I felt the impact and truth of what I was saying in my bones—literally. I felt the force of my conviction physically, and it surprised me.
My mother lay dying in a hospital bed. She was still well enough to hold conversations and was worrying about my financial situation. I was married at the time and she knew money had been tight for a while. She worried about the future. I knew she felt if she could just stick around, I’d have help if I needed it. I think that feeling is part of a universal mother gene. We all feel by our very will and existence, we can make it ok for our kids.
When you’re staring death in the face, even if it’s not your death, you get very clear very quickly about your point of view. What I heard myself say was this: “I have absolute faith in God’s abundance.” As I said it, my eyes filled with tears. And I felt the strength of my conviction. With no sign, no guarantee, I was sure God meant good things for me.
My faith, however, is not just in God. It’s in me. Let me explain.
I have an extremely devout neighbor. Whenever anything goes wrong in her life, she closets herself inside and prays nonstop for hours at a time. I rang her doorbell one day and she answered, breathless. “I can’t talk right now because I’ve been praying all morning and I really thing we’re starting to get somewhere.”
My first thought was –how do you know you’re getting somewhere? My second—wouldn’t it be more effective to pray and then take some action? But, to each his own, as my mother used to say.
So when I say that I have absolute faith in God’s abundance, I mean it. I do. But I also have absolute faith that he gave me a good brain, two hands, two feet, etc. so I could use them to help bring about that abundance. I’m not a lock-myself-in-the-house-and-pray kind of person.
What I didn’t know when I spoke was how the universe would test my conviction in the months to come. Within a little over a year of my mother’s passing, I was ending my marriage. Amongst the assorted issues I had to face was one many women brush aside during a marriage—finances. I had married a financial mind and, as logic would dictate, he minded the finances. I swore I would never be one of those women who did not pay attention, but within the 18 months that my mother and father died, and my sister found out she had cancer, I was just a tad preoccupied (to say the least).
Without the sordid detail, just know that things were messy and not what I had thought they were. I had debt to pay off, a mortgage, kids’ tuition, a car payment—all the usual suspects—and I had to ramp up from part-time freelance work to full-time contract work if I was to keep a foundation under my family and a roof over our heads. It was all me, baby.
Talk about a test of faith. The first month, I remember figuring out in which order I had to pay bills. I was shuffling amounts and dates, knowing I would have to be late on a couple of items. We used up every gift card in the house and ate breakfast for dinner more often than usual. I have a loving bevy of sisters, who helped me as they could, but no millionaires in my family. And, I have a hard time asking for help when I need it. Just something I’ve come to accept about myself.
It was stressful. I worked long hours, which continue. And yet. Oh, and yet . . . I was thankful. I thanked God every night for the roof still over our heads, the eggs on the table and the fact that my children were able to remain in their school. And I thanked God for the good I knew was coming, even though I couldn’t see it yet.
We’re doing better. Much better. I am not out of the woods but have made great strides in a tough 12 months. And my faith continues, even when it is tested.
Learn on me. Faith is good. Put your faith in God’s abundance. And while you’re doing that, monitor the checkbook, the savings accounts, the ATM withdrawals and the stock portfolios.
Because God provides in so many ways, but He won’t keep an eye on your checkbook. Even if you lock yourself in a room and ask Him to for hours on end.
Don’t make Him work overtime like I did. Have faith. But be smart. One does not preclude the other.