Part 3 of a Dave Ramsey Flunkie: The Unexpected Trilogy

9:43 AMHeather

It felt like a burden lifted off my shoulders. Friday afternoon, after I had come completely clean here about all my wrestling and issues related to our financial ups and downs, I felt a freedom that comes with confession. I even wrote in my prayer journal how confession is good for the soul. And not just confession to God...like when we 1 John 1:9 our sins by standing on this verse: When we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive them.

Yes, that clears the air and removes the barriers in our relationship with our God when we continually agree with him about our sins and thus seek relational forgiveness for the ongoing health of our walk with him.

But, Friday, I felt a different lightness related to confession. It's best summed up by how my pastor describes it. JR Vassar says that we continually act like Adam and Eve, hiding behind fig leaves when we fail and stumble. Trying to cover our shortcomings. But community within the church--the unity that Jesus describes--is best found when authenticity and transparency allow fig leaves to drop.

That is the burden I felt lifted on Friday. Having blogged on Thursday and Friday -- doing what I felt was a matter of obedience. I felt the fig leaves fall. There is something so freeing about dropping pretense, isn't there? When we remove our masks and our plastic smiles and we simply let the real us be seen. No matter how it's received. I feel like my true confessions were something God asked me to do. To quit pretending. And in that moment, I felt the joy of pleasing my Father, no matter if anyone else approved.

Fear of man's approval is indeed something with which I struggle.
Yet, I laid out all my cards. Throwing them on the table for all to see.

The interesting thing...the amazing thing is this. When we drop our fig leaves, others feel free to do the same. When we take off our masks, others breath a sigh of relief that they can let theirs come off as well. Authenticity and being genuine in this world of putting on social media airs is a refreshing thing indeed.

So I thought I was done with this whole Dave Ramsey drop-out confession. I didn't intend to take over my blog with my story of financial woes beyond that two-part blog post.

BUT....

I've got more to say today.Here's the epilogue, as I see it. Unless, of course, this becomes like the Star Wars series where prequels and sequels just go on and on.

You never know. Maybe I'm more like George Lucas than I thought.

So, to back things up, you regular bloggy friends might remember the story of my sink that fell off my wall. How I was sinking a couple of weeks ago. My husband removed said sink from the guest bath floor, leaving us with only a pedestal.  I could honestly say that my half-bath now was a matching red-neck rigged set to go with my kids' bathroom shower, which has a trash bag duct taped around the tiles that fell off.  Let's just say that accomplishing home improvement projects is not really our forte.

It's all good. Our guests could easily walk into the kitchen to wash their hands after using the facilities. And, the pedestal without a sink is really quite a conversation starter.

Fast forward a bit to last Wednesday. When my dryer began to act up. I wasn't thinking it could be anything serious. After all, it's only 6 years old and we've had it repaired once already. The problem was that it would cut itself off after about 3 minutes of drying.

Now, clothes may dry on the line in 3 minutes in this Texas summer heat. But not in a dryer. So, chalk one more up to the "needs to be repaired" list. Moving on....

That's just what I did. I just kept moving forward, despite all our brokenness around here (and I'm not just talking about our home repairs). After all, I had a birthday party to throw for my daughter. Our sweet "adopted" daughter, Charity, came to spend the night and lend her help to pull off the small Fairy Tale Mystery Dinner that my girl wanted. We hot glued, we taped, we made tissue pom-poms... we basically crafted beyond our heart's content, trying to use things I already had to make the party special. Then, Saturday, we cooked, we set up, and we finished pulling it together. 

Preparations done, Charity went to shower. That would be upstairs, in our trash-bag decorated shower.

Yet, I heard a very small shower going on downstairs. Near my living room.

Oh, yes. It was definitely more than a trickle. Not yet a flood. But there was a problem.

Chris went to investigate. And sure enough. Our hot water heated was busted. Oh-so-timely. As it began to slowly flood our laundry room and our living room, just about 15 minutes before guests arrived. Chris instructed me to keep cooking while he got to work. He tried to stem the flow with every available towel.

 Oh, yes. Remember... our dryer was not working.Those sopping towels were all thrown outside around our patio furniture.

He was doing his very best yet realized the inevitable.

The water was going to have to be turned off.

As 6 preteen girls showed up for dinner. Being served on actual plates with for-real cups. Because I had decided to use what I had instead of buying paper products.

Little fact of life. You don't realize how many dishes and pots and pans you have used until you are suddenly without any water in your house and you have no way to clean them.

Another fact of life. It's a bit of a buzzkill to a lovely dinner party when you have to announce to the guests that bathroom breaks might get interesting. Particularly preteen girl guests. With a great need for privacy. As in, the ability to flush a potty.

Bless, all I can say is that we have the best friends in the world. One dad who came to drop off his daughter instead ended up helping Chris drain the hot water heater. Another dad came back after the party to help wet vac our carpet. And sweet Charity, despite battling the lasting effects of a nasty bronchitis and being exhausted from all of her help... she stayed to help me rinse all those dishes in the 7 minutes where we turned the water back on to fill every sink and bathtub and to get the dishes at least somewhat clean.

