I’ve been writing posts about my supernatural experiences with ghosts and spirit contact but now I want to share the amazing experience I had with God about eighteen years ago (not that I haven’t had any amazing experiences with God before then or since, but there’s one story in particular that I feel moved to share).
I’ve always been strong in my faith, even during times when I’ve not been affiliated with a particular church. At eighteen I joined the Catholic church and I was quite happy with that until my ever changing beliefs soon collided with church doctrine and we parted ways. I eventually came to the conclusion that no church had it ALL right so decided to just follow God in my own way. But, as happens when things go bad or tragedy strikes, I was soon looking for a church to turn to when my marriage fell apart. Suddenly I am a single mother with three young children and my finances a mess. He (the ex) hightailed it to greener pastures and left me with the aftermath of unpaid bills and empty cupboards.
I was in the military during this awful time. It is a demanding career and a huge consumption on a person’s time. My bosses didn’t care that I was now a single mother (they didn’t issue me those kids!) and had daycare issues and the like, they only cared on me spending 70 percent of my time catering to their demands even if said demands were nothing but silliness. For instance, there was this one time when I had to stay after work to SWEEP THE ROAD!! with a BROOM! Why? Because a … wait for it … GENERAL (gasp) MIGHT (yes MIGHT) come out to our section. Since we stored the Air Force’s stockpile of explosive paraphernalia, our duty section was far away from the main part of the base…just in case we had an accident. We didn’t after all, want the base populace to blow up! We didn’t get a lot of high brass (military VIPs) visitors. So, on this occasion we labored all day to make our area look pretty. Heaven forbid if the ROAD was DIRTY should the general traverse it in his car! No, the military isn’t always stupid like that, but they have their moments (I always thought if they’d just put a few women in charge, things would have made more sense). But I was operating in a man’s world back then (more women in the higher echelons now thank goodness) and so there you have it…I’m paying for extra babysitting and losing even more time with my kids so I can sweep a road of dirt just in case a general decides to lower himself and visit our humble unit (and no, he never made it out).
Things just went from bad to worse for me. I was quite devastated at the breakup of my marriage and was many miles away from my family (I was in Florida and they were all in Maine). I didn’t have them to lean on for support (though I did spend HOURS on the phone with my sympathetic mother!). My financial situation was getting worse and worse. Thank God for the angels on earth…my friends!! I was fortunate during this time to live on a wonderful street (in a duplex provided by the military) with some really great people. A recent move that had God’s influence all over it for I had just moved there from off base a few months prior. Had I still been living in town at the time of the break up, I would have lost everything…my home, my career, my credit! Why? Because while living off base, I didn’t know that many people and none of my neighbors. While living off base, I had to pay rent and utilities. Something I wouldn’t have been able to do had I still been there when my marriage ended. But at my new home on base, I didn’t have to pay rent or utilities (the military gives its members an allowance to live off base and they take that allowance away when you move onto the base. My off base living expenses, however, had far exceeded the allowance I was given). My new neighbors became my closest friends. They really helped keep me together during this black period of my life.
I remember many nights of despair in those first few weeks after the breakup. I would hide in my home while my neighbors visited each other outside and cry because my kids were hungry and I didn’t have much food in the house. I did not want to share my shame with anyone and it was a lonely time for me. I felt a failure at everything. My career was hurting for I had a boss who didn’t have much of a heart … truly, he’d stare of me with cold, unfeeling eyes as I tried to humbly explain why I was five minutes late to work, or why I was sitting at my desk crying quietly as I labored along. It didn’t matter the many HOURS I stayed late to work on his sudden whim, doing stupid stuff…like sweeping roads. He didn’t care if my kids were sick or the car broke down or that my babysitter couldn’t watch the kids or whatever. None of my woes mattered to him in the least. I lamented at my luck to get someone like that for a supervisor (the first in my chain of command). And even that set of circumstances was a lesson for me. But something I won’t go into in this post.
On one of my worst nights (sobbing over the financial mess I was in), I get a phone call from a friend. She and her husband had been trying to get me to come to church with them. I needed God in my life they said. I told them that I already had God in my life. But I needed the support of a church they said. They were Baptists. I was an ex-Catholic with occult beliefs (spirit contact, palmistry, numerology). I knew for sure the Baptist church was not going to accept those beliefs either. But I needed some spiritual support. So the phone call came at just the right time. After months of saying no to their invitation to go to church with them, I finally agreed.
Can you imagine my absolute surprise when I go to this church and the minister announces that he is going to start on this very day, a six part sermon about MONEY!!? I had a little less than 200 dollars in the bank and payday was over a week away. I had hardly any food in the house (was going to go shopping later that day) and my car was low on gas. My kids needed shoes and the girls (3 and 4) were in sore need of clothes. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be able to meet my financial obligations come next payday. I was in utter despair at what to do (which is why I finally decided to go to church). The Friday before this particular Sunday I had gone to a credit counseling agency. They agreed my life was a financial mess and said I qualified for their program. I was scheduled to meet with them again in a couple days to sign up for their assistance. And here, on this Sunday when I FINALLY gave in and went to a church that I never thought I’d attend because I’m not Baptist and knew they wouldn’t like me believing the things I believe, the sermon is about money!! The first in a six part series!! This, I thought, is God at work.
The church was also (coincidentally) trying to get enough money to build a new addition and buy new pews. It was a very costly venture and they needed their parishioners to come on board and donate the funds to make this happen. This might have been the driving force behind the minister’s decision to do a six part series “the law of money”. I don’t care. That day changed my life.
