sparrow and he is always very steady and calm about what we do to him. Even if we are prematurely making him gray-haired, he doesn't mind (mostly because he can't see the gray hair yet...)