Monday, April 12, 2010

Security

I'm feeling myself slow down on the inside, these days.

And that's saying something, because I've never been much of a hustly, bustly kind of girl.

But I'm telling you - a change is coming.

For a while now, that thought has breezed past me, barely ruffling my hair, before it swept on through. I noticed it, but in a way so vague and fuzzy that it registered in me more as nosy curiosity than anything.

Then came March.

March is something that I mostly glossed over, because honest to goodness, I was so tired of complaining on here. And it all felt silly and trivial and meaningless. What I'm seeing now, is that nothing is really meaningless, in the Grand scheme of things. I'm left thinking, thinking, thinking about what this life is, what it should be. I'm trying to sit still so the truth that I uncover can soak my bones. I'm only on chapter 1. It's just the start.

So, let me tell you a little story...

There once was a girl named Shannan who loved her husband and her kids in that very specific, hard-won kind of way. She enjoyed her job and knew it was a blessing. She loved her home and knew it was a blessing. She was wise with her money and brushed her kids' teeth every night and made everyone eat their veggies. She understood generosity, or so she thought. She understood responsibility, or so it seemed. She lived happily in a world that she sort of, deep down, believed that she had helped to create. She toed the line so carefully between "Everything I have is a blessing from the Lord" and "Boy, I sure am glad that I make good decisions". She was pretty sure it was a little of both. And secretly, she was a little proud of herself.

Every month, she dutifully sent her $34 dollars to the little boy in Columbia. The one who failed his last school year and told her about it in a letter in broken English. The one whose shame reached out from the page with the crayon drawings and pierced her heart - but just a little.

Every month, she tithed.

Every month, she gave.

Every month, she watched her savings account balance grow. She liked it. It made her feel safe. It made her feel thankful, yes. It made her feel "good with money".

No, she was not wealthy, in the way that we egocentric Americans think of "wealthy". Not even close. But if she wanted the bag, she bought it. She listened to Dave Ramsey talk about "Living like no one else" and she liked the sound of it. She daydreamed about later-in-life vacations, sending her kids off to college without student loans. It seemed like the responsible way to live.

In Shannan's world, there was always the reality of the adoption expense. It was planned for and known, but still, it made her wince a little to watch that chunk of change fly off to Korea. To watch the balance tumble.

And still, there was some left over.

But then February turned in its key and March moved in.

The highly anticipated tax refund (along with plans of, "what am I gonna buy?"), with the flip of an accounting-error-at-the-workplace switch, became the 4 digit tax debt.

The old car broke down and then the older car broke down the very next day, and 4 more digits slipped down the drain.

She was doing the math in her head. It was not wonderful, but it would be okay.

But the teeth. The tiny, shiny teeth were not okay. The years of medication had taken a toll and in one year's time, those little teeth were so sick that they required a visit - to the dentist, yes, and then to the operating room of the hospital.

And she cried.

And she cried.

For two days, she couldn't stop crying. How on earth would she be the one with the silver-toothed child? She wanted to paint on her chest, her back, her forehead, "We brush, every day!" "We are good eaters!" "I've only had one cavity - and it was a baby tooth!"

She had failed, she thought. To the tune of many more piles of digits.

She worried, because she already knew her job was ending so soon.

She fretted over the November election. What if Cory loses his job?

In the days that passed, she talked to one of her best friends. They talked about the teeth. The taxes. The cars. "I'm doing much better. I don't know why I have been so upset over all of it." And then, like just-sharpened shears turning the one, lovely piece of vintage seersucker into two, she knew the answer to her own question.

"I think God wanted to make us let go of our money."

The words escaped like a finch; flew to the corner of her mind, then to the corner of her heart, and built a nest.

*I'm sharing this today over at Chatting at the Sky.

47 comments:

  1. OOh...girl, you are so wise. And the way you tell the story...well, it just makes sense.

    I know where you're at...and have been there, too. You are so wise at such a young age. To have this attitude and the ability to learn like you are ... WOW.

    Good for your heart, to understand and to accept.
    Joni

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  2. Wow! Amazing post. We sure do have to learn to lean on the Lord to provide for us don't we.

