When I get dressed in the morning, two of my favorite scriptures are identical–Matthew 6:28-29 and Luke 12: 27 RSVCE. In them, Jesus says, “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Bottom line: God provides for His children. He knows what we need before we ask for it; He knows what we need even if we are too dumb to ask for it, and He knows what we require if we but trust Him for it.
Clothing is no different. God cares enough to get me dressed nicely in the morning, and here’s how. We shop together at second-hand clothing stores.
Now for those of you entering the “Frugal” world, which is getting more and more fashionable, there are four basic sources of used clothing:
Someone gives them to you.
Garage Sales: People clean out their attics and basements and sell the items in their garage or front yard.
Thrift Stores where the selection can change daily and the price is generally lowered every three to four weeks.
Consignment Shops where people bring in their better garments to sell in return for about half of the shop's asking price.
As you can guess, the prices go up from “1” through “4,” as listed above. And the selection is better in “3 ” and “4.” So in Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops is where God and I prefer to do our shopping. He hasn’t shaped me into The Frugal Catholic for nothing, you know.
HERE IS HOW IT WORKS
Years ago, when I began my married life, I also started daily reading Proverbs 31. Solomon relays the ideal wife taught to him by his mother, Bathsheba. I learned that this epitome of a helpmeet is truly awesome: she dresses well, stays fit, eats with intelligence, helps the poor, runs her household smoothly, profits from a home-based business, speaks with wisdom, and her husband and children love kindness. That sounds like a nice way to end up. However, the only problem is there are too many attributes to focus on. So the best way was, to begin with, one—“She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple.” Proverbs 31:22. I knew I wanted to look good for my husband, and our funds were limited, so thrift shopping with God was a great place to start.
That’s when God began His lily arraying stuff in my life. And that is when I began telling him what I would like to wear and asking if He could find it. He did.
When we lived in Europe in the 1990s, one had to purchase a wardrobe (or standing closet) for the bedrooms because there were no built-in closets like in America. As a Navy wife, it was clear how very, very, many clothes I had compared to the rest of the world. That small European wardrobe taught me better closet organization and gave me a clearer idea of how I wanted to dress. I began organizing my clothes in garment styles. All the summer shirts were grouped according to color, then the summer pants and skirts in a similar manner, and so on into the winter items. Clothes that I didn't wear were released. In Europe, it was always easy to pick out Americans, for our clothes were brighter than the European blacks and tans. Their closets were lean; ours were stuffed.
So when we arrived back in America, I found more used clothing shops from which to choose. Yes, second-hand stores are less expensive, but considering that stuffed wardrobe and remembering the European’s clothing style, how many clothes are enough? That is where God really stepped in. We went for comfort and style, not quantity.
Yes, God helps me get dressed each day. I look at my outfits which generally match, and think back to where we found those black slacks—$ 5.00 at the Rotary Auction Yard Sale. Then I found that shirt at the Bargain Boutique Thrift Shop. The black shoes and red scarf were from the Goodwill Thrift Store and the purse at a local consignment store. The total cost of my outfit for that day is $21. Savings if new would be about $200.
BUT WHAT IF YOU REALLY WANT SOMETHING?
Did it ever occur to you that God might really want that same something you want–for you? So why not ask? For example, when my daughter and I were looking at possible colleges for her in West Virginia, we found a great women’s shoe store where I purchased Deahna a pair of Birkenstock sandals. I also saw a pair of red patent leather Alegria shoes that I wanted, but they were too expensive. So I asked God to find me the same thing, but secondhand. He did about a year later on the shelf of a thrift/consignment shop where I volunteer once a month. I dust the place with my double-fisted dusting technique, where I have a feather duster in each hand. The real reason I dust is to see everything in the shop. And there they were—the same red shoes, exact size, only $120 cheaper. I wore them to 10:00 mass last Sunday.
Let God clothe you as beautifully as He garments His lilies. Think of what you need or want. Then ask for it as it says in Matthew 7:7-8 and Luke 11:9-10, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” And remember, too, that although God may not give you exactly what you want, He may provide something even better, so it is good to be on the lookout for His surprises. Our Heavenly Father longs to make his children smile.
Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.