We've been saving money. For almost a year now a little stash has been tucked away in the house some where so when Christmas comes, we can go and buy presents without having to take money out of savings or charging on a credit card or stressing the regular household account. I feel like that character in Lord of the Rings who fusses over that ring and calls it "my pretty". Except I look WAY better than him.
And then God. Isn't that how a lot of things start on this blog? He likes to wreck me I think. Take off this coat of luster and color and get to what's beneath. Expose what is probably a ticking time bomb within; fix it; refine me in a fire of my own doing really.
Back to the money. Yes, saving is a good thing. And unlike my usual self who has a list and half of Christmas purchased by September, I've not touched it. So as we were listening to our pastor, Craig Groeschel, on Friday (the last day of our annual Lifechurch staff get together called Family Reunion) and God asked me to give up the money, I was stunned.
My first response, out loud (so glad we were singing at this point) was "You have got to be kidding me." My second? "Ok, I'm going to see if I can forget about this and if I still feel you when we leave, then I'll think about it." But I couldn't shake it. Not even for one minute. So I cried. Cried because I knew I would do what He asked and cried because it shouldn't be this hard to give to God something that is His anyway. But it is for me. Let's call a spade a spade. I'm not terribly generous.
I now have to sit down with my kids and explain to them what this obedience means and how it will look Christmas morning. I will confirm for my seven year old what she already suspects about Santa. I will tell them that God also told me it would be the best Christmas our family has ever had; and I trust Him. Even if it doesn't look like I think it should.
Yep, the Holy Spirit is a wrecking ball some days. But what He builds in its place.....
When you take the risk of obedience, you find solid rock beneath you--and markers, evidence that someone has traveled this route before. "The Lord your God will cross over at your head... he will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not be discouraged or afraid" (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20; 31:3, 8, NEB).--Elisabeth Elliot
**And for the record, some of you may be thinking, good heavens woman, get a hold of yourself, there are people DYING of starvation right now. And you are right. Just so you know, I know.