A Word For Your Year

Every December as one year ends and another begins, I find myself seeking God for my word for the year and my Bible verse for the year. These two things give me an anchor through the storms that will come over the upcoming 365 days. This word and verse becomes a safety line I cling to in the floods of life to pull me back to firm, dry ground. In this world we will have troubles, scripture tells us. Having a firm grasp of a word from the Father sustains us mentally and spiritually on the unknown road ahead.

If you haven’t made choosing a word for the year your practice, I would encourage you to start doing so this year. Just to inspire some thoughts I’ve listed specific words and verses friends have told me about or ones I’ve used myself. See if God brings one to your attention or if He gives you your own unique Word of the Year.

Listen. “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” Proverbs 1:5

Grace. “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Cor. 12:9 ~OR~

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col. 4:6

Hope. “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Prov. 25:5

Life. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20

Kind. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Eph. 4:32

Trust. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs. 3:5-6

Rest. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

Joy. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Rom. 15:13

Celebrate! “Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.” Luke 15:23

Worship. “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24

Humility. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs. 11:2

Truth. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Silence and Solitude. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35

Adorn!

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

As I decorated my house for Christmas this year I had to fight some monsters. Their names? Newer, Better and Buy More. We had downsized to a new home and suddenly I wanted to go crazy buying decorations to adorn my tree, table, mantle, yard, door, … you name it. I saw others’ spectacular holiday decorations when I visited them or in pictures posted on Facebook, which made me want to do even more. The Greed Monster was awakened within me!

On a mid-December run to Hobby Lobby it was a real battle. I was going “just to get gift tags, tissue paper, and more tape.” But when I went in I couldn’t help handling all the pretty holiday decorations. It’s amazing how they come out with more cute things every year; surely companies could only re-invent Christmas decorations so many times! I managed to get out with just a couple of sale items more than what my list had called for. Whew!

As I sat at home with my tree twinkling, ready to wrap the rest of the presents, I began to wonder why I was so pulled to buy, buy, buy this year. I’ve puzzled over it for the last hour, and here I sit with some thoughts some of you may identify with.

First, I don’t want to look like a scrooge to new neighbors who have only known me five months. Second, Christmas is my favorite Holy Day. I love celebrating the birth of my Savior and want to focus all my energy toward making known the source of Christmas celebrations. Neither of those are bad reasons. But then there is my dirty little reason number three! It was revealed to me in my Bible reading.

Peter told us in the verse above that our outward adornment should not be our goal. For me, my home, as an extension of my personality, beliefs and family heritage, are included in that adornment. I’m instructed not to get too focused on clothes, adornments and all those finer things. But why does he say that? Are those things evil? No. But for at least one of us – ME – those things become a trap. They become the measuring stick I use on myself to see if I meet up to the criteria I feel society is expecting of me. This is the sad reason number three, those decorations are my means to getting compliments and strokes from folks that will make by heart swell with pride and joy.

Joy – that’s great. And PRIDE – ugh! My prideful heart seeks contentment from being seen and known and valued through those outer adornments, those glittery, sparkly trinkets. Things that can’t bring contentment.

If I go back to Peter’s words I find what can offer that contentment to my heart. I find what I should be adorning my home and self with is a beautiful inner self, unfading beauty that flows from a gentle and quiet spirit whose source is Father God Himself.

So if you can identify with my monsters or similar ones, join me in kneeling at a manger. Put the glitter and shine in the rearview mirror and meditate on the earthy sights and sounds of a Savior who came as a babe to redeem us from our sin. Turn to this Savior, Jesus, and His Word, and let yourself be adorned with the contentment, joy, and peace your heart yearns for. It is found only in Him, not in all that glitters.

The Gifts

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

It was Christmastime. Our family was in the hustle and bustle of Christmas parties, our church pageant, decorating, and shopping. With four kids ranging in age from five to fifteen, there was the normal busyness too: school, lessons, friends, etc. With all that and elderly grandparents depending on us to take them to doctor appointments that year, my mom calendar was overloaded.

In the heat of the season, my 5-year-old came to me with a request.

“Mommy, can you take me to buy presents for everyone?” he asked with gentle, sincere eyes.

“Well Sweetie, do you have any money?” I asked in return.

“Yes ma’am. I’ve saved up my birthday money. I have $20.”

I knew he had at least 5 gifts to buy, so I wasn’t confident he could afford to gift “everyone.” But he was determined. So we planned to go later that evening.

