I posted the story below on my personal Facebook page a couple days ago. It was something the Holy Spirit was urging me to share. I had no idea that so many people would identify with it and find encouragement. This morning I decided to copy and paste it to share here. Some of you may not know me in "real" life, so we probably aren't Facebook friends. I'm hoping that this story of how God has provided for my family will encourage and ring true with someone else out there who needs to hear it. It's not about me. It's about Him. He just used me in this instance to share His goodness with others.
When I was growing up, I saw time and time again how God provided for my family. We lived on a small budget, but our needs were always met. In my adult life and with my own family, I've seen the same thing over and over. When I was 8 months pregnant, Colin and I decided that I would stay home with Harlow. Before making the decision, we put everything on paper. Our expenses didn't match up with the one income we would be living on. We just knew that we were supposed to take the leap of faith. While we definitely had to make sacrifices, it has been worth every "want" we've given up. Our needs are met every single day. It isn't always easy, but then again, who said faith was easy?
Colin gets paid about every two weeks. We have a very strict budget. We have a set amount set aside for eating out. When we spend that amount, we have to wait until the next paycheck to have money to eat out again. The amount that we set aside is equal to about what a couple could spend on a date night. That amount is to feed the three of us for about 2 weeks at places outside the home. That means most of our meals are at home (which is better for the waistline and pocketbook). That was a sacrifice we decided to make. We used our eating out cash faster this go around while spending time with our families. We knew we wanted to spend our cash to have that time to fellowship with our families, and we knew that meant we couldn't eat out for another 11 days.
Here comes blessing #1. Colin was gifted $100 in Bear Bucks. It's a card that has money loaded on it that he can use to eat on campus or at a handful of places in Conway. We decided we would use it for when we were desperate to eat out. That was money we didn't expect to have.
Now, here's blessing #2. Last week we had a particularly hectic day with a fussy toddler and a full day of work for Colin. I hadn't prepared any dinner, and Colin didn't have the energy to cook. We decided to use the Bear Bucks to get pizza from Domino's. Colin went to pick it up, and their machine that took the Bear Bucks wasn't working. Colin apologized and took out his wallet to pay. The employee refused to let us pay and insisted on giving us the pizza. We were shocked.
Ready for blessing #3? On Wednesdays it's often a rush from the time Colin gets home from work to eat dinner at home to then head to church. When he got home tonight, I didn't have anything prepared for dinner and still needed to get myself and Harlow dressed. If you're a stay-at-home mom, you know that getting ready can sometimes take all day. We decided to use the Bear Card to go to Zaxby's. We hadn't been there in a long time, and it's near church. Instead of ordering Harlow a kids meal, I always order enough to share with her. I ordered my meal, and Colin ordered his. The waiter then asked us what four kids meals we wanted. We must have looked dumbfounded, because he asked us if we had ever been there on a Wednesday. We said no. He said that with certain meals, you receive two free kids meals. Since Colin and I each ordered, we got four free kids meals. The cashier insisted we get all four free meals and take them home for Harlow to eat on for the week. We were happily surprised and laughed about how much food would come to our table. Once they brought the food out, they sat my plate down, and the order wasn't completely correct. Colin asked me if I had the right sauce, but before we could even finish our conversation, the worker ran over with my correct order. I asked him if the order was just confused with someone else's, and I tried to hand him my incorrect order. He said for me to keep it and boxed it up for us. I also had food left over from my plate. Do you understand how much food we left with? It was comical! Colin looked at me and said, "Well that was a blessing."
While these are small things that may not seem like much, they have been huge blessings to us. I want to thank Domino's Pizza and Zaxby's for their kindness and customer service. You both blessed this family.
Do you realize that you can't out-give God? He gives you every single thing you possess and looks for ways to bless you, even if it's bags and bags of chicken! "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:25-26