I held the stack of envelopes in one hand.

“Are you ready?”

She took a deep breath. “Let’s do it.”

The stacks had grown to a small mountain. Some envelopes had red stamps on them. Others were crumpled, as if opened and then tossed into the pile in defeat. The bills arrived in her mailbox after a series of surgeries from an unexpected accident. There seemed to be no end to them, and every day another popped up in the mail.

For the next three hours we opened one envelope after another. We made stacks. We compared bills to make sure there wasn’t errors. We marked payments that had been made, and payments left to be made. With a calculator in hand, we totaled the whole amount. Next, she wrote letters requesting payment plans and enclosed a small amount in each envelope. It wasn’t what they had asked her to pay, but it showed she was trying.

She made such progress that day. She found two errors, one significant, that had not been addressed by insurance after the accident. The letters and follow-up phone calls allowed her to get on payment plans with almost every one she owed.

But perhaps the most important accomplishment is that nothing was pushed down, hidden, or put away for another day, anymore. 

I couldn’t help but acknowledge how brave my friend was!

One envelope at a time

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I have to deal with something and I’m tempted to ignore it. It’s just too big. After all, I don’t have enough of whatever it takes to solve that problem. Not enough funds. Not enough courage. Not enough time. Not enough of {fill in the blank}.

When I do that, it gets that much more complicated. It doesn’t go away and the stress of it grows.

Fear says, “You can’t conquer the mountain.”

Courage says, “I can climb it one step at a time.”

As we ask for help, that’s brave. The only reason I was able to show my friend how to do this is because I walked through the same thing years earlier as a young mom with Stage 3 cancer. I remembered my own stack of unpaid and relentless bills, and how overwhelming it all seemed.

Together, it felt a little less mountainous.

Remember this, when things are huge, God isn’t disappointed in the fact that you are overwhelmed, or that it seems too big — because it is big. Instead, He offers wisdom, direction, and hope.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. (Ephesians 3:20-21 The Message)

What is your envelope?

Your “envelope” may not be a mountain of bills. It may be that relationship, or that dream you are trying to achieve, or an unwanted event you didn’t see coming. It may be parenting in the midst of a pandemic.

Opening the envelope means that we aren’t afraid to say that it’s big. That’s the truth.

Opening the envelope means we take one small step — make that phone call, have that conversation, call a counselor, share with a godly friend — with the understanding that facing that big thing is brave. When that step is complete, we take another, and then another.

Opening the envelope means we aren’t afraid to ask for help in areas that are new for us. We all face things that are new or unfamiliar. But it also means that there just might be someone who has walked through this, who can walk through it with you too.

Father, I pray for my friend who is walking through big and hard things right now. I’ve been there, more than I’ve wanted to be. First, I pray for hope and peace and encouragement to soak over her heart. I pray that you’d help her open one “envelope” at a time, and bring the little she has (that we all have) to it, and then Lord you’d multiply it. I pray for direction. I pray for one step that she can take today and another tomorrow, with your help, in Jesus’ name, amen. 


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In today’s episode of More Than Small Talk podcast, Holley, Jennifer, and I talk about “You are Enough.” I love the honesty of these conversations, and also the hope in them. Discover all the ways you can listen here.

Hey friend, I’d love to invite you to join me in the TogetHER Community and Bible Study Facebook group. It’s a private group where we study, pray, and connect. We are currently going through the study, “Finding the Freedom in Forgiveness (and how to live it). Check it out! 

If you want a resource to confront those joy stealers like “you are not enough,” JoyKeeper: 6 Truths That Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Joy, offers practical and spiritual help that moves you from those joy stealers to live as a joykeeper. Find out more.