It is said that the only constant in life is change. And not to bring the tone of the story down, but the failure to change results in death. Since I don’t plan on dying, I plan on continuously changing. Out of the many stories that make up me, the following is one in particular that stands out.
First, I must clarify what type of change this is. You see, sometimes change can be small; it can be incremental over a period of time, it can be huge and life-altering. Sometimes change happens suddenly. Occasionally you can control the change in your life and other times it happens to you without say so or permission. This change was incremental, seemingly small and by choice.
The background: let’s talk money.
I’ve never really had it; my parents never really had it. I’ve truly been chasing paychecks my whole life. That next job. I wanted to go to college so I took out loans—a lot of them. Did we know what that actually would lead to? No. But there’s chasing that American dream, right? I decided to live by myself because I was not thriving with roommates; I couldn’t seem to find the right rhythm, so I took a chance.
I was given my dream job right out of college but it was contracted and ended in just four months. I went two months without a job. Now I work for a great company, have a fantastic job, but still find myself ‘chasing that next thing’ and looking for another opportunity not to live paycheck to paycheck.
It was the middle of April this past year and my church set out on a mission to pledge 90 days of faithful tithing starting in May. Personally, I’ve always believed in offering—I was always willing to give when I had something to give. That is what you’re taught when you grow up in the church. However, I never kept track of what I was giving or did the math, so when we set out on the pledge as a church, I began watching my bank account. I paid attention to all the ‘ins’ and made sure the ‘outs’ matched. I decided to make a purposeful change to walk in obedience and trust God with my finances.
Enter the crazy times.
At the end of May, I found myself in the hospital unable to move or walk and in a ferocious kind of pain. Not only was I dealing with this pain, but a month later—still in the middle of physical therapy—right around day 45 of tithing, the first medical bill came. More followed. Stress, tears, curses, and the physical pain continued. I was afraid to ask for help; I was even scared to ask for prayer. The decision to walk in obedience and trust God felt so far away from the moment I was living. This is what the enemy does. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That is exactly what he was doing to my thoughts, my attitude, and even my body.
Skip down a bit.
I get an email titled, “Scheduled Gift Reminder: Online Giving.” The paragraph inside gave a summary of my tithe and offering with a little button at the bottom that said, “Would you like to make any changes?”
Steal, Kill, Destroy.
I sobbed my way through that day with God. The choice: To wrestle with my need to prove I am responsible and pay all bills as they come in my inbox or surrendering my doubt that God would handle it and following through with exactly what I had promised to do . . .
The change—trust and obey.
The online gift went out of my bank account that Friday. That Sunday morning I went to my team at church with the prayer request: “Guys, I want to trust that God has got this—I’m almost $200 in the red this month. I don’t know what to do. I want to keep tithing and giving, but because of the unexpected medical bills, I am drowning. I just need to borrow some of your faith.” And we prayed. I cried and we prayed. With the step of faith I could feel myself truly pressing in and trusting. It was like free falling but somehow there was a trampoline of comfort at the end. There was a peace that came over me.
Monday morning, I get out bed and make my way to work. I had remnants of a headache of what I was going to do, but yet a peace. A peace that passes all understanding. I live in a world of paycheck people—I wouldn’t dare dream asking for help, at least not yet. I had a feeling—GOD’s got this!
I get through most of the day and then I am called to my manager’s office for my performance evaluation. Before we begin she asks if I’m ok. I honestly reply, “I could be better,” and left it at that. We sat and talked for a while. She told me I received a perfect score on the evaluation but still had a few minor things to continue to work on.
Here comes that moment.
I got up to walk out of the office and was halfway out the door when she called to me: “Wait.” She handed me a letter—it looked like a paycheck, it felt like a paycheck, but it wasn’t the right time for one, so I dismissed the significance and kept going through the motions of the Monday.
Then I was alone at my desk. I decided to curb my curiosity and just open it. What was it? Oh, you know, just a bonus. A bonus that covered all of my medical bills like they never existed. The craziest thing about this happenstance: the bonus check was in its envelope and in her desk before the first tear and prayer over being faithful in my tithe. Not only did He have it covered but God had also met the need before the realization for the need was there.
This is not a drill—this happened.
God has a plan for us; the enemy does as well, remember—to kill, steal and destroy. This change in me was a step into faith. My tithing through tears wasn’t to benefit God; it wasn’t even to benefit the church. That step of faith was to change my relationship with Him completely. Faith under fire is like a metal, it may get softer but it can get sharper. The biggest changes come out of the small choices.
And that’s what I learned.
End session. Class dismissed.
Why are folk sharing their stories of change? Take a look here and perhaps you have a story to share as well…
To read more stories of change visit here.