"TAX TIME TESTAMENTS"
With the onset of a New Year I’m always reminded of the numbers round-up required for tax filing. At our house, that’s my job. Overall, number tallies tell their own story. They assess where you’ve been. They reveal priorities. Sometimes they remind you of things you’d rather forget. Other times they verifiably reveal God’s provision, whether you recognized it in the moment or not. Let’s face it. Money speaks…all the time. If we’re listening. One way or the other, God has definite guidelines on how best to dispense of His resources. Honestly, we don’t always want to regard those checkpoints. Being smart, wise & obedient might mean we have to say “no” to something we really want. Or even “wait” for something desperately needed. Some of the most unnerving situations are those resulting from unexpected life turns that appear impossible, with no way out, humanly speaking. In these instances, no matter how you look at it, the financial odds appear to be stacked against you.
That’s how I felt, last year, in May-- the day I was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly your mind is thrown into processing a myriad of facts & projections. It can leave you feeling run over, emotionally. My surgeon’s wise advice was to go home, not make any decisions, & not research anything. He wanted me just to take in what was happening. One of the things weighing heavily on my mind was cancer’s number tally. Without insurance, what would happen to us? I often reflect on what my patient Father thinks when I stew & sputter about things I have no direct control over. I mean, I have a plethora of stories testifying to God’s faithfulness throughout 40 years of marriage---throughout all of life, for that matter. But in my humanness, my fleshy response still seems to be to focus on the presenting concern, instead of turning to Him. In this particular health scenario, His reminder of His care was unusually creative!
A few days after my doctor’s appointment, I was scheduled to get my hair done. The night before, I had this spontaneous idea that in the midst of the bad news, I should cut my hair. The more I thought about, the more I liked it! I reasoned that since I might lose it anyway, & Steve had always liked my hair short, I could surprise him. I wanted a positive change I could see, while facing a possible not-so-fun future that I was walking into blindly. I’d been admiring my hair gal’s new cut, and I was tired of spending too much time on my frustrating “frumpy” locks. Michelle is a believer in our Lord Jesus. So, through the years we’ve done some soul-bearing as we’ve chatted freely during appointments. It was only natural to share my latest news of breast cancer. When I wrote out the check for her services that day, she simply said, “I don’t want your money. This will be my way of helping you. Put the money toward medical. I’ll let you know when I want to be paid again.” As I was blubbering out a thank you to Michelle, God was inwardly confirming, again, that He was going before me in this journey. I didn’t’ have to figure out every detail. We would go the distance, together-- step by step. When I got home, I wrote VOID across the check & put it in my medical folder. When I came across it again, this month, while gathering paperwork for taxes, I had to smile. I can still see Michelle, emphatically telling me that she WAS going to do this. 😊
Two weeks ago, before continuing more office work, I paused to read, pray & write in my journal. Allow me to share those thoughts:
My Father, You know my heart, the innermost part of the collective me. Sometimes I’m soaring, sometimes I’m battling to get from under the emotional weight of burdens.
This morning I continue to reflect on Your gracious provision for our medical concerns. Not only have You provided, You provided for ALL. You always do. I just don’t recognize Your avenues, initially, in caring for our needs. The physical papers, a picture of our medical year, is Your testament to me. A spiritual marker of sorts. So I can remember.
Some people would say it’s because we live on support. And that You are obligated to care for us. But that’s not true, is it Lord? You want everyone to recognize Your miraculous care for them. You own it ALL, even when the income is a regular, monthly amount…& people can plan. Somehow, when folks have a scheduled pay period, they tend to detach from You as the provider & see themselves as having more control.
I am thankful, Father, for this uncertain financial journey. It’s an external reminder of WHO is in charge, of WHO our life source is…first spiritually, & secondarily, in physical provision.
In this leg of the journey, reflecting on my 2017 “cancer” year, You reminded me that it started with Michelle. I thank you for the returned, voided check that I wrote out last May. It was Your first “flag” to me, that you would take care of me. At that point, it ALL was unknown.
Thank You for Your Word. Thank you for the Life of my Savior, producing His story through me. Lord, thank You for Faithfulness even when I’m cranky, pouting, or discouraged. Thank Your that Your love is unconditional! Thank You that Your Word is infallible!
I am blessed & overwhelmed to share that the numbers tally confirms that the Lord provided for 86% of my total medical expenses. (Including the news of my radiation coverage coming right in the middle of tax prep!) In His love & oversight, that provision began in a home salon, through my sister-in-Christ, Michelle. She never did ask me for payment again, even though short hair requires more maintenance on her part. So at the end of 4 & 1/2 months, when my radiation treatments were completed, I told her it was time. She responded, “Are you sure?” As blessed as I was to have experienced her generosity, I was equally as certain the Lord wanted me to resume paying. I thank my GOD WHO SEES me, & every detail of my life, for this very visual picture of His mercy!
Personal Update: In my last 2 checkups with my oncologist, the labs show that my white blood count is lower than it should be. He will continue to monitor that. I’ll also have an MRI in April, to follow-up on the adrenal spot that was discovered in my previous scans. * My sister-in-law, Karen is recovering from an extensive surgery in January. They were able to get 90% of the cancer. This will be followed up with dual rounds of chemo, totaling 3 times/month, starting in March. Please continue to pray for her & her family.<3