Maybe it is because of the fact that I am still in awe when He pulls something together, seemingly at the last minute, and I see the long line of events that brought me to that moment. I say seemingly because I know that the things that surprise me, He has known about since the beginning of time.
Today the surprise was tires... but not just the tires...
So, I have been waiting for this very large check to come. I have plans for most of it as soon as it gets here. One thing that I was going to do was get tires. Mine were REALLY bad. Not safe. But the check hasn't come.
I keep saying that God knows where the check is and when it is coming and His timing is perfect. IT is true. I totally believed it. However, in the mean time, Christmas is coming and I am struggling financially. As much as He is blessing and taking care of us, it has been difficult to accept help. It is so easy to say in response to an offer of help, "Surely there is someone else who needs this." or "Yes, we can use one of those, but God is taking care of us..."
But Friday morning He showed me that by holding on to that check, and keeping it from reaching me right now, God has been forcing me to allow others to bless me. Seriously, if I had that check in hand, I would have said, "Oh no... you can give that to someone who really needs it." or even "I know a family... maybe I should help them out since I can right now."
In reality, while this check can give a small business a boost (the purpose for the check) but it is not an exorbitant amount of money. While I have plans to spend it wisely, I know that the business will use most of it up fairly quickly...
So beyond making me accept blessings from others, He has ensured I'll make it through the holiday season without being tempted to spend it in the wrong places.
In the mean time, my tires have been getting worse and worse. They all needed filled almost daily. One even had a noticeable high-pitched whine from the air that was escaping. It was ridiculously unsafe. Especially with a layer of ice on the ground.
Several people expressed concern about the tires, and one asked me if he could just buy me new tires. My gut reaction was, "Thank you, but no." but I told him I would pray about it when he assured me that there were no strings attached, he just wanted to be a blessing. Honestly, I still felt really uncomfortable about it... but I told him I would pray about it and I did. But I didn't really get an answer.
One of the ways that someone else had blessed us was a gift card to Tractor Supply Company help buy the kids new boots. Again, I really struggled with accepting it, but when I had the epiphany about why God hasn't let me have the check yet, I realized I didn't really have a choice.
The TSC closest to my house didn't have the sizes I needed, so I drove to a neighboring town to see if they did. The thirty minute drive there made it clear that I was in trouble. My alignment was off. The wheel jerked back and forth as I drove. My low-tire light kept flashing at me. I left TSC with the boots I was looking for and my heart sank as I saw I needed air in my tires again.
That's when I started talking to God out loud in the car. It went a little something like this, "I don't know what you want me to do. If you can keep these tires going for a couple more weeks and keep us safe, fine... but tell me and quit making me worry. Do you want me to accept help from that guy? I would need a very real sign to be able to do that." At this point I was yelling a little bit. "I'm sorry I'm stupid, that I need things spelled out for me, but I do... so spell it out. Tell me to do."
A few seconds... yes SECONDS... later, I turned a corner in the string of connected parking lots, to see a Firestone store with the OPEN sign lit up in the window. "Really?" I don't believe in coincidences, so I went in and asked what tires they had available. They didn't have my size in stock. They could order them though. Then, the manager stopped and looked again. "I had a no-show this morning that had ordered tires this size. If you want them, they are yours."
I was wondering if this was sign I was supposed to ask that person who had offered help to do so when I saw the sign on the wall for 6months same as cash. I applied. I prayed. I was approved. I fought tears at the tire counter. An hour later I was driving away. As long as I pay for the tires with my check when it comes, I will not have to pay interest. Also, I got a discount because I used their credit card to get them.
If I hadn't allowed myself to be blessed with the gift card to TSC, I wouldn't have been in that neighboring town today, yelling at God for not answering me when I want Him to. (It happens a lot. It never seems to phase Him though...) I wouldn't have found these tires... and none of this would have happened.
While I was surprised at how things worked out today, He is never surprised. He knows that I am actively trying to seek His will in all things (even though I often fail) and He wanted me to know that He is paying attention... and taking care of my needs.
After I finished getting my tires and doing some Christmas shopping in the neighboring stores, I went through the Starbucks drive-through. A friend had given me a gift card, so I ordered my usual iced tea and then gave in and ordered a Panini as well. The voice through the speaker said, "Oh, we never have any of those left this late in the day. Let me check." She came back just a few seconds later and said, "We did have one left. That never happens! God must have wanted you to have one today!"
And while her comment surprised me... it didn't surprise Him at all.
"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19