I'm going to shoot straight. When the water began to flood into the living room, and I was knee deep in party prep and really REALLY over having things break, I nearly broke myself. My dear Amy (see previous Dave Ramsey posts about her...Amy is to me like Gulley is to Big Mama)...she dropped her daughter to the party, assessed the situation, took one look at me, and pulled me in for a hug. She knows me well. She knew I was about 3 nanoseconds from break down. She offered her assurances and said she would be praying.

I mustered up my courage, knowing that if I allowed the tears to fall I would not be able to stem the flow. And I had a party to host, after all. So, here's how my internal prayers went down, as I welcomed girls and served the food.

"Lord, I'm trying here. I'm trying to be obedient to your calls. To be transparent and authentic. I've been asking you to heal my unbelief. Now, I'm pretty much shouting that request. I. DO. NOT. want to respond in the unbelief and stress and worry that I usually do. I want to be able to respond with belief in You. HELP me to do that!"
  
That is where this was different than all the other times. I was knee deep in my usual unbelief and worry, but begging God to help me respond differently. Every time my thoughts turned to worry and stress...I asked him to help me believe.

When the house was empty of guests and the dishes were rinsed and every sink and tub and pitcher in the house was filled with water since our water was again turned off, I collapsed into bed with a monster migraine. Off the charts pain. I had taken my meds and was settling in, praying my desperate prayer for the millionth time. 

I felt a nudge to pick up my iPad and read a little bit from Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty while I waited for the meds to kick in. I was saying my prayers about my unbelief and asking God to help my unbelief and telling him how I wanted to believe, and there it was.

I just "happened" to be to a section where Sara describes an a-ha moment while attending a Bible study. She realized, while studying about Adam and God in Genesis, that she had been praying repeatedly for her infertility with such unbelief. She had been praying like a beggar knocking on the door and expecting the butler to deliver her message to the Master. She was praying without the confidence of a child who knows they are dearly and passionately loved.

I read the section multiple times through. And I wept. Because there was the truth of it. Right there. I felt with such certainty in my heart this whisper of truth.

I don't believe in God's provision and his care because I don't know him well enough. I don't really know him enough to have that kind of confidence. I continue to box him in to all my preconceived notions and how people have treated me instead of letting those boxes be blown away with the TRUTH of God and his true nature toward me and all of his creation.

I wept and confessed and asked God to help me believe and know him. For real. And I drifted into a peaceful sleep.

I could end there. Because that is pretty monumental, to say the least. That I woke up late the next day with this prayer on my lips--"Lord, help me to have THAT kind of confidence. That I am a passionately and dearly loved child of a Father who is FOR me." 

It's a place of revelation where I will dwell and linger for who knows how long. Because it's truly earth shattering. It's an epiphany that changes everything.

And THAT would be enough. That is the true miracle, really. In this ongoing journey of faith and finances.

But there is more. 

Because of some incredible and ridiculous gifts that others felt prompted to offer... we will be debt free by the end of this month. Including the replacement of our hot water heater, sink, and dryer.

Debt free.

Who but God? WHO but God shows up in the tiny details of a flood in your house so as to show the flood of unbelief in which you are drowning? WHO but God works through sinks falling of the walls to reveal all the faulty thinking that has me falling off the walls? WHO but God reveals himself through a busted dryer to say that all things work together for good through Him who loved me?

Who but God says...I love you too much to leave you in your current state. And it has nothing to do with having debt or not. But I will be revealed through life's ups and downs to show you a truer faith. A truer belief. A truer relationship with Me. And with others. 

I love you too much to allow the comforts of life to lull you into a meaningless and false religiosity. But I will allow things to get shaken up in order to shake you up and spur you on to an intimacy with Me that will change it all.

And then. Not because he has to, or because I deserve it, or because I've in any way "earned it"... but he says I will show up and show you my sufficiency. I will remind you that I can change those circumstances that have you down. I can reach in and provide more than you ask or imagine.

Listen. I'm not saying that if you follow my "formula" or steps here than you will get the same result. I'm not spouting any kind of prosperity gospel. 

I'm saying that God cares more about the condition of my heart and my false notions of him than he cares about my bank account. Without a doubt.

Yet, he is the God of Jacob. The God who revealed himself to a man whose name meant deceiver. The God who said, "You are mine and I am yours. And I've got this. I've got you."

You may not receive a crazy generous gift that fixes it all. But you do have a Heavenly Father who fixes it all. Eternally. Forever. And he promises that he will make all things right. He will wipe away every tear. He will provide for every need. And he hears our every prayer.

So in case you are asking and asking and sinking and sinking.

Remember this.

Our God is a faithful God who is mighty to save. He delights over us with singing. He quiets us with his love (Zephaniah 3:17).

And as my story attests... He is faithful when we are faithless. And those who trust in Him will never be put to shame.

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