Friday, June 13, 2008

Shreddin' the Years

"Bring on the auditor!"

That's what I always say. No prob-lay-mo.

I've got everything filed and under control. I can find any document or receipt at any time.

But according to the experts, it is only necessary to keep up to seven years of past records. If my calculations are correct, that means everything pre-2001 is simply taking up space.

So, I dusted off the old shredder and got to work.

I cannot tell you how such a mindless task of endlessly loading paper after paper into the shredder became such an assurance of God's grace, love, protection and faithfulness.

With each file that I opened, stories of the past came flowing out. Big, monumental events. Paying off college loans. Buying our first car. W-2s from my old Church Art Works days. Re-siding the house. Our Hawaiian vacation. Vet visits for my diabetic cat, Puff. Our first couch and love seat. The brass bed we bought right after we were married.

And so, so many more....

I would pull a file and look upon a snapshot in time. It would take me to a place that was, at one time, thought to be insurmountable. Over the course of our marriage, my faith has been tested as we faced life-changing decisions that were terrifying and unknown. I would watch as a remnant of those times, sometimes the only evidence that that particular event had ever occurred, would slowly make its way through the shredder and become unrecognizable.

What I realized, however, was that those papers were not really all that was left of the evidence of those events. The biggest evidence is the personal growth of my faith and trust in God to see us through those times where we would feel at our wit's end.

Buy a house? How in the world can we afford to do that?
Pregnant? How are we going to make it if I stop working?
Pregnant again? How will we afford two kids?
A bigger car? Where in tarnation will that money come from?
Faith Alive giving to church? Where are we going to get extra money to give to that campaign?
Competitive soccer costs how much? What budget will that come out of?
Our teenage daughter "needs" a cell phone????

and on and on it goes....

I was reminded today, in a very tangible way, that God always provides for our needs. He may not always provide our "wants," but I've learned that's usually for the best anyway.

I know, without a doubt, that we will face more uncertainties and mountainous events in our marriage, but I can rely on the promise that God already knows how each of those things will be worked out. As long as we continue to trust Him and make wise, prudent decisions, I can rest easy in His grasp.

As each shred of paper made its way into the large blue recycle bin, I couldn't help but think of Ecclesiastes chapter one, especially verse nine:

"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."


Mrs. Ranch said...

I love it on so many levels.

1. The practical aspect of organizing thrills me-no I'm not kidding.

2. Spiritually, you are so right on. God so knows what He's doing with us! He does indeed supply all our needs (and much more here in America).

Thanks for the reminder, I love the post!

Joshua & Valerie said...

I must admit, I envy your meticulous record keeping. You and my youngest sister are incredible like that! I'm much better than I used to be. Maybe some day, receipts won't dissapear!

I was thinking, instead of recycling your shredded papers, maybe we can have a bonfire.

Great thoughts in your post!

momaof4 said...

Oh thanks for the little IRS info. We were cleaning out the garage and are finding boxes of paper work though the I know what Ihave to do with them!!!

Angela said...

Holy smokes thats a TON of paper!

Team Johnston said...

We just did the same thing. We were putting shredded paper in the recycle bin for about a month. But it was fun!
~Danielle :)

February Jill said...

Wow, I'm pretty sure I would not welcome an audit like you would. I have got our tax returns and that's about it.

Did you cry a little when you got rid of those memories on paper or are you a throw-away-aholic like me? My mom's a packrat and packrats tend to beget throw-awayers.