Like moorings to a boat, I had affixed strings to my money, and as it floated away from me in the offering plates of the past, I had always felt a jerk—and then would come the worries. But no longer.
Test me… and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing…
Maybe blessings would come in the form of no more home break-ins or packages stolen from our front steps. Maybe they would be new, delightful people we would meet. Or maybe instead of a hectic family calendar, they would come as a streamlined schedule. More security, stronger connections, less frustration.
But God’s ways are not our ways.
After church the next Sunday, our friend Mark caught us before we exited the sanctuary. He handed me an orange envelope.
“This is for you,” he said. “Just something we wanted you to have.”
Too late for Thanksgiving. Too early for Christmas. Months away from my birthday. A card for no reason?
“Thank you,” I said, a question mark lining my voice.
Mark headed off to visit with someone else, and I broke away from our girls and wended my way over to Susanne, Mark’s wife.
“Thank you for this,” I said, raising the envelope. “Should I open it now?”
She smiled. “It’s up to you.”
Inside the envelope in a greeting card was a Visa gift card for $350.00. I started crying.
“Instead of giving our Thanksgiving offering to Safe Families, we wanted your family to have it,” said Susanne, “for all you do for those kids you host.”
I wanted to tell her everything—how I had gripped our finances in the past and how I had recently accepted an ancient challenge—but tears washed away my words.
“This is unbelievable,” I said, hugging her. “Thank you.”
I rejoined my girls.
“Mom?” Flicka said, her eyes soft. “Are you okay?”
“Why were you crying?” said Ricka, leaning in for details.
“I’ll tell you in the car,” I said.
Dicka looped her arm around mine, her eyes searching my face as we strode out to the parking lot.
On the drive home, I told the girls the story of the Divine dare and what had come of it. I had expected good things from our step of faith, but not a financial gift. And not so soon.
“He told the truth,” I said, tears blurring my vision again.
Grins sang out in the silence of the back seat.
“Oh, Mama,” said Dicka.
After church the next Sunday, the girls and I ambled out to our vehicle. Ricka frowned, her gaze dragging along the ground as we went.
“What’s going on?” I asked her after we climbed into the car.
“I have to give all my money away,” she said with a sniffle.
Shaking her head, she shrugged. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it all morning during church.”
Ricka always had shopping goals—$130 shoes, an iPhone, or other—but most recently, she was building her coffers to help pay for an expensive volleyball club she had joined. If she had ever given away money, I hadn’t witnessed it.
“Okay,” I said. “Maybe pray about who it should go to.”
“I already know,” she said.
She stated the name of a woman—the mother of Tabitha and Tia, the girls we had hosted many times through Safe Families for Children.
“That’s perfect,” I said.
The last time the little sisters had stayed with us the friction between fifteen-year-old Ricka and six-year-old Tabitha had worn me down. So, who was this new girl in the back seat? And what had she done with my lover of material things?
When we got home, Ricka checked her savings account online. Then she rifled through her purse for cash and emptied her change jar. She added up all the amounts on a piece of paper and handed it to me: $350.00.
“I’ll write a check for that amount and send it off tomorrow,” I told her.
“Thanks, Mom,” she said. A smile flickered across her face as she took her empty purse back to her room.
Ten days later in the mail came a small envelope for Ricka. The return address belonged to Tabitha and Tia’s mom. Ricka opened the note, read it, and showed it to me:
I wept again. The money had flowed through numerous hands in a grand adventure far beyond us all. The Keeper of Promises had done it.
And the blessings were better than ever.
*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date
*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.