The last week has been a whirlwind. We had a week full of joy and grief regarding two different events in our lives....it seems so unexpected when those two things collide. BUT, that is the reality of our world. We are constantly sitting in the middle of the unseen....the victories of Christ amidst a broken world.
However, what I want to talk about today is the reality of truth and does it really exist? Is what the Pastor says REALLY true? Our messages the last couple of weeks at our church, Northview Church, have been regarding our stuff....our money, our material possessions and who really owns that. Did YOU work really hard at getting that promotion, or was it God's hand in making all the pieces fall together. I simply love our church and the way they are so relevant to our culture today. Here recently our church gave out $83,000 to our congregation and simply stated it was God's money and they wanted us, the congregation, to invest it wisely....knowing that GOD would return their investment to them. REALLY.....Does that really work....when you hear of all this talk from "the church" do you believe that to be true? Well, I want you to do two things....
2. Listen to our story....
So, if you missed it, Two Little Fish was recently awarded a $20,000 grant through CWAM!!! I thought in order to truly express how amazing our recent grant money win was, I needed to tell the whole story, so here goes.
We started Two Little Fish shortly after my husband and I got married. He had just recently lost his former wife to breast cancer. From that he had a life insurance settlement that he stated he wanted to tithe, which is giving 10% away to do God's work. This then gave us a nice percentage to put forth towards our ministry. However, when praying about what to do with this money that God had entrusted us to invest into his kingdom, we decided to do the following. With the large amount of money we had to start this ministry, we gave 80% away , yes 80%. 50% went to help a family adopt a child, and 30% went straight to the women in Ghana at Global Mamas. So this left us 20% of the original amount to begin this ministry. As some of you may imagine, starting a ministry and business is expensive, so we quickly went through those start up funds, however, God had led us with the direction of our giving. So we continued to trust him. There were major needs that continued to pop up and each time, God provided us with the right person for the job....free of charge or supplied by someone else. We were taken on as a pro bono client from an international law firm, we were blessed with graphic design, web design, video work, accounting, printing services...all free or at a very minimal cost.
However, with the kids ALL going back to school for the first time all day....I had been spending every day downstairs in our "Two Little Fish office" or better known as the basement, trying to be all things to keep the ministry a float. We reached a point where we were literally running set to set in order to meet our bills that come in each month. Christmas vacation came and it was such a nice break as I was burnt out due to fulfilling SO many roles all on my own. And this is where the amazing God ordained timing of HIS will comes in.
We had $150 left in our bank account and each month our steady bills are around $150. My assistant, Paige, came over to help me on Wednesday prior to the CWAM grant winners announcement party and my exact words to her were, "Paige, I really need you to pray about this grant money and what happens afterwards, I am afraid if we don't get any funds......I can't do this anymore" It was a statement out of desperation, a statement of a woman desperate for BALANCE once again in her life. I didn't mean I would let Two Little Fish fail, but it looked impossible if we did not receive any of this grant.
Thursday is the night of the big reveal with CWAM and we had been snowed in for three days! It was the first day the kids had returned to school and we live an hour away from Indy, so we were going to have to leave the kids that night to make it to the awards ceremony. It began snowing again and my assistant Paige is pregnant. She decided that she just couldn't risk the drive and I agreed. So, I was left with the choice of whether I still made the drive alone in the weather. I will admit it, I really didn't want to go by myself.....who wants to go to a party and sit and talk to themselves! Ha. So, after some prompting, we made the decision for my husband to come with me and leave the older kids at home to take care of the little ones and keep them on track with their homework. And I am SO glad that we did! One of my best friend's even got to stop by and visit with us as we now had an extra ticket to share.
Isn't she gorgeous! She is an AMAZING make up artist in Indy
...you should check her out...Beauty By Crystal
There were 2200 teams that competed NATIONALLY and Two Little Fish was chosen for a second place prize of $20,000. I still am pretty speechless about this. They announced the 10,000 winners and when TLF was not mentioned, I simply assumed we had received one of the $1,000 or $5,000 prizes like last spring. They began to list the $20,000 winners and I whispered to Crystal, "These are the big dogs, like Habitat for Humanity and Kids Against Hunger". So, I sat....all the butterflies had left and I was simply listening in support. Then I heard them say Northview Church, but it still didn't sink in as our church entered around 10 teams. Apparently they then said Two Little Fish and put up our web banner, but I honestly don't even remember hearing our name.....I just stared at our web banner up on the screen. My husband then looks at me and says..."That's us", Kinda like....."wake up you dummy"! I was in such shock and disbelief, that I thought maybe I had missed something...did they go back to the $5,000 prizes? Did they really just announce us for $20,000?
And they had!!!!! I am still sitting on the enormity of this. Just the day before I had stated that I couldn't continue at this pace, that we were out of money. And here I sat now, in the blessing of God, with FOUR TIMES the amount of money that we had ever operated on. As I started feverishly sending texts and posting on Facebook, I got the next affirmation. It was a simple statement from the mother of the adopted child our initial funds had gone to and it stated. "Congrats!! Double your initial investment....Right?" And the awe of God and his blessing back to us began to sink in. WE HAD GIVEN AWAY 80% OF OUR FUNDS, WE WERE OPERATING ON FUMES, and God stepped in and said, HOLD ON, LET ME GIVE THAT BACK TO YOU. When we started, we had $20,000 and we gave $16,000 away. God replenished what we gave away AND MORE. In fact, the blessings are still rolling in. That night the National Christian Foundation of Indiana gave additional funds out and we received another $1,000 in Grant money!
The cycle of God' blessing didn't stop there......Remember the challenge I just mentioned that our church gave out by handing out $83,000 to our congregation to put to work in the kingdom of God. A member of our Northview Greater Lafayette congregation was present this Sunday and received a $10 bill. As she prayed, she just recently shared with me that she was led to put that money towards Two Little Fish and also have it "grow". Her $10 turned into $2000 for our ministry!!!!! WHAT?!?!
My hope is that by sharing our story with you, that you will BELIEVE that our Pastor's words regarding giving ARE TRUE, because they are scripturally based on the Word of God.
Malachi 3:10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing until it overflows"
And that's my husband...isn't he a doll face? :)
I am NOT amazing, I am NOT superwoman, BUT I am OBEDIENT. YOU too ARE CAPABLE OF GREAT THINGS when you walk with God and trust where he leads you. WE must take the steps to follow after him and trust that he will provide for us and lead us to safety.
Keep following and watching to see all the GREAT things Two Little Fish will do with this money in 2014! You can find our e-store HERE.
** Please note, the title and commentary of "Is what that pastor says really true" is simply meant to draw you into the conversation, we are not expressing an opinion that what comes out of any and every pastor's mouth is the truth. EVERYONE'S words must be checked against the TRUTH that is contained in the Holy Bible, as God's word is the only inherant TRUTH**