93944_000_010Things were tough. It took more than money to pay my tithing. It took faith.
I was just tying my shoe when I heard my mother’s bedroom door open. She had gone in there a couple of hours before, saying she just needed some time alone. My excitement subsided and a lump formed in my throat as I looked at her pale face. Her eyes were red from crying. I hated to see my mother hurting.
“Mom, are you all right?” I managed to get out.
“Yes,” She swallowed hard, holding back more tears. “Where are you going?”
“Well, I have that party tonight for our birthdays—but if you don’t want me to go …”
“No, go ahead.” She let the tears flow and turned away.
I sat there numb on my bed wondering if I should go or not. I really wanted to go with my friends, but I knew Mom needed me more. She had been divorced when I was only three, so she confided in me a lot.
“Mom, if you would rather I didn’t go …”
“It’s not that,” she said between sobs. “I’m sorry, but I just don’t have any money to give you.”
“I don’t need any. I saved some from my last baby-sitting job.”
Money was always such an issue at our house. There was never enough. Sometimes I would ask God why we were always so short on money when I faithfully paid my tithing.
“I have to work the graveyard shift again tonight, so I would appreciate it if you would be home before I leave.”
“I will be,” I assured her.
“I just don’t know how I’m going to do it. I don’t get a paycheck for a few more days, and we have no money at all. I don’t even have enough gas in my car to get to work tonight.”
“You can have this money of mine. I don’t need to go.”
She shook her head no and hugged me. “No, it’s for you and your friends’ birthdays.”
I felt sick inside. Here I was going off with my friends to enjoy pizza while my mother was home wondering how she was going to get to work. I tried to think of how I could help her, but I just didn’t know. Then the thought crossed my mind of my tithing money. It was just sitting in my dresser waiting for me to take it to church. I had never spent my tithing money, but this was for a good reason and surely the Lord would understand.
I walked back to my room and opened the drawer, but something wouldn’t let me take the money. All I could do was close the drawer and leave the room.
“Have fun, honey. Please don’t worry. I’ll figure something out. I don’t mean to burden you with these things.” Mom smiled the best she could and kissed me on the cheek.
I did have fun with my friends. We ate pizza, played the jukebox, and mostly giggled about everything. It’s amazing how much eight 13-year-old girls can eat!
Every once in a while I would find myself thinking about that tithing money. What would it hurt to not pay it just one time? Maybe that money was my blessing for always paying my tithing. Maybe it was still in my drawer for a reason. But no matter how I tried to justify taking the tithing money, I knew my conscience wasn’t going to let me.
Soon the night was over, and we were all giving our money for the bill. I got a dollar back in change. I felt in my pocket to see if I had any other money that I could give to Mom, but I didn’t. So I put the dollar in my pocket and decided I would give it to her. It wasn’t much. In fact, it wasn’t enough to buy gas, but it would help a little. At least I felt better knowing I had something to offer her when I got home.
I thought I would cry when we needed more money for a tip. I slowly reached into my pocket. I knew a dollar wasn’t much, but I was so happy I had it to give to Mom. My throat was so tight I couldn’t even swallow. I couldn’t tell anyone about giving the dollar to my mom. I was too embarrassed. I really wanted to lie and tell them I didn’t have any money.
As my hand touched the dollar bill I felt something else. The tears in my eyes left as fast as they had come. My heart began racing as I pulled my hand out and there was the one-dollar bill and a crisp new ten-dollar bill. My heart almost stopped beating. I didn’t know how that ten-dollar bill got there, but to this day I know where it came from!