After supper we made the trek to our neighborhood Kmart store. As we were walking in, he started listing all the people he wanted to buy for. Besides his dad, siblings and me, he also listed his three grandparents! In my head I was trying to divide $20 by 8, and quickly realized he was going to have about $2.00 per gift to spend to allow for tax and everything. So I began spewing my doubt.

“Now you don’t have much money. You may not be able to buy for everyone on your list. Do you want to just get dad and your brother and sisters something?”

“No. I’ll have enough money. I want to buy them all.”

So in we went. And it was the best Christmas shopping trip ever!

I don’t remember every gift; it’s been twenty years ago. But I vividly remember searching for the first one. He wanted to go to the housewares department. We went up and down several short aisles before he stopped in front of the drinking glasses. He scanned the shelves for a few seconds and then reached and picked up a green, plastic glass. It was hard, clear plastic, fat and squatty, with raised diamond shapes etched all around the outside and a faux glass appearance.

“I’m getting this for Grandmother,” he announced.

“So… Why did pick this for her?”

He replied, “Well it’s pretty, and I think she’ll like it. And with her arthritis she has trouble holding some glasses that are slick and heavy. But this one is light, and it has those ridges on the outside so it won’t slip out of her hand. And it’s short so it won’t get tipped over so easy.”

I was a bit stunned. My 5-year-old son had logically and with compassion, thought through to choose a perfect gift for his grandmommy who had severe rheumatoid arthritis.

“And,” he finished his list of whys, “it only costs $0.50 so it leaves me with money for others.”

As we wandered all over that store, each gift was a repeat of that type scenario. Each was thought through with a focus on each person’s desires or needs and with a keen eye towards price. Silly Putty for a sibling who loved that and had lost theirs, an inexpensive nose and ear hair trimmer for Daddy from the dollar shelf, and on it went. Finally, he had chosen seven wonderful, inexpensive gifts that were just right for each family member.

“You need to go away now,” he then announced.

“Oh! Ok. But I can’t leave you alone,” I reminded him.

He thought a minute, then said, “Will you walk with me and stop where I tell you and not look the direction I’m shopping?”

I accepted his proposal and followed where he led. I let him know how much money he still had (and it wasn’t much), then dutifully turned my back to him. He shopped a minute, then walked past me with his arms and body curled protectively around my gift that he was trying to keep hidden.

We proceeded to the cash register. I let the lady know that he was buying a gift he wanted to keep secret from me. She said she would scan it first and wrap it in tissue and put it in a separate bag. After it was hidden in its bag, I could turn around and help him finish checking out. He proudly paid with his $20 and had just enough. His birthday money had been sacrificed for the family members his 5-year-old heart adored.

As we walked out of the store, I thought I had never seen a child of mine smiling so proudly and with such sheer delight. His giving heart was thrilled. He had come with a mission to give and had accomplished it.

We give gifts at Christmas because God gave us the greatest gift over two thousand years ago. He gave because He loved us. His focus was on our deep need. He purposed to give to make a way for our redemption. His was a Priceless gift that cost Him dearly.

In every aspect, my son’s gift-giving had been a reflection of the heart and motives of Father God!

In this season of gift-giving, may you reflect the Father in your giving. May you give joyfully and freely out of a heart of love. As you bless others, may the pleasure of giving bless you even more than the gifts bless those you buy for. May you remember it’s not the expensiveness of the item given that matters, it is the love and the thoughtfulness from the heart of the one who takes time to choose a gift “just for you.”

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

In Everything Give Thanks!

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

It’s that day. The day we are supposed to be thankful. Some of us will embrace it joyfully and wholeheartedly, thankful for food, relationships, health, … thankful for life.

Others of us will struggle. We find ourselves at a crossroads with unexpected things just ahead. We may be alone, wounded, hurt or rejected. We could be in a place we’d rather not be: a hospital, rehab, temporary accommodations. Instead of a feast of turkey, dressing, sides and desserts, we may be staring at meager fare, a microwaved plate, or an unappealing bed tray.

If you find yourself in a strange place, with strange people or hard circumstances and microscopic amounts of a thankful spirit, you are not alone. You are in the company of many other people, and you are under the watchful care of the Father.

We often equate thankfulness with good things and abundance only, but scripture instructs us to give thanks in everything. In every situation.

In sickness… I may not be thankful hugging a toilet bowl throwing up with a stomach bug, but I can be thankful that I have a home in which to be sick and to rest.

