Sometimes, God begins a work in us at what seems like the worst possible time.
As a financial advisor with over 20 years of experience managing money, I considered myself a financial expert. All of that changed when a friend invited me to attend a Journey of Generosity retreat where we would explore living and giving generously.
It didn’t feel like great timing in my life to discuss generosity. I had just left an 18-year marriage and I was now a single mom of two boys ages 7 and 10. It was a miracle I ended up with any money following the divorce and I was terrified. I had no idea how I was going to rebuild my life with the little I had. But with the Holy Spirit prompting me, I decided to attend the retreat.
God working in me
The gathering started on a Thursday afternoon. We watched stories of people living radically generous lives. We heard pastors teach on what the Bible says about generosity. We discussed what we had seen and what God was teaching us. Through it all, the phrase “God owns it all” kept ringing in my head, but during the breaks, I would quietly slip off to the ladies room and cry hysterically. All I could think was, If God owns it all, what if He calls me to give it all away?
The retreat included an overnight stay at a beautiful hotel. But my night was anything but peaceful. All of my years of financial planning experience screamed, “This is not wise! You need to save your money. Your money is your security. If you give it away, who will take care of you?” I knew in my head that God owned it all, but I wrestled with Him as He worked to move that message my head to my heart.
I would love to say that the next day I surrendered my grip on my possessions. But the reality is that I just cried even more. God was doing a big work in me and this was just the beginning.
Trust my bank account? Or trust God?
The following Sunday morning, I headed to church with my boys and a friend who had also been at the retreat. The pastor talked about a new Life Center they were raising funds for to minister to middle schoolers and high schoolers. The kids would have their own sanctuary, worship team, and classrooms. It sounded amazing!
I felt a very strong nudge from the Holy Spirit to write a check for the equivalent of my annual giving—on top of my regular giving. Everything in me rose up to tell God why this was a crazy idea. It made no sense. What if we needed that money?
The offering plate came and went—and I didn’t put my check in it. Could I really make this big, scary sacrifice to follow God and trust Him to be my provision?
I argued with Him throughout most of the service. I finally leaned over and told my friend what I felt He was asking me to do. She suggested we pray. After praying, I felt incredible peace. I wrote the check, found an usher, and gave it to him. It felt like I had passed the test. Would I trust in my bank account or would I trust in God? I trusted God.
The journey of trust continues
That was nine years ago. God has provided for my sons and me in lavish and extravagant ways. He has done so much more than I could ever have asked or hoped or thought or dared to imagine! God is good and He can be trusted.
Are you on your own journey of trusting God as your provider? The Extravagant God Bible Study is a wonderful way for you and a group of friends to explore your purpose and passion as you learn about women who have experienced the freedom of living generously.