Is The Living Easy

Summer officially begins on Sunday, but we’ve been spending some lazy afternoons at the pool and attempting to not turn on the oven for a little while now. The bright sunshine and the perfectly temperatured days have left me feeling nostalgic for summers past.  When I’m outside and can hear the clink of the metal bats from the sports complex that is near our home, I suddenly want to be down there with a mouth full of seeds and nowhere to be until the fall.  It’s the good kind of longing – for simpler times, for adventure, for the possibilities of things to come. 

I think I’ve mentioned to a few of you recently that this year, 2008, has been the hardest one that I have ever lived through.  There have been so many things that feel as if they are unraveling slowly and so many that have felt as if they have been sliced clean through that I haven’t really known where to start the mending. The struggling and the anguish have not subsided and so it is still much too soon to give a testimony of how all of these things occurred but there was blessing waiting on the other side.  I think we are still very much in the middle of this road of sorrow, but I am hoping that we are at least that far and that the road ahead is shorter than it seems from here. 

This morning, while sitting on the back porch, I turned in my wide margin to the book of Mark and began reading in chapter four. I read through to verse forty where Jesus asks “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” and found a little note I wrote in the summer of 2004.  It said, simply “$236”.  And I remembered. 

Jud and I had been married for a couple of months.  We had plenty of money during those times, so don’t misunderstand me.  I am just rigidly budgeted. If the beginning of the month’s budget allows for a grand in shoes, then I have no problem spending up to a thousand dollars in shoes, but go over that thousand dollars by a few cents, and you can watch my eyeballs start to narrow.  If there is $100 for groceries, then I can do that too and squeeze the life out of those pennies (Aldi! Holla!) but I will berate myself if I use five dollars more than that.  This is who I am.  I blame my father.

So, that summer, having budgeted well and having spent accordingly we were presented with an opportunity to give to something that was important and certainly worthy of money.  We gave $100.  Then there was an unexpected expense.  What it was now, I cannot recall, probably a cell phone bill that exceeded it’s normal bounds by thirty six dollars.  And, unexpectedly, we had to pay for a medical bill out of pocket that we thought would be covered by that ridiculously high premium-ed insurance I had. One hundred more dollars gone that I did not expect to spend. And I was ticked.

Again, it wasn’t the money.  We had plenty of it (seriously, then to now? Ha! We were Scrooge McDuck-ing it in our coin pool!).  It was just that the PLAN wasn’t working.  The thing that had been set out beforehand had been messed up and I cannot suffer things life that, or rather, I chose to not suffer them well.  And I got mad at God. Wasn’t He taking care of us?  Wasn’t He supposed to be worried about the things we eat and the clothes we wear?  Didn’t He care? 

Little by little each day that went by I got a little bit harder and a little bit more angry and a little bit more annoyed with Him until one day when I had reached, what He obviously deemed to be my breaking point.  On that day, a letter came in the mail from a local hospital.  Two or three years before that day, Jud had gone to the hospital for something and he over paid his bill.  He overpaid by two hundred thirty-six dollars on the nose. The exact amount of money about which I had been throwing a cosmic temper tantrum.  And here it was.  God’s care and mercy and protection and love all wrapped up in a small check from a hospital. 

And this morning, I remembered.  Am I still afraid?  Do I still have no faith? Will I suffer this trial well?  Will I endure the sufferingand choose to identify with Christ or will I attempt to opt out?  This class can’t be clepped and I’m sure that I wouldn’t pass the test even if it existed.  So I’ll keep walking through it, with enough grace given each day to get me through. I’m just so glad that it is unmerited favor and that there is no end to it.

And I’m going to sit back and enjoy the moments like this.

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    • Kit and Luke
    • June 17th, 2008

    Interesting story about the money. I feel like God doesn’t give me lessons like that, I get more the “stop being uptight and exact about money” type lessons, like when we couldn’t sell our car for what it was worth to pay for our new one, but had to eventually eat it and sell it cheap to friends who needed it, because we could. (and incidentally, my husband has never over-paid anything, but rather early in our marriage we’d get the letters that he had “under-paid” 2 or 3 years ago and now owed more 🙂 )

    I did not know 2008 has been a hard year for you; on your post about your birthday you said you were having a blast lately, and I was jealous because 2008 has been hard for us too. I’m sure in a totally different way, but still.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Sometimes I wish my blog could be more like yours, with me sharing thoughts. but it’s supposed to be for fundraising/reporting on our ministry, and I wouldn’t want to overwhelm anybody 🙂

  1. Great post, Kim!

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