Monday, June 25, 2012

Getting Kicked in the....


That's what's been going on in our lives lately.  We've been getting the pride kicked right out of us.  It hurts.  I don't like it.  It really stinks when you realize you are wrong.

Here's a snippet of the conversation I had with God the other morning at about 5:00 am.

Me:  This stinks God, I don't like it.  You can do the miracle any time now.

God:  Good morning to you too.

Me:  We didn't win the 50 million again on Friday.

God:  You're not going to win the 50 million.  You'd best get over it.

Me:  Oh, so You're going to do the 100 million from some gazillionaire in Dubai, I just have to have a little more faith and patience, right?!

God:  Stop now.

Me:  We're really, really, really broke.  Credit card is officially maxed out.  There is now $400 to spend on groceries, etc. after expenses.  One trip to Walmart costs at least $200, one fill up at the station $100.  Numbers don't add up.  I don't want to clip coupons.  Home and auto insurance, due soon.  Kids need to go to the dentist, we still have to pay that 20%.

God:  I know.

Me:  Now is when I'm supposed to ask, "What am I supposed to learn out of this experience?"  Right?

God:  Yes.

Me:  I hate that question.

God:  I know.

Me:  What am I supposed to learn out of this experience?

God:   Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Me:  No.  I don't want to ask for help.  I don't want to tell people how needy we are.

God:   Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.

Me:  What?????  I am not proud!!!  Have You not noticed that we are amazing helpers?  We have NEVER been the helpees.  We are NOT LIKE all those people who are always asking for HELP and acting all NEEDY and stuff.  We are always putting others before ourselves, we tithe (except for when we got mad at You and didn't), we have sponsor children.  Are You not paying ATTENTION, God???  We ROCK at this not letting money be our master thing.  Pride? Are You kidding??

God:  silence 

(if He had eyeballs, there would have been a colossal eyeball roll)

Me:  Oh, c**p.

God:  Mmmhmmm.

And so now, here I am.  I am not sure really what I am doing.  Asking for help? Confessing?  Feeling really stupid?  Well, no, I know I am feeling really stupid.

I've had the opportunity to spend some time in a local food bank.  When I am there, I am the helper.  I help the needy.  And I know that good and decent helpers do not judge the needy.  But guess what?  What I know and what I do are apparently two different things.  So I found out at 5:03 that morning.

Part of what I've had to do is look at people's 'financial situations' and basically decide if they are trying to scam the system or honestly are 'needy'.  I find myself looking at the 'magic number' of income left after expenses and questioning in my mind, 'Seriously, you can't buy some groceries with some of that money?  You can't make it stretch just that little bit farther?'  'Well, that's what happens when you don't have a job and are trying to live off the government.'  Rational and responsible thoughts.  Because I am the helper and I know what I'm thinking about.  Not.

We are responsible citizens.  Koos does have a job and he's been promoted to manager after only six or so months of  working there.  (No pride there, really, just kind of astonishment.)  We even give unto Caesar what is Caesar's without grumbling too much.  

Practically, we have a plan for this.  We will apply for a line of credit with a lower interest rate than the credit card.  (As if the bank will give us one, after they look at our financial situation.)  I guess I can jump back into the workforce, the kids can go to public school, cash in the RRSPs, sell the dog.  We've had all the 'what to do in a financial crisis' conversations.

But what has caught me off guard and what I think (at least I hope) is the point of this exercise, is that I have now been exposed to the way having not quite enough money - in a society that is all about money - makes you kind of crazy in the head.  I assumed that if I ever 'got here' I would put all my faith in Jesus, recite all the proper money related scriptures, carefully plan and scrimp and save, and fall asleep peacefully at night waiting for the miracle to happen.

Not so.  In fact here's what has actually happened:

"I don't care if the credit card is going to max out soon.  I AM GOING to the Third Day concert and I AM BUYING the VIP tickets.  And the T-Shirt and the wrist bands and the hoody AND the online concert."  "Take that financial responsibility."

"Kael will be sad if we don't go to Camp Qwanoes this year.  It is okay if the credit card is almost maxed out, we don't want him to be sad about Camp Qwanoes.  He really likes it."  Well, there's a good chance he's going to be sad if we have to tell him he doesn't get to eat next month, too.

That government system of giving handouts that I've criticized people for using?  Can't wait for it to kick in.  I am feeling pretty 'owed' for all those years Koos and I have paid into it.

What the???  Where has all the logic gone?  And so much for dignity and scoffing at those with entitlement issues.  I have learned of late that when desperation (even perceived desperation) sets in, logic scampers off.  And I know better!  Whatever that means.

And I have support.  What if I didn't have support?  And I have hope.  What if I didn't have hope?

And now, I seem to be getting some compassion.  

Ironically, this is about the time we are supposed to be starting to 'fundraise' if we are serious about going to Brazil in the fall of 2013.  I have been loathe to begin that process.  After all, that must be the most humiliating part of working outside your own country, right?  It is very cool and awesome of us that we like to give to missionaries, but please oh please, do NOT make us ask.  Speak to that guy in Dubai, God.

Instead, I feel like I am basically fundraising while we're still in Canada, so we can live in Canada.  I am gagging on humble pie as I type this.

All attempts at humor aside.  We are broke. It has taken me two days to finish this blog because I just do NOT want to post it, but I know it is part of the process.

I have no problem asking people for prayer.  We are going to need a new skill set to manage this next way of living.  I haven't had to budget to the penny since before we had kids.  I haven't had to say no to my kids when they've asked to go to the pool or the movie theater.  I have teetered on the edge of depression lately and I do not want to fall back into that pit.  I am questioning.  Did we make a mistake moving here?  Did we not hear God right?  Are we doing something wrong?

But at the same time, there is this strange undercurrent of excitement!  What ARE You up to God?

Recently, new friends of ours from church have been going through a similar experience and I am buoyed by the grace they've walked through it with.  Incidentally, she pointed out that there is a little comment on the back of a Visa statement that indicates how long it will take you to pay it off if you only make minimum payments.  We are up to 75 years and 11 months.  Nice.

And I am reminded already that God is good, and faithful.  Even in my procrastination, He has blessed us.  I opened an email from Hay River yesterday in which our Pastors stated (paraphrased), "We were praying for you last night and God told us to send you a cheque for $significant.  What is going on?"  Blessed and busted all at the same time.

We got a phone call yesterday morning from our dear friends John and Antoinette - that knocked our socks off with its possible spiritual repercussions.  If we hadn't have come to Duncan, this definitely would have been a missed blessing.  Maybe we are supposed to be here.

I do have a problem asking for help.  I am not sure really what to even ask for.  It honestly does seem dumb to ask for money.  But when it all comes down to it, that is what we need.  And I know that His ways are not mine and His thoughts are not mine.  He might be doing something - in, for, with - someone else, as well as us, that I have no concept of.

So....gulp.,  I can't even assuage my pride and say we would pay you back.

As my theme song to this final part of the blog, I am listening to 'Blaze of Glory' by Jon Bon Jovi.  'Cause it feels like we are about to go down in one.  Next up on the mournful, feeling sorry for myself playlist, Guns N' Roses 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door'.

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