Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Candle of Peace


Seems elusive this time of year, doesn't it?

Schedules and finances and relationships all seem to conspire to steal what little bit of peace (and sanity) we have.

Yesterday, our refrigerator died.

We've been anticipating it for awhile and trying to save for a new one. We had money saved but new brakes/rotors on the van the week before our trip to Arkansas, and a furnace that needed repairing once we returned ate away at most of those savings.

Financial stress immediately began to eat away at my peace.

Why did this have to happen NOW? December is already expensive without having to buy a major appliance. (Last year we bought a transmission!)

Where are we going to find the money to buy a new one? Cash is preferred, but our reserves are low and I really don't want to dip into our "Christmas fund".

Do I need to get a job? Does my husband resent being the only one supporting our family financially? He doesn't but I know the responsibility weighs heavily on him sometimes.

Stress. Stress. Stress. 

We went to Sears last night (with tired kids in tow) and perused the selection. We settled on one that was in our budget and when I say settled, I really mean that. It wasn't ideal but it was what we could afford to spend. We handed over our Sears card to complete the transaction and discovered that our account was inactive because it hadn't been used in quite some time. It's not a big deal to re-activate the account, but it just felt like a good time for us to hit the pause button.

We decided to leave, think/pray/sleep on it, and try to figure something out in the morning when we weren't tired and grumpy and impulsive.

As I was drying my hair this morning, I was reminded of the Advent candle we lit at church Sunday morning: the Candle of Peace. Hmph, I thought. I'm feeling anything but peaceful.

I was then reminded of one part of Sunday's sermon that really stood out to me. Our pastor was sharing about the importance of names and how our names shape and define us. She (yeah, we have women pastors) threw a photo up on the screen of Richard Gere and Julia Roberts from the movie Pretty Woman. I love that movie. There's some nuggets of spiritual truth in there that are too good not to share, so remind me to do that sometime.

Anyway, in one scene Richard Gere picks Julia Roberts' character up in his car and asks what her name is. She responds coyly with "What do you want it to be?" Missie used that picture and movie quote to prompt us to think about what names we might need to know God by this season. Wonderful? Counselor? Almighty God? Everlasting Father? Prince of Peace? Provider? Healer? Savior? Rescuer? Warrior? Love?

I stood there blow-drying my hair and asking God to remind me of the peace candle we lit to usher in this second week of Advent. To flood my heart and mind with the peace I know comes only from Him. To show up today as my Prince of Peace and remind me that this is going to be okay. I asked him to show me/us that He sees us and that He cares about the fact that we have to buy a refrigerator in less than ideal circumstances. (Are circumstances ever really ideal for buying a refrigerator???)

Thirty minutes later I walked into Home Depot.

I found a much nicer, bigger refrigerator (the one I secretly wanted yet couldn't afford at Sears) for a CHEAPER price and the salesman even offered me an additional percentage off because it was a floor model. I was okay with that BUT he later found one that was in a box in the back and still gave me the extra percentage off!

Of course I snatched up the deal. I used what cash we had and put the rest on our credit card. And it was sooooo much less than we would have spent had if we'd impulsively bought the one at Sears!

Wanna know the best part? I called John to coordinate delivery times while the guy was writing up my sales ticket. He told me a guy had just offered him a small freelance job that would cover the cost of the fridge. I almost started crying but instead I whispered a prayer of thanks to the One who took my concerns and gave me what I asked for: PEACE!

I share all of this because I think it's so important to share what God does for give him the credit.

But it's hard too because I have so many friends who are waiting on God to intervene in their lives in similar ways. I have no formula, friends. No list of do's and don'ts. I doubt God's care for me more than I should...especially when my prayers (seemingly) go unanswered. I believe he has a time and a purpose for everything, but on days like today I just simply say "thanks".


JenB said...

I love your fridge story! And I'm so glad you shared it. Today He is Provider!

Melissa Stover said...

i'm so glad you shared this. i love when god shows up like that.

Lindsay said...

Mer... Thanks so much for sharing this with us. God gives us what we need in HIS TIME... Love this beautiful example of that truth.

*carrie* said...

