When we stop and pay attention to all the ways God has provided for us we can often be surprised at the unique methods he uses to meet our needs.
We were pregnant with our first child, Micah was working at a small software company and I was doing temp work for an insurance agency, and we were $40k in student loan debt. We also had made the decision that I would be staying home as there were no jobs in the field I graduated in and temp work would not cover the bills of childcare. We needed to find ways to provide for this baby and still make ends meet.
One of the women at my work asked if we needed some baby gear and gave us a bag of gently used clothes and a few toys and books. A woman from church gave us a bouncer, swing, and several other items that we wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. I barely knew these women and they were generously giving to us. God was using them to meet our needs, and even a few of our wants.
These baby items that cost us nothing when we needed them were kisses from Jesus.
What is a kiss from Jesus?
Kisses from Jesus is a term from Erin Odom’s new book, More than Just Making It. The term first popped up for her when she was in Costa Rica teaching missionaries children and was homesick for just about everything. She enjoyed life there but was missing the comfort of home, especially spaghetti. After writing this in her journal she walked down to dinner to discover her host mother had made spaghetti for dinner - the one and only time she did so.
“After that incident, my American roommate and I began calling these little blips of God’s provision “kisses from Jesus.” They were things we could’ve easily overlooked or chalked up to happenstance, but they pointed us to God instead.” (p129)
She began to see these again when her family was experiencing the worst financial crisis of their lives. They found themselves with a home they couldn’t sell during the Great Recession and the housing crash, job losses, and several children to feed. Erin and her husband Will did everything they could to cut corners and make their finances work but there was always more month than money. With no debt other than the mortgage from the home they couldn’t sell they had no other way to make the money stretch.
But God provided.
Erin and Will learned that God will always provide. One month it was free persimmons, even though Erin had no idea what persimmons were or what to do with them before meeting the sweet woman giving them away. Another month it was friends providing dinner when they came to visit.
“I started looking at and crediting each and every incident--from the government WIC checks to the box of persimmons--as God’s provision for our family. Like manna in the wilderness, the Lord provided again and again and again. As time passed, I saw it more clearly than ever, and looking back, I realize he provided all along.” (p125)
Because of Erin’s book I was inspired to look back through our marriage and see all those times that God provided when we weren’t sure where the money would come from or how things would fall into place.
Two years after Micah had left a part time job he really loved, and right when we found out we were expecting, his former boss called to tell him they had a full time position opening up and she wanted him to apply. This new position’s salary covered both of our current salaries plus it included health insurance premiums. He’s been at that job for over nine years now!
When a contractor that was supposed to put a new roof on our house ran off with the $2500 deposit we had paid him our parents loaned us the money to keep us afloat and friends and family came to help with our roof instead.
When I came home to a basement with two feet of water we had to hire a plumber to find the problem. We discovered a golf ball sized hole in our main water line and thankfully it flooded our basement instead of washing away our foundation. It sounds crazy but it was easier to dry the basement than it would have been to bring in fill!
After finding out we were having twins - kids #4&5 - we decided to put our home on the market and find one that would fit our growing family. Despite many issues in our original home it sold the day it went on the market and the inspection report didn’t scare off the buyer.
We had our heart set on a certain area of our town but couldn’t find a home to fit a family of seven in our price range. We ended up on the exact opposite side of town (where we thought we’d never want to be) and now love our area and plan on staying on this side when we move again.
Our older boys were outgrowing their mini loft bed from IKEA and we wanted to get them a bunk that would last longer but needed to save up the money. The next week our neighbor knocked on the door and asked if we would be interested in a twin/full bunk. All we needed to do was haul it down the block from her garage.
When cash was tight and we were already trying to stretch the grocery budget our church had a community garden with an abundance of produce for anyone. There was also a table filled with bakery items for free as well. We would go home with zucchini, green beans, peppers, and breads that would fill in the gaps of what we couldn’t buy at the store.
Just YESTERDAY one of the kids asked to add tomatoes to the grocery list and I was already trying to juggle around what we absolutely needed to make the budget work. I went outside to bring the kids in for dinner and our neighbor asked if we liked tomatoes because they had an abundance from their garden and could throw in some zucchini as well. God provides, again and again.
They weren’t the ways we expected to be provided for. They weren’t the ways we expected to blessed, but our God provides, over and over. And when I look at this list I know there are so many more that I’ve left out or you’d be reading this for the next several hours.
Can I challenge you do to the same?
Begin a list of your own #kissesfromJesus. Start keeping track of all those time when God provides. “When we cultivate a spirit of gratitude for God’s provision, we’ll see how clearly He cares for us in tangible ways.” (p126)
The ways God provides might not look how we expect. When the bank account looks empty and the cupboards the same we pray for a raise but God provides with a basket of fresh produce from a friend’s garden. When we get laid off and we pray for a new job and God provides with unemployment. When we want to attend an event and pray for our budget to work this month and God provides with a scholarship. Not how we expect, but provisions nonetheless.
“Everything we own--from persimmons to shampoo--is God’s provision. When we remember that all things come from the Lord, it enables us to practice the spiritual discipline of gratitude as we wash our children’s hair, as we clean our homes, as we prepare meals for our families-- for God has given us these children, these roofs over our heads, the very food on our tables. We can sit outside our sprawling Southern mansions or tiny city apartments and praise God for meeting our every need. Practicing gratitude in each small gesture will help you go from a mental and emotional state of 'just barely making it' to more than just making it--if you let it.
For gratitude stills discontentment.” (p138-139)
Do you have a story of how God has provided for you in an unexpected way?
Share your own #kissesfromJesus story in the comments or social media and have a look at others to see God's faithfulness.