Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's All About the Choice

I just opened up my utility bill. I just fainted. Excuse me while I come to.

Usually I never open the bills. I let Dave do that. He's the one who does the actual physical running around and paying of it, so I just basically let him do it from start to finish. But our utility bill, which includes electricity, water, sewar, and gas, was late this month. And when Dave phoned about it last week, they said it was late because it had been flagged and there was some changes that had to be made to it. We are on a budget amount. I don't know if you have that where you live, but if you don't it's basically where they look at your usage history and you pay a set amount each month rather than a whole bunch in some months and not so much in others. It evens out your payments throughtout the year.

So I opened it. Because I was curious what and how much. You know what I mean? Shouldn't have done that. Because this is what I saw: SPECIAL MESSAGES: Budget settle-up. Please pay the total amount due. $1,148.41.

Yes, that was One Thousand, one hundred and forty eight dollars and forty one cents. Our budget amount monthly for the year was $133.00. So we've already paid them over 1500 dollars.

So now they want $1,148.41 more. Because they did not estimate it high enough. Now Due.

Now I have a few little emotions and stuff running through me at the moment.

Shock being one. What?! They think my Ohio Buckeye tree out in the backyard is growing hundred dollar bills this year as it's fruit? Or maybe that I have a printing press in a back corner of my basement?

Fear & panic being the major one. Where?! Where on earth is the average person supposed to just come up with that kind of money? If you know, please inform me because I really need to make a stop there. And fast. Because you know, it's "now due".

Anger. Oh yeah. Do I feel mad. How could they have miscalculated by about $100 per month. Shouldn't they suck up their own mistake? How is it fair and right that they should think it's okay to hand someone a bill like that? And then give you about 3 weeks to pay for it.

So when I phoned the company, which is really phoning a call center, and very sweetly tried to get info out of the nice young lady, I was given the "miscalculation of the estimate answer". So while biting the inside of my cheek off so that I could remain nice with her, because it is not her fault and my hubby who works for a call center has taught me to do, I tried to wrap my brain around this. All the while hearing her tell me that what the lovely billing department will do is up my bill by more than $100 per month to pay this little "Now due" off over the next year and oh yeah, they'll also up my monthly rate even more so this won't happen next year again. "Is there anything else I can do for you? Thank you, have a nice day" she says.

Okay, fear. Panic. Mix in a little mad. Add more fear. More panic. Agitate slowly until well blended.

What? What is that I hear. Just barely whispering in my heart. Barely making it past the anger, shock and fear? * "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" . And right on it's heels came + "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenver you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."

But God! My head and flesh are screaming. I want to get mad. I want to bawl somebody out. I want to negotiate and force them to take their bill back. I want to report them somewhere, anywhere. My flesh wants to worry and fret and wring it's hands. So God, can I? Indulge the flesh and emotions just for a few days and do all this and get it off my chest? Again, very gently and quietly: ** "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition [definite requests] with thanksgiving continue to make your wants known to God". ++"Consider it wholly joyful...."

Oh. So I guess now I have a choice to make. Do I indulge the flesh and emotions and wallow in it or do lift it up before the Lord, and leave it there may I add, and trust Him and His word? It's all about the choice.

Dear Lord, please give me the grace to step by step trust you with this little "SPECIAL MESSAGE". With your grace ('cause I'm going to need it) help me to give it to you and to leave it with you and trust that you will take care of it, however you will. Lord I realize that this is simply a difficulty everyone faces in life. Unexpected bills. Help me to find joy in it by accepting it for what it is -- a place of learning for my soul and an opportunity to watch you work in my life. And Lord I just want to lift up others who are going through so much more. Kelli and Heather come to mind, as well as others we come across in our blog travels. May your Spirit of grace and mercy and peace be upon them and may your joy be theirs as you lead them through their trials. Thank you for you Word. Thank you that it is a comfort. In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen.

*Philippian 4:6 NIV

**Philippian 4:6 Amplified Bible

+James 1:2-3 NIV

++James 1:2 Amplified Bible


Barbara H. @ Stray Thoughts said...

Wow! Totally understandable emotions. I have to say, though, that I tend to give way to all those emotions first before giving it to the Lord and trusting Him with it. How much better to do so right away as you have done.

Susanne said...

Barbara: I tell ya, it's a step by step, moment by moment thing. My flesh totally wants to rise up and give in to all this. As hubby said yesterday, sometimes you just want to go to bed and cover your head. I have to really fight it. And sometimes I lose. *sigh* I'm so thankful for God's forgiveness and mercy.

ellen b said...

