Ever had one of those seasons where you feel like everything is falling apart and breaking? Over the past couple months, I think our appliances have formed a coup attempt to throw us back to the 18th century. These things (microwave, washer, vehicle) are major inconveniences, but minor in long-term importance. I try to keep that in perspective when I’m frustrated and running low on time and money to fix them.
I know if I’m not careful, I can allow these irritations to take my focus away from all the good things God is doing, and all I can see are the problems and annoyances in life. Anyone else relate?
So when the washer died (and in the process ruined a whole load of white clothes), I determined I would not allow this to crush my joy. Instead, I turned my new laundromat routine into one of giving thanks for what is.
Giving thanks for what is, in the midst of what if, changes my focus.
As I drive to the laundromat, I give thanks that one is so close to my house.
As the clothes tumble in the washer, I work on my Bible study, or just read in my Bible app.
As I drive home, I give thanks for big, fast washers that only take 20 minutes to wash all my clothes.
So a couple weeks ago when I was scrounging the house for quarters, rather than worrying about how I would pay for laundry that week, I praised God for His provision.
“God, I look forward to seeing how you will provide for laundry this week. Thanks for helping me stay focused on praising you, and not get bogged down in frustration and worry about all this.”
As I prayed, I searched all the usual spots where coins collect in our house. After I finished thanking God for his provision, I went back into our bedroom to search the bookshelf one more time. There, on the shelf I thought for sure I had just checked a couple minutes ago, I found $5 in quarters in a pile. I have no idea how I missed them two minutes earlier. I thought for certain I had cleared the shelf of all the coins.
I shrugged my shoulders, smiled, and said, “Thanks for the quarters, God!”
After filling the washers, I had one quarter to spare. When I got home, I went back to the shelf, and lo and behold, two more quarters were in the same spot I had just cleared before going to the laundromat.
I questioned my husband. He hadn’t put more quarters there. The kids were at school. I stared at those two quarters then once again said, “Thanks for the quarters, God.” I began to get this sense that the quarters wouldn’t run out. It was like a little smile from God saying, “Just keep trusting.”
Several days later, I was speaking at a retreat. The weekend was off to an adventurous start. I’d hand washed a few items that morning because I didn’t have time to go to the laundromat. Then, not ten minutes after getting to the camp, I’d gotten my car so stuck in the mud it took three gentleman from the camp to push my me out. Talk about a great first impression!
After the mud incident, I was setting up my book table in the chapel, trying to calm my nerves. For the past few years, I’ve used a bag of coffee beans that I dump into little buckets to hold my pricing signs. As I dumped the beans into the bucket, a quarter tumbled out with the coffee beans.
I gasped, and my hands started to shake. I had just used that bag of coffee beans the day before, and there had NOT been a quarter in the beans.
The quarters were no longer about providing for laundry. They were a reminder that God sees, He hears, and He provides. “Thanks for the help this weekend, God, and for the reminder that I’m not here alone.”
I did laundry again today, and I had plenty of quarters. In fact, I started a part time job last week (more on that later). Today, I was sitting in the office when my boss came into my cubicle to chat. He bent down to pick up something off the floor. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought it was a piece of trash. Then he handed it to me.
It was a quarter.
Have you ever been surprised by God’s provision and reminders of His love for you?