Part one authored on 8/4/2021
Last Sunday, Pastor Tom of Calvary Church, in Grand Rapids discussed contentment and the 3 steps to achieving contentment in your life. During worship, I always take notes and try to dig into the message from God so I can unpack it later in the day to best implement what I learned into action. This service was a little different. So different that I wanted to share some magical moves God made that I can’t stay quiet about. But first, the three ways to achieve contentment include:
1.Rejoice in God’s provisions
- Be grateful for what you have been given by God. If you’re reading this, you likely have all that you need because you have access to the luxury of technology. That is a blessing. Be grateful for what you have because God has provided and meet all of your essential needs. He may not give you what you “want”, but God sure does provide what you need. I thank heavens for that because what God has in store for us is always so much better than what we as humans, “want”.
2. Understand contentment is not connected to circumstances
- What is going on in the world or who is the president should not affect your gratitude for God and the joy you should feel for His love and provisions.
- No one is ever happier or more joyful by acquiring more “stuff” or going from one activity high to the next. This speaks to me as a small business owner who is constantly working on my next client, sale, and growing the business that I have given to God. I have learned that it is not about acquiring more but being humbled and grateful in the now. Which should not be affected by the current circumstances whether they be good or bad.
3.Contentment is learned
- Being happy and joyful for what you have is not a natural response for most humans. We complain constantly, I included about not having what we “want” and what we think we need.
- Think of Apostle Paul who was in prison and was still joyful. I bet most of us would not be joyful if we were in prison. Especially if we were in prison due to unfair or unjust circumstances. Jesus wants us to be reliant upon Him. Not self-sufficient but Jesus Christ sufficient.
During this worship service, Pastor Tom shared about a man and his wife who sold all their possessions to start an orphanage. The man’s name was George Mueller. Long story short one day a wealthy businessman walking on a trail donates the necessary money needed to keep the orphanage in operation, I.e. coal, food, and basic needs. George had prayed for God to help because they were down to their last day of rations. So, God provided via the wealthy businessman who donated enough for them to get by for the next two days. God provides what we need. Let it be known to him because He cares for you.
Hang with me as I promise this is a magical message.
After church on Sunday, August 1st, I went and did my workout at the downtown YMCA in Grand Rapids. Following the workout, I did my post-lift recovery walk around downtown. During my walk, I was reflecting on my life, God, and where I am currently at. As any Christian does, trying to make sense and how I can apply what I had learned in church that morning. I decided no matter what storm encases me I need to choose joy in my current situation both personally and professionally to achieve contentment. Because it does not matter what I have or do not have because I have all I need, I have Jesus.
A concept that is not easy to remember when we are in the thick of pain, suffering, experiencing financial hardship, loss of loved ones, relationships, and more. All of which have hit me the last year and brought me closer to Christ. Instead of blaming and playing victim, I took my power back with God’s help.
I have built my strength from God’s grace, lessons, and have built my last year of life on His will and rock. Many do ask me, “Wendi, where do you get your motivation from?” I used to respond with my work ethic as a child, finances, achieving success, or simply something about myself, etc. But now my answer and motivation are simple, “to Glorify Christ in all that I do. Being healthy for God so that I can help other people.” See my recent Instagram post on this.
God doesn’t need me, just like He does not need you. But He chose you and He chose me. He loves us and wants us to experience His blessings. He loved us so darn much He gave up His only Son, Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. By living my life for Christ I have so much motivation to be healthy, kind, and giving to others. We are ambassadors of God in the work we do. For me, that means as a dietitian, business owner, daughter, sister, friend, and more I must live as Jesus would. Yes, I fall short, and always will but the more time I spend in His word, worship and with Him in solitude the more I become like Jesus. I also have more peace in my life knowing heaven is my eternal home and none of this stuff on earth matters. Truly, Jesus does is not interested in our performance. Jesus is interested in our hearts. Our joy comes from the Lord when you’re truly a follower and have 100% given your life to Christ. I learned that lesson much later in life, but I am glad it was late than never. Jesus is all I need because back to the circumstances of the world, well look around or turn on the TV things aren’t looking great. But Jesus’s love for us and grace never waivers. Back to my story on my walk post-workout.