Susanne, I'm with you and praying for your peace and praying that God shows you soon that He will provide for all your needs.

PastorMac's Ann said...

Awww Susanne. What a bummer! I'm so sorry. I'll be praying for peace for you and your hubby and that God will somehow provide this money in a miraculous way.

Beck said...

I'm sorry. :(
We're on a tight, TIGHT budget too, so I well understand.

Laurel Wreath said...

Ugggg I am so sorry, I don't know if I would have your control, I hope to say I would but I am not sure.

Praying for you.

Barbie@ Mamaology said...

I LOVE your heart Susanne! I love your sense of humor in it all:) (laugh or cry right?)And that you are choosing to trust in faith what the Lord tells you about situations like this!

And interesting enough the Lord has been using Phil 4:6 for me today. I have a test scheduled in 2 weeks at the hospital I've been worrying about. Thanks for the reminder to Trust Him!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Oh that's awful, but I do love the lessons you learned and shared with all of us.

Lana G! said...

Wow! I know I would not have been so "sweet" to the person in the call center! Be still my fiery tongue!

Praying that God will provide and thanking him for your obedience of the still small voices.

Jen said...


I just about fell off my chair


my eyes nearly popped out of my head

Praying for you in this situation
May God be with you right now

Lisa writes... said...

Praying for God's provision...

{Karla} said...

i'm praying for you susanne. we know allllll about those unexpected bills...


Linda said...

I surely didn't expect that amount when you revealed it. Ohmyword. This week Husband and I were just talking about something CS Lewis said about believers being willing for God to "crush" them to teach/mold them to his likeness, but when he arranges for other "fingers" to do the crushing, they protest! I feel/share your protest! It really isn't fair. I try to remember that for some reason, God has allowed the current trial in my life to pass through and touch me. I'm just so, so sorry you're going through this. But I know, I KNOW, he is pleased by your desires to respond in a God-honoring way.

Sandra said...

Susanne I just said a prayer for you and will continue to do so, I can't believe the amount, that's just crazy.

We're on a budget too so I totally understand the frustration.

Hang in there.

dcrmom said...

Ugh. Oh my gosh. I'd be steamed. (((Hug)))

Molly Coddled said...

Ooooooh, now I understand. I can't wait to hear how God provides. And He will provide, He will. Hugs, friend.

Org Junkie said...

What wonderful words of encouragement to us all. Receiving a bill like that has happened to me before but unfortunately I don't think I handled it as well but I did learn from it so that is always good.

I pray it all works out for you!

Islandsparrow said...

Oh dear . . .ouch.

praying for you suzanne.

Good thing He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

Shalee said...

Mr. Right just said, "Gee, I hope that doesn't happen to us!" I'm sorry that this huge bill has dropped in your lap, but remember that as you make your choice to "trust in the Lord and to lean not on your own understanding", you can "acknowledge him and he will make straight your path." While you're acknowledging him, I'd hit him up for an extra huge blessing from somewhere in his back pocket. After all God is our Father, and aren't kids supposed to ask their Dad for money?

Saying a prayer for you and the finances right now...

gail@more than a song said...

Oh I'm so sorry for you that happened, very hard thing and I think most of us would feel that way. But what an encouragement it is for all of us with how you're choosing to handle it....thinking about you and praying for you now.

Susie said...

This is just plain wrong! I'm so sorry this happened. If it makes you feel any better, my electricity runs on the average $250 or higher(this month it was over $380), and the water about $120 so yours is very low to me. Praying for you friend.

Cyndee@Riezzee's Place said...

Susanne-isn't it crazy! What frustrates me is that it is the students I am teaching that make these mistakes (like the decimal place doesn't matter!!)

Thanks for the verses - good reminders as I regret a recent purchase - because now it is on sale for $60 cheaper!


Anonymous said...

Hi Cheri,
i married to Dave tooLOL My dave handles all our bills. I stopped even looking because I get sooo stressed. God will provide.

Melanie said...

I think I would need that money to pay for the ambulance ride after I had my heart attack! God will provide, but you know that. I am now extra thankful for our meter reading method. Our property tax works like this, though. So I feel your pain.

Chappyswife said...

Ahhh, Susanne. I am so sorry to hear this. You are an inspiration, I tell ya, because we are in our 2nd year of practically devastating times, and your words of encouragement were needed today. Thank you.