I have to tell you how God showed up in my life Tuesday...
For the past four years, I've had to do a paper route. Actually it's been more on and off for five years - I had a porch route for about 13 months when I first started (and porch routes are the WORST! Having to make sure the paper gets on the porch, having to get out of your car, trying to keep from hitting people's junk on their porches - ugh!), then I took almost a year off before going back again. This time I got another porch route in a rapidly growing subdivision that was very close to my house, so it was honestly pretty great (except for the above reference porch route problems) - I picked up my papers 3 minutes from my house, threw the route and was back home in 90 minutes. Did that one for a year and a half, then moved to a motor route. This was great, in that I didn't have to get out of the car, but it used a lot of gas and took almost two hours, start to finish. I've been doing this route since Dec. 05, with the idea that I'd keep doing it until we were debt free, which will be sometime next spring.
Now this route brings in money that we desperately needed, and couldn't make it without, but there are some very serious consequences with it. I'm exhausted all the time (have to pick up papers at 4:30 AM and be at work at 8 AM, with a 45 minute commute to work), the housework is so far behind it will take months of daily work to catch up, our marriage has suffered, church attendance has been almost nonexistent, and I rarely cook, which is one of my loves (and something DH surely appreciates!). I have been praying for a way to get rid of the route, whether it be extra income in another format, or less bills, or a raise, or what have you, and I have to honestly say I haven't prayed for it quite as often as I should. But God knows my heart, and knows how much I desire to be a good wife and homekeeper and He is honoring that desire.
This month will be the first month we do not absolutely have to have the route. One of our regular bills has decreased just enough for us to be able to get by each month. This month we each receive an extra check, also, as DH gets paid each week, and I get paid every other Friday. This is extremely beneficial because I'm having surgery next month, and will be off work for at least four weeks, most likely. Without.pay. Can you say terrified? I just knew I would have to keep doing the route until surgery, then go back to it as soon as I could drive, two weeks later. Plus DH has duck season this fall, starting in November and going thru January.
So DH and I discussed it, and we'd decided that I was going to do the route thru the end of the month, and that would be it. He's supposed to get a bonus the middle of September, and we'd just have to make do without the route. I have been very scared to just let go of it, and I'm the one who does it seven days a week - he only helps on Sunday mornings. In the last three years, I've had exactly five days off from the route, and three of them were because I had a kidney stone! So for me to be a little wary of letting this thing go, tells you I had some serious reservations about it. My fear (and let's call it what it is - FEAR) is that something will come up and we'll get behind somehow, and I'll have to either start doing it again, or borrow money from my dad, or something along those lines. And the problems my blazer is having with shifting every morning on the route aren't helping my confidence, either.
So yesterday on my way home from work, I had a heart to heart with God. I spilled my guts about how I wanted to stop the route, but that He knew what was ahead of us and I wanted to know what to do, once and for all. So I did what I've done in the past, but have never gotten a real response - I put out a fleece for God. I don't take doing that lightly, and I'm not saying that's an option in every situation, but I felt led to do it. And as stupid as it may sound to you, this was the fleece - I asked God to play a specific song on my MP3 player before I got home. Not sure why I chose this song, it just came to me, and keep in mind that my player is on a random playlist - there are hundreds of songs on it and any one of them could play at any time. My fleece was that if the song played, then I would stop the route at the end of the month, and trust God with the rest.
So I make this request about 20 minutes from home and as I'm driving, I'm expecting God to do something, but making plans in the back of my mind as to how I'm going to conjure up the energy to keep doing the route - you know how you want to believe and you try to believe, but you still make contingency plans. Or maybe I'm the only one who does that.
And two minutes away from my house, praise God, that song came on! I had to look down at the player and make sure it was really true, and there it was in black and white. God had answered my prayer! My silly little "please God play this song if we should quit the route" prayer! I can count on one hand the number of times in my life that I have literally felt His presence, when I have made requests and He's literally answered them in just minutes, and yesterday was one of those times!
I laughed and giggled and smiled all the way home, knowing God had shown up and shown off! Today I sat down and figured our bills and sure enough, there's enough to make it, barring any emergencies. And even if there is one, I want to trust God with the outcome this time. I want to go back to church, I want to be able to clean my house, cook dinner, and have energy for my husband. I want to get up early and spend time with God and not drag around every day, needing energy I can't get. And in 15 days, I can!