The gist of that day’s sermon: God provides for his own. Trust in him and he will take care of ALL your NEEDS (not necessarily all your WANTS, but definitely all your needs). Yes, this takes a leap of faith. But one that is good on its return! Show God you believe and God will show you that your belief is a solid FACT. Trust God. Give generously now and don’t worry about where the money is going to come later. It will come. Sort of the “if you give it, the money will come” kind of philosophy (this was many years before “The Secret” came out promising similar results!). When it came time for the collection plate to come around, I pulled my checkbook out of my purse and stared at it long and hard. The minister was in earnest at this point (it was collection time after all!) about trusting God. If you Give, so will you Receive…TENFOLD! I decided to trust God. I wrote out a check for a little over half of what was in my account. I gave the church $100 knowing it was going to severely cut me short of funds. My heart was pounding. After putting that check in the collection box, I wanted to snatch it back. Was I stupid? And then, “Sorry, God!! I DO trust you!!” It was a huge leap of faith for me.
A couple days later, I went to meet with the credit counseling agency. I had to show them my income, my bills, and the estimated amounts I spent on various things. The idea was that I pay them, they pay my creditors and I follow their strict budget to the T. The first to go on my list of liabilities (what I paid out)?Church donations! My heart did a flip flop. Oh dear! I was supposed to be trusting God and here the credit agency was telling me “God will understand that you just can’t afford to give any money to the church right now”. I had to agree to their budget or it was a no go. I chose to decline their help. They wanted me to deny God and I thought that a sure sign that I wasn’t supposed to be there. Now, just to be clear…I think credit agencies have a place in the world. They have helped many, many people. But at this time in my life, it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t the particular journey I was to travel.
I went home that day with hope in my heart but also fear. What if…no, I just couldn’t allow my faith to waiver. A few days later, the day before payday, I’m balancing my checkbook (so I can pay upcoming bills) and it appears that I am overdrawn. I can’t believe it! I remember feeling so bereft, terrified, alone. I lay my head down and sobbed my heart out. My son (he was 9) came in the house, saw me in my moment of despair and ran back out. He ran across the street to my friend Sylvia’s house and told her, “Mom is crying!”. This dear friend, one of my angels on Earth, came right over.
“Debbie, what is wrong?” I waved at my checkbook. “I’m broke, overdrawn and I’ve hardly any food in the house. I’ve been feeding my kids macaroni and cheese for the past three days. How much more will they eat of that stuff?” It was a low point. It was. Sylvia took on a no-nonsense, we’ll fix it attitude. “It’s okay, dear, we’ll figure it out.” She sits beside me and we go through my checkbook. I dig out bill statements and bank statements (thank God I don’t throw anything away!) and we go through every single thing. A mistake!!! I made two car payments that month!! A quick call to the bank and yes, I did pay them twice (no I do not know how it was that I did this) and no, I don’t owe them this coming payday. Just like that, I have 300 dollars!! A windfall for me. Sylvia invites us to her house for dinner. She has extra she says. Plenty to go around. Did I mention about how good a friend she was?
The next day I get a phone call from Trish, another friend. “Debbie, I have a bunch of clothes that will fit the girls, do you want them?” (she had three daughters all older than my two girls). Yes!! Sylvia strolls in a few minutes later (within moments of me getting off the phone) and she hands me new shoes for each of my kids. “I bought my kids (she had three children too) shoes and it was a buy-one-get-one-free deal. I picked up the free pairs for your kids.” Did I mention how great an angel she was?
The weekend following the end of the church’s series on money, I make the four hour trip to Georgia to visit my wonderful friends Robin and Steve. I needed to get away from it all and where better to go than to see more good friends? I was nervous about the trip because my tires were bad but I decided to trust God in this as well and off we went. While there, Steve takes my car, tells me he’ll be back later. When he did so…new tires! An oil change! Thank God for them, all my wonderful friends! Sylvia, Nita, Chong, Trish, Robin, Steve … angels on Earth. Each of them, now aware of my situation, bringing me and my children the things we need. No questions asked. No expectations in return. Wow. God was making good on his promise. He was providing for my needs and using my friends to make it happen.
I attended all six sermons on money at that Baptist church. I let everyone know that he (the minister) was speaking a great truth. Trust God and he will provide! I was living proof of it! I never did have any problems after that of meeting my financial needs or getting what I needed. Things just worked out. (They still do!!) I even remember getting a check in the mail because I had overpaid something else (way back when) and while doing an audit, they discovered it! Money just came to me one way or the other. My parents came for several visits (something we thought wouldn’t happen because of their own issues but then things would clear up and they could come after all!). Their visits helped immensely. Not just financially but emotionally. I hated it when they left to go back home. I tell you, if I needed something, I thought, “God will provide” and I just didn’t worry about it. And guess what? God provided!!
That all happened about 18 years ago. The philosophy on money that I learned back then has continued to work for me ever since. Sometimes I do have a relapse and catch myself worrying about money and all the financial demands that must be met. When I realize what I’m doing, worrying about something God can take care of, I have to stop myself and let it go. Worry is an indication of faithlessness. I have to remind myself to trust God. He has never let me down. God doesn’t let anyone down, especially those who put their trust in him.
I know this sounds a bit like a sermon but it’s a testimonial. Every word true. With times being so tough, I thought it a good time to share my own tough times. God bless everyone reading this post! May God provide all your needs. Amen.