Gut-wrenching. Peace. Torture. Peace. Heart-break. Peace. I’d describe 2011 as the year that God swaddled me in His peace amidst gut-wrenching decisions, physical and mental torture, and complete heart ache and heart-break. The year 2011 bore much pain within our family, yet, the most miraculous thing occurred in my husband’s heart. He decided to test God according to Micah 3:10. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
My husband has been a small business owner for our entire marriage. We do not receive a bi-weekly paycheck. We do not receive a monthly paycheck. For many years, we scraped by on very little so we could re-invest back into the company. When you’re unsure about the timing of your next bank deposit, it’s hard to commit to ‘bringing the whole tithe’. We’ve discussed tithing to our church over the years but didn’t see eye to eye on the issue. Without my knowing, my husband had asked several Godly men in his life for their insight on tithing. Sadly, their responses left him feeling even more confused. We read 40 Days of Purpose together and discussed in agreement that everything belongs to God. He understood the premise but it hadn’t translated into an action.
Then, January 2011, during yet another tithing discussion, I gave an analogy that twisted his thoughts upside down. To this day, I don’t recall saying it, nor considered it any great spiritual insight but it stuck with him. Ever have that happen? It’s almost like someone else is using your mouth to speak their truths…hmm? Anyway, he came to me several weeks later proclaiming that we were going to tithe 10% of every dollar we brought in. No matter what. He asked me to keep him accountable and keep the checkbook in my purse so he’d never have an excuse not to write out the tithe check at church.
fate would have it ordained, hubby hands me a very large paycheck within days of his proclamation. With only a glance exchanged between us, it was obvious he’d calculated the amount of tithe we’d be paying. I was so excited to fully give back what was already God’s. While writing out the date on the bank deposit slip, I was reminded that we had quarterly taxes due the following week. Taxes would eat up most of the check and tithe would finish it off. Silently, worry set in. Maybe this tithing commitment was more about my heart, not his.
Sunday morning arrived. Exhausted from the week, suffering from a mild headache, I lay in bed hoping, maybe, that we’d skip church. Two hours later, sitting in the
theater seats of one of the largest churches in our county, my husband wrote out the tithe check for a full 10% of his paycheck. Gross pay. No taxes withheld. No, the tax checks would be mailed separately next week, my mind kept repeating. He folded the check in half and dropped it into the velvet green offering bag. I prayed, unsure:
When will we get paid again?
How soon does the church deposit tithe checks?
Will God prove faithful?
Do I really believe? In God? His promises? His word?
Yes, oh yes, I do believe. All of it. Not because my husband’s company enjoyed sales increases amidst a slumped national economy. Not because my husband’s paychecks increased as his heart lovingly tithed His savior. Not because the God of the Old Testament proved himself faithful to New Testament believers. God opened up the floodgates of heaven and poured out so much blessing on our family that my soul didn’t have room for it. Peace. All the money in the world can’t buy it. Happiness doesn’t bring it. The world doesn’t give it. God grants it.
God required obedience in one area of our lives and then heaped blessings into and over all areas of our lives. In preparation for a difficult 2011, God’s living spirit, the wonderful counselor, prompted submission over our checkbook so He could receive the glory for the abundance. The gut-wrenching decisions remained. The pain our family bore remained. But for the first time in my Christian walk I experienced God’s blessing of peace. Deep breathing, sleep giving, soul filling peace. And the most miraculous thing happened in my heart.