Tires or Tithing at Christmas

12:49 PM

It was just a couple of years since I escaped to the Women and Children in Crisis Center with my children in order to leave an abusive marriage. I was grateful for the newfound peace and safety that I felt within the walls of my home. However, financial pressures due to a mound of debt that was left behind and the financial responsibility of raising my three daughters completely on my own with just a teacher’s salary, weighed heavily on my mind. It was December. Christmas was approaching and I didn’t have any extra money. Not a dime! How would I buy gifts for my children? Should I let them dream and wish for Santa? Or should I sit down with my oldest two daughters (13 and 10 years old) and explain to them the situation; that Santa would not be able to visit this year.

"Sister Hug"



Playing in the snow!
You can see my little blue car in the background.

In addition to worrying about extra money for Christmas gifts and treats, the tires on my small car were completely bald and I knew it was just a matter of time before I had a flat tire or worse an accident on the icy snowy roads because of tires with no traction. I had gone to the tire shop and asked what it would cost to replace the tires and it was almost exactly the same amount of money that I had set aside for tithing that month. I went home and started to think and try and figure out how I was going to pay this extra expense. I knew that the safety of my children was the most important thing and so in my mind I started to rationalize whether or not I should pay my tithing that month.

Tithing is a commandment that faithful followers of Christ strive to live and I had been taught about it since I was a young girl.  Our Heavenly Father gives us all that we have and only asks that we tithe a tenth of our increase as a sign of devotion and a willingness to be humble and to sacrifice.

Through the prophet Malachi, the Lord declared in the Old Testament:

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

 

I knew that more than ever before in my life, I needed the windows of heaven open as wide as possible for my daughters and me. Donating a tenth of my income seemed like a small thing for all that I needed in blessings. However, I was living from check to check and every penny was spent as soon as I received it and so, the extra expense for tires seemed impossible to come up with unless I used my tithing for that month. Maybe I could “catch up” in January and pay twice as much tithing. I knew right away that would be impossible to do and I’d be in the same situation as I found myself presently.

 

Wouldn’t the Lord want my children to be safe while driving? He would understand if I skipped this month’s tithing donation to buy such an important thing as safe tires for my car? I continued to rationalize and pray and struggle to find an answer to my predicament. I read the scripture again and this phrase kept repeating in my mind over and over again, “And prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts!”. Prove me now! The Lord was clearly asking me to act in faith. Once that realization came to me, I didn’t hesitate. I grabbed my check book, sat down at the kitchen table, and began writing my 250 dollar tithing donation. I finished writing, put the check in the envelope and licked it shut. Then I sat back feeling more peace than I had in weeks. I still didn’t know what I would do about the tires and buying any gifts for Christmas was completely out of the picture, but somehow, I knew that everything would work out.


Family Picture 2006

 

Almost immediately I heard a knock on my back door. It startled me. I wasn’t expecting anyone. I cracked the door open and peeked out to see my bishop standing on the doorstep. He was smiling and wished me a Merry Christmas. I smiled back and thought to myself, “Wow, the Lord really wants me to pay my tithing. He immediately sent the bishop to pick it up (usually I would hand deliver it to him at church or put it in the mail).

 

“Bishop, I am so glad that you stopped by. I have something to give you, “I said as I quickly turned to grab the envelope off the table. I came back to the door and held it out to him. He responded smiling back holding out an envelope to me, “Well, I have something for you, too!”.

 

We both laughed a little as we exchanged envelopes and then he said, “Someone who wishes to remain anonymous, dropped this envelope off at my house and asked that I deliver it to you. This person noticed that the tires on your car needed replacing and wanted to help. There is a gift certificate to the local tire shop in the exact amount to have the tires replaced. Just drive the car over and they will take care of it. They are expecting you.”

 

As he spoke, I was overwhelmed with a sense of complete love and peace. My eyes filled up with tears as I realized how very aware my Savior was of my challenges and how involved he was in my life. I didn’t feel alone. With every word my bishop said, I felt more and more humbled as I thought of the Savior’s words to me through the prophet Malachi 3:10.

 

“…Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”.

 

My Savior immediately responded to my act of faith and obedience despite my hesitation and struggle. All he requires is a willing heart!

 

At this point I was sobbing so hard on the door step, my bishop looked a little concerned. I quickly assured him that I was fine, just feeling very blessed and humbled and through my tears I related to him my internal struggle with the decision to pay my tithing or go and get tires for my car. I had just finished writing out my tithing check before he had knocked on the door. He too became teary-eyed as he said, “The Lord is mindful of our every need. Merry Christmas, Wendy!”

 

It was one of the happiest Christmases for our family. I don’t remember worrying anymore about gifts for my girls. We focused on the Savior and His birth. The shelter reached out to me soon after I replaced my car tires and told me that my family qualified for a Sub for Santa donation and that I wouldn’t need to worry about buying gifts for my girls. Another answer to my prayers, more feelings of peace, and more tears as I felt my Savior’s love through the actions of others.

 

A few times that month my girls and I would be sitting in the front room working on homework or cleaning up after dinner and we would hear a knock on the door. Each time my girls would run to find a plate of treats or an envelope with a note and some cash or a gift card for groceries or gas. We would immediately drop to our knees and pray together thanking the Lord for His blessings. I never wanted my girls to forget the most miraculous Christmas of their childhood. I was constantly aware of the Lord’s promise to us all in Malachi, “I will open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

 

I know that many of those special acts of service would have probably still happened whether or not I had paid my tithing. However, there are many blessings that I would have not received if I had not made that choice to be obedient.

 

I would have never received the witness that the Lord will bless us immediately as we express in faith our very intent to obey.  I would have never felt the windows of heaven open as widely as they did for us that Christmas. My daughters would have never heard me speak or share my newly strengthened testimony of our Savior and the blessing of paying a full tithe, of acting in faith, and of praying for answers to our challenges. I am sure that there were many more unseen blessings that we received that year because of our Savior’s hand in our lives.

 

I look back on that Christmas now with so much gratitude. It was years ago and my daughters are mostly all grown and have started families of their own. It was during those most difficult years of being a single mother that I came to know my Savior in such a personal and profound way. What I wish and pray for now is that my children and their children will always remember this time in our family history. I hope that they will be aware and sensitive to the needs of those around them, remembering always that the holidays can be a difficult, sad, and lonely time for many. I hope they strive to ease the burdens of those by sharing their bounty and blessings with those in need. I hope they always remember that the Savior will bless them and be with them in their time of need. That He will love them no matter what and that their lives will be increasingly blessed as they act in faith believing always in the promises of our Savior!


Christmas 2020

 

 

 

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3 comments

  1. Wow, what and amazing story and testimony! The Lord is looking out for you!

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  2. Thank you. I read this after paying our tithing and your story touched my heart very deeply.

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  3. I love this so much. Knowing you during this time was honestly inspiring and faith building for me. I have so much admiration for you, my dear friend!

    ReplyDelete