When family and friends aren’t around… I can be thankful I’m alive and have opportunity to make friends or to be with family another time.

If money is tight… I can be thankful for the clothes I’m wearing and a place to stay.

As I grieve the loss of a loved one… I can be thankful for having had them in my life and that God made us to have memories, where I can always recall our good times together.

In joblessness… facing court… being alone in a foreign country (as many of our military and others are)… sitting at an empty table… in the darkness of depression… staring a cancer diagnosis in the face… brokenhearted over a family member trapped in addiction… grieving a loss… or whatever difficult thing you are facing, here are some things you can be thankful for.

Life. Breath. Emotions. Love. Jesus. God’s world. Quiet or Joyful noise. Shelter. Warmth. Compassionate People. Your fellow church members. The Present – This Moment. Pets. Colors. Music. Yummy things – Taste. Sight or Hearing or Mobility. Kindness. The Lessons your trial is teaching your heart. God’s Word. Prayer. Salvation. That God will be your refuge and will come through for you and will work all things for good.

Find things to be thankful for today – large or small. Write them down and look at them. Gratefulness encourages our heart. Be grateful.

Hope the following songs encourage you! Happy Thanksgiving!

“He Will” by Ellie Holcombe Red Sea Road by Ellie Holcombe You are Loved by Ellie Holcombe

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Priceless and the GFBC Women’s Ministry!

E.R. Visit

In the local news this week they were reminding people not to use the hospital emergency room as a doctor for a non-emergency. (Who would, with the price of using an ER, but undoubtedly people do.) This news story got me to thinking. Emergency rooms are for a specific purpose – emergencies. Often people turn to God’s Word in times of crisis or trauma. Which we can and should do. But do we turn to God’s Word as a spiritual ER? Do we, do you, run to His word only in an emergency?

We’re told we should go to the doctor regularly, but we’re so busy we put off those checkups! We’re also told we should spend time in God’s Word each day. But once again, we’re so busy we put it off. In this hectic American culture we live in, it is a challenge to find time for everything we have to do, want do, and are told we should do. Between work, family, kids homework, sports, grocery shopping, and household chores, we (collectively) tend to feel that the random Sunday morning jaunt to God’s house is all we can add to our schedule. Reading our Bible every morning? Who has even 5 minutes? “I’ll make sure and read my Bible tomorrow …this weekend …I’ll start again in January,” we say.

The problem with turning to God’s Word only in our traumas and tragedies is that we never get to know Him. Just like the anonymous ER nurse or doctor, we need Him in the moment, call His name to come fix the IV, and when we’re well, then we’re off. Back to normal life and we have no relationship with Him.

A daily time of reading or listening to God’s Word is crucial for our long term spiritual health and our ability to cope with life. That’s how we get to know Father God and develop that relationship with Him. When we come to know the Father, the Great Physician, it’s like having a personal relationship with our doctor. Only better!

We can give him a call in a moment of need and he’ll be there to help. He knows the diagnosis and the correct cure. We can ask Him for advice. He has all the wisdom of the universe. He knows our history, what has plagued us in the past and how that affects our current situation. He treats us tenderly. He knows our heartbeat and our very breath. He can recommend the best treatment for our specific condition.

Our role in the treatment is the same as with a doctor. We must do two things.

First, we must come to Him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mathew 11:28) We do this through His Word. As we come to those pages each day we are learning from Him and listening to Him and receiving healing.

Second, we must follow His orders, including getting the prescription filled and following His advice. Spiritually that means simply obeying what we learn from Him in the Bible.

Let’s get our spiritual health in order by coming to God’s Word each day to have a relationship with Him. Let’s quit using God’s Word only as a spiritual ER when we are in crisis.

Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright

As a homeschooling mom for sixteen years, there were random times of insecurity and questioning about whether my kids were getting as good of an education as I thought they were. I was diligent, well prepared, and conscientious about their schooling. I did lesson plans and research and prep work. I planned field trips, experiments, and reinforcing projects. But… Was I educating them as thoroughly as I thought I was? Could they make the score they needed on the ACT to get into college? Would they be able to “make it” in college? Would they be equipped for life? Would I overlook something and “cripple” them in their education? “What about socialization?” everyone asked. As I stressed through years of schooling four kiddos my emotions were up and down. Fears abounded.

