Recently I spoke to a group of ladies at Northpark Baptist Church in Trussville.
When the ladies group representative asked me to share my testimony with some money saving tips mixed in, I’ll admit I was more nervous about the testimony part than I was the money saving part. Speaking for the past 6 years at community events across the area never afforded me the opportunity to share a testimony about my personal relationship with Christ.
This is something I became convicted about over the past few years. God had given me a platform, a vast circle of friends or fellow deal hunters but I increasingly felt like I wasn’t honoring Him enough through my job. I felt limited in what I could share which bothered me.
Sharing my testimony and what God had done for me was something I wanted to do and an email request to speak and share my testimony was a surprising confirmation that leaving al.com and the Bargain Mom was the right choice.
Every salvation experience is a miracle
My testimony isn’t grandiose, filled with harrowing details or a life on the edge but every salvation experience is a miracle isn’t it?
There’s an old hymn that’s rarely sung in churches anymore. The lyrics are challenging and piercing and express exactly how I feel about what believing in the shed blood of Jesus Christ has done for my soul. Here is a portion of the hymn “I’ll sing it and tell it wherever I go. I want all to hear it, I want all to know. The joy of salvation that makes the heart glow. For I have been born again.”
This hymn was shared with me when I was 17 years old. I wanted the joy of salvation to be real and to know that I will one day be with Christ in heaven. My young, immature brain couldn’t comprehend what my future would hold, the career I would have, the husband I would marry and the three children we would have. That didn’t matter. At that point in time the evidence that God existed, He created me, this world and wanted me as His child was overwhelming. My heart full of sin and separated from a Holy God, knew I needed a Savior to cleanse me, to sanctify me and to redeem me.
21 years later
Now 21 years later it’s the best decision I’ve ever made and I want my children to know the saving, cleansing and redeeming power found only in the blood of Christ, His work on the cross, His resurrection and His coming again.
When I say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made, it is, but don’t think the last 21 years of being a Christian have been perfect, happy or without struggles.
Sinful attitudes and behaviors plagued my early 20s. Rebellion, defiance and selfish attitudes were hard to overcome but eventually God led me to Bible studies at Southeastern Bible College and to a church where I finally learned how to study the Bible and search for direction in His word instead of relying on myself.
It’s funny how we can be so stubborn about things – we fuss at our kids and tell them not to be so hard headed, yet we are just as hard headed maybe even more so than our children. You know God has got to be shaking His head at us.
I know He shakes His head at me all the time. See I’m one of those logical, realist, Type A folks who can function independently and often get offended if someone tries to help, including God.
I’ve been known to say ‘I’ve got this.’ If I say that, I’ve learned that a ‘Snap out of it moment’ is about to occur. That’s exactly what’s happened over the last few years.
Leap of faith
Being in a cushy job with a nice, steady paycheck can lead to a false sense of security. Serving as Bargain Mom over the past 6 years did that for me. I wasn’t serving God, I wasn’t trusting Him, I was seemingly self-sufficient.
Yes there was the element of helping others provide for their families. But I felt God’s conviction that I needed to do something different. A revolutionary thing – Trust Him.
God promises to take care of His own. So trusting Him to provide has to be a daily lifestyle.
We talk about lifestyle changes – diets, finances, shopping habits, green living, frugal living, minimalistic living, tiny home living, leaving the workforce to be a stay at home mom, etc.
But a lifestyle change can be as simple as realizing we haven’t been fully trusting God in every aspect of our lives.
Do you know how scary it is to be totally at the mercy of your Lord’s provision? It’s pretty scary, yet strangely there’s a greater joy being on the brink of the unknown than there is being stuck in perpetually predictable.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Being in tight money situations can damper our ability to give. Ever notice how we usually cut out the giving or tithing first when money gets tight?
Well if we can be smart with our lifestyle choices we can continue to give and serve without being nervous.
These tips can apply to anyone at any income level:
1. Stop spending so much – Brilliant huh? Well are you doing it? This applies to every facet of our lives. Eliminate extras. We have to analyze where the money is going and if it’s worth it. Extra toys, perks, services for the home that we could do ourselves, clothing and so on – even magazine subscriptions – examine everything. What can we stop buying? How are we wasting money? Stop trying to have the latest and greatest, because in the end – nobody cares what you have, it’s how you treat them and show them who Christ is.
2. Start purging items around the house and garage – Two of my favorite extra income sources are unconventional but worth the time – Amazon Trade-in and Scrapyards.
Let me explain Amazon Trade -in. We all have old DVDs, Blu-rays, books, children’s books, video games and electronics collecting dust in our homes. Amazon will actually buy items from you and turn it into an Amazon credit. The credit works as cash, allowing you to purchase anything Amazon carries. Simply check the title, click submit if they want it, print a free shipping label, box it up and wait for your Amazon credit to appear in your account.
Don’t laugh when I say scrap yards – yes it can be nasty but it can be lucrative. Here’s what I do:
I have a bin for metal items that would normally go in the trash, electronics, wires, old extension cords, lights, broken or rusted tools and on and on – take that bin to the scrap yard once a month and add a little bit of cash to your bank account. Make sure it’s worth more than $2 to $3 before you go, and you can get the kids involved with finding scrap metal in the basement or garage.
3. Are we overindulging our children? – When I worked full-time out of the home before my al.com job switched to a telecommute I had tremendous guilt over not being with my children. The guilt would translate into me buying things on my way home to make up for me not being with them. I would also spend enormous amounts of money on Christmas and birthdays.
Then God convicted me of how I was operating. Instead of purchasing and over indulging them, He showed me that time is what they needed, time with me. So now we let them earn money to purchase items, which takes longer. We only do three gifts each on Christmas (we don’t do Santa). For birthdays, they get one gift, no parties (possibly small parties on milestone birthdays) but we usually do something fun on their birthday, like go to their favorite science center, museum etc.
This ended over spending, stress and afforded us more opportunities to do things together as a family.
As you go into 2015 I challenge you to examine how you’re trusting God, how you’re spending your money and what it is that He would have you do as His servant?
I’m right there with you – waiting and praying for Him to reveal His will. In the meantime I’ll still strive to be wise with how I spend money, trust Him to provide and praise Him for His greatest provision – a perfect sacrifice – Jesus Christ fully God, fully Man who died on the cross for our sins.
If you don’t know Christ as your Savior I pray you will look at the dynamic and wondrous created world around you, and realize that all of this was created by a perfect God who created you for a reason a reason you can’t know until you know Christ as your Savior.
Let me leave you with this scripture – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Now we’ve seen this 10,000 times on Facebook this month alone, on T-shirts, when someone runs a marathon, tries out for something etc.
But this scripture isn’t talking about running marathons, trying out for a baseball team or lifting weights – Sorry Facebook friends – you’re using it all wrong. You can’t jump off a bridge and expect to survive by claiming Phil. 4:13. on the way down without a parachute. The laws of gravity still apply.
Philippians 4:13 is about doing things Christ calls you to do for His Kingdom. This verse gives us the strength, peace and confidence to know He will provide for every step of the way to complete the spiritual tasks He convicts us of doing. That could be witnessing to someone, going on a mission trip, forging a new relationship with someone, asking for forgiveness or leaving that cushy job to follow His lead. It’s simple – follow His lead.
Graphic credit from my husband & our church.