Thursday, June 23, 2016

Can You Imagine?

This morning I picked up a check that was for the tutoring I had done throughout the school year.  I got to the van, and I looked at the amount.  I smiled.  A big smile.  It was a good check.  Not a terrifically huge amount of money, but a little more than I had thought it would be.  That in itself is good, but I immediately recognized that it was more than I needed to finish the commitment I had made to the building fund of my church.

In the fall of 2014, our church initiated a building campaign.  Todd and I set a goal together.  It was one that we agreed on, and one that we felt we both had to stretch a bit to get there each month.  It felt right.  It felt good to agree on the amount and to know that we were helping our church make needed improvements to our facilities in order to be better able to serve the community.

And then, right before the pledge cards were due, God laid it on my heart that I had more to give.  It was clear to me that this was something He wanted me and me alone to do.  An act of obedience and trust.  It felt like an unsafe and scary number that He was calling for.  How in the world could I do that? I kept hearing these words in my heart:  Trust me, trust me, trust me.  So I did it.  I committed to this amount by myself, in addition to the joint amount that Todd and I would be contributing.

I didn't know how it would work, or what it would look like.  I was afraid of failing.  My extra contribution would come from talents with which God has gifted me.  Tutoring and crocheting to be precise.  God blessed me with these abilities, and I would use them to give back to Him through the Imagine campaign at church.  I decided that I was committed to this amount, even if it took me longer than the 36 months to accomplish it.

Less than a month after this decision, I got a call from a friend of a friend--a complete stranger to me.  She was desperate for some reading help for her son, and our mutual friend had said she should get in touch with me.  Not long after that initial conversation, we were having tutoring sessions twice a week. Bam.  That was a significant start to fulfilling my obligation.  I believe that was God directly working through the situation to show me that He had it all under control.

Along the way, I have been sent other tutoring students.  In addition to what I do through school, I have had students that I work with at the house.  Although it makes for crazy schedules and means that I have something going on almost every single night, I really do enjoy helping them be more successful.  That is intrinsically rewarding, but it also gives me a sense of satisfaction to know that all that time and effort directly corresponds to my goal for the church.

As if that wasn't enough, my crochet business has blossomed.  With the exception of setting up a table at our church craft fair and posting some pictures through Facebook, I have done nothing to market my business.  God is my marketing and advertising director, and He is doing a fine job!  I consistently have six to ten orders that are waiting for me to be made.  That is not so many that I get  overwhelmed trying to get everything done, but not so few that I feel despair or worry over not making my goals.  I get a kick out of people sending me a picture and asking me if I could make something like that.  God has certainly blessed the work of my hands.  He sends me the customers.  I make the products, and I give the profit to Him.

So here I sit, 21 months into this big, unsafe, scary goal.  AND I AM FINISHED.  Fifteen months ahead of the 3-year commitment.  When I saw my check this morning, I realized that the amount was enough to fulfill my goal.  That is what brought on the big smile.

And then the tears.  As I drove back to town, I just was overwhelmed.  God loves me so much, and He is so good to me.  He has faithfully brought me the tutoring students and the crochet customers, without me having to go out and hunt up business.  Twenty-one months ago, He said, "Trust me."  And that is all I had to do.  Even as I sit here typing this, I am overcome all over again.  I just cannot believe how He did so much more than I could ask or even imagine.  Looking back to the fall of 2014, I  didn't know how I could possibly make it work.  The answer is:  I couldn't.  God did it.  All I did was take one step of obedience.

"Now to Him, who is able to immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen."  Ephesians 3:20-21

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