So, my search for blessings songs has ended. Instead I've decided to focus my energy on God's faithfulness and the desire to praise Him. As such, the weekly 7 is going to look a little different today.
I've been amazed the past week and weeks in how God really does have a plan. Thank you, Captain Obvious. I know in my head in order to answer the Christianity 101 quiz that God has a plan. It's something entirely different to believe it down to your toes. Even more remarkable when He chooses to clean the fog from your eyes so you can see it. That's what yesterday was. He let me see the plan.
Now for a bit of a preface. He didn't let me see the BIG plan. I still don't have the foggiest idea why I'm sitting in Panama. Had I been able to see that plan, I definitely would have been making some very expensive calls to the US to let y'all know. This is simply a portion of His plan in making us ready for Panama. And more than that. He IS working at making it smoother for us- even if it means dealing with Panama to make it happen. Um, ok. That's why he's God, and I'm just reporting.
Tony and I are frugally conservative people. We don't live beyond our means. We've been following Dave Ramsey and Crown Financial before we'd ever heard those terms. It was just Tony being Tony and me following the lessons I witnessed in my Dad. BUT (and it's a big BUT), we've never made the decision to eliminate our use of credit cards. Even when everyone was preaching to be rid of the things, we never did. Never knew why since we hate them. I know now. (and pay really close attention because God has EVERY detail of this all planned.)
In late February, Tony came down here on a recruiting trip. During his stay, he purchased a vehicle- a Nissan Patrol. On credit. He tried to use the no-transaction-fee American Express card, but the dealership doesn't accept that card. He had to use the card with the transaction fee. (God's working- look alert- you'll see.)
The week after we relocated, my mom flew here to stay with the kids and me while Tony was in Illinois. I was telling her that she needed to make sure her CC companies knew she was coming to Panama so they wouldn't shut down her card. She mentioned that she had a Capital One Visa. This is the only non-American-Express card that we know of that doesn't charge the transaction fee. And Visas are far more readily accepted. She was able to put us on her card and get cards with our names on them in 3 days. (God thing #1)
A week later, we noticed that the vehicle was leaking oil. Major pain. (Look for God) Took forever to get it fixed. During that week, Tony got a ride from a guy in the neighborhood. He showed Tony a different way home. That little change has saved Tony over 2 hours a week in commuting time!! (That's God thing #2) We quickly became aware that the Patrol Tony had purchased wasn't going to work for the family. I posted a prayer request on a bulletin board that I follow online. I asked that the ladies would join me in praying that we could find a reliable, newer, vehicle for $15K. A BIG prayer request, but I knew my Hearts ladies could handle it.
On Tony's new route to work, he drives throgh a neighborhood we know very little about. In said neighborhood is a car dealership with a maroon Toyota Sienna minivan. (God thing #3) After 2 weeks of driving past the thing, Tony decides to go and check it out. It is a 2008 with 15,000 miles. They are asking $17.9K. Tony takes it for a test drive, checks the engine, and starts negotiating. Ya, you know the price, They settled on $15K. (God thing #4)
Still having no qualms with credit cards (especially good since we still hadn't been able to open a bank account locally and no one would give us a loan), Tony charges the van on Mom's credit card. It was a huge hassle, but it eventaully went through so we didn't have to pay the transaction fee. I talk to Mom about it that evening, and she reminds me that she earns skymiles from Delta- the best carrier for her to fly to get here- for every dollar spent on the card. With Tony's big purchase and all our normal activity, Mom is getting very close to earning enough for a free ticket to Panama. (God thing #5)
Tony had made an online payment with Bank of America (our CC company) and called this morning to double check the payment went through correctly. While on the phone, he found out that our cards also earn cash back for purchases. The car he originally bought in Panama and our other spending earned us several hundred dollars- Far more than the original amount of foreign transaction fee we were out. (God thing #6)
Isn't it amazing??? He really does have a plan! He really does care about the little things- and since He can save our souls, I figure most everything is a little thing for Him!! None of this knowledge makes living in Panama easier. It doesn't make the hurt of missing dear friends go away, but it does allow me to trust that I am here because He has me here. That'll get me out of bed in the morning. (God thing #7)