Running on Empty but Full of Grace

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. -Matthew 14:17-21

Yesterday was a tough day. I’ve had a lot of those lately-days where hanging onto Him is all I can do. Today though, He poured out the blessings. Since our second move in two months-the first across the country, and the second just last week, money has been tight. We were unprepared to replace things once again lost to toxic mold and although we have a stockpile of canned food that we were trying to save in case of an emergency, we were running low on our typical supply of fresh meat. With just $20.88 left in our budget to purchase meat for the next ten days, I’ll admit, I was stressing a bit. It’s so easy to do, isn’t it? The world tells us that we have to figure it all out on our own, that we have to meet our needs in our own strength, but guess what? This isn’t true-because He knows just what we need and He is the Great Provider. He not only cares about our every need, He is our biggest need. And when we keep the faith and we trust Him even during the most trying of times, when we run to Him instead of our addictions or our distractions, we can be sure that He will always be there for us, filling us up with His love. He showed me today that He had us. I didn’t need to stress. I didn’t need to worry. He had us and He has you too.

He intervened today at the grocery store in a most peculiar, but incredible way. I have no doubt whatsoever that it was Him. When my husband ran to the store, I told him to just grab one $11 pack of chicken and we would somehow make what we have stretch. God had another plan though and he blessed the socks off of us. Typically, I would buy about $110 worth of chicken for our family of four, for a two week period. We needed a few other things to get by for the next two weeks as well, and twenty dollars just wasn’t enough. I was so wrong, because about twenty minutes after my husband left, I got the call from the parking lot. 

He called to tell me that as he had meandered his way toward the seafood department at Fred Meyer-still several feet away from the poultry section, an employee, out of nowhere, asked “Sir, are you looking for organic chicken breast?” A bit confused by how this man would know this, my husband looked around to make sure the worker was talking to him. The man was looking straight at my husband, while holding up a package of chicken breast, stating that it was currently 49 cents a pound. My husband told the man, that yes, actually he was looking for organic chicken, but he was perplexed by the price (it’s normally $6.99 a pound). The man stated that today is the sell by date and so the chicken would need to be eaten or frozen by tomorrow. My husband asked how many he had and the meat department employee answered “eleven packs.” My husband, humored by it all and oh so grateful, with a huge grin, later told me “I came for $11 worth of chicken, and He gives me 11 chickens instead!” Only God can do that. And the total cost of the chicken and few other grocery items he picked up? $19.88! Exactly $1 less than what was left in our budget!

That wasn’t all though. God did something else. I wanted to buy our girls some new colored pencils and erasers for school, but with extras we had to purchase due to the move, there was just no money to get them this paycheck. As my husband walked out of the grocery store, he found $12 rolled up on the ground outside. It was as though God dropped the perfect amount from the sky to be able to purchase the school supplies.

And He poured out yet another blessing tonight. New to Alaska cabin life, we are learning just how chilly it is. The wood floors are always freezing cold and slippers are a must. A day ago, my husband showed me that the entire front sole of his slipper had come apart and he was hoping to buy a new pair. I could tell he was bummed when I broke the news that there was not enough money leftover right now to do so. He had attempted to sew through the rubber sole, but I knew they wouldn’t last much longer. God reminded me of two $10 coupons sitting in my Zappos online shoe store account that I was given when they did not deliver my last purchase on time. With those coupons and a $1.00 VIP credit, I was able to order my husband a brand new pair of comfy slippers that cost $27.99, and I got them for just $7.20! He cares about us, y’all. EVERY LITTLE DETAIL. He cares about it all.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -Matthew 6: 25-33

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