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  3. Your post took my breath away and reminded me that none of it is ours. It's all His for His glory. Something I frequently let myself forget.

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  4. Fully praying for your plate.

    : )

    Julie M.

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  5. oh the teeth. My son who is two happens to have some very YELLOW front side teeth. His dentist appointment is on Wed. I am terrified. I started laughing when I read about the silver teeth, because that is exactly how I feel. I really do want a shirt that says we brush every day. Even though I laughed, I feel you. It's hard. I always want to hang on to the shreds of me, even though I'm supposed to be dead, and Christ is supposed to be the only thing living in me. I made up a name for it: being a zombie. Ressurrecting the dead flesh. It isn't pretty, but it's so hard to kill. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad I'm not alone.

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  6. Shannan, your words once again crossed the vast ocean from your home to mine in Australia but yet it felt like a dear friend speaking to me softly from across the street.

    I am hearin' ya! I however am at the other end of the scale of having nothing left over to save. That doesn't mean I hold on less tightly to what little I have.

    The last lines you wrote really spoke to me so thank you 'far across the ocean, over the road friend'.

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  7. I've never been much of a saver...kind of a foreign concept to me. I respect people who have that discipline, but I get what you are saying and what God was teaching. Very interesting indeed! Love the way you share your thoughts girlie:)

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  8. Beautifully written post... God keeps me in humble circumstances regularly... =) There is always a medical bill or a car bill to eat up that 'little extra'... being content in all circumstances is my hope... I am working on it! or shall I say He is working on it in me!
    =) So glad your little man is adjusting so well!

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  9. You do it to me every time. Love you!

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  10. Beautifully said. And I'm right there with you. I got laid off last May, 2 months after I'd paid off the last of my credit card debt. I was very careful with the severance, budgeted and prayed. I really believed I was trusting God. But one by one as money set aside for specific things (emergency, long term savings, new laptop) has been sucked down into the weekly "living expenses", and the weekly living expenses budget has dropped from $100 to $20, panic has set in. With the panic has come this weird peace. The more anxiety I feel, the more I realize I was depending the money not God. Then I feel reassured that He has me in the palm of His hand. He's allowing the money to fly away because He wants me to remember that He is feeding me. And I am safe.

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  11. Thanks for sharing what God is doing in your life.

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  12. Just a note on teeth from Merry England. My eldest (now 12 and with no cavities or fillings)was breast fed, drank water never juice, had sweets limited to once a week and still had baby teeth that practically crumbled and had to have some removed under a GA. Massive mummy guilt...if you have done everything you can the rest is up to genetics so don't sweat it. Best wishes to you and yours, Helen

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  13. Wow! You write beautifully and always gently remind me - faith. Just have faith.

    Hugs!

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  14. Your posts are always so beautifully written Shanny. I love to sit and savor them and let the words just soak in. I'm glad you've found some meaning in all that has happened to you as of late and I hope things start to turn around soon.

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  15. Amen Shannan. A needed reminder that even good things can come btwn us and our God. We are facing some similar issues. Seems He's trying to tell us something, huh?

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  16. God's wanted me to let go of some things over this last year and a half. And it's never easy; but it's always good. Good for us. Best for us. Refining and purifying. Leading us to trust Him fully.

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  17. Hey Shannan,
    Have I ever told you how much I love reading your blog? Your humbleness always get me thinking and helps me to examine my own heart. Your post today took me to Ecclesiastes 5:10-11. I think about how far financially my husband and I have come in the last 15 years, yet I seem to hold on tighter and tighter to the things of this world than to my God. Thanks for posting and giving me my daily dose of truth!

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  18. Another awesome post. I so know the feeling with my husband opening his own business - it's scary not knowing how the money will come in later this year & knowing our savings isn't as huge as it should be, but trusting in God and his plan and purpose for our lives has really helped :)

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  19. I feel your pain. My son had a silver tooth. A silver baby tooth I should say. I felt like a terrible mother. People must think my child eats nothing but sugar and never brushes his teeth! Then, I got over it. I am not a terrible mother and neither are you. You are one of the best mothers I know and I don't even know you!! Now my son is a big strapping 13 year old sport playing fool with beautiful teeth! It all works out in the end...

