Monday, February 22, 2010

Fishes and Loaves

Remember that story about the fishes and loaves and feeding like 5000 (not including the women and children  - if I were a Gospel writer I totally would have included them, because, hello, we count)?  Remember how they had just a teeny bit of food to feed all those folks, but they collected what they had and Jesus worked a miracle to multiply what they had?  I am just gonna say that He still works those kind of miracles.

I hesitate to tell this story because, 1. It's pretty personal, 2. I don't want y'all to freak out, 3. I don't want y'all to think I am looking for handouts, 4. You need to know we are all okay and were never at risk for starving - if we were, we would have asked for help.  But, I am going to tell it anyway, because sometimes, I just have to report on how good God is.

At the beginning of February we had $41 in our checking account.  That was it.  $41 and no anticipated income until, at the earliest, today's date.  We were smart and we put what we needed aside for one big bill in savings.  But we still only had $41.  That was supposed to cover groceries, gas, and whatever else might come up.  And things come up.  Believe me.

We had $41 for three birthdays.  Mine, Brian's, and Reba's.  Brian and I can do without, a six-year-old needs a birthday party and presents.

We had $41 for 3 weeks of gas (we usually fill up each car once a week).  I commute 35 minutes every day one way.  We needed gas almost immediately.  Of course.

$41 for groceries for 6 people for almost a month.  We did have fish sticks.  No bread.

As of this morning we had 42 cents.  We. Made. It.  I deposited a paycheck tonight.

How did we make it?  He did it.  It could only have been Him. 

We sold a table that we didn't need anymore to our friends who just happened to notice we had an extra table because they were at the house for a totally different reason.  Check gas for the month.

Brian and I each had birthday money from parents and grandparents (thanks, guys). Check Reba's birthday (fairy party, school party, and birthday dinner out).

Fish sticks or not, we somehow made it with the food we had in our pantry and freezer.  Sometimes I am a genius with random food that we have on hand.  Our. Fridge. Is. Empty.  But we are full.

We have managed extras like a classmate's birthday party (handmade gift), the darn tooth fairy (would the kid just keep her teeth until we have some money?), a well check co-pay for the birthday girl (and ears pierced because we promised), diapers - wait, that's a regular occurrence, it just surprised us, and softball equipment (generously bankrolled by Aunt Jenny, our team's new sponsor).  42 cents.  Seriously.  

We didn't feed the masses, nor did we end up with much left over, but I will chalk it up to a miracle that we are still standing in the black.  There are many good things on the horizon.  Don't send donations yet.  Brian's business is looking very promising, my paycheck is coming in, our refund is on its way.  We will be better than okay.  Sometimes it just takes months like this to remind us that when we end, He begins.


Queen Ree said...

Truly a "week before payday" miracle. Had a few of those myself.

Kathi D said...

I'm thinking that getting through a month like that must make you feel very proud of yourself--anyway, it should! Yes, God is helping, but you have to husband your resources yourself.

It sounds quite a bit like my growing-up years. With five children, Mom had to be very creative to make Dad's paychecks last. I don't remember us ever going out to eat, not even fast food, which, in retrospect, is why we were all healthy and slim. Mom made a lot of our clothes, and we entertained each other with board games and giant neighborhood hide and seek games and all kinds of ways that kept us from knowing we were kind of "poor."

One of my fondest memories is of Saturday evenings, when we all had our baths (in ONE bathroom, it took a while) and shined our shoes, and laid out our clothes for church the next day. I've long said that one day I'll write a memoir and at least one section will be called "Shoe Polish and Old Spice" because those were the scents of Saturday night, after my dad took his bath and splashed on the after-shave lotion.

If we would have had 10 million dollars, I couldn't have sweeter memories of home.

Sarah M said...

Mom, you are so right. Only as an adult have I been privy to the fact that those existed for you.

Kathi, you are so right. We are proud of ourselves for being conservative with what we have and working at saving (to make the paychecks last) and I think it is that much sweeter because we don't sit back and expect miracles, we work up until the very end with everything we have. Then, when we have done everything we could, and there still isn't enough, He shows up to give us just barely what we need to get by.

Can you imagine what generations of well-to-do children are missing because they "have" so much? What beautiful memories - can't you just smell your childhood sometimes? I don't know which scents would be "the" ones for me, not as attractive as Old Spice, certainly. Maybe something like Pine Sap and Labradors? I don't know. I will ask my sisters.