A few days ago it was time to sit down and work on the checkbook and pay some bills. This is never my favorite thing to do and usually the children give me a wide berth while I am doing this. I was feeling grumpier than usual about the bills this time. I haven't taught any piano lessons all summer and because of all of our travelling, J. hasn't been doing any over-load teaching. All combined, it makes for a slightly slimmer paycheck than we usually have. So I started thinking about that and the fact that the property tax bill which was higher than I was anticipating and the recent discovery that 5 out of the 6 children need both sneakers and dress shoes and the eye appointments which will undoubtedly lead to new lenses and the orthodontist....well, you get the idea. So money was seeming to be a very scarce commodity. I often read about people who receive checks in the mail just when they need it, but I couldn't think why we would be getting money from anyone. To sum it all up, I was in an ugly, ungrateful mood and definitely suffering from a severe lack of faith. This explains, but does not excuse, my rather tetchy prayer which went something along the lines of: "Well, God, I'm not sure how You're going to make this turn out alright."
Deciding to balance the checkbook first, to avoid actually writing checks, I got to work. Not more than three items down the statement, as I'm checking them off in the register, I realized I can't find the second July paycheck written in my checkbook. I looked several times to double check... but apparently I had never recorded the direct deposit of an entire paycheck. This meant that my estimate of how little money we had was significantly low. We had much more money than I had realized, and it suddenly seemed possible to pay the bills that were giving me terrible squinty looks from my desk.
While at first glance this missing paycheck may seem nothing more than a serendipitous piece of forgetfulness, I believe it was nothing less than the hand of God. In our house, we live pretty much paycheck to paycheck; we pay our bills and buy groceries, but there is very little left over after that is done. We paid all of our bills and fulfulled all of our obligations for the month of July on only one paycheck. I'm still not sure how we were able to manage but we did. I wonder if the loaves and fishes was similar...there was enough, but no one could explain the mechanics of it. When the realization hit that we had enough...more than enough, actually...to pay the taxes and buy shoes and such, I was overcome with such remorse for my previous bad attitude and felt so loved and cared for all at the same time that all I could do was sit and weep at my desk for a while. This is not the first time that God has provided in generous ways for me and one would think that I would get better at trusting Him after every occasion of His provision. But I'm afraid this is a lesson that I'm still working on.