It was during grad school and our little girl was maybe between 3 and 5 and another grad student wife asked me, “How do you do it?”
It was disconcerting to receive a package in the mail with a really cool homemade puppet show you could hang on a door from my sister-in-law before I even knew we would want one, and then have a friend say, “That’s exactly what I was looking for!”
Or a whole kindergarten table and 6 chairs from my mom when her school closed and then another friend asks, “Where did you get this? It is so cool, it’s exactly what I would want for my triplets.”
So when the dear friend who worked a full time job teaching math to high schoolers while her husband was in grad school and they divided looking after their kids asked how we did it, how we had so much on one grad student salary, I responded from the imaginative part of me.
“We are dependently wealthy.”
We had no money; even our daughter had more in her account than we had, thanks to her baby gifts!
All our relatives were better off than we, but they sent us things we didn’t even know we needed.
Sure, I still felt poor.
But that was the independent part of me, the part that wanted to know that I could take care of myself.
Thankfully God didn’t let it go. He wanted to see us lean on him. We had to experience trusting beyond what we thought it was.
Those grad school days were like the Israelites in the desert. Interminable! They could be viewed either of two ways.
One way I have to reject. It is epitomized in a conversation I had when a wife whose husband was about to start a three year seminary course said to me, “Really? That long? You’re a long suffering wife!” Her remark opened me up to serious self-centered (independent) pain. If the goal of our life was to get through school and be making money then yes we blew it, big time! I would be right to be angry at the “gradual” student.
My husband has done school forty years all told. Deuteronomy 8:4, 29:5 and Nehemiah 9:21 give me perspective: “Forty years [God] sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.”
There was the time we had no money for Christmas. Yes, I’d read stories like that, have you? But I hadn’t experienced it. We were given money by relatives whose generosity overflowed in spite of our acting as if we had everything we needed. (Well, is splurging at Christmas a need? That’s another post!)
There was the time I despaired and felt I couldn’t trust anyone. But grace was given me to turn to the one I could trust, and I said to God, “I cannot trust (blank) to (do blank) but I can trust you, and I will.”
God has provided. Often startlingly abundantly. Sometimes not so much. But I can trust him, Jehovah Jireh-the Lord will provide. He keeps his promises. He pours out love. His word and his name he honors. He is near to all who call on him.
If the goal of our life is not to make money so as to have a good life but to grow in grace and godliness so as to have a good life, then sing it with the children:
Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey.