I used to hide my money in my socks.
It was maybe the year I turned 10. Young enough to still receive mostly gifts on my birthday but also old enough to begin to marvel at finding $5 bills in a card from my grandma. I received some money that year, and I decided the safest place to stash it would be a pair of red socks I had.
It was a great idea, until it came time to go shopping at Target (true story), and I couldn’t remember where I had stashed my birthday money. I remember throwing a fit. I remember thinking I had lost it forever. Until I remembered the socks sitting on the shelf in my closet.
I never hid my money in my socks again. (Sorry, I misled you from the beginning. I hid my money in my socks one time and never made that silly mistake again.)
My husband and I have been poor for all of our marriage. It’s the downfall of marrying at the age of 20. I see little baby 20-year-olds now and think, “Well, you’re an infant,” and wonder how on this entire earth we got married so young. (For the record, I would never take it back in this or any lifetime.)
I remember when we bought our first TV after we had been married for a few months. We used up half of our savings, as I said to Evan, “Honey, this is WHY we have a savings account. So we can save money to buy nice things!” True, young Janelle. Also, so incredibly naive. But, hey, you only live once, right?
As the years have gone by and our life has drastically changed, I learn. Mostly by no desire of my own. Instead of having conversations about the vacation we’ll take this summer, we have weekly, sometimes daily, conversations about the money coming in this week or the next, where we will allot it, and how we will stay afloat. It isn’t easy or comfortable living our life. But we choose it. Which might seem pretty stupid.
Last week I talked about how it is our weaknesses that make us usable, not our talents. The places we are weakest are the places God is strongest. My weakest place? Finances. Money. The comfort money can provide. The safety I feel with a full bank account.
Unfortunately for me, I married a man whom God has placed, dedicated, and allotted for freelance. It is inconsistent. The safety of a full bank account does not often exist when I cannot reliably say when my husband will be getting paid this month.
And I am tested. Daily.
And every day, every week, God works regardless of me.
You know what I am known for around here? I am known for crying, blowing my top, and saying a lot of things I don’t mean when we have no money. I spend time stewing in my thoughts, and I stress out over being poor.
I hate the appearance of being poor. I hate the feeling. I hate the restrictions it can have on the “things I need”. I hate feeling like a slave to something that seems so stupid. And truthfully (if you hadn’t already gathered), I just hate it.
But God works regardless of me.
I am weak. I am not able to sustain my game face when I am terrified. I struggle to trust that God is my provider, even after all this time when He has never failed us.
He is strongest right here. He proves Himself every single time right here in my incredibly weak place of money.
The Father doesn’t promise us comfort. He didn’t promise me a life of luxury when I decided to marry Evan. He didn’t even give me a pair of red socks to stash my money in, because obviously that didn’t work that one time that I tried.
When I trust Him, God does not fail. When I give Him room to be immeasurably strong in my weakest places, He gets glory that I could not give on my own. He shines brightest when I am pushed to the side. He is seen when I am bowing low to His faithfulness.
This all isn’t about me, or us, or the money.
Lord, if I am poor, it doesn’t matter. If I have all the money in the world, it simply doesn’t matter.
I am rich when I am with you, Father. Rich in joy, love, grace, and the promise of eternity. And if that’s true, in this life, I’ve never been poor.
Even when I trust a pair of red socks to hold my money.