It was that first month of married bliss. That first month of living outside my parents home. That first month of real life with real responsiblities and real bills. And no matter how we planned and prepared, I worried that somehow there was a mistake. That somehow the numbers added up wrong and we'd be in over our heads before two months had passed.
I wanted to ask my new husband, "Should we maybe tithe less this month...five percent, maybe eight? God will understand. We just don't know if our finances will all work out...if we'll have enough to live." But by God's grace I held my tongue and with more faith than I had ever had, my husband wrote that check first of all.
And God provided.
Every month, no matter how tight, no matter how worried we were about a growing electric bill in the cold of winter or of the looming cost of moving cross country, he wrote that check first…and often for more.
And the numbers...they added up wrong. But not in the way I expected. Instead of not quite making it and never having enough there was always enough, even if just barely. And somehow, in spite of feeling tight and pinched at times, the dollars and cents that we were saving to move added and added and added together till we were blown away at how fast it was growing.
And I began to feel the glimmers of freedom. I began to feel the rest in obedience. The confidence that God does provide for His people when they trust in Him. Confidence that is not in our paychecks or our faithfulness, but in His faithfulness and His goodness.
Because I've seen Him come through. Because I've seen Him provide. Because I've seen Him bless. Because I’ve seen it written in His Word as a command and I’ve seen His faithfulness to bless obedience.
Because over and over I've breathed in fear and breathed out anxious instead of breathing in His Word and breathing out obedience. I'm thankful that my husband had the faith to obey, because I would have never seen the blessings.
But my heart, it’s still deceitful. When I least expect it, my heart will start dreaming of expensive clothes whenever I want and beautiful vacations every year and no worries about money with steak and seafood for dinner every week. Because the minute I stop giving thanks with my heart and my words the discontent creeps in.
And God provides more work for me and a raise for my husband and I sing with freedom one day and then next find myself in bondage to my own selfish desires for more. But more never satisfies the desire for more, and more never creates a contented heart.
I'm praying hard that God will continue to expose and change my selfish heart. And for the first time, I’m starting to see tithing as thanks. I've known it as trust and I've known it as obedience and it is both those things. But now that I’ve seen and am seeing His faithfulness, I’m starting to see it as thanksgiving. Because my act of trust and obedience should always come from a heart of thankfulness first for who He is and then for what He has done.
So sisters, pray for changed hearts and let’s breathe Him in and breathe out thanks and obedience. Because the heart always follows the actions. Because He is worthy of our trust and our thanks. He is.
For more beautiful thoughts on selfishness versus obedience that I was immensely blessed and convicted by, read today’s She Reads Truth study on James 4:1-5.
Be blessed <3