If you’ve been reading along the past couple of months, you know that our life situation has changed somewhat. We’ve gone from me working full-time outside the home to trying to make it working from home, and it’s been challenging in a number of ways, not the least of which is financial.
Last week, though, Brian felt very strongly convicted about something – so strongly that he didn’t wait until he got home that evening to discuss it with me, but called me right away. Our general mode of operation is that if one of us feels very strongly that God is leading us as a family in a particular direction, and the other one doesn’t share that strong leading but also isn’t getting the sense that God *doesn’t* want us to go that route, then we go ahead. This was one of those situations. Brian felt very much that we needed to make a commitment to give regularly to something that God could use – not necessarily a big commitment (because goodness knows it doesn’t feel like we have a lot right now), but a regular commitment. An offering above our tithe, if you will. We found such an opportunity that we both agreed on, and made our commitment.
We were talking about it that evening, discussing how Brian had had the feeling for some time that we needed to do something outside our regular tithe, and how we’d often said, “If only we had more room in the budget to do more with.” It occurred to me, and I commented, that maybe it’s not so much a change in finances as a change in perspective – we don’t wait for God to make our finances better, we just ask Him to point us to opportunities and help meet those needs in faith that He will meet our needs.
And then I picked up Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God when Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough by Kristen Welch. Kristen is the founder of Mercy House Kenya, and Rhinestone Jesus is her story of how Mercy House came to be. It is a story of heartbreak, dreams, and one small yes that led to big things.
Kristen visited Kenya as a guest blogger for Compassion International, and the things she saw there broke her heart and changed her life. She saw that there was a need for maternity care for young unwed girls, and said yes to God’s urging to start Mercy House, having no idea how that simple “yes” would change her life, her family, or her faith.
And after our discussion about giving and perhaps the need for a change in perspective, I read this:
I can remember from a young age hearing my dad say, “You can’t outgive God,” and I watched as he opened one hand to give to others and opened the other to receive from God. My dad once emptied our family savings account to give it away, and we watched God replace every dime. This picture of open hands for giving and receiving shaped me. We can all be part of that conduit, standing in the middle between God and people in need, ready to give spontaneously. – Rhinestone Jesus
This book was already moving me to tears on just about every other page, but that? Man, that hit home. You can’t outgive God.
You. Can’t. Outgive. God.
Y’all, I was convicted in a big, BIG way. Here we are, feeling kind of sorry for ourselves because our finances aren’t all that right now, thinking, “Oh, if only we had more in the bank, we’d give more, wouldn’t it be nice if we had the resources to really help meet needs that we see, blah blah blah.” We can’t outgive God. If we give in faith when He puts a need in our path, He will be faithful to meet our needs. I had let that slip to the back of my mind, or maybe I never really understood that, not heart-deep. I had to apologize to God for putting Him in the tiny little box of my thinking, of seeing what He can do only through the lens of what I perceive as my lack.
And when Brian opened his Bible that night, he found this:
“If only My people would listen to Me and Israel would follow My ways,
I would quickly subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their foes.” But He would feed Israel with the best wheat. “I would satisfy you with honey from the rock.” – Psalm 81:13-14, 16
It all came together. I’ve been feeling that God wants me to do SOMETHING for a while now. And all He wants is my yes to whatever opportunities He puts in my path. That’s the something. God isn’t waiting on me to make more money to do more for Him. He isn’t waiting on me to have a neater house, or a better job, or a picture-perfect family. He’s just waiting for me to say yes to what He asks of me, right here, right now, right in the middle of my mess with a pile of laundry to put away and toy weapons strewn up and down the stairs and dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. Yes. That’s all He wants, that’s what He’s waiting on. And that’s what Rhinestone Jesus is all about – not waiting until everything is just so, not clinging onto what’s safe and known, just stepping out in faith, pursuing the dream God puts in your heart. Thank you, Kristen, for taking your step of faith, for saying yes, for putting your heart into words to inspire me and touch my heart when it was most needed.
Rhinestone Jesus is one of those books I am going to read over and over, and highlight in, and cry on, and carry around until it falls apart. It has touched me so deeply that I want to share the love, and I’m giving a copy away. (No, not mine – I’m keeping that one!) For the winner of this giveaway, I’ll order a copy from Amazon and have the book sent directly to you. Just leave a comment on this post to enter with a way to get in touch. The winner will be announced on Monday, May 5. And if you don’t win, please, please, please get yourself this book.
Pre-order by May 1, and you’ll get a free e-book, Saying Yes to God as a Family, and part of the proceeds will go to benefit Mercy House. It’s moved me to look for ways to say yes to God every day. I’m looking forward to seeing what He can do through me, and to seeing my faith lose some sparkle and begin to shine.
What is God asking you to say “Yes” to?