Over the next 4 days I'm going to share my top 4 lessons learned/themes from 2010. The first theme has been God's miraculous provision for our family...
This first time I personally experienced God's financial provision in my life was in college when I signed up to go on a mission trip that cost $5,000. I had no idea where that money would come from, but I felt led by God that I should go on the trip and He took care of the rest.
Then there was that time soon after we got married when we realized we were not going to have enough money to pay our bills. We were both attending seminary, both working part time, and just were not making enough money. We had a small amount of savings that we watched go down, down, down all semester until our savings and our checking accounts were completely depleted. We had a bill to be paid for about $150 and we simply did not have the money...Until I checked our mail one day and there sat a check for $150. God came through.
A couple years later I was pregnant with Caedmon and we were in desperate need of God's provision again. We felt led that I should quit my job as a teacher in order to stay home with Caedmon. Over the course of three months, Andy & I had to find renters for the house we owned, find a place for ourselves to live, and raise additional financial support for our church so Andy could take a raise. I remember being so stressed but constantly reminding myself that God was faithful. I knew He would come through somehow, but it was foggy to me. However, at the end of that 3 month period, the haze had cleared and we were left staring at God's provision.
When we were preparing to move to California to start South Bay Church, we had some pretty daunting financial circumstances in front of us. Andy had about $20K in student loans from college that were coming out of differment since he finished grad school. We had to sell our home in Texas in a housing market where houses weren't selling. And we felt led to move to one of the most expensive cities in America to start a church. I cannot even tell you the countless miracles we saw from January 08 to February 09 when South Bay had it's Grand Opening. Our house sold, we were debt free, and 279 people showed up for the Grand Opening of South Bay Church. Unbelievable.
2010 has been one example of God's provision after another. There were three main leaps of faith financially which God led us to take this year. The first was our adoption of Sammy, which ended up costing about $34K. That number is astounding to even write, but God provided for every. single. dime.
South Bay's giving challenge in February was the second time God really stretched our faith. Andy did a series on financial freedom and challenged our church to begin trusting God with their finances instead of clinging to what the world values. He challenged our church to begin tithing over the next 6 weeks and see how God provides for them. I felt like we should take the challenge with the church and contribute and additional 10% of our income on top of what we were already giving during that 6 week time span. It was a stretch for us, but God was faithful.
Then, over the summer we realized that at our current rate of growth we were going to outgrow our facility within a year. Thus, Andy led our church through a capital campaign last fall to try to get into a more permanent facility. Again, Andy and I felt prompted by God to trust Him with HIS resources that He's given us.
You'd think with all these examples of God's miraculous provision in our lives, these opportunities for faith would be easy for us. Second nature, even. Our go-to response. But one thing I've learned about God is that He will keep taking us to new levels of generosity and faith. He never wants us to get too comfortable where we are when there is SO MUCH MORE of Him to be experienced.
From a $5,000 mission trip in college to a $35,000 adoption ten years later, God is faithful. Always has been. Always will be. So, let's put our faith in Him this year!!!