What happens when you follow God? What happens when your whole family chooses to do it?
Here in the Hooks household, we’ve learned that when you step out in faith and do something God has called you to do, like our family did when I became a stay-at-home-mom, you experience God. When God asks you to leave something behind, and you do it, you will see how He can take care of you.
Our God Provides
Philippians 4:19 tells us, “my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
In Matthew 6:26, the author says, “Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”
It’s nice to read these verses, but they’re simply inspirational words until you’ve experienced God’s provision. Once you have, you know it – you know that you’re worth more than the birds and that the Father will take care of you because you’ve seen Him do it.
In January 2010, when I told Bill I was being convicted by God to stay at home with Ethan, he flat out thought I had lost my mind. We prayed for peace for him, but it didn’t come.
He did the math, over and over, to compare our monthly bills to his monthly pay.
“It doesn’t work,” he confessed.
I was concerned but not defeated. I was sure this was what God was calling me to, so this was what I had to do.
We kept praying.
Finally, Bill said, “the numbers don’t add up, but if you say this is what God wants you to do, then we’ll do it.”
That step became part of our family’s story – part of our family’s testimony.
Our God Has Sovereign Control
When something is a part of God’s plan, He.is.working…He’s already been working previously and in the background, orchestrating events that need to align for things to go according to His plan. Pieces will fall together here and there, but you might not see it until later.
God takes care of the needs of His people long before His people are even aware of the need.
Take the story of Joseph, for example, in Genesis chapters 37-50. God used Joseph to save the lives of many during a famine in Egypt.
God, in His sovereignty, arranged the events in Joseph’s life – betrayal by his brothers and an unjust imprisonment, just to name a few – to place the man in a position to become second in command to Pharaoh just in time to lead Egypt through a terrible famine.
God was in control then, and He’s in control now – in our family.
Bill had been hearing the name “Dave Ramsey” for years. A friend talked about reading his books and shared some of Ramsey’s financial advice. Then, Bill found The Dave Ramsey Show podcasts and began listening.
Since Bill is the financially-minded one of the two of us, he found Ramsey’s ideas intriguing but pushed them aside. He couldn’t fathom it being a reality for us since we would only have one full-time income. There wasn’t any way to get out of debt using Ramsey’s debt snowball method if there wasn’t any extra money after bills were paid…and the way it looked, there wouldn’t be any.
Over time, though, we started noticing how things were dropping away from our budget as we prepared to lose my full-time income.
We’d gotten “gazelle intense,” to borrow one of Ramsey’s favorite phrases: We cut cable, went to a different cellular carrier to save on phone bills, reduced car insurance by changing companies, refinanced the house to lower the mortgage, started using a monthly budget…anything we could think of to make wiggle room.
Suddenly, there WAS extra money in the budget at the end of each month. It wasn’t a lot, but it was there.
Bill borrowed his friend’s copy of Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover, and we read it together.
“We can do this,” he finally said. He’d been listening to people’s success stories on the podcast, too, so he was extra pumped.
So, we decided to give it a shot, and we began Baby Step 2 of Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover in August 2014, owing approximately $20,000 on a car, a set of Tempurpedic mattresses, and a student loan. Seven months later, we paid it all off – 7 months early on the car, 1 ½ years early on the mattresses, and years ahead of schedule on the student loan.
One of the most fascinating elements of this whole experience has been that we haven’t felt like we had to go without necessary things or struggle to pay our bills.
Sure, we’ve sacrificed. We started living on a budget to see where we were spending money. There’s been a lot less eating out. Bill had to figure out how to watch ESPN without cable (that took him awhile, so he went without it completely for several months). I very rarely shop for new clothes.
But, we’re fine! God has provided the things we needed, and we’ve learned to be content without many of the “extras.”
Even when the numbers didn’t add up, we relied on God, and He has taken care of us.
He’ll take care of you, too. You can trust Him. With your finances. Your relationships. Your children’s education. Your job. Your health. Your house. Your important decisions. He’ll take care of you. He feeds the birds, AND He clothes the flowers, but He loves you even more than He loves them.
(If you’d like to read more about God’s provision in times of need, see Donna’s story or Meggan’s story).
What does He want you to trust Him with right now? Is there a conviction you’ve been ignoring? A calling you’ve avoided? What’s holding you back?
Would you share some things you have trusted to God? How has He provided? Can you look back and see how He planned things out – pieces that fell together, events that coordinated?