Alright, time to recount some blessings. Elder Eyring says to keep a journal so that we can more readily recognize the hand of the Lord in our lives. I do try to do this but don’t always do so consistently.
To get straight to it, this month is really rough.
It’s March 6. I was paid ONE week ago. I now have $141 in my bank account. I still have to pay:
- My electric bill (hopefully $20 or less)
- My gas bill ($35)
- My gas bill ($35)
- My Comcast (internet/TV) bill ($43)
- My gym membership ($22)
- My Netflix bill ($9)
I also have not gotten groceries, and have only filled up on gas once.
That leaves me with about $47 for gas and groceries this month.
Needless to say, it was pretty difficult to hand over my tithing and fast offering on Sunday. I did it, because I always do, and the Lord has always provided. I am trusting that He will continue to do so.
This struggle is here because of $428 worth of four new tires I had to buy on Saturday. Before going to buy my tires, I worked out my budget for a good hour. I had to contemplate very deeply how I could possibly make ends meet with this purchase without going into debt. I realized there were a couple of avenues I could utilize to avoid charging my tires and gaining back some debt I have so recently paid off.
Fortunately, about half of that $428 I needed, I already had in my account from my Utah state tax return. The Lord provided.
One avenue I remembered that I could take advantage of is that I had a $20 gift card from my sweet friend Tommie from February that I have not used. I also had purchased $20 worth of groceries at Ream’s for only $10 last month. That’s $40 that I’ve already got for food. The Lord provided through my friend.
But a couple of other avenues were unexpected…
I was going to pass on Sunday dinner at grandma’s to save my gas. My grandma volunteered to give me $20 for gas. I told her that I would accept her help, but that $20 wasn’t necessary. She insisted on giving me the $20 when I arrived. Dinner was great, as usual. The Lord provided through my grandmother.
On Monday morning, I opened my makeup case and saw $40 that my grandmother had sneaked into it when I wasn’t looking. That sneaky, sneaky woman! The Lord provided more through my grandmother.
Last Monday, I got a phone call from my grandpa. He was wishing me a happy birthday--two and a half weeks late. I really thought it was weird that he forgot. I had noticed that he hadn’t sent a card. He never forgets my birthday, birthday card, or birthday check. I spoke with him again this morning. He said he mailed my card today, which most likely has some money in it. It’s late, but it’s when I need it. Can the Lord affect someone’s memory in my behalf? Either way, the Lord provided through my grandpa.
There were some other avenues I considered before my tire purchase…
I have a freelance writing job I can do at home. On Saturday, I wrote three articles (400 words, for $8 each). On Monday, I wrote three more—that’s $48 so far. Tomorrow, I’ll write more, as well as Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I’m not sure when I will get paid for these articles. But knowing that a check is coming is a great blessing to me. The Lord provided me with talents and a good work ethic.
Sometime this week, possibly Saturday morning, I will go to Biomat USA to make a second donation of my plasma. That will be $60 in cash that I can use for whatever. The Lord provided me with the attention to hear the radio ad as well as the ability to tolerate needles without any problem.
So while my other bills go through and until I get my checks for my articles, and until I can donate plasma, I have some padding to fall back on. The Lord’s hand is evident in this struggle.
On a separate note, I fasted for my brother on Sunday. Less than 24 hours later, he decided to take a step in the right direction, asking if he could go to our grandmother’s farm in upstate New York to get out of his bad environment and to get clean of his addictions. This is a big step for him. The Lord has kept him safe until now in spite of his poor decisions and has blessed him with the desire to take this step.
Contrary to what I thought would happen—he followed through on his whim. He is now in New York, tired, but safe. He will be staying with my uncle and grandpa, who have agreed to keep him busy, productive, and in a routine. My uncle has determined that my brother will clean up after himself. He has also decided to help Jason learn health and fitness, and to help him enjoy life by doing things like shooting, hunting, and fishing. Our hope is that Jason will learn the joys of life again and have the desire to continue on this path.
Originally, our hope (and plan) for Jason was that he would go to rehab. But apparently that was not the Lord’s plan. And being that my brother has had his life spared up to this point, I’m going to trust that for my brother, the Lord will provide as well.
Guys, I’m not on any kind of spiritual high right now. I’m struggling and have been struggling. But I can see very clearly that I am blessed with intellect, resourcefulness, determination, talents, amazing friends and family members, and a strong work ethic. My brother has been watched over and preserved. My family has been held up and strengthened throughout this, even if they may not be able to see it right now.
In spite of my struggles, I am confident that “all things wherewith [we] have been afflicted shall work together for [our] good.” – D&C 98:3
How many times do we need to be reminded that we are not in charge? The Lord is working. He is watching. He is answering our prayers. Maybe not the way we want Him to. Maybe not when we want Him to. But the plan He has is much greater than what we have in mind, if we just submit to Him, keep our covenants, and keep His commandments.
To be honest, I have a long way to go and am doing a poor job holding up my end of the deal. But that just goes to show that the Lord cares for us, loves us, and wants to bless us, even when we may not deserve it. Such is the love of a parent. Such is the love of our Creator.