Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Faith in Finances - Part 1

Part One - May 2010

It is with great joy and excitement that we share with you my recent job transition that will result in a $10,000 cut in pay and benefits!


Yes, we know that is the initial reaction, but we are thankful to use this opportunity to share God's faithfulness and goodness behind this story.

First...No, we are not becoming missionaries and asking for your financial support, so please, read on! :-)

For several months God has been working in our hearts and lives, presenting us with various opportunities for the future. We've been praying and seeking His will, but with each door we've peeked through, we've seen wonderful blessings and circumstances, but we have not felt led to walk through the door.

Then, Perimeter Christian School, a ministry of Perimeter Church (where I currently work and our family worships), came to me with the chance to teach middle school Bible in the fall. Working with students in the classroom setting has always been close to my heart, and Bible has always been my favorite subject to teach. I've shared with Christy many times how I miss being more intimately involved in the students' lives as my current job offers more large group opportunities and less time for consistent small group ministry. We were both immediately drawn to this job offer, particularly since Christy has had the privilege of teaching at this school before the boys were born, and we both highly value the philosophies, covenant community, and leadership there. However, when we heard the initial financial compensation, we both just kinda wrote it off, not thinking it was doable and therefore must not be God's plan for our lives.

Yet His Spirit persisted on our hearts. Wise mentors spoke into our lives. Christy and I both spent time in prayer, and although the numbers do not make sense on paper, we couldn't shake the inner sense that we were called to accept this offer in faith.

Now don't get us wrong...some things are by faith, and some are by foolishness, but we both came to the conclusion that we were called to embark on this adventure, trusting in God's provision. Truly, in the large scheme of things, it is a small step of faith. But for us, and where we are in our walks, it is a bigger step than we've taken before. 

Ultimately, we had a choice. To obey God and trust what we believe are His true and precious promises to us in His Word (see below), accept the job, and see what He does. OR, we could recoil in fear, disobey God, and see what He does. Either way, we know He has us in the palm of His hand. He is sovereign and in control. Who are we, mere humans, to think we can "mess up" His plan? But with obedience comes blessing, so one morning in the kitchen, we stood in the kitchen & said, "Let's do it." After ten years of being Christians, we've learned from experience that it's always just easier to go with God than push against Him.
So....with our decision made, I went into work for the day, and in less than 24 hours, the school had offered me some additional work to make up part of the $10,000 gap, including an extra course to teach and some coaching work. About this time, Christy was offered a job teaching summer camp to preschoolers. She had applied earlier in the spring but had been told that due to low enrollment she was not yet needed. Low and behold, now they have enough kids to hire her. Coincidence? Obviously, we don't think so. 

A couple of weeks ago, TAL was offered a bit part in a film vignette. No, we aren't planning on moving toHollywood anytime soon, but his little paycheck fills another bit of the gap.

Is there still a gap? Yes. Do we believe God will cover that gap? Absolutely! The peace and joy we feel about this decision could only possibly come from Him. 

Why do we share with you the big $10,000 number? Is it so you will feel sorry for us and write us a check? NO! It is so that you can be encouraged by how BIG and AWESOME our God is. May our story encourage you on your own journey of faith. Next year at this time we will send you another letter sharing how the gaps were filled, how God miraculously provided, and what He had up His sleeve all along. We also want to make an oath with you, our friends. We are publicly proclaiming that through this we will not complain about money or put a voice to our worries. If we truly are trusting God, then we need to "put our money where our mouth is" (haha!). Now, if you ask us a question about our finances, we will answer honestly, but our hope and prayer is that by the Spirit's power we will not allow our finances to taint what we believe is the character of God - that He is a God who loves and provides for His children. A Scripture that really convicted us and helped us make this decision was Psalm 37:25 - "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." Will we break this oath? Probably. That's where Jesus comes in. He was sacrificed on our behalf and for all of our sin so that when we do screw up, the debt has already been paid. We can find forgiveness and our joy can be restored. So when we fail to live up to our oath, please gently hold us accountable. Hopefully it won't happen too often because we long for our boys, family, and friends to see that God is real. He is intimately involved in our lives, not just sitting up on high distantly removed from His creation. We want our story to bring His light and life and love into your lives.

We love you all, and we appreciate all your encouragement and prayers as we take off on this new journey together!

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