Today I want to share a part of my journey in Jesus with you, but let’s start with a prayer to prepare our hearts.
Father, we come before You this morning with open hearts, hoping for You to do a work in us. You know us better than we know ourselves and You know right where we are, this very moment. You love us more than we will ever understand and desire for greater things in this life. I pray that we keep our eyes on You in all things. In the precious name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.
I have been walking with Jesus for some time now and have learned so much, He has turned this life upside down and made me realize that I am now actually right side up. Do you understand what I mean by that? Can you relate to that feeling of a new start, a new chance, a view of love and grace that you never even knew possible? As I began my walk in Christ, I was able to look back at my life and see His hand on me. I could see that those impossible situations that nearly took my life were those moments when God came down and saved me. He had a plan for me. He has a plan for every singe person on this planet.
In the beginning I attended a church that opened my eyes to the Lord, but ended up not being a great fit for me and my family. As I was looking for a church home, I was told about my current church and it took me a long time to learn to trust them. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for them to judge me and tell me I didn’t belong, but it never happened. The more I shared, the more I realized that these people were just like me. We all struggle, we are all lost and we have battles we are facing each day. This realization was a large driving force behind this blog. Let’s share and be transparent before one another. Let’s encourage those struggling with the same things Jesus has worked through in us.
This brings me to the topic of tithing. Can I tell you what a struggle tithing has been over the years? As a single mom, there was no way I could tithe, I told myself. As a newly weds we didn’t have the funds to pay our bills on time, never mind give up 10% right off the bat. We had all the right reasons to not give. We were serving in the church, our time mattered. We would give sporadically throughout the year and it would come close to 10% at the end of the year, or by tax time. Giving larger chunks here and there was easier.
I am a bit of a dork and absolutely love spreadsheets. I use them to track and figure everything, including our family budget, I have done so for years. We have about a year ahead mapped out at any given time. As God was putting this tithing thing on my heart, I would try a few different approaches, but was never giving on a regular basis. It was still a line item that was able to be moved, decreased and taken out all together if something came up. This went on for years. The cycle of conviction, feeling guilty, arguing with God over the numbers not adding up. My husband and I are not selfish people, we love to give to others and we want to please the Lord in all things. Our hearts desired to please Him, our flesh was getting in the way.
Finally we had come to a place where we were giving up control. God had been doing such amazing things in our lives and we were seeing that none of what we possessed was really ours. We were given these things by our most gracious Lord and we were abusing what was given to us in a way that was unintentional, but was still happening. We made the difficult decision to tithe every single week no matter what came up financially. We decided to trust our living God and ask Him to show up for us. He tells us to test Him in this area and so we were. I pulled up my spreadsheet and worked the numbers the best I could and we left those weeks that didn’t add up in God’s capable hands. I mean, the Creator of this vast universe loves me and here I was thinking He couldn’t possibly make the numbers work. As I put things into perspective, I was excited to see what would happen. Then an amazing thing happened, wlost a huge chunk of income out of no where.
I mean the timing was no coincide in my mind. The small steps we were taking were quickly becoming leaps. We were stressed and uncertain as to how we were going to tithe and feed our family at the same time. That’s what our flesh was saying. Our hearts knew better, we know that God provides for His children and so we adjusted that spreadsheet as well as we were able to on our end and lifted all those negative balanced to the Lord.
He showed up. As He promises us all, our Lord showed up and continues to show up every time. Those weeks that seemed impossible were blessed in abundance, I kid you not. Between overtime that was not supposed to happen, to mileage checks, to unexplained payment of vacation time early, our God showed up. Those weeks that shouldn’t have added up turned into such blessings for our family.
We still struggle with seeing those impossible weeks showing up on our spreadsheet, but now we have the experience to look back on. We know that we will be taken care of.
Those line items that were once negotiable are set in stone in our eyes. God’s money is not to be touched. We see that our grocery budget is suffering and we are tempted to pull from that tithing box, but we don’t and we wait in expectancy.
Tithing regularly has truly been such a blessing. I have heard people say this so many times and never really understood. Today I understand and pray that you all do too. To see our God show up for us and to take care of us is beautiful. To know that I can give up control and see things blossom in ways I never thought possible. My faith had grown tremendously in this. My knowledge of God’s love has deepened and this has trickled into other areas of my heart.
I want you all to know that tithing is difficult in the beginning, don’t beat yourself up! Every child of God struggles in one way or another in this, area, you are not alone. Giving God back a portion of what He gives us so freely, there are no words for the magic that takes place there. Try it, test God there and take that leap of faith. He won’t let you fall.