Yay--love stories like that!

Thanks for sharing how you walked through that situation, and how God blessed you with His creative provision!

Anonymous said...

I have a similar story too. We are trying to pay the new sanctuary off in two years time. We still owe 1.2 million on it. Garry and I talked and talked about what to pledge. The morning we were supposed to turn in our pledge God and I hashed it from about 6 am-8am at which time I got up and filled out the paper still wondering if we could really afford to do what I knew he was asking. Well as the weeks have gone by I have been a wreck about my pledge but have gone ahead and given my money but been worried that things would be cut close. Pay day came for Garry last week and I was looking at his pay stub on line. I noticed a pay stub for Nov. 30 and then one for Dec. 3. I questioned Garry about it and he didn't know why it was there. So I read his email and found out we were getting a refund on our insurance premiums for the last year. You know what the best part was??? It was the amount of my monthly pledge plus 9 more dollars!! Is God good or what? I told my mother I think he has a good sense of humor and next month---I won't even worry when I write out my check :) Love you guys.

Christy said...

Humbly accept it as a blessing and pray for His work to show itself in those around you who are struggling. I love stories like that!

Trish said...

I LOVE our God!! He always cares for us in ways we can't even imagine!

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written, friend! And what a sweet story of how much God loves us.

Carpool Queen said...

One thing I admire and have learned from you, Meredith, is your discipline.

You stop. Pray. Think over. Wait. These are all things that aren't natural to me. I go headlong, willy-nilly, act now, think later, hate to wait.

Thanks for sharing.

Sami said...

Very, very timely for me to hear. I get so distracted and panicky over money and literally needing something and not just wanting it. I forget how all too often God takes care of us by providing by one thing at a time. He always does this but it's hard to remind myself to be patient and wait for it sometimes.

Angela said...

I needed this. : )

jen medeiros said...

Thanks Meredith,

I really found inspiration in your story. I am so thankful you shared.

Deidre said...

I love this story. Thank you for sharing it. In the midst of all the stress, I need to be reminded He is aware of it all.

Kecia said...

That is awesome (literally). Those are the times I feel like God's favorite child.

Ali said...

That is really neat to remember that He provides peace and that He guides us and hears us!

You all are wise to have a little money set aside. We need to be wiser with our finances asap!

~ Ali

Ali said...

Since college (I'm now in my late 30's) I have been relearning my fiath. Can you explain women ministers? I grew up in a very legalistic church (some call it a cult - I now know it was a cult) so even though I don't go to that type church since college and on. I may have hung on to some of their ideas without really accessing them on my own. Women ministers are different but, I have no idea why I find it different except to relate it back to how I was raised and then that makes me think since it was wrong growing up it must be right even if I'm not use to it. I'm sure I've totally put my foot in my mouth! Please forgive me if I have worded this in a weird way I really just wanted to hear someone explain why its okay for women to be ministers. Have you always felt this way? I respect you and would love to hear your thoughts on this subject! Thank you in advance!

Also wanted to know your favorite parenting books that you would recommend for this Mom of a 7, 4 and 20 month old. I need help!

~ Ali

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Yes, Ali, I'd love to "talk" (via email) about this. Would you email me?

We have two pastors. Our senior pastor is a male, the assistant pastor is female. One of our ministry associates is female as well and she's the one who was teaching last Sunday. So...we have a mix of both and they take turns preaching. But yes, let's talk more. Email me!


Jennifer said...

Hi Mer,
Love this post. It blesses my heart to read how our God blesses those I love! I love how close he is for the everyday needs & wants even in a world where there are bigger issues for Him to contend with. It really demonstrates how He is our Father.

love to you...

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

Yay! :) I'm so thankful for our home warranty plan - they replaced our washer and fixed our oven recently. It's $40 a month but honestly, with what we'd pay outright for getting things fixed, I think it more than pays for itself. Let me know if you want more info.

DavisFam3 said...

Just saw 'Touching Wonder' mentioned on another blog Just thought I'd let you know. :)

SZM said...

What a wonderful and heartwarming story! Thank you for sharing! God is so good and his timing is perfect!