What to do when you don’t find money in the girls’ bathroom

Psalm 20My daughter exited the girls’ bathroom at school looking disappointed.

We were there for an after school program and I was ready to rush on home, but I stopped the frantic backpack grabbing and asked her what was wrong.

“I was hoping I’d find some money in the bathroom.”

Now, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this.

Was there typically money in the girls’ bathroom at school?

Was this an income source I wasn’t aware of?

Did the child so desperately need money that she actually searched public restrooms for stray dollar bills or coins?

No, it turns out she wanted to win the Citizenship Award at school and this particular month’s award was on the character trait: Honesty.

So, this girl of mine thought the best way to win an award for Honesty was to find money in the school bathroom and hand it in.  This seemed like a sure-fire strategy.

Only, no one seemed to be losing their money in the bathroom that month.

Now, I totally applaud the singular focus of this child and the strategic way she was thinking about her actions and how they fit (or didn’t) the character trait of the month.

But at the same time, I feel like our character should be honest, respectful, or kind with or without an award.

If a teacher notices that, then great!  A button and certificate are a special honor.

Yet, Jesus is watching always.  No need to force this or manipulate it into happening.  No need to plan out possible award-winning scenarios or plot out the best avenue for success.

I’m taking this to heart really, because I feel nagged by my own ambition and the expectations of others to force my future.

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Yes, there is wisdom in working hard and working wise.

How often, though, am I trying to force God’s hand?

Am I working myself right out of dependence on His favor and His blessing and right into self-made me?

I have one definition of success: God’s pleasure.

I have one strategy for achieving that: Obedience.

In the Bible, Rebecca knew all along that her younger son (Jacob) would topple the natural order of things and receive his father’s blessing and birthright instead of the older son (Esau).

But she didn’t trust God to make it happen.

Instead, she tricked and lied and cheated her way into “success.”

Oh, Jacob is no innocent, of course.  He was old enough to stand up to his mom when she told him to put on goat hair and his brother’s clothes, take in a meal she had prepared and deceive his blind and aging father into blessing him as the firstborn.

Maybe he remembered what these deceptive tactics cost him.

After all, decades later, Jacob was the aging father blessing his own sons and grandsons when Joseph brought in his two boys, Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48).

And old-man Jacob kept getting it ‘wrong.’

He treated the younger son like the older son and vice versa.  It was backwards and mixed up.

So, Joseph tried to correct his dad.  “No, dad, this is my oldest son and that one is the younger.”

Jacob wouldn’t budge, though.

See how God did that?

God spoke and it was.  The younger son received the older son’s blessing without props, costumes, a grand deception or Rebecca’s elaborate schemes.

God just did it because He wanted to do it.

Beth Moore says,

The significant point is that when God seems to be prompting something out of the ordinary, we don’t have to manipulate things to make it happen and cause people to accept it. (Believing God, p. 96).

What freedom is this?

If God has declared it, He will do it. We can be part of that plan, but the plan never depends on us to make it happen; it all depends on Him.

If God has called you, obey by taking the next step and stop worrying about the end destination.

Our job is simply obedience, the beautiful call to trust and obey.  We take those steps of faith, we give our every effort to answer His calling, but we leave the results in His hands.

If we see money in the bathroom, we hand it in.  But we don’t stress over it if the money isn’t there!

We write.  We work.  We minister.  We stay faithful.  But we don’t try to manipulate results or manufacture ‘success.’

We just live honest.  Live faithful.  Live disciplined.  Live holy.  Live with compassion and mercy.  Live humbly.

Live for Jesus.

And leave our lives and our future all in His quite-capable hands.


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King


Devotions from My Garden: What Are You Waiting for?

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit (Galatians 6:9 MSG).

We planted in pots and crates on our deck, tiny seedlings of cucumbers, tomatoes in three varieties and jalapeno peppers.

Then we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

We watered.  We tended.

But mostly we waited.

From one day to the next, the leaves didn’t appear to expand and the stems didn’t seem to reach any higher than the day before or the day before that.

It took standing back and surveying growth over time for us to notice we had plants and not seedlings any longer.  Then there were the first tiny yellow flowers on the cucumber plant.

The day we spotted the tiniest baby tomato, I called all three of my daughters over to see.  There we stood, a mom and three girls gently pushing aside green leaves to marvel at the promise of growth.

And then we waited some more.

And waited.

And waited.

For signs of ripeness and readiness for harvest.

Gardening, like life, is so often about waiting.  The difference, though, is that we waited for our first vegetables with anticipation and excitement.  We tracked the progress and closely watched the physical signs of a promising future because we knew the day would come when we sat down to salad and salsa from our garden.

But in life we often wait with a hopeless aggravation and a frustrating impatience.

We wait on God, tapping our foot and glancing often at our wrists with urgency.

Perhaps, though, we should wait for God, watching the signs of growth, rejoicing over every bud and clapping our hands with joy every time we see a reminder that the harvest is coming.

This is how the crowds prepared for Jesus’ arrival:

“Now when Jesus returned, the crowds welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him” (Luke 8:40). 

Can you imagine the crowd watching the road for the first glimpse of Jesus’ sandal?  Perhaps kids ran back and forth bringing news of Jesus’ journey.  “He’s coming.  He’s near.  He’s closer.  He’s just around the corner.”

He’s here!

Imagine the hush of the people.  They weren’t whining about the wait or postulating that perhaps Jesus wasn’t coming after all.

No, they were likely listening intently for the first sound of His voice chatting with His followers as He traveled on the road.

This is how we wait for God–we look forward with excited anticipation and uncontainable joy for the moment we see God at work.

And while we wait, we prepare to receive all that He’s bringing our way.

Like the kings who faced the overwhelming enemy might of Moab, we wait for God’s promise.  He said He would “fill the ditches in the dry streambed with water” overnight and without wind or rain.  Yes, He would bring the refreshment and victory they needed (2 Kings 3:16-18).

In the very next chapter, Elisha tells the destitute widow to gather “empty vessels and not too few” and then the Lord filled as many as she gathered with rich oil, saving her from starvation and poverty (2 Kings 4:3).

In two back-to-back passages, God miraculously fills His people up to the brim, giving them all they had prepared to receive.

I feel this now, this urge to prepare, to grab as many jugs and cups and bowls and pots and buckets as I can so I don’t miss out on one drop of God’s provision. 

I stand at the foot of the dry streambed and rather than complaining about my parched throat, I want to dress in my swimsuit, ready to dive into the pools overflowing with His miraculous water-without-rain.

It’s waiting, surely.  I’m not there yet.  But I see the signs.  I see the growth, the buds, the tiniest hint of vegetables to come.  I see God-movement here and there, projecting change and something new.

Part of me is scared.  Waiting is what I know.  Change, even good change, frightens me and stresses me out.

So what’s a girl to do?

See the signs of God on the move, the promises of harvest, and yet refuse to budge?  “No thanks, God, I’ll stick with what I have and what I know because at least I’ve dug into a trench of trusty comfort and reliability.”

Or do I hang my shoulders in defeat and stomp away, not seeing the harvest quickly enough?  Tired of waiting, I dump over the vessels waiting for oil, I walk away from the streambed thirsty for water . . . I turn away from those waiting for the first sight of Jesus and choose instead to complain at home that He didn’t come.

Or I could wait, joyfully and with excitement, nervous perhaps but ready nonetheless.  Jumping up and down trying to see Jesus over the heads of the crowd, I’m waiting for God, not waiting on Him.

This is how we reap the harvest, when “we don’t give up, or quit” (Galatians 6:9).  This is how we don’t miss out on one drop of what God has planned.

More Devotions From My Garden:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King