By Sara Parker
Our sweet but slightly stinky basset hound/border collie mix sheds a lot.
So in an effort to keep our bed stink- and fur-free, I shut the door to our master bedroom every day before leaving the house. Otherwise, Abby will climb up on our bed when we’re not around and roll all over it. My efforts proved fruitless the other week, however, when I accidentally shut the cat in the bedroom while I was out all day long.
Atop our bed, I found a welcome home surprise, courtesy of Haylea. Thankfully, as per usual, I had not made my bed that day, and the cat chose the peak of the mountain of covers to soil. Nothing seeped through to the sheets or mattress below. I promptly stuffed the entire comforter in a trash bag, and vowed to buy new bedding immediately. I wasn’t even all that upset about the incident. After all, the master bed had been long overdue for replacement bedding--and I certainly love a good excuse to go shopping.
I bought the above-pictured set at JC Penney just two years ago for more than it was worth. Within months, a seam had ripped, then another. Slowly, the thin layer of stuffing started to peek out from everywhere. On the few occasions on which I made my bed (the four-year-olds made the bed above—see how I eventually draped an old blanket over the comforter to hide the rips?), I would pull the seams together and strategically toss pillows to cover up the torn fabric.
That week, finding a new comforter became my mission. I dragged the girls to Walmart, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohl’s--but to no avail.
One night I finally decided I was done looking for our new bedding set in the stores. Time to shop online and get the deal done already. Which is how I found myself, a few minutes past midnight, triumphantly staring at my online shopping cart. I had finally found it.
In a house that’s always overrun by dirty dishes, clothing on the floor, and animal fur clinging to base boards, the new set promised luxury and fine silky softness…a retreat. A sanctuary. I was positive that once I made the purchase, I would be motivated to make my bed every single day.
But when it came time to press “submit” on the order, my finger froze.
The order total came to $959.88.
I had the money available to spend, due to the sale of our prior house, but I just couldn’t do it.
I am not always a spectacular steward of my money, but that night I shut the laptop and gave up the bedding. The next day I ordered a set for under $100 from Target.
It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for me right now, and if the cat pees on it tomorrow, I won’t cry. It’s also not so fancy that I can’t top it off with the cow my son bought me at the dollar store a couple of years ago.
To match his “Cowee.”
In a country where we have an abundance of money, it is easy to forget that no matter how hard we worked for the money, it is God’s money to begin with. We work harder to make more so we can spend more. We distance ourselves from the needs around us. We are hard workers. We deserve a little luxury, a little extra. Our family is our responsibility, and we can’t afford to worry about other people’s needs.
Over the past few years, my husband and I have seen God do miraculous things with our finances. I plan to share some of those stories over the next few months. In the meantime, when you make extra purchases this month—when you start shopping for a new television (guilty) or your next car (guilty), or yet another cute dress (REALLY guilty!) for your daughter or a new pair of sneakers for your son, even while he has not outgrown his old ones…keep in mind that God has gifted you with this money. Let that knowledge be your guide. Yes, God wants us to have good things. He blesses us with gifts. But he also desires that we be generous, giving, selfless, and compassionate.
“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 financial blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”