Monday, August 15, 2011

Testimony of Prayer: God and Coupons

Do you ever feel totally insignificant, like you are truly just a speck of sand in the midst of an enormous beach? What difference can one little grain make? Does your life matter at all?

I've had plenty of these thoughts througout my life. In fact, I still do. Recently I was driving along and got to thinking about whether it would really matter if I was here or not. To a very small number of people... maybe. My husband and daughter would be lost without me (can you see them trying to do couponing, household finances, housekeeping, cooking, etc.??!!) and some friends would be sad for a little while. But mostly I came to the conclusion that my life is just one of so many that I don't have much hope of making a big difference at all. If I wasn't here, someone else would be doing what I do now. Simple as that.

Funny thing is, this didn't make me feel depressed or like my life isn't worthwhile. Because in the midst of these thoughts was the very real knowledge that God values my life. I may never be a great teacher, scrapbooker, public speaker, volunteer extraordinaire, or anything else that stands out, but because I'm trying to do my best to live God's commandments and follow Christ's example, my life is acceptable to God. More than acceptable, even. It's valuable.

What makes me think my life is so valuable to God? Here's what: I talk to God and let Him know my situations. He knows what I've gone through in the past, how much of it I've overcome, the issues I still carry, and where He wants me to be heading in the future. I tell Him about how I struggle to feel love for certain people and to please help me tolerate them, if not love them entirely yet. I tell Him about how worried I am about my husband's job situation. The stress, the hostile and crazy work environment, the lack of other viable job opportunities. I tell God about how I hate having debt and how I don't know how I'm going to pay for doctor's appointments, school fees, and other additional expenses because everything costs more but our pay hasn't gone up. I also usually remember to tell Him how much I love the beauty of the area I live in. I love trees and plants and looking outside and seeing so much green. I thank Him for having a house that suits our needs and where I feel safe, for my husband's employment, for my health and especially for my Savior and all He's done for me.

Some days I talk a lot to my Heavenly Father, other days it's more like a quick chat. But I know that He's always listening, because He answers my prayers. Sometimes it will be a little boost in mood, a sudden feeling of joy that I'm alive or happy because the sun is shining. Other times I'm given thoughts and feelings about how to solve a problem I'm having. Often, he helps me like someone more than I would on my own (and if I try really hard to have charity, He even helps me love them!)

Lately, though, I've had experiences that show that God is interested in even the most seemingly minute parts of my life. I've shared previously that I've gotten into couponing and how that's been helping us financially, but I haven't told of how it all came to be, and how it has been one answered prayer after another.

First, there was the couponing class, taught at church. I learned the basics and got a subscription to the newspaper and gave it a shot. (Failed miserably the first couple of tries... don't try Walgreen's right off the bat!! lol) But then I started to get the hang of it. Problem was, I needed more coupons to be able to see big savings and to work on my food storage and I couldn't afford multiple newspaper subscriptions. So I prayed.

And then I went dumpster diving. Or rather, my husband went dumpster diving (he's tall enough to get in and out... I could probably get in but getting out would present a challenge!!) We searched dumpsters almost daily for months. We got super lucky (blessed!) to find a spot where large quantities were being dumped each week. Most weeks I was able to get there before anyone else found them, but some weeks I was out of luck. It was exciting when they were there but frustrating and disappointing when they weren't. I was now able to give away lots and lots of coupon inserts to my friends at church. But it was never a guarantee that I'd find them. And it was taking a lot of time and energy (and gas) to keep checking multiple times every day. So I prayed again. This time that I would be able to find someone who was throwing the coupons away so I could have a steady source.

Well, God must be interested in my efforts to coupon and to help others save money because He helped me find someone who was dumping the coupons. I worked out a deal with this person so that they now bring them to my house and I "recycle" them each week. This has enabled me to have a steady source to provide coupons not only for my family, but for 25 or more other families. I've even gotten enough that I'm able to sell extras to help us out financially. I don't know how long this will last, and I can't really count on any set amount of income from it, but I believe this is one way that God saw that I could do something to ease our financial burden, do something I enjoy, and help others all at the same time.

If God didn't think my life was valuable He wouldn't bother listening to my prayers, much less answer them in such miraculous and perfectly fitting ways. He knew my wants, needs, and abilities and gave me a way to make a difference.

My "job" may not be as important as many others who are able to work and help others at the same time, but I'm glad I've been given this opportunity to serve in such a unique way. I finally feel like some of my seemingly useless talents have found an outlet that blesses others' lives.

So the next time you feel like your life is just a speck of sand, pray to God. Pray specifically about your situation, your needs, your hopes and desires. Then go out and do whatever you can to help yourself while remembering that every improvement in your situation, every blessing and piece of "luck" are really just answers from God. Because He cares about what you care about. You are valuable to Him, too.


Majid Ali said...

Please help me for God sake
Visit my profil to know how.

Mama D said...

"He cares about what you care about." Thanks; I needed this reminder.

Steve and Jamie said...

Ahh, what a nice post. I miss you! I think part of your role here on earth is to provide some perspective for those of us who don't always "get it." Thanks for sharing and helping me to remember what is important.