meadowrueflowerI was never so foolish as to believe I’d grow rich by being a writer.

One of the biggest leaps of faith in my life was when I left my position as a reporter with our local, daily newspaper. My husband, Dana, and I had just welcomed our first child, and I wanted to cherish his babyhood while pursuing my dream of writing from home.

Sixteen years and four children later, I am still writing from home: one month, one assignment, and one paycheck at a time.

When checks arrive, life is grand and the refrigerator is full.

When they don’t, I vacillate between panic and blame. Why haven’t we been able to save more money? Why is our checking account empty? What ever made me think being a writer was a good idea?

This is precisely the state I was in this last week with an unpaid insurance bill clipped to the nearly empty refrigerator. Eggs. Catsup. A quarter gallon of milk. Leftover Irish stew from Saint Patrick’s Day. I headed to the grocery store with the fifty dollars remaining until the next paycheck and returned home with basics including a bag of apples.

“Can we make apple crisp?” my daughter asked.

“No.” I shook my head. “It takes too many apples. We need to make these last.”

The following morning was a snow day. I baked bread and threw together a kettle of black-bean-soup (knowing some of my kids hate it, and the others are too polite to say so). Maybe it was time for me to go back to work full time? But with another baby on the way–yes, we are expecting womb child number five this summer–and a couple book projects nearing completion, it didn’t seem feasible.

How long do we pursue the dreams God has placed in us?

“I have a great vision,” preacher Oswald Chambers wrote, “of a Protestant movement where people of ability who could obviously make their living fair and flourishing in other domains, deliberately refuse to do it and live for Him alone, going the world over for Him.”

Yet, how to do it?

“Don’t come up without a check,” I joked as my oldest son tromped down the basement stairs to fetch the mail.

When he returned , I quickly scanned the haul for pay-check sized envelopes. Seeing none, I sighed and opened a letter from a friend whose permission I’d asked to use his name in a book.

Inside was a check for $100. On the memo line he’d written, “To help with the book.”

I stood humbled and speechless by such an unexpected gift.

“Look,” I held up the check to show my kids.

That afternoon, my oldest son went to shovel snow for a neighbor. When an hour past and he hadn’t returned, I wondered what was taking so long. A few minutes later he stomped through the back door, arms laden with steaming trays of food.

“What is it?” my three-year-old asked.

“Exactly,” I said in astonishment, recalling God’s provision for the ancient Hebrews. While they were wandering in the desert, pursuing a distant promise, God fed them with manna from heaven–a name that literally means, ‘What is it?’

Instead of soup, that night we feasted on hand-breaded chicken, tender rice, and succulent vegetables from our dear neighbor. And for desert?

An entire pan of apple crisp.

“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others… for God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God,” II Corinthians 9:8-11

What do you think?