Not Enough Left to Buy An ICEE

I don’t have control over much in my life. In my 20’s, this fact was a daily struggle for me. I would clamp down, trying to control the circumstances—and, therefore, the people—around me.

Not Enough Left to Buy An ICEE

Spoiler: It didn’t work.

Most of the time, it left me frustrated and angry—red flags (which I worked feverishly to ignore) of the disconnect between the Christian I claimed to be and how I actually behaved.

Thankfully, God had already been working on me long before my wife and I were married. But in certain areas of my life, particularly finances, I continued to struggle for control. And God, ever patient, continued to whisper: “Trust ME.”

Our oldest was born in December 2011, so when I came out of “baby fog,” I re-evaluated our budget for the coming year. After adding up all the estimated bills and expenses, we literally had something like 73 cents left over at the end of the month. Not even enough to buy an ICEE.

And then the hospital bill came. I may have hyperventilated a little.

I went to talk to them about payment terms and options and was told, “We’d prefer you pay off the balance within twelve months.” My stomach started to percolate like my grandma’s old coffee pot.

As I trudged back to my car, I calmed down enough to do the math and realized we were short by just under $500 per month. (For the record, we were already on a tight budget with virtually zero wiggle room—“Skip the Starbucks” wasn’t a solution for us.) After a month of scheming how I could squeeze every penny from the budget, I stared at the bill, resigned to paying a minimal amount for several years (or until the hospital decided to repo my daughter, whichever came first).

I picked up a pen to write that first check, and I clearly felt God tell me to write it, and those to follow, for the full $500.

“Yeah, sure. But by June there won’t be enough money for everything else.”

“Pay it off this year. Trust ME.”

Short version: Perhaps for the first time in my life when it came to money, I obeyed.

God is faithful.

It was a tough year, but every time it looked like the money was about to run out, God provided. A modest tax return (our first in five years of marriage), a small raise in August, an unexpected bonus.

On our daughter’s first birthday, we hand-delivered the last check. We bought ICEEs to celebrate.

A year earlier, God had known the outcome which I hadn’t imagined possible. It was a humbling lesson, but one for which I was grateful. Like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, I had my first glimpse into the true freedom of fully trusting Him, rather than wrestling with Him.

God has continued to see our family through trials, financial and otherwise. And while I sometimes still struggle with letting certain things go, He is continually teaching me more about stewardship and trusting Him.

I don’t have control over much in my life. Thankfully, I know the One who is in control.

Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.” (Matthew 6:30b-32, NLT)

Has there been a time in your marriage when you stepped out in faith to trust God financially and He provided? Start a conversation with your friends by sharing one of these photos:

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Daniel, a member of the MarriageRoots team, is generally regarded as the “Chandler” of his group of friends–he’s not sure if he could be any more ambivalent about that moniker. He married his love, Jena, almost 8 years ago and has been mildly bewildered every day since; they and their two children live in north Louisiana.

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