Redeeming Sickness?

I was sick last week. Not a life and death condition, just sick enough to stop caring. My sweet husband sent me to bed, and when he suggested take-out I said, “Whatever you want to do honey.” He was thrilled. Matt loves take-out.

The week came to a close. I finally felt better, and at the end of the siege I surveyed the damages. Children still alive? Check. House destroyed? Check. Finances? Good… wait a second, I better check my wallet. On Wednesday, during a brief respite from feeling yucky, I had made a deposit at the bank and withdrawn cash for our discretionary spending. I knew what should have been in my envelopes, but all was not as it should have been. All of a sudden my words were coming back to me.

The problem with being sick is that consequences do not register in a “sick” brain. There is only what is in front of you. In the moment of your illness when you are offered a meal and your family is taken care of and being fed, you don’t ask questions. “Take my grocery money,” you find yourself saying. It is in those moments that you understand how Esau gave his birthright away for bowl of soup… he probably had a cold.

We had survived the week, and I am so thankful to my darling husband for taking such good care of our family. However, we killed our grocery budget. In total shock I realized that we had used $70 from my grocery budget to eat out last week!!! “Matt, I have no idea how we are going to do this,” I warned my darling husband. We have lots of food in our house in meals that I can prepare, but our next paycheck is still almost two weeks away. That is a long time to have such a big chunk taken out of our grocery money. Yet, at the same moment that I felt the sense of panic starting to rise, I also felt my faith rising. Lately, whenever I want to say the words, “It feels like an impossible mountain,” I immediately think that it is a great opportunity for the Lord to flex His muscles on my behalf. Remember my blog on Grace for the Giver, well that word has been so alive in my spirit. When I am weak, I get to experience his strength.

Yesterday afternoon as Matt and I were playing with our kids, I found myself talking to the Lord about our grocery budget and starting to worry about it again. I really could not imagine being able to stay within our grocery budget with $70 less. My grocery budget is very precisely planned to be just enough. I coupon and plan my meals in order to be able to do with a smaller grocery budget. What more could I do to make that money stretch?

A crash from the pantry jerked me from my prayer/panic. “Matt, we have to get a latch for our pantry to keep Luke out!”, I said in frustration. Luke had made a tower from the paper towels I have stored in the bottom of the pantry and was busy exploring the upper shelves that are usually beyond his reach. “I think we have a latch,” Matt said and disappeared to rummage through a junk drawer in our bedroom. “Tracy! Come here!” he called after a few minutes. Matt stood holding a bank envelope that he had found in rummaging through the drawer. We had been saving it for a project that had long since been paid for and was past. Inside that envelope was $60. We both looked at each other and started laughing. God is that good.

He redeems even sickness. He restores what has been stolen. He hears the prayers of a mommy’s heart. He hears the prayers of your heart. He is even big enough for your budget and where it may come up short. Life is full of surprises and the unexpected. We plan for as much as we know through budgeting. We can even have a savings account for the unexpected expenses, but there will always be times when it is more than you planned for. It is in those moments that you need His grace. Thankfully, God’s grace is there to help you to budget, and when life goes beyond your budget… so does His wonderful grace. If you are facing the end of this month with less money than you planned in your budget, ask God for grace and for His help.

I laugh when I think of the Lord planning this months ago, knowing that we had forgotten that money, and waiting for the right moment to surprise us with it. He has known about that money all a long , but as I wrote yesterday, His timing is so perfect. It makes me wonder how often our challenges are actually opportunities to discover God’s goodness. What does God have hiding up His sleeve for you? Your current difficulty may just be the struggle to unwrap what God has already prepared for you. Whatever His surprise may be it will be full of His goodness; it will once again remind you of His amazing love for you, and it will sing a song of redemption over whatever you have walked through. He IS that good.

“But as it is written, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.'” I Corinthians 2:9

God bless,