Now those little kids range in age from 25-35. My answer to my previous fears – Yes, they were getting a quality education. No, I didn’t ruin them. They have now all graduated, gone to college, and are thriving in their preferred fields. Two are pursuing post-graduate degrees, one of those being my little dyslexic (who did not learn to read until 3rd grade!). They live all over the US and the world. And they even have friends-lots of friends! It’s amazing that socialization hasn’t been an issue. (Wink!)

I look back now at all my fears, tears and sleepless nights and realize that those were a waste of time. How much more could I have done with my mind if I had not wasted precious hours letting those negative thoughts and doubts take-up residence in my mind.

Friends, we have a loving Father who tells us in His Word that “All things work together for good for those who love Him…” All things! Even an imperfect mom for a teacher. Even a frequently messy house. Even bad things like my sins and failings, were put to good use in teaching me and allowing me to see my great need for a Savior. He tells us He is with us always. That He will rescue us. That He will provide for us. That we don’t need to fear.

Did I listen to these words of truth and comfort as a busy young mom? No, not when I was in the heat of battle. If only I would have acted in belief. Because now, looking back I can see, God handled Every. Little. Thing. These days I’ve learned to cling to my history with my Faithful Father – to base my faith in how He has treated me in the past. I can say with Samuel, “Thus far the Lord has helped me.” I know and can rely on who He is and what He has done (and will do), and it makes potential worrisome thoughts today easier to bear up under.

My experience as a homeschooler may not be yours, but my God is yours, and He always acts according to His character and not according to my frail human expectations. So what is my point for you? Don’t wait until you’re near retirement age to give up the worrying and fear. Do it now. Choose today to begin acting in faith based on Jehovah’s character, not on your doubts or what is going on around you. As Anna Sewell stated in Black Beauty “Do your best, And leave the rest, ‘Twill all come right Some day or night.”

Remember that you have a faithful Father and that every little thing is gonna be alright! Really.

Unobserved Support

As I sat in an empty Sunday school class waiting for my room across the hall to dismiss where I could go in and set up to teach, my eyes went to this corner of the room. I’d been in this room dozens, if not hundreds, of times and never paid attention to it. Sitting inconspicuously behind the door is a rather huge support column. People walk right by it without noticing. If you asked someone to draw a picture of this room they would probably forget to put that in there.

This room is a basement classroom. The 3,500 seat worship center is directly above. As I sat thinking I realized there must be dozens of these under the sanctuary standing as silent sentries doing their job of support. Unnoticed. Just doing their job.

They kind of remind me of my Daddy and his generation of men, those WWII veterans. He was constant. Always there doing his job, supporting his family, his church, his community. Strong and dependable, but unnoticed, just doing his job faithfully.

His kind are very much the opposite of what is commonly seen today. Our current generation is prone to desire the limelight, feel upset that they are unnoticed, seek their fifteen minutes of fame, and have no use for activities that don’t “build their platform.” When we stumble upon someone who is an unobserved, hard worker, we almost consider them an anomaly. We have bought into a self-focused mindset and aren’t even aware because we are just doing what the rest of society is doing.

But those sturdy pillars of strength and support are holding us all up unobserved though they may be. They support their pastor, the Church, a Compassion Child or a ministry/minister in another state even. They support their local church with their their time, energy, and abilities. They support with their presence, their prayers, and their pocketbooks. Leading us, often unnoticed, but holding us all up and holding us together in the body of Christ.

We can become a “they.” We can support a person with a phone call, text, or meeting them for coffee and encouragement. We can support with finances, food, help, or transportation to doctors. We can support by taking the time to pray with people God brings across our path, and speak Scripture into lives. We can support by praying for ministers, missionaries and Christian organizations. We can support with anonymous, consistent gifts and contributions. We can support by loving the unlovely, the complicated, the hard to love, hurting souls. The bottom line is, it takes each one of us doing our jobs even when we’re unnoticed, in a corner, in the dark.

Will we give ourselves wholeheartedly today to support individual people, the body of Christ, ministries here at home or around the world? Are we willing to do our job faithfully and go unnoticed for the glory of God? I choose today to be an unnoticed, support pillar in a dark corner holding up my tiny piece of God’s kingdom work on this earth. We may feel unnoticed, but God notices.

Little Things Matter

(This is a reposting of a blog from 2021 titled “Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo!”)

