“Doing Finances”

A poet at the Philadelphia Art Center

At the end of each month I “do finances,” juggling expenses and income for a home, a rental property, and a non-profit ministry. “Doing finances” takes a few hours and invariably raises my blood pressure enough for me to sense the pumping adrenals and constricting arteries. If I ever have a heart attack, it will be when I’m “doing finances.” They’ll find me, pencil in hand, ledger like a flat pillow under my head, clutching my chest and clenching my teeth, finger pointing to some bounced check fee or exorbitant invoice total.

Hopefully this won’t happen. God wants me to learn to trust Him. Oddly, He often facilitates this by increasing the pressure.

This month as I scanned the online bank statement for my non-profit I noticed a charge from my merchant services company. I use this company to run credit card charges for services and products. Typically their monthly charge is about 25 dollars. This month it was nearly 10 thousand, as in $10,000.00, $10k, or ten thousand dollars. Staring at that figure evoked vague memories of some suspicious notifications that led me to several strange conversations with company reps about my account being hacked. I thought I’d taken care of the problem and that the company would appropriately take responsibility for the hacking and fees incurred. The numbers in front of me proved they hadn’t. A string of calls to the company turned into a house of terrors. Several cold, indifferent representatives variously claimed that, “You’re imagining it,” or when that one hung up on me, “You’ll have to ‘absorb’ it.”

“This is outrageous!” I cried. “Let me speak to your supervisor immediately!”

“My supervisor will say the same thing. This kind of thing happens.”

“This is a significant portion of my yearly income!” I pled. “I’m a small, non-profit company with very limited resources!”

Silence. Indifference. Coldness.

I hung up and threw myself on the floor. “Dear God,” I choked, “It’s your money. I hate to see it trickle into Satan’s hairy hands, but it’s your game now.”

I fully recognized a call to surrender. If an artist painted the scene, I would be in the foreground, laptop casting a blue, forlorn glow into tear-reddened eyes. Looming in the background, stooping to scoop me up, arms poised to embrace, soft robe lapping around my hunched shoulders, would be Jesus.

A few hours later I dried my tears, sniffed, and exchanged emails with the leader of a ministry that finances non-profits. She offered to give me a chance to raise money for a special project of my own non-profit at a conference this weekend. The special project involves helping young people produce music and other media. I work and worship with several brilliantly talented college-age kids, who create media pieces such as this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPLeqVycQiE&feature=youtu.be which has received over 7000 hits. I had been praying for funding for the project, only to despair of ever raising it when the theft occurred.

But now Denise Hayden from ASI was telling me I could try to raise some money this weekend. The amount? Ten thousand, just what I lost.

Now, I’m not a signs-and-wonders kind of girl. My miracles most often appear in the heart realm, in the form of softened attitudes, renewed bonds, and spiritual awakenings. Rarely do I tell sensational stories of the check appearing the day the rent was due, or the car miraculously making it fifty miles to the gas station on fumes. God deals with me differently. Most often, He makes me work for my rent money and allows my car to putter out on lonely highways. But now and again he reminds me that He rules, not just spirits, but buildings, banks, companies, cities, cars, solids, liquids, gases, molecules, atoms and yes, finances.

10k theft, 10k donation. That bore the signature of God.

The next day I found a human being at the company. She handled the situation with competence and compassion. I have a letter from her on company letterhead stating that a check will come, covering the full amount of the stolen money. A high-level rep called with humblest apologies for the treatment I received and unsuccessfully tried to keep my business.

10k returned.

But do you see what God did? He let this child scream in terror at the devil’s theft, only to quiet me with a reminder that He could give it all back and more. And He did this to turn my eyes to Him, something that to Him is worth a fortune. I believe in an interactive, intervenient, interposing God, don’t you? He engages us as we build our little sandbox castles in this world, ever calling us to a better world. I think I’ll take Him up on it. So should you. And you should also pray that the 10k donation comes in!


5 thoughts on ““Doing Finances”

  1. Nancy Adams Reply

    Great well writte story–one we all can relate to. Praise God for your victory and His and for your ability to communicate it.

  2. Lynn Maine Reply

    God BLESS you!
    With WWU college bills looming for one daughters last quarter and another daughters piddly $1000 for public university this semester, this writing hit home for me. Thank you! I continue to be inspired through you for God.
    Lynn Maine

  3. Jennifer Reply

    Thank you so much for that. Why is trust so hard to come by? I too have seen the working of the Lord’s hand in my life time after time, and still when a tough situation arises I scream and cry and say God where are you? When all the time he was right there just waiting for this stubborn child to surrender.

    Praise God for his limitless mercy and grace. Something I continue to desperately need. Keep your chin up Jen, and keep fighting the good fight.


  4. Kitty Goodwin Reply

    Your continuous striving to present Christ as our Savior, and atonment
    it a giant encouragement to all who wish to share Jesus also,
    You Go Girl !!!!! And all for Christ !!!!!!! Love, Kitty

  5. Terri Michaels Reply

    Now that I accessed your blog, I sure wish to recall what I said to copy from my email that you seemed to find relevant. Please keep up the good work in helping victims of crime. I wish to share that I became an advocate for victims’ rights years ago; sometime I will blog some information from John Walsh’s book “Tears of Rage”. This book was very difficult to read, as it detailed John and Reve Walsh and their anguish losing their only son, Adam “Scooter” Walsh on July 27, 1981, from a Sears in Hollywood, Florida. In the back of the book there is a sample of the Crime Victims’ Constitutional Amendment that may be reproduced to legislators. Thank you and I will keep these murdered children and their families in my prayers.

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