This is an edited post of a blog I did about a year ago, I had been participating in the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study Blog hop and this was a post about moving from being a consumer to a contributor. Since I would like to do a one year follow up I thought those who did not read it the first time would like to know the back story.
God Answered My Prayers with the Lottery….REALLY??!!
Let me first say that I am in no way encouraging others to buy lottery tickets or put their faith and trust in them. This is my story about going from a consumer to a contributor. I have been disabled due to failed back surgery and Chronic Lyme’s Complex since March 2005. When we moved to Arkansas we found the salaries to be much lower than in NJ. My health issues, some unavoidable home expenses and several attempts by me to have a home based business caused us to be in great debt. We were grateful to have three family members help us financially in the last 6 years or so. My husband has always worked very hard, in fact, he worked two low paying jobs for the last two years just so we could make ends meet. Often friends treated me to meals and outings because we could not afford for me to go. God has always provided for our needs. All through the time we struggled financially I always contributed with my time in many areas. People who struggle financially often forget that being a contributor is so much more than just money- we contribute with our God given gifts and time. I have always contributed time but in my heart I wanted to do more. We also were contributors with our belongings, always willing to give to others what we were not using but others would gratefully use.
My story: In the Winter of 2013 during a Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study “Rev It Up” session, an hour of on-line Bible Study on Facebook, we were asked to write our biggest burden on the top of an index card and underneath write:
“With man this is impossible but with God ALL things are possible” Matt 19:26.
I did this and put it aside. In January I came across this index card and instead of telling God, in my prayers, how he should answer my prayer(you know what I mean…God provide my husband one job that pays enough money so he can have one job and be able to go to church) and I started to read and pray the Bible verse over our finances daily. I felt led to start going to what I call the “wise women’s” Sunday school class. It’s made up of women that are like moms to me and I felt a desire to glean wisdom from them. On Sunday April 6th I was doing my Sunday School lesson for that day, the topic was on “Financial Responsibility”. I felt really convicted about our debt and cried out to God “you have GOT to do something about our debt-we are not honoring you with this debt, we want to bless others more and there is no earthly way this is possible in our own capabilities”. I was crying my heart out to God. Then I went to take my shower-singing praises to God as I often do in the shower. I had also been praying to God to empower me to testify to others about God because I tend to be very timid in this area.
Bills Story: My husband, Bill, likes to play the lottery to be able to dream. He plays about $6 a week IF he has the cash in his pocket. Here in AR what is done with lottery money is public record and easily tracked. He feels that if he wins a buck or two it’s great, if not, at least he knows he’s contributing to someone’s college scholarship. Friday April 4th he went to a friend’s home because she needed some window screens. On the way home he stopped at the local convenience store to get a pop and decided to get some lottery tickets. He had cards, with the numbers we always play, in his truck but as he puts it was raining and not just regular rain drops, the rain drops were the size of golf balls. lol I laugh because my sweet Bill hates getting wet! So, instead of getting wet he got a quick pick…something he rarely did. When he does get tickets he brings them home to me and he always says “I got you the winning lottery ticket” as he hands them to me and often I would put them on the bulletin board in the kitchen so I wouldn’t lose them. Sunday morning, while I was in the shower he decided to have a second cup of coffee. He saw the ticket and decided to check it. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall because the way he explains how he checked, rechecked, checked again and then checked that the numbers and dates matched is really funny. Remember, I’m in the shower getting ready for church. Suddenly, he whips the curtain open, waving the ticket saying-we got 5 numbers, we got 5 numbers-I said “come on, it’s not April’s fools day anymore” and start to close the shower curtain. He said “FOR REAL!! We won a million dollars-finish your shower-we gotta sign the ticket”. I was shocked but did as I was told, after I got dressed we checked the numbers again on the computer. My husband put “TYJC” (thank you Jesus Christ) on the calendar, went to my office, made 4 color copies of the ticket front and back and put the original in a pretty envelope that had a sky pattern on it and wrote on the outside “our new life-thank you Jesus!” Then we went to church, we didn’t say anything until we went to Little Rock to cash it in. The rest is history.
The first thing we did was to tithe on the gross-we both say none of it is ours so we knew we had to honor the ONE who provided it. Our tithe went to our church and several well deserving charities in the area. We have been able to bless many with this blessing, we no longer have debts( except our mortgage on our rental property-it takes care of itself) and we have paid back the family members who helped us. I LOVE being a contributor. I always was with my time and always said I would be if finances allowed and I am so grateful God has blessed me with a like minded husband who loves to bless others too. This blessing has also empowered me to share my faith and how awesome God is to so many people-friends and strangers alike.
I have had many tell us that we should invest most of it for retirement but every time I pray about that God clearly tells me “I have given you manna for today-I have tomorrow covered.” Now that doesn’t mean we have run out and spent it all but it does mean when we have seen a need in others we have answered that need. After tithing, blessing, paying things off, and some much needed home repairs, we have both gotten new vehicles and a few toys. At first I felt guilty spending money on myself but I was told by someone I love and respect that God wants to bless us too. We also went on a vacation together for the first time in about eight years-a road trip meeting online friends and personally paying back family. As I write this, I am visiting my mama, in the past she has paid all the expenses and meals out when I’ve come to visit and it has been such a blessing to spoil my mama for a change. My husband, a month or so after winning, left his full-time job to work part-time at his previous very part-time job at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge-a job he loves, with people he loves, surrounded by furry friends he loves and he has Sundays off so he can go to church! Without debts, the salary is more than enough, with my disability, to live and still bless others.
Am I telling you to run out and buy lottery tickets-absolutely not. What I want you hear in this is that when we let go, let God and totally take our hands off our concerns God shows up in ways we could not have possibly imagined. My husband and I are living a life of limitless possibilities because Bill dared to dream and I finally let go of the biggest stronghold the evil one held against me- our finances. One of my favorite hymns says “trust and obey, there is no other way” and I am finally beginning to fully understand what that means! Oh, and yes, Bill still plays the lottery-he says with no debts can you imagine how much more we could bless others with another win. I married a dreamer and I wouldn’t have him any other way!