Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chapter Seven: Couches

When Shane and I had come home from our honeymoon back in the summer of 1999, he immediately had to catch a bus or plane - I can't remember- to New York to play guitar for a country group. We weren't used to living together, so it didn't bother us being apart for a few days. I was excited to set up our little apartment. Always looking for a good deal, I went to a few yard sales that Saturday and was so excited to find a clean little loveseat that fit perfectly in our living room, never mind the country blue plaid fabric that had obviously adorned it for many years. I managed to find a slipcover for it on clearance and as most slipcovers go, it looked nice when no one had been sitting on it.

Four years later in anticipation of our move to Charlotte, we had sold many of our belongings including our full size couch, but decided to keep our little loveseat. Anticipating Shane's final commission check from Dell, we thought we might purchase a new couch when we settled into our new home, a very beige two bedroom apartment.

We arrived on a rainy July day, greeted by our new neighbor and another church family who brought us pizza. Much later, the movers arrived with our belongings and we began to arrange what little furniture we had. I have a flare for interior design - though never have the budget to do what's in my imagination - and could only laugh at our little blue plaid loveseat that sat in our new living room.

I was disappointed when I learned that because of the timing of leaving Dell, we would not receive that final commission check and that meant - no new couch. Our little loveseat was cozy for Shane and I with the two children on our laps, but when new friends came to visit, seating was limited. Our new church had a website with classified listings so I took a chance and posted a "gently used couch wanted for purchase" ad, hoping to find more seating for us at a bargain price.

Working with a meager budget for the past ten years, I've become even more thrifty, shopping at tag sales and thrift stores, finding deals on ebay and even attempting to sew my own curtains. I usually get new clothes around my birthday and Christmas and don't have time or the budget to shop very often. I am in the habit of identifying real "needs" verses wants and I'm usually okay with this lifestyle; it makes finding bargains a game. Yet, so often I have my secret little internal list of material things I want. Most of the time I don't even realize I have a list until my mom calls wanting to know what I would like for Christmas. In my life I've always prayed for the big picture things: health, financial provision, food, etc., but the little things, especially material things that aren't truly "needs" I tend to not submit those requests to the Lord in prayer. I always thought those requests were petty and a waste of time.

About five months had passed into our Charlotte adventure and I wasn't thinking about a couch and had forgotten about my classified listing when the phone rang. A woman from church was calling to ask if we'd like her couch; she had new ones arriving that day and wanted to give us her old one! Her husband delivered it to us later that night. It looked brand new and was gorgeous; I was elated.

As silly as it seems, I know God used that gift of a new couch to show me that He knows me intimately. He knows my thoughts and the desires of my heart....even the material ones that I don't think matter and am too stubborn to ask Him to provide. I am His child and I do matter to my Lord. How often I forget!

Once again, He had provided for us in a real, tangible way by a seemingly "random" phone call. Nowadays, I never know what to expect when the phone rings!

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:30-31

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

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