Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Demons, Hope, Money, and Blessings

I've been thinking a lot about spiritual warfare lately, which is not something I ever give a whole lot of thought to, normally. I'm a pretty down-to-earth, practical type of person. If I can't see it or hear it, I tend not to give a whole lot of thought to it. I tend to discount accounts of "spiritual attacks" when I hear them. It's not that I don't believe that they can happen, but usually the people telling such stories tend to be a little more emotional anyway, which makes me wonder if that is the reason for their belief in these supposed "attacks." While I have a good imagination, my feet still tend to stay firmly planted on the terra firma. It's just who I am. For the last couple of weeks I've been reading a series of books by Karen Kingsbury and a paragraph from the first book leaped out at me. I had intended to copy it here but now I can't find it. The gist of it was that so many terrible things were happening to this certain character and the person making the statement (a pastor) said that he could only conclude that God had something marvelous and amazing planned for this person and Satan was doing all he could to sabotage that.

So, it made me think. We've had one of the roughest falls and winters, ever. Emotionally, I've been all over the place. We've struggled in our marriage like we haven't since the early years (things are fine right now - for now!). Financially, we ended up in a place we didn't expect or like due to the very warm winter we've experienced. Spiritually, God has been revealing some very real flaws in my life and thinking - and they haven't been easy things to fix. We're up in the air about this whole adoption thing (although more on that in just a little bit!). And then there was this unplanned surgery. It's been rough!

But is this spiritual warfare? I read all of Frank Peretti's books and while I don't doubt what he imagined, I find it hard to believe that demons and Satan are all that interested in me - a middle-aged housewife who reads all the time, spends too much money on clothes, and eats way too much chocolate. They don't come much more ordinary or non-threatening than me. But what if it is? What if God has something amazing in mind for our family and Satan is getting nervous, so he has set out to destroy us through discouragement? But what if it's just life? The very human existence is a series of ups and downs. Good things happen, bad things happen. Sometimes those things are a result of choices you have made, sometimes God just allows trials in your life. No matter what the cause, they are all good for growth and to make us more Christ-like. And maybe there is no way to truly know if you're under spiritual attack. It's just some thoughts I've been rolling around in my brain for a couple of weeks now.

Ok, on the adoption: I just called Iowa KidsNet today. I ended up just punching buttons because I didn't know who to ask for. The person who answered is the person who takes care of all of Marion county placements! Although, she told me we can get calls from anywhere. We're not limited to our own county. But is that amazing or what?! We're in the system, but she told me she didn't know us, so she didn't give us a lot of thought. But now that I've called, she wrote our names on a sticky and put it on her computer and said that she will call us just as soon as she gets a little girl who needs a home. She didn't think it would be long at all because they have kids coming in all the time who need homes! We had a nice chat - she has 4 daughters of her own. I explained to her that I had already painted the room pink, so that was why we couldn't have boys and she laughed and said she totally understood. So - maybe soon?! We were surprised last weekend when we got a check for $100 in the mail from KidsNet. It indicated on there that it was for some of our expenses associated with taking the PS-MAPP classes last fall. It could not have come at a better time! But since we were never told that this would come, I called just to make sure it was legitimate. I was told that every year we renew our license we will continue to get a check. That is so great! Although, we're not planning on keeping our foster license active for years and years - just long enough to secure a couple of little girls to adopt. I don't know how long that will take, though.

We had our taxes figured a couple of weeks ago. That was majorly disappointing! For the last couple of years we've received $4-5,000 for a refund. This year we got $300. Paul made a lot of money on the side last year and they said that was why. Not only did we have to pay taxes on it, but it cancelled out our earned income credit. Plus, Will turned 17, which made us ineligible to claim him to the full extent we did before. I'm not sure how that works, since we're still fully supporting him (not to mention also now paying for his car insurance, gas, and repairs!). Our regular tax preparers retired and referred us to this place in Des Moines. We were very under impressed with them, though. They didn't seem to know what they were doing and they spent the entire time badmouthing these people we used to go to. We ended up meeting a CPA a couple of days later who suggested we take our taxes to H & R Block because they offer a free second look. So I think Paul was going to do that, actually today. If all we are owed is $300, that's ok. Obviously, I don't want what we're not entitled to and I really doubt that the govt. is about to give it, anyway! And that may very well be the case. Our income did go up last year, although I think our expenses went up more! But I would just like to know for sure. At any rate, though, it sure was a let-down!

However, we did have a financial blessing just a few days later. Will is looking at going to FBBC for a year. Then, he's thinking of ISU for meteorology. Obviously, he's only 17 and a lot could change between now and then. However, in the last couple of weeks he has asked me to order him some physics and pre-calculus course work. He's been spending almost all his free time doing school work. I had not even planned on having him take physics in high school and I had thought we might do consumer math next year. But he's insistent that he has to take these things. The year at Faith would be just to really solidify some Bible teaching (and maybe for him to meet a wife?). Obviously, not all his credits will transfer should he end up going to a state school after that. And we don't even know if he'll go straight to Faith or sit out a year and earn money first. That will have to be decided later. We found out about something Faith now offers calls "Jump Start." High school students can attend the college for a week in June where they will take an entire course (2 credits) in a week. They go to class and study all day and then do fun things at night. The cost, with books, is somewhere around $400. When I found out about this, I really wanted Will to be able to do this. We can't afford to write a check right now for that, though. So I had had the thought that we could take the money from our tax refund. Well, so much for that! But even with that, I still could not shake the conviction that Will was supposed to attend this class this June.

So, a couple of days after getting our taxes done, we went to Fuddruckers with Will. Faith was having a dinner there for prospective students and their parents. It was great - they had appetizers on the tables and we could order absolutely anything we wanted. Of course, I had to be frugal, though, thinking that while this meal might be "free" it was still being paid for, in a round-about way, with the $20,000 Faith charges a year in tuition! So I just ordered what I always get when we go. But Will - my goodness! He ordered an entire one pound burger with thick sliced bacon piled on top and potato wedges. And he ate the whole thing! As we were eating, the reps announced that they would be doing some give-aways, including two tuitions to Jump Start! I began to pray. Maybe this was why I had such a strong belief that Will was to go to that class this summer, even though we couldn't really make it work financially right now. They drew their first winner. It was a kid sitting at our table. And then - they drew Will's name! I was so excited and flooded with absolute thanksgiving for God's goodness and provision - and His encouragement. Because, it really was an encouragement to me, knowing that God knew our current circumstances and yet, was still watching out for us. Will is going to have an amazing third week of June and I am so very, very grateful.

1 comment:

  1. Your God sure loves you Sarah! (and I'd say he's won a few battles lately!) :0)