God Loves Me Too Much To Leave Me As I Am: 3/3

For those of you just tuning in, this is part 3 of a 3 part series, get caught up here:

Jesus Loves Me This I Know

Seeing God’s Provision

Isaiah-40-31-Photo-Bible-Verse

March, 2011:

  We are now well into month 5 of waiting for a paycheck, any paycheck of size will do.  Instead, the Lord continues to provide $45 coming in, the day $45 goes out of our account to pay a bill.  He wants me to trust Him today for all my needs and I know He provides, look at us! There is NO WAY we should be “making it” with finances the way they are. I know He provides, we are living proof! But still, I struggle.

  We recently, with heavy sad hearts, cancelled our much-anticipated trip to Florida this May, to go see my family.  It’s too expensive to fly, and with gas the way it is, too expensive to drive.  Besides, in the scheme of things, there is just not money for such a trip, EVEN IF this check finally comes. 

  Our whole lives seem to be revolving around this silly check, yet when I look at our accounts, even “normal” checks aren’t coming in anymore.  I feel as if God is blocking “normal” right now….there must be more I am to learn.  I am constantly fighting panic and trying to be soft, moldable and ready to learn.

    I had a clothing sale last year, open to acquaintances only, spending days and days, hours and hours, setting it up like a store at my mom’s house, then scheduling friends to come shop.  I had a goal in mind: 

I wanted to raise enough money for new kitchen countertops.

  Guess who met that goal TO THE DOLLAR?  I was super excited!  Good-bye 1970′s yellow countertops, hello gorgeous black and beige ones!  The next clothing sale I held would be to raise the money for the installation fees. 

   Fast forward one year, to this year:  I carefully set up and planned for my 2nd sale, and got the word out to friends.  I knew the money should go for living expenses and bills this time around, but I desperately wanted those countertops.  Surely I could still tuck away for that particular item after saving for so long, right?

   But alas, the week before my “Countertop Instillation Money Clothing Sale”, the Lord asked me to give up my countertops. 

Rrrrr, I KNEW it!  But come on, not that money! 

  I had saved that money for a whole YEAR, untouched.  Please, not the counter top money!

    There was no doubt He was asking me to use my money wisely and spend the saved money as well as the sale money, to help our family.   And I knew it was the right thing to do, I had known it all along.  {SIGH}

  Selfishly, and sobbing as I did it, I handed the money over to Dale, to pay Destiny’s school tuition bill. 

  Such a petty thing I was clinging to!!!! And funny, that after months of not grocery shopping, or living the way we had grown accustomed to, THIS was the time that made me break down? 

Over countertops? 

Really?

We humans, are silly and selfish people. 

God is such a loving God. 

   You know how I gave up my Florida trip? 

  Guess who surprised me with a visit? 

My family:)

   Again, something I didn’t pray or ask for, was dropped in my lap!  God knows our hearts and He knew mine was missing my Florida family. 

What a blessing and what a fun week!  Again, I praise His name!

  March 23rd, 2010:

  We received a paycheck today, one of more “normal” preportions!  My heart leapt for joy!!!! Hurray!!!! This valley is over, right? We are headed up the other side to bigger and better things, right?

  Nope. 

  The very same day we received this normal sized check, (FINALLY!) we also received a notice from the IRS.

  In addition to the thousands and thousands we owed for 2010′s taxes, (remember, we are self-employed so we always pay in! Ugh.) we also discovered we owed $4,000 from a missed 1099 in 2009 as well.  And of course, we had no idea about until that very moment! 

Oh Jesus, help me.

  I felt as if I was going to vomit;  the rollercoaster of life had me so high and so low all in a matter of hours.  I am just weary of this “Lesson” the Lord is teaching us and trying to keep my head up.

  I am frustrated.  I am broken.  I am TRYING to be a learner, I am TRYING to have faith.  I am trying to keep my head up, but my burden is heavy and I have fallen to my knees, defeated.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

April 12th, 2011: 

  This is “The Week”, the one when I have to pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s.  Well, pay to Uncle Sam’s what is Uncle Sam’s.  Except, I don’t have nearly what I am being asked to pay.  We barely have money for regular bills, how am I to pay $9,000 in taxes? 

  I feel sick as I write out 2 of the 4 checks to the IRS and State.  I know there is no money in the accounts.  I know I have 2 more huge checks to write and get in the mail tomorrow too.  I can’t pray, I can’t think, I can’t even let myself process what could occur, should these checks hit with no money to cover them. 

I go to bed, defeated, weary, broken.  Physically sick to my stomach about it all.

The next morning, April 13th, 9 am: 

  I just got a call from Dale…..

God IS so good! My soul is rejoicing! 

The Bible PROMISES that if we leap, He will catch us and not let our foot strike a stone. 

Guess who just got paid this morning? 

Yes, we did!

  We got paid “The Check”!!!!!!!!!!!  The one we’ve been holding our breath for, for 6 loooong months now.  It hit today, praise HIS name!  God knew we needed this particular check today, at this very moment in time, to be able to pay our taxes, plus the “surprise taxes”. 

  Had we received it 6 months ago as planned? It’d be gone and spent to fulfill other needs and obligations. 

  God’s plan is so much greater than our own could ever be.  With this miracle money and the small amount remaining in our tax savings account, we are able to pay last years missed taxes and this years taxes IN FULL

 I wept. Whether from joy, relief, or the fact that all that money went to the government….I’ll never know! 

What I do know is that the God I serve is amazing and I am in awe of His provision in my life!!!!