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Luke 16:10

My husband and I were recently talking with one of our adult children about a major change coming in their life. We were encouraging her (and ourselves!) by reminding each other of all the ways God had brought her to where she currently is, and that He would surely continue to lead her down a good path – not a bump-free path, but a good one. Mid-conversation, the Rosetta Stone (aka Dr. Seuss) book, Because a Little Bug Went Ka-choo! came up. It was a childhood favorite of our kids that has been a useful tool in adult life.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, the gist of it is this. A little bug sneezes which causes a small seed to fall off of a plant nearby. The seed lands on the toe of a worm who then kicks something, and the story is off at a fast pace, full of catastrophes that get bigger and bigger until a whole town is affected. At the end of the story you are reminded that all these disasters happened…

“All because a little bug went ka-choo.”

That same cause and effect principal plays out in our lives. Little decisions and seemingly inconsequential choices often yield big, unanticipated results. We all understand that the big things like what we choose to do for a career or who we marry, are important. But we overlook the fact that small things bear big fruit later in our lives as well. Things like helping someone out in their need, writing a note to someone who is on our heart, or having a kind, joyful spirit to those around us.

“Can those little things have a big impact, really?” you may ask. Yes!

Recently, I sent three cards to some people God had put on my mind. I simply let them know I was thinking about them and I cared about their plight. Then I shared a verse I was specifically praying for each. Just this week all three came to me and said the exact same thing. “Your card came at just the right time.” It was a small discipline that took me five minutes (the Lord has been working on me in the area of card writing since January), but it paid off in impacting hurting hearts.

All because a little card was written…

Several years ago when I returned to teaching after many years off raising children, it was traumatic for me. The first 3 weeks I cried every day driving to and from school. But I determined that I would be joyful and positive around my students because I knew this was a ministry to which God had brought me. I determined to speak positively, look for the best in each child, and give them a smile and word of encouragement as they left my room every day. While many students responded to my kindness by being chatty and eager to get to know the new teacher, one ninth grader was particularly silent around me, only answering questions when called upon and never speaking to me otherwise. As I recall, it was a few weeks into the school year before she spoke to me personally.

Leaving class that day she looked at me and asked sarcastically, “Are you always that way?”

“What way?” I asked in return.

“Smiling and happy,” she replied with a bit of a sneer.

“No,” I answered honestly something like, “I have struggles, sadness, and tears, but I try to put those away when I’m here at school to help make it a brighter, happier day for you kids.” I may have even mentioned Jesus’ strength, I really don’t recall.

That was all that was said that day. But in the days that followed she started lingering after class to talk to me, smiling and talking casually with me, dropping by my room during breaks or after school, and even asking my advice on those all-important high school issues. That small beginning led to a friendship that developed and continued after she graduated. Now, nine years later, we talk on the phone almost daily. She values my advice (I believe) and I’d like to think I’ve helped her through some struggles. She’s married with a new baby and comes to me with questions and prayer needs, and I feel honored to call her friend.

All because a scared teacher smiled…

When our daughter was in 4th grade our new children’s pastor planned to take the elementary kids to camp at an our-of-state college. We decided she could go. She loved the camp, the songs, the stories, and she grew in her faith that week as we had hoped and expected. But one thing we didn’t expect was that she would come home declaring, “That is where I will go to college one day!” We thought Sure you will. You’re ten years old. But a few years later when her big sister was looking for a college, Little Sis said, “Check out my college. We can be there together in two years.” Big sister ended up visiting and realizing that school was God’s place for her. Two years later, after much prayer and 4 different college Preview Days, that’s exactly where Little Sis went just as she had declared she would. She not only earned her degree, she established herself and her future career in a new state and met a godly young man who is now her husband.

All because a little 4th grader went to kids camp…

What about Big Sister? She also found her career. But she found her calling, too. One day as she was out for a jog she stopped to compliment an older couple working in their yard on their beautiful flowers. From that she developed a relationship with those retired missionaries that propelled her to foreign lands as well.

All because a little girl listened to her sister…

All because a young woman went for a jog…

All because a missionary retired to that home on that street…

What is the moral of my story? God is weaving your life together bit by bit. Not just in the huge decisions, but also through the mundane choices we make with little thought. Through our kindness, our fear, our smiles, and every other nuance of who we are. Jeremiah 29:11 TLV states, “For I know the plans that I have in mind for you,” declares Adonai, “plans for shalom [peace] and not calamity—to give you a future and a hope.” God is weaving together the fabric of your life. Be upright, God-honoring, kind, and faithful in all you do. Even the tiny, insignificant things that would seem to have no impact past this very moment. It will seem small but may quite likely have a great impact on your life.