Back to the point, of achieving Joy. On my walk last Sunday, I saw a homeless man very parched from across the street. Two young men walked by him. The homeless man cried out to them, “have some change to spare?” The two men walking by were about my age and responded with, “no, I have no cash.” Now some context here, years ago before I was a believer I would have thought, “wow what a bum. Asking for money. Go get a job.” But since learning humility and walking life in alignment with God the last few years I have been less likely to judge. Because I do not want to be judged. We also have no idea what landed that man on the streets. I remember thinking to myself, “I wish I had some change or something.” I then actually prayed to myself, “Lord help me find some spare change on the ground to give this man.” There was something about this situation that really made me want to give. Historically, I have given the change to homeless walking through the YMCA parking lot here in Grand Rapids because God says to “give”. And giving a dollar is nothing I can’t spare and it’s a good thing to do that is easy. Sure, do I selfishly want to keep the money to pay off student loans, of course. But the more I grow in my faith the more I know that I am here to glorify God, and not just worry about my own needs but to help others. Plus, if today Jesus came the student loan debt won’t matter. However, being a kind human will. Remember that fellow Christians. We can’t take anything with us when we go. That means not only assets but also debts. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in working hard and earning everything. It is how I was raised but practicing love and giving to one another is something that has brought me more joy than paying my student loan fees each month.
I prayed about “getting needs met” for this man. I had nothing on me to give. I had my car keys and sunglasses. I prayed that God would help me find some change on the street to give the man on my walk but nothing came about after several blocks of looking aimlessly. Once I got back to my car, I looked for change and found nothing. Of course, though, I could have driven to the store to buy water, and give it to him. But I drove home to prepare for my busy week of clients. I journaled about the experience before going to bed.
I woke up the Monday after feeling a bit of unrest. Pastor Tom said that if we prayed to Jesus, we would have our needs met along with others. My needs were met but the man I walked by did not. I thought about the rich businessman who immediately stopped in his tracks and gave the orphanage what they needed for the next two days and thought, wow what a great role model. Lord, please forgive me for not driving back to give that man some change. Then I went on to do the final touches on my business newsletter that I had spent hours slaving on. I felt a bit restless as I had not taken my morning walk. So I went out for a walk and decided to take a totally different path than usual.
While on my walk, I was feeling frustrated, stressed, and then even more guilty because I am not having contentment for my life. Which I just learned in church the day before. I began thinking okay, I can do this. I can learn this and practice it. Because as I had learned in church yesterday that it is a learned skill. So, I told myself time to learn a new habit and skill let’s go! So, I spoke aloud while walking “Stop complaining Wendi. What are you grateful for, right now let’s go list off five key items.”
I rambled off, health, opportunity, legs to walk, brain to think, sunshine on my skin, safety, a business, purpose, God’s love, and God’s grace. I took one more step, then I stopped and in front of me on the sidewalk was a crisp $20.00 bill. I thought woo lucky day! Then I remembered and muttered, “God provides, God delivers provisions.” I immediately looked up to the sky, flashed God a giant smile knowing He is listening, and answered the prayer I prayed!! God answered my prayer requesting some petty change on the sidewalk to give to the homeless man. Only instead of some coins, Gods put down $20.00. That’s the thing about God is there are no coincidences. The $20.00 should have been filthy since it was on the sidewalk near a bunch of brush and sticks after rain showers. But it wasn’t. I stopped, prayed, and thought I am going to go back to the spot I was walking at later and give this money to this guy or whoever is in the spot. How amazing is God?
I kept walking and a few steps later laid another crisp $20.00 bill and I thought WOW you have got to be kidding me? As I reach down to pick up the crisp $20 about 6 feet ahead was another $20.00 in the grass. To remind you I was praying for a whopping $0.60 to give to this homeless man. But God provisioned $60.00. To you non-believers reading this here is the picture of the fresh $60 because it was too clean and crisp to not be blessed by God.
Did I selfishly want to keep the sixty dollars and go on my way thinking what a lucky day? Sure, but that would be Satan’s work and I don’t work for him, nor do I belong to him. I work for God. I belong to God. I am a child of God and I proudly proclaim my faith in the Lord. Additionally, this isn’t my money in the first place and greed is not Godly. Greed is a form of evil. Like Adam and Eve in the garden. We always want “more” when we should have contentment for what God has given us. See the connection here? I hope so!
God blessed me with sixty dollars to help others and experience joy in the blessings of giving. God wants us to be joyful. I went home immediately after that walk to write down what had happened because this is a ripple in God’s work. Lately, I have not been hearing from Him and felt I likely have not been listening. SO, by practicing what I had heard in church and trusting God showed up and worked some magic. God is not interested in our performance here on earth but in our hearts. If your heart is in the right place, and you live in alignment with Jesus your odds of heaven are looking pretty good.
