Recently I came across a note from a friend that was a reminder of something wonderful God did for me a few years ago when we were going through a rough patch. My wonderful, hard-working husband had been laid off from a job he’d held for twenty-five years, and while he established his own business, we were on an incredibly tight budget.
We thought we already lived quite frugally. Neither of us had any expensive hobbies to cut out. We rarely ate out. We’ve never had cable TV, were on the cheapest phone plan, and we already used $1 shampoo and store brand cleaning products.
But we found many other ways to cut back. We sold our second car. We declared a moratorium on buying new clothes, furniture, or household items that weren’t absolutely necessary to life. We quit eating out altogether. We cancelled all our magazine subscriptions. We quit buying potato chips and crackers. We let my twice-a-month housecleaner go (Now that was hard!) We also agreed not to buy each other gifts for the next few Christmases and birthdays. And though we rarely bought pop (soda for you East Coasters, Coke for you Southerners) we decided to go from “rarely” to “never.” And I agreed to give up coffee.
Wait?! Did I really say that? What was I thinking? I’m a writer. I couldn’t go without coffee! 😉
Well, of course I could. Besides, I still had some coffee in the cupboards. Maybe our fortune would change before I actually had to make such a life-changing, soul-numbing sacrifice. (My tongue is firmly in cheek here, in case you couldn’t tell! 😉 ) In all seriousness, I was trying hard to be very grateful for the blessings I did have—a modest but lovely home, a wonderful, loving man to share it with. Loving parents. Four amazing, healthy, productive-citizen children, and four precious grandchildren. Good health. I truly wanted for nothing.
And then one day, my sister dropped by and gave me some coffee she’d gotten on a trip and didn’t care for. Another friend who wasn’t a coffee drinker passed along a coffee sample she’d received in the mail. I spoke at a women’s meeting where little bags of coffee were the table favors.
I mentioned to some writer friends, just in passing, that coffee was no longer in my budget. “What? You can’t give up coffee!” they said. And oh, my! The floodgates opened. A writer friend and his wife sent me Starbucks coffee beans. Another writer friend cleaned out her coffee cupboard and sent me all kinds of fun flavors to try. A friend who worked at Starbucks but couldn’t keep up with the generous employee coffee bonus sent me two huge bags of coffee and a great mug. Every time I taught at a conference, someone would hand me a Starbucks gift card as a thank-you. My editing clients slipped coffee gift cards in with their checks. And on it went. Many of the gifts came from people who didn’t even know coffee “wasn’t in the budget.” At times it seemed as if it was raining coffee!
And every morning when I brewed my cup (or two) I thanked God for taking care of even the little things, even the luxuries. I thanked him for the symbol of His care for me all that coffee represented.
We’re doing much better now. I even have a Keurig coffee brewer in my office now and a budget to buy the pods (when they’re on sale or I have a coupon). And every morning when the delicious aroma of coffee wafts through our house, I’m reminded all over again of Jehovah Jireh, my provider. Truly His grace is sufficient for me—even without coffee.
How has God shown His loving care for you in big ways and small?”