I am wearing my $10,000 shirt. I don't particularly like this shirt, and I never have, but I wear it for what it does for me on the inside.
Three years ago, we were beginning to raise missions support to move to IHOP. We were stepping out from a comfortable salary to living on faith - something not entirely foreign to us, having church planted, but in planting we were asking for money for a church and this felt different. This time it was personal, vulnerable, and alltogether difficult.
It was a glorious, miserable summer. Glorious in that God provided in some amazing ways. Miserable in that throughout the process, it was continually revealed that I had the discernment and insight of a camel.
One of my camel moments came the evening of our largest fund raising event - a worship event held at the Vineyard chapel. I had worked at VCC all day, mostly moving stuff in a storage room, I believe. My shirt was filthy. Kelsey was going to meet me at the venue, so I called her to tell her to bring me a shirt. She was already en route, so she stopped at Target and bought me a striped, short sleeved shirt. We met in the lobby, she handed me the bag, and I went to the Men's Room to change.
I hated the shirt the moment I pulled it out of the bag. I didn't like the cut, the color, the cloth, or anything else one can like or dislike about a shirt...but I wore it. Ten minutes later, I was standing there greeting people, nervous about the event, worried about finances, a little sheepish to be asking and embarrased of a shirt that I did not like. In that moment, had you asked me how it was going to go, I would have said "This night stinketh."
At the end of the night, someone handed us a check for $10,000. Yes, ten thousand dollars. You have to understand, we're a family of five, but $10k can be made to go a long way. This was (and still is, by far) the biggest windfall of our lifetimes.
That night, crawling into bed, I saw my ugly shirt laying crumpled at the foot of the bed. I dubbed it my $10,000 shirt. I wear it regularly now. I still am not crazy about it, but it always reminds me that I have no clue about what God is going to do today.
One more story about provision...
When we moved here, we met a young couple we really liked. They were newly married and had just bought a house. They told us how they had just received an unexpected $2500 for work he had done long ago...and the next week, a water main in their yard exploded. It was on their side of the meter, so they had to pay for the repair. You guessed it - just shy of $2500 worth.
My reaction was probably like yours - "Oh man...I am so sorry!". I saw their windfall heading back out with the wind. I'll never forget his reply.
"Are you kidding me? We were rejoicing. We've never had $2500 in our lives, and God gives it to us immediatly before we need it! God is good!"
Uh. Yeah. That's what I meant.
We had a moment like that this week...our truck went into the shop for surgery. It's still not finished, and every day that they work on it, the bill increases. The day it went in, we received a very unexpected check for $500, which is probably close to what we're looking at for parts and labor. The timing of God, says I.
We live a life of faith...in all areas. It is no easier or more comfortable than it was three years ago, but it is more precious to me than it has ever been.
Thanks to all who have helped and are helping us as we pursuit night and day prayer and training young people to do the same. These stories are your stories too.