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”1 Samuel 7:12

Whose Car Is This Anyway?

stewardship – “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something, especially the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care” (MerriamWebster.com)

Background: My husband and I grew up from infancy in church. Not just in church on Sunday morning, but at least four times a week and often as many as six or seven. There was Sunday school, worship, Discipleship Training, choir, mid-week service, visitation, revivals, conferences, January bible study, youth rallies, and that’s just the ones I can recall in the time it took to type that sentence. Because of our involvement we grew up wanting to obey God, read our Bible, pray, and give out tithe.

When we were children tithing meant giving the dime our mamas gave us before church to “put in the offering.” As we grew into the preteen years we were encouraged to give ten percent of our baby-sitting or grass-cutting earnings, which we did. When we got our first “real” jobs in high school we felt proud to be able to contribute a tithe that we knew was enough dollars to actually help our church in some way.

All that history led us to where we were when we got married and where we are today.

As a young married couple with a few semesters to go in college there was no money to tithe. We were living off student loans. Upon graduation and getting engineering and teaching jobs we jumped right back in to what we knew to be the best way to live – we tithed. Not only that, we had an image of God in our minds from all the Biblical teaching we had received. It was the idea of stewardship: God owned all that was in the world and was the provider of all we had and all we needed. Therefore, we were to honor Him with all our possessions.

I realize that may sound strange to people not raised in the church, but it was a reality as normal as breathing for us. It is a principle woven throughout Scripture, and a worthy one to base the way you live on it.

We always wrote the tithe check first, even when we were broke. We may have eaten home-canned green beans and thirty-three-cents-a-box Mac and Cheese a lot, but we never failed to give to Our Creator, Father God. There were times we wished for all those dream items – house, a new car, vacations – but that did not tempt us enough not to give to God. The first real temptation for me NOT to give God control of all our money and possessions was over a vehicle.

We had been married about ten years and had three kids. Because of a job promotion, we were moving from from one town to another a couple of hours away. The moving van had been loaded and pulled out. With much excitement and weariness, we cleaned quickly and rustled the kids into the car headed for the New House. My husband drove his truck, and I drove our Suburban with the kids. Both vehicles were loaded down with suitcases, sentimental treasures, toys, and last minute items. Less than 10 miles down the road the Suburban started giving me problems; it wouldn’t shift into gear and would only go slowly. I flashed my lights at my husband’s truck up ahead. (Pre-cell phone times, required tricks and codes when you traveled!) Both vehicles limped slowly to a rest area a few miles down the road where my mechanic-of-a-husband checked out the vehicle and declared that was as far as it would be going that night.

This was a crisis of belief moment for me. Sure all my possessions belonged to God. Sure I trusted Him. Didn’t I? Suddenly I realized how easy it is to say we believe something and how hard it can be to live it out. Would God protect our family vehicle? HIS vehicle? Would God keep my treasures (picture albums, precious breakables that had been gifts down through the years, those irreplaceable things)? I was at the point of tears, but not wanting to upset the kids what does a mom do? You treat it like a big adventure!

“Alright kiddos! Grab what you have to have for tonight and we’re gonna pile in Daddy’s truck to go to our New House!”

And so we did.

We arrived safely, burst out of the truck where we had been squished for over on hour’s ride, and entered our New (empty) House with excitement. We all slept on the floor in Mommy & Daddy’s room that first night. As everyone else dozed, my tears came, along with whispered pleas of “Please take care of our stuff, Lord. It’s yours, I know, but it’s precious to me.”

And now for the rest of the story…

Next morning, we awoke to movers at the door. The day sped by and ended with us surrounded by boxes and trying to find the sheets. At a call from my husband a towing company had retrieved our vehicle – it was still there and our possessions were still intact – and it sat safely in the driveway, unloaded and ready to be taken to the shop the next morning. All was well. God had taken care of all that He had loaned me here on this earth, and my faith and willingness to hold my possessions with open hands had been strengthened.

The moral of the story…

God is trustworthy. He will take care of you – and your stuff. You will often hit a crisis of belief when you must choose to live out your faith in spite of fear or worry or doubt. Will you steward your life and your possessions well? You must decide. It’s often scary but it’s always worth it. Even if God allows something to be taken away. (We’ve had some of those times too.) But God will always work things out for your good and prove Himself faithful to you. He loves you. You are His precious treasure.

You have been given precious treasures – Steward Well!

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

Rest in Him. Leave your possessions and your cares along the side of the road and trust that He will take care of you.