I am not sharing this to brag and say, “look at me but a look at HE”. If anything I haven’t given enough and feel shameful for my lack of generosity in the past. Case in point, I am sharing this because God answered back with more than what I wanted. God is always listening. He blessed provisions to help more than just one person. Honestly, five years ago I would have kept the $60 for myself. But now that I am a follower and have fully put my life in Christ’s hands, I want to be more kind, and giving like Jesus has been for me to live my life in a Christ-like way.
I would rather use the provisions to help others which is what Jesus would do. I hope this inspires you to know God is listening, He answers prayers maybe not on your time but on His time. Had he answered my immediate prayer for coins on the street within a radius of the sidewalk I would have only had some coins to help one human? Jesus fed 5,000 people with the miracle five loaves and two fish. God doesn’t give us what we want, He provisions what we NEED. I thank Jesus for loving me and I hope this message inspires those out there to practice contentment in their lives but also glorify you in their thoughts, words, and actions. Be an ambassador of heaven. I’m calling this act of God, the “Sixty Dollar Effect”. Who knows, maybe it will be contagious.
Part two authored on 8/8/2021
Today, I heard a great message in worship that wrapped up a series studying Philippians by pastor Tom at Calvary Church. Today, August 8th was on generosity and giving. The sermon is found here for those interested. It motivated me to take the sixty dollars I found on the sidewalk last Monday and match it with my own $60 to go purchase a total of $120 worth of bottled water, oranges, bananas, and apples to hand out around downtown Grand Rapids. Starting with the street corner I was walking on last Sunday where I mentioned there was a homeless man on the street crying out for change and help. Just an image to motivate you.
God blessed me with an opportunity to not just give someone some coins, but I was able to go out and feed > 100 people in the extreme humidity. Contributing an additional $60 of my own money has never given me so much joy. Every single person on the street that I gave a bottle of water to, or a fruit said, “thank you girl, wow God bless you!” And I can’t express how much that meant for those who do not know me but are appreciative of my generosity. Some of the sincerest thanks I have gotten. I said, “no don’t thank me, you can thank God! He provisioned these nourishments through me. I then wished them a blessed day back and we all smiled.
This act of service was the best use of money and 3 hours of my entire thirty years on this earth. God is good. God provides and we can’t take any of what we accrue with us to Heaven. This is what Pastor Tom talked about in worship this morning. Thank Goodness for that, I do not want any of these earthly things. There’s no monetary value to the Joy I experienced today giving back to my community.
I encourage everyone who has read this to spend $60 on water and some soft fruit to hand out to those in the street. Store it in your car in a cooler. Mini bottled water for example is extremely cheap and can be given to someone on the street who needs hydration or bananas on your way home if you know you will be met with those in need. These are just simple ways to give back to your community. God does not need you to donate your livelihood, and you don’t have to be a celebrity to do something extraordinary. God works through us ordinary people to do the extraordinary work and give all Glory to Him. I love God and everything I do is to glorify Him. I made the choice to give my life to Christ and I never looked back. I used to be self-sufficient but now I am Jesus Christ sufficient. Jesus Christ is not only my savior, but He is our secret weapon in any battle we face. God works through me, and He absolutely works through you in your daily work and tasks to help His Kingdom. Don’t underestimate the ordinary small acts of service that are all good in His eyes. Please watch my video post on Instagram to experience my Love and Joy from God’s provisions. See the video here and be sure to watch until the end.
If you can’t give money you can also do acts of service. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
✅Donating stuff or your time
✅Pick up groceries for those in need
✅Volunteer at local hospitals, shelters, community centers
✅Help your neighbors with household things, tasks, transportation for those without
God Bless you and be sure to pay it forward. I hope this blog gives you hope.
THIS IS A NEW PROJECT CALLED, “PROJECT NOURISH”. Minutes after I published this blog and shared it out three different people who were former clients sent money to my Venmo name with notes reading, “Great work, here is another $20.00 to get you started”, another read, ” You are AMAZING, use this for those in need with a $25.00 money gram.” If you wish to contribute to this fund which I will continue to go out and give to the community on a weekly basis via water, fruit, and nourishment please let me know. You can email me, firstname.lastname@example.org or you can Venmo me Wendi-Irlbeck. GOD IS SO GOOD!!
Wishing you many blessings of good health, safety, prosperity, and joy.