I was getting closer to my "dream" camera when my parents finally got me a point a shoot 35 mm for my birthday when I was in college. I took pictures of all kinds of memories (some I probably need to burn before my kids find them!) I kept that camera until Scott and I got married, and then we bought our first digital camera before Benjamin was born. It was a Fuji and it was a pretty good little camera for one that only had 3.2 mp. Most of his first 2 years were documented using the FinePix. Then I was yearning for a little fancier one, which in my mind was a digital single-lens reflex camera. I let my husband know what was on my mind and he came up with a really nice camera, a Canon PowerShot, an A720 with 8 mp and a zoom lens. It had a wheel for setting aperture and priority, or a manual mode and is the nicest camera I have ever owned. It takes nice pictures and it has done a great job of chronicling Allison's 1st two years and more of Benjamin's antics.
And then she did it. The Farmer's Wife, who swore she'd never go digital, bought a Canon Rebel XTi. Not the top of the line. But a great camera for a DSLR. She has a Tamron lens to go with it. And she takes phenomenal pictures with it. Some of that is due to the camera, but much of that is due to her artistic eye for what makes a good picture.
So I decided that I needed to have one too. I was going to save my money, bit by bit, until I had enough to buy a camera on my own, with my own money that I scrimped, saved, and sacrificed for. I even had my very own envelope with the cash tucked away into a safe place. Anytime I got money as a gift, or had an extra ten dollar bill left over from a trip it would go into my little "camera" envelope. I even took a catering job to earn $100 toward my camera. I was getting close to my goal. I had even gone in to the camera shop in town and discussed my future purchase with the camera guy. And I was really excited.
But then I got the "nudge". I don't even really know how to explain it, except that I was reading on one particular blog about a scholarship fund set up for women and churches who couldn't afford to purchase Bible study material on their own and I thought, "Wow, that's really a neat thing." And in the back of my mind, I thought about my stash. But I left that stash in the back of the cupboard, and in the back of my mind, the little nudge stayed, but it didn't stay quiet. But I ignored it for a while. Until I got another "nudge". I was listening to one of my favorite Bible teachers on the radio, one I have listened to since I was little and my mom listened to him. I have most of his books, because I appreciate his perspective and his style (he has lots of joy, and seasons his truth-filled message with lots of laughter). He was on the radio appealing to his listeners for support. In all the years I've listened, I've never heard him personally ask for financial support, so I knew things must be pretty serious.
At that point, I knew what I needed to do, and I wasn't happy about it. I kept thinking "Oh, I'd love to give, but I don't really have a lot of extra money." But deep down, I knew I had some. It wasn't alot, and it won't financially rescue either ministry, however, I felt like I needed to do what God was asking me to do. But I didn't like it!!!
Now let me be clear. There's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a Digital SLR camera, even one that's expensive and takes great pictures. There's nothing wrong with saving money, and even earning money specifically to save to buy something. In fact, that's a great practice. And if I'd gone ahead and continued to save money until I had enough to buy my camera, that would have been okay.
But I really felt like the Lord was asking me to be willing to give up something I wanted for something somebody else needed.
As I examine my life, I have been extremely blessed. I have a wonderful Mom and Dad who taught and demonstrated for me the importance of a walk with Christ. I have two sisters and a brother who I enjoy immensely, brothers-in-law and a soon-to-be sister-in-law who are great. I have 2 nephews and 4 nieces who are some of my favorite humans on the planet. It gets better. I have a husband who leads our family spiritually, financially, and emotionally in a special way. He is kind, generous, and supportive of me, in whatever I want to do. I have two beautiful, healthy, active children who challenge me and charm me, and help me grow and mature. I have two step-children who are kind, thoughtful, and so much fun to have around. I have a mother-in-law and father-in-law who treat me just like one of their own, and are generous and helpful. I have wonderful siblings-in-law, 3 sisters and 1 brother, who have been an added blessing. I have wonderful, fun, creative, silly, friends who encourage and inspire me on a daily basis. I have a beautiful home, on a beautiful ranch in the middle of all of God's creation. I am healthy, 3 and a half years after a breast cancer diagnosis. I have plenty of clothing in my closet, shoes for my feet, and more than enough food for my belly.
After a couple of weeks of thinking about it, and sharing it with a few people, I decided that I not only needed to be obedient, I needed to be happy about it. God used a couple of different people who shared some of their giving opportunities with me and it encouraged me. So yesterday, I sat down and figured out exactly where I needed to send the money, made the on-line transactions, and when it was all said and done, I enjoyed it. It was fun to be able to have a little extra money to give to people who needed it more than I needed my camera. Looking back, I'm a little sad that I'm not going to get my camera as soon as I wanted to get it. But the envelope is still on the shelf, the camera is still at the store, and I'm still capable of saving the money to purchase the camera.
Unless of course I get another "nudge". I'm finding God's elbows are always sharp, and ready.