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Week 8 - Personal Story

Val’s story relates to both last week’s lesson and this week’s lesson. Following the world’s wisdom and pride brought difficult consequences to her family, which humbled them; that opened the door for the blessing and grace of God.

Val’s story
My husband and I were raised in Christian homes and based our marriage on the biblical principles we were taught both at home and in church. As a young couple with babies it was natural and easy to follow those principles, keep a tight budget and prioritize our needs/wants, etc. (Things were pretty basic back then!) However, as the years progressed and my husband’s career progressed, we slowly began to listen to the insidious voices of the world telling us “you deserve this”, “treat yourself to the best”, etc. We listened to our children’s voices saying “everyone else has one”, etc. Before we realized it we were making choices to “keep up with the Jones” instead of following the principles the Bible had taught us. We knew the truth, but turned a deaf ear to it! Even though we were entrenched in church, even holding offices of leadership, we were at the same time trying to keep our children dressed in designer wear like everyone else, choosing only the top camps for them, and our vacations had to be “over the top”—not the familiar beach trip we always had loved and looked forward to each year.

We went through the motions of making investments of the financial resources God was providing and we were following the advice of a faith-based financial firm; however, we were drawn to this group by acquaintances following a prosperity-based gospel and living “well” (at the time we did not know that “well” meant living way beyond their means!) We were praying about each investment, but our hearts were not tuned in to hear God’s wisdom or will for us—we just continually asked Him to bless our choices. Things seemed really good when suddenly the bottom fell out of the market where the bulk of our investments had been made. All our plans for college money, bigger and better homes, cars, etc. were shattered in one swift change of fortune. It was a real awakening for us as we wrestled with God emotionally and He began to show us the errors of our ways and the false hopes placed in the wrong things and for the wrong reasons. We also realized how foolishly we had jeopardized God’s “best” for our family as we indulged ourselves and our children with things of the world.

We confessed our sinful ways to God and to our children, who were nearing college at the time. God was gracious and brought us together as a family committed to do our best to start again—this time under the strong guidance of God’s wisdom, not our own. Almost immediately the blessing of God began to manifest itself in unexpected ways. It was not an instant success story with a fortune dropping from the sky, but it was a daily blessing to meet our needs and help us grow in our faith each time we recognized the hand of God in our situation. With the reality that I would need to go to work full time in order to meet the college expenses, I was blessed with a good management position near home and with wonderful people. (They hired me because they were familiar with my administrative skills with an area women’s bible study group and with various positions held in church—not reasons the world would look at as “worthy” of the position.) A true blessing of God that lasted for ten years when, by my choice and God’s leading, I was able to retire from the job entirely to deal with our aging parents’ needs. It was a true blessing to be able to be there for them as they had been there for us through all our early years. (The following year that firm merged with a larger one and split in many directions—another blessing of God to save me the headaches that would have meant as a manager!)

Our children took on extra jobs while attending college, but never had to miss out on any activity of meaning to them. In fact, in some instances, because of their job positions they were able to be placed in the midst of dignitaries and future acquaintances that would prove very advantageous to future education and job prospects. Another blessing from God. Every time an unexpected expense would arise, the money would be provided in a way only God could have provided. We all were becoming more aware of God’s hand in our lives on a daily basis and we saw our faith grow measurably. We were given opportunity time after time to testify to His goodness and faithfulness to meet our needs. We all became bargain shoppers—and learned what fun it can be—and we all became better managers of God’s gifts to us. We began to invest more in God’s Kingdom work and to personally invest ourselves and our time to help the less fortunate. We had been given a lesson in priorities by God’s wisdom that we had to share with others. Life had more meaning than ever before!!

Today we see the fruits of that period in our lives and are thankful that God took a firm grip of our family and saved us from further destruction. We see our adult children making wise decisions and following after Christ in their lives and marriages. We see them instilling God’s principles in their children and making the difficult calls in guiding them along the way because they know it is what they must do to give them God’s best in the long run of life. The lies of the world are out there to entice and snatch us from the ways of wisdom and they are easy to follow if we don’t ask God daily to help us to see with His eyes what His best is for us. God is faithful and He heaps undeserved grace on us daily. Living in that knowledge is true wisdom that gives true meaning to life. We thank Him for teaching us His Truth.

2 comments:

Twisting His Arm said...

I really liked this statement 'ask God daily to help us to see with His eyes what His best is for us'. I am going to try to say that prayer every morning. What a wonderful way to start the day!

Sohl Gal said...

I am totally guilty of that lie, "Oh I deserve this, it's been a hard ----" or "My son's really been a great listener, so he's earned ----." Another one of those sneaky ways satan tries to part us from God's will for our lives. I'm going to find myself an accountability partner, and have her help me make God-honoring choices with the blessing He's given me.