Months 7-9:

  Things are still tight and not “normal”.  Small amounts trickling in just in time for the checks to clear, but its ok, after almost a year of living this way, we are really getting used to it.  It’s no longer a huge deal to pay $2,000 worth of bills when there is only $200 in the account, we know God will provide the right amount at the right time….how else could we have gone 9 months without a single bounced check or unpaid bill?

The Lord has provided us another Grocery Angel, one that gives us food almost weekly, what a blessing!!!!! Not only that, but it’s as if He tells her what I am missing from the recipes I have layed out, because if I need taco shells, that “Happens” to be in with what she sends that week.  Amazing.

  I’d love to tell you this ends with a “Happily Ever After” type finale.  I’d love to package this all up neat and tidy with a pretty bow to end this series….’cause that’s how we roll in Tonya-land, you know.   :)

But, I can’t.  And you know what?  It’s ok.

  I’ve accepted this new life….after living this way for 9 months, how could I not?  Of COURSE I hope that one day we can move past this and be comfortable again, but not at the high cost of financial/spiritual laziness.  The price is too high!

  I want to bottle up this experience up and carry it with me forever.  I don’t want to “lose it” like you lose a spiritual high after coming home from Summer Church Camp.  Somehow, I MUST take this and apply it, use it as a filter on my life from here forward, so that every purchase, every decision, every check to a good cause flows through that filter. 

  From my God’s Creative Power For Finances book, based on John 16:13: “I am filled with the wisdom of God, and I am led to make wise and prosperous financial decisions. The Spirit of God guides me into all truth regarding my financial affairs.”

So, what am I learning from all this? 

That this is not The Tonya Show

That this is an Extreme Makeover: Ferguson Family Finance Edition.

That God loves me SO much more than I will ever know. 

That He loves me too much to leave me as I am. 

That He is preparing me for bigger and better things.

My only job?

To TRUST and walk in FAITH, not by sight, cause things have looked really ugly for a while now.

  My blogger friend Arianne said it best when she said: 

Faith is like a rubber band. It’s no good unless it’s stretched. 
 
Well just call me “Gumby” cause I have been stretched to my max and back!!!
 
  God doesn’t owe me explanation or reason for everything He asks me to go through. Understanding can wait, but obedience can’t. Instant obedience will teach us more about God than a lifetime of Bible reading, learning and discussion. In fact, I may not understand some commands until I obey them first.
Obedience unlocks understanding….. 
 
~Understanding of what God is asking of us.
 
~Understanding of our selfish choices of the past and how they directly affect what we are going through today. 
 
~Understanding of how quickly self-sufficiency can set in when financially comfortable.
 
  God loves me just as I am, but He loves me too much to keep me that way. Hallelujah!
 
  Well, thanks for sticking through these more serious posts with me…..I told you this blog was a peek into my world: the good, the bad and the ugly! 
 
  I chose to share this with you, so that you may be encouraged, so that you may have hope, and so that most importantly, you can praise the Lord with me for His provision.
 
Tomorrow I will return you to your regularly scheduled, sunshine-y programs!
 
~T  :)
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15 thoughts on “God Loves Me Too Much To Leave Me As I Am: 3/3

  1. Oh Tonya! Isn’t this just a glimpse of God ? :) We tend to put the abilities of God in a box. Thank you for sharing the grace and mercy of Him. I just love the fact that when we stay faithful, he’ll blow us away with the growth (fruit) from the pruning. Or the beautiful peice of pottery that is now the end result of the shaping and fire (but we don’t get burned do we? :) ). Your situation blesses many people and thank you for sharing it!! May you continue to walk in the ways of the Lord!

  2. So blessed by your testimony, as I needed this in my life at this moment. I feel that God led you to share this for ME. A dear friend led me to this blog, knowing what my family is going through at this time – and you have blessed me with your personal story of God’s grace. Thank you so much.

    • Thank you for your sweet words, welcome to 4 little Fergusons! I hope you’ll come back and visit again soon. :) May God bless you with His strength and peace as you go through this rough patch! Tonya

  3. It definitely is a journey we are on. You are such a gifted writer Tonya. You definitely have a way with words but also for expressing yourself and your story. You really have a gift!! Thank you for sharing this and for sharing your vulnerability and hurts. Not just the sunshine-y goodness that we also love!

  4. Thank you for posting this series, Tonya. Sobering, encouraging, agonizing, amazing, humbling, faith-filled–you’ve shown it all. Seriously, thank you for sharing your heart here. Thank you for your transparency…for obeying when God said, “Share this!” Two sentences from this post really stand out to me: “Understanding can wait, but obedience can’t. Instant obedience will teach us more about God than a lifetime of Bible reading, learning and discussion.” Whoa. Understanding can wait, but obedience can’t. I’m going to be chewing on this for awhile.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing more of your world with us and for “keeping it real” .
    I also feel like I was meant to read this at this time in my life as it really touched me.
    I’m sure your words have been a blessing to all that have read this and touched them in one way or another,how could it not.
    Bless you and your family.

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  8. Praise the Lord! He always knows what we need and when we need it! He takes us away from our plans and schemes, to teach us to trust and rely on Him!

  9. Thank you for sharing Tonya. Not only is my husband and I going through the infidelity struggles we are also going through financial issues as well. It’s quite scary just how similar our stories are. My husband and I actually renewed our vows 2 months before my husband came clean. Talk about bad timing. Praise God for making us rely on him only. X

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