I have a lot of great stories in my life "history" that have to do with the blessings that come from paying tithing. Seriously, it's been true for me that when I pay it money literally shows up from nowhere.
And it's happening again, although this time is less obvious than many of the other times. Every Christmas we are in something of a financial crunch. We live off of student loans, you see, and it is a little difficult to make the money stretch over the whole semester. We do our best, but it isn't always easy, and this year has been harder than last because Joel didn't receive one of the grants he has received in the past. So we don't have much money in our account and are only expecting the very last bit of his stipend to be paid to us tomorrow. After that, we're on our own completely until the middle of January when school starts again and student loans are disbursed for that semester.
Anyway, I've been freaking out a little bit because I'm really not seeing how we can possibly make ends meet with the pile of bills I have sitting in front of me, the vacation we are taking next week and then just plain old living expenses for the next month. But the Lord always comes through for us. On Monday, a friend called me to take her kids for her while she went to a mandatory work meeting. She told me she'd pay me, which is why I did it even though I'm starting to deal with morning sickness. And she paid me much better than I would have expected. Then yesterday, another friend needed me to take her little boy while her husband went into surgery. I knew she was desperate, and being the "girl who cain't say no," I said yes, not expecting anything. When she picked him up, she also had a totally unexpected check for me.
And that's not all...I got a phone call from my insurance the other day notifying me that Chloe's immunizations are not up to date. I was surprised because I am generally pretty good about that, but they were right...she is missing a shot. They told me they will give me a 50 dollar gift card to WalMart if I get the shot by tomorrow (Thursday) and immediately fax the shot records to them. You can bet I made an appointment as soon as I could. I'm assuming they'll send it out pretty quick, and that will help buy groceries. I also received my payment from Simple Scrapbooks this week...I wasn't expecting that layout to be paid for until late January. I'm not sure where I got that date, but the money was a pleasant, and needed, surprise. We also found a receipt that Joel had forgotten to turn in for a while to be reimbursed (he's the ward choir director and had purchased a good amount of music), so the reimbursement check definitely helped pad our account just a little bit more.
Last year, our tithing blessings were a bit more dramatic, coming in the form of a 2,000 dollar check from the scholarship Joel received. They just had a bit of extra money and thought we could use it. Other windfalls include the opportunity to participate in a health study for which we were paid almost 1,000 dollars, a 100 dollar mistake the bank made in our favor (which I spoke to them about but they couldn't locate any record of it so they just said Merry Christmas), a 2,500 retirement fund that Joel had and didn't know about which we were required to cash out at a time when we desperately needed money, and the list goes on.
I am so thankful for these blessings. I know it isn't always so obvious, and I don't really expect it to be so when we find ourselves out of the student world and in a little better situation financially. But it is nice to know that when we make the sacrifice of paying our tithing the Lord really will take care of us, and it will all work out somehow. I know that tithing is a funny commandment that way....it is pretty difficult to keep when you look at it and see how much you could do with that 10% of your income. It is also one of the only commandments that can easily be kept perfectly. In fact, I think that I can't afford NOT to pay my tithing, because when I do, the Lord never fails to take care of the rest.