I want to share my victories and blessings with you. I want to tell you how I overcame a hard time in my life. Three years ago I was struggling to make ends meet. So many new things to learn and so much placed on my shoulders; where and how was I going to make it work? I prayed all along the way. What I want to share with you is what I learned in the fact of "In blessing, be a blessing."
I was crying, praying and getting ready for church. I said, "Lord, "I can barely give an offering because I barely make anything to give.
That very night at church is one that changed my life. Reverend Carroll, was speaking about being used of the Lord with our talents and then he said one thing that really got my attention. He said, "Some of you barely give to the Lord, and you wonder why the Lord, barely gives anything back?"
Whoa! I had stated this at home earlier but it sounded more like my situation was because of me whereas I was putting blame somewhere else. My mind began to think along these lines. "Tithes are tithes, ten percent of our earnings. Then offerings is where we give more to the Lord. What is tithe? Tithe is the pastor's wages. If it is a wage then it is a job. If it is a job then how do I want to be treated on my job?" That is when my world turned around. "I want to be given a raise and I want a bonus. Okay, tithe is tithe, but I can give a bonus in the tithe and extra in the offering." So, that is what I did, the next paycheck I set aside the tithe and added a bonus and increased my offering.
(Let me add, I asked others if Brother Carroll was speaking about tithes? Every person I asked said no he was speaking about our talents in reaching out to help others live for the Lord. I felt that the Lord was showing me something I needed to learn because I heard a different message on tithes and offerings.)
This took place in January 2010. In February, (at my regular job) my supervisor asked me to try for the bi-lingual position. I certified and received a raise. Within a few weeks of becoming bi-lingual certified, I was approached by a manager if I was interested in taking on another skill set it comes with a raise. Then the cost of living went up and I was given another raise in less than three months.
I work for McDonald Floral and Gifts (this is my second job on Saturdays for a family owned business), that Saturday was crazy and we worked hard and long, my brother gave me a bonus.Okay, Lord, you have my attention. I received a little extra here and there and another here and there, always as a bonus.
In 2008, my wages were so minimum my children and I laughed when I received my W2. Because God helped us make it with so little. In 2009, my income went up a little, but starting in 2010 and halfway through 2011, it quadrupled what I made in 2008.
A few months ago, this summer as a matter of fact, our church began a new building project and I told the Lord, "I feel that I am robbing Peter to pay Paul, I give in the offering or I give in the building project, and Lord, that cannot be right." So, I made a new commitment that very moment. I will continue to give my offerings and I am going to make a pledge to meet a goal in the building fund." Well, I made a pledge in my heart to give a certain amount in one year and I started in that service.
That was on a Tuesday night. I had the next day off and my phone kept ringing. I did not recognize the number so I did not answer the phone and no message was left, therefore, I did not know who was calling me. Thursday morning, my manager comes to my desk saying she called me several times to ask me if I would be interested in another position that comes with a raise and my hours would stay the same? Of course, I said, "Yes!"
Let me share something that happened back in 2008. This same position was available. I asked my pastor to pray that I can get this position and he prayed for me. I submitted my resume and waited. Since, I did not have the skill set I did not get the job. But, doors began to open for me to add the skills that were required for this position. When there was an opening, no job was posted, I was given the position. That was the Lord's hand behind it all.
This last Thursday, 9/1/2011, my whole department was given a raise.
"Lord, I give more and You gave me so much more. I do not keep it in a clenched fist holding tightly to what I have because it is what I think I need, instead, I put it in the offering plate at church. I have become a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7)." You have given me laughter in the trying times. And la Rissah es Bella.
My blessing comes back to me again, and again, when I hear my children talk about wanting to give more because they saw how the Lord rewarded us when we gave, trusting God, to help us make it through those hard times. They could see the message became real "You just can't out give the Lord".
If you were looking for an answer to your prayers, my hope is, perhaps I was able to shed a little light on something that really makes a difference.