I sometimes do things that I regret later.
Little fact about myself: I'm a shopaholic. Really. Don't laugh. Shopaholicness is just as extreme as alcoholicness. I love to buy things, very expensive things that I don't have enough money to pay for and end up in debt over. It's fun. But after I saw the scars and hopelessness of poverty firsthand in Romania, I couldn't sit around and do nothing to prevent it anymore. I couldn't buy that cute white, t-shirt to go along with my five other cute, white t-shirts without thinking of the little, beautiful children I danced and played with who--some--wore the exact same thing the entire three weeks I was there.
So I made a budget and promised God that I would stick with it.
Now, confession. I didn't honestly think that this "giving up unnecessary purchases" was going to be hard because I didn't think I was going to have any money. My dad cut me off from my monthly allowance this summer, and since I'm too young to have a real job, my only income comes from when I occasionally babysit. So I wasn't worried. Until I made that promise, and then I was worried because...ALL OF A SUDDEN I WAS VERY RICH! (For me.) I was getting babysitting jobs, we got some money from the insurance company for cleaning our house after the fire, I was noticing spare change lying around everywhere, etc. etc. Crazy things! It was obnoxious because it was like, "Oh, of course this is happening NOW. Thank you, God!" (Are you catching the sarcastic edge?)
So I hid all the money away in the back of a drawer and wouldn't even look at it, because I didn't want to be tempted. And it worked, I knew I would be led by the Lord to give my money to something eventually, and I could hold out until then. Except, nothing came along...really, nothing. I mean, sure, I could have just tithed it all the very first Sunday after earning it, but I was sure that my Father had a specific thing in store, if I would just be patient.
Another confession: I'm not patient. I hate waiting. I hate not knowing why I'm even waiting! This was a struggle.
And then, I found out that someone that knows a person I know--isn't that complicated--was leading in a week from then a ten-day mission trip to Villa Tecii, the same village I stayed in while I was in Romania. And they were going to be ministering a lot in the exact same gypsy village that I fell head over heels in love with this summer. And if I rushed, I could get my money to him before he left and then he and his team could use it it buy the children of the village clothes and food, or toys. AHHHHH! This was impossible; this was incredible; this was GOD. I couldn't stop smiling, I was beyond happy. Not buying those really cute scarves had been totally worth it. Totally.
That night that I found out that my money would be able to help the beautiful children I miss so much, I read verses like Matthew 6:20-21 "Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." And then also the story in Mark where the little boy gives Jesus' disciples his lunch, then Jesus blesses it, miraculously multiplies his tiny offering, and feeds millions. So I started praying, really hard, that God would do something ridiculously crazy, like tell a millionaire to walk up to my house and give me thousands of dollars within the next two days. Or that the money would double over night, or something weird like that.
But it didn't happen. And I couldn't help but be a little disappointed as I mailed it that week because I was sad that the Lord hadn't doubled my measly $80 so that it could help those kids. I mean, didn't He want to help them?
Fast forward nearly three weeks and the team returns home. It turns out that they used my money to buy the kiddos fruit--which is kinda a rare treat there, we didn't have it nearly at all the whole three weeks we were there--and secondhand clothes. But that's not all, there's more...I was told that me sending my pretty much pathetic $80 inspired the team to use their own money to help buy the Posmus gypsies $200 dollars worth of food! OH MY GOSH. Just as I desperately prayed that God would take my offering and multiply it, He did! And in a way I never expected, too--isn't that how it always is?
How great is our God? SO GREAT. That's how great. In His greatness, He uses me and my offering, a small child with a few loaves of bread and pieces of fish, basically, to feed the multitudes! Yeah, that's just how great He is.