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  20. Very touching post, wow, blessings to you!

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  21. Such a sweet, honest, and real post.
    Love your blog.
    Liz
    http://mylovelylittlelulu.blogspot.com/

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  22. It's always amazing to me to read what God has been doing in someone elses life that could be me. Over the past two months He has very clearly shown me that He wants me to cling to my security in Him and not that of money. There IS no security in money--Only Him. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful heart. Hugs!

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  23. This may not be an accurate quote. Just when your ends meet God moves them. If that isn't worded right, I'm sorry.
    Geez, I know how you feel. The TV screen is getting darker everyday, my computer has colorful lines all over it and I have to keep hitting it to see the screen, my dog needs a rabies shot, my house needs a roof, and on and on. I expected at this time in my life to be okay......but for now I have to be thankful for what does work.
    You have a way with words.....God Bless.

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  24. Thank you for giving me something to ponder today. This will stay with me a long time. Be blessed!

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  25. Awesome post -- you have such a way with words, truly.

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  26. I love the way you write. I love your heart. I love it all.
    Dave Ramsey-YES. I get it! SAVING SAVING SAVING.
    I live in this bubble of dollar counting and envelope storing in dreams of a future and unknowing how to be responsible and how to let go.
    This touched me.
    You are amazing

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  27. This post SO resonated with me, it made my heart ache a little. My hubs and I have a baby coming, and I quit my job and all the sudden I'm scared. I have been saying for months now how the Lord has taken such great care of us, and how He is in control of all things, and that we are going to be just fine... And I meant it, or I thought I did. But then I walked away from a job that I have loved for six years, a job that has kept me feeling... in control... secure... Those lies! And deep down I know that God wants our dependence. I have been thanking Him and yet patting myself on the back all the while. And I did not know it. Blessings on you and yours.

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  28. Great, great post! I needed to read it. Thank you! :)

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  29. Perfect post - and girl - you need to start writing a book (or at least start writing for a wedding magazine ;)) You are an amazing writer.

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  30. My dad is always telling me to save, stop spending save save save, and so I do as much as I can, being a sole income it is hard,very hard, and then sometimes I wonder why I am saving in a world that is always spending? What if I die tomorrow, what if God has different plans for my savings...I question it and ponder and save...and spend when I feel like it...but I am sure when it all comes down to it, it will never be enough! Thanks for sharing!

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  31. WOW! so well said. Have also sought security in a number in our savings account, until my hubs lost his job and then broke his leg and we have to ask friends and family to help us pay our bills for over a year. But that sweet Goldfinch you spoke of came and built a nest in my heart too. While I still get a little itchy when the number dips below a certain amount, I can choose to believe it will all work out. Don't know how, but I've already seen it happen many times. so today, I believe.

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  32. Oh, dear girl. Thanks for this. Sincerely, The Lady

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  33. I love the way you write and tell your thoughts and stories...just beautiful

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  34. I love you and your post is all that and a bag of chips. And you are a super star with you followers.

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  35. I really enjoyed reading this post -- you are teaching a very wise lesson here.

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  36. Farmgirl, you do have a way with the written word. Goodness sakes.

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  37. Wow, what a touching post. It puts things into perspective...

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  38. What a blessing. Thanks for sharing with the world. God is good no matter what amount is in the bank :)

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  39. What a heart-felt, honest and beautiful post, my friend. We sometimes are taught things in unusual ways, aren't we? Luckily, you are awake and aware of what you think these happenings are to teach you.
    I think you're wonderful and are doing a great job in all areas, btw.
    hugs over to the Midwest---
    ox
    Lara

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  40. I have a hard time with the "finances" thing. My loving husband calls me the "half empty" woman. The extra isn't there, but the "just enough" is. The good Lord is going to get me to fully trust Him eventually! Good to hear your personal honesty. love you.

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  41. Oh great.

    Do you ever read a post and then wish you hadn't because it puts into words exactly what you're feeling, but don't really want to know what you're feeling?

    Yes?

    No?

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