Today I fell into a trap. I went shopping. I talked myself into taking Hannah to get a few new pairs of clothes know we had less the $200 to our name for the rest of the week. Not to mention I had my other two children in tow…who I’m sure would lure me into buying them a few things too. I justified it by seeing it still as a need and not a want. After all, my husband even said I need to get some new clothes for Hannah. All 3 of my kids’ clothes are getting shabby too and I figure a few cheap new outfits won’t hurt especially cheap ones. And my friend tells me last night that this particular store is having a huge sale and she got all kinds of things for $2-$3 apiece for her daughters. So I thought, “wow!” I need to go check that out.
So this morning it was on my mind and figured it would be something to do….even though I just told my husband this morning we have very little money in the bank and I watched him come home for lunch in order to avoid spending money. Nonetheless, I still move forward with my plan of shopping. What kind of idiot am I to not use such common sense? Ok, I know. Enough beating myself us. I’m good at that as you can tell.
I’m on my way to the store, and I keep thinking, “What are you doing?”. But yet I still tell myself that it’s just to check things out and if nothing is within my price range, I won’t buy anything. Whatever!! I get there and of course there’s a plethora of options, clothes all over the place to sort through, sift through, check prices for. Then the kids of course don’t help with their distracting behavior and also Hannah looking so happy shopping with me and looking for clothes. So I just kept looking, and looking, and looking….
…and an hour and a half later, I walked out spending $40 on 12 things. Not too shabby by most standards. Good sales! But that $40 feels like $400 now. I don’t even know how we’ll get groceries for the week and I went and did this? I feel like the scum on the bottom of someone’s shoe. I’m asking God for forgiveness but am feeling so sorry for myself I can’t even fathom receiving forgiveness. So I’m waiting for the shoe to drop, for my due punishment…for my husband to completely light into me when he finds out. Do I go ahead and tell him? Do I wait for my kids to talk about their new clothes only to get caught? I want to run right now…but the thing is, I don’t really want to run from God. I want to run from my husband. I want to crawl in God’s lap though, and I want Him to tell me it’s ok and that my mistakes are not gonna change how much He loves me nor will they change His provisions for us. But the hard part is, accepting and believing that will happen. Will He punish me? Will I get yelled at for this from Tim? Will I never be trusted again? I don’t trust myself, how can anyone else trust me?
Well, as I’ve been typing, God has been speaking to me about this. But before I go on, it's amazing to me how one little slip-up can take the rest of your day on a downward spiral and have you grasping to get back on your step. I wish I could just rewind the tape and have a do-over but here's what I'm learning from this already. I guess nothing goes wasted, huh?
So how would God want me to address this if it were my children? And how does God see me as His child in this? Was He surprised I did this? No. And He will probably see me do it again. This is stirring up a lot of things that I don’t really know how to sort through. When you do something wrong deliberately, but are so scared of your punishment that you can’t face the one who might be punishing you, what lie are you believing about them or you? And what has God done that would make me think he would bring unjust punishment that would affect our relationship? I guess I still don’t know God enough. Does God want to do something that will ultimately cause our relationship to suffer? No. So what is the right response here? God knows I’m beating myself up over this. That’s no secret. What if he doesn’t want to hear me say another word about it because it is already forgiven and forgotten? Because it sounds a whole lot like I’m making this more about me than Him. What if this is so minute in his mind already that He can’t even figure out why I’m still mulling it over and over? But if I accept his forgiveness so easily, doesn’t that just make me feel like I just got away scot free and that I’m accepting cheap grace? Do I deserve punishment? Yes. But God doesn’t use harsh punishment to bring His children to repentance anymore. The word says that He uses the careful instruction and guided discipline of the Holy Spirit. He knows we don’t want to do it again. And He knows we probably will make more mistakes. So it comes down to this. I guess I just need to be willing to accept what it takes to not let this not happen again. And trust that whatever that is, is good…even if it’s hard.
So my response is this:
“God, we have hashed this out enough. I want this offense to be wiped clean and in your Word you say ‘that we can come boldly before you and are washed clean by your blood because our sins are forgiven. They have been cast as far as the east is from the west.’ I just don’t want to accept cheap grace though. I want to accept the grace that is necessary for pure repentance and change in the area of spending habits. So today, I will give over my rights over the finances to You. You are in charge. I simply want to be obedient. So guide me through each day as if this money is not mine to manage…but Yours. Help me change my mind daily to realize that everything comes from You, through You and to You. And please protect Tim and me when this comes up. Prepare us somehow with the grace needed to prevent the enemy from getting between us with our finances. All that we are and all that we have is Yours. I want us to live our lives in that way in all that we say and do. May we give over whatever rights we think are ours that you never gave us. This is gonna take a lot of major discipline probably but I don’t want to be subject of financial traps and attacks anymore. May we pass over the pitfalls that the enemy tries to throw in our path so that we will remain steadfast in Your will and plan. And keep us alert, and pursuing You daily so our lives my reflect You in every area."
In Jesus’ Name,