15 May 2015

Of Our Provider

A month and a half ago we celebrated our first anniversary of this beautiful place we so enjoy calling home. But at the turn of this calendar year, after only nine months in this beautiful place we so enjoy calling home, this house had begun to fall apart. Well, let's be honest, it started before that, but January was when I cried over tossing precious books in the trash which had been destroyed by a roof that doesn't understand its sole purpose to be that of protecting us from the elements. 

We should not have rain water, or melting snow, as it were, seeping into our home, down built-in bookshelves, dripping off light fixtures or plopping into our closet. 

But that's what we had. 

And so we began to wonder what could be done, began to pray for provision, fully trusting God would provide.

A month later, we first heard about a trip to Germany to visit good friends who were working overseas. We felt in our hearts this was a trip we were supposed to be on.

But that roof.

And how could we dream of paying for such a journey when the roof over our heads was failing?

Yet we heard the advice, do not let finances keep you from doing what you know God has called you to do.

So we prayed, and we applied. And we told ourselves, if this was what He wanted, He would provide. And we waited.

We searched out financing options for our roof and began seeking contributions for our trip.

I sent out letters, I set up a GoFundMe account, and I waited. I did the math - if only 700 people gave $10, we would be funded. I laughed. I don't know 700 people. So, I adjusted the numbers. Only seven people would need to give $1000 each. I laughed even more.

I told myself in the back of my mind, if all else failed, yet we really felt as though we should go on this trip, we had our tax refund. We would set that aside, and if we needed it to finish funding this excursion, we would have it.

And then our plumbing backed up. There was water pouring into our garage from a bathroom upstairs. Then there was water pooling in our laundry room, seeping under the carpets of our den.

And it was fixed. Because we had money. Money set aside "just in case."

And, as we had water dripping overhead and water pooling underneath, I realized we were learning a lesson. A lesson in His faithfulness. And if I was going to insist we could do this ourselves, "just in case" He didn't come through, all our options for paying it out of our own pockets would be stripped.

So I let it go. I prayed, and I waited. But I knew, if nothing else, we would not be paying for this trip ourselves. Either He would do it, or we would not be going.

And we waited.

The GoFundMe account remained at $0. Our fundraising letters, with the exception of two responses, almost seemed to have entered the void.

After a month with little response, I began to feel defeated.

Perhaps we had been wrong. If we said we would go if He provided, and He's not providing, what does that say? I doubted, I wondered at what point we should pack it all in and say this was it. We'd made a mistake.

And then we received our second check for $1,000. 

And I laughed. Not a laugh of mocking this time, but of disbelief. He would provide. In His time.

Over time, we have reached 3/4 of our necessary funds. I praise Him because He is Jehovah Jireh. Our provider. And I remain grateful for those who have followed His lead and given generously from their own pockets.

Yet, still, there is that roof. And the money we realized was not meant for our trip was set aside for that cause. Not nearly enough, but set aside as we looked into finance options for such a large undertaking of completely building up a roof that now is flat and needs to be pitched. And when we thought we had it taken care of, an option that maybe wouldn't need our precious savings, I began to assure myself - we only have 1/4 of the cost of the trip left to pay. Maybe we could still use this money for that.

Then we woke up to a bucket in our living room. A bucket that had been in our attic, catching the drip, drip, drip of leaking rain water. A bucket that had held all it could manage and when the drop came that broke the camel's back, it crashed through the ceiling of our living room, leaving a pool on the floor and a hole in the ceiling.

Two days after the bucket fell through, our financing for the roof did the same.

And the hole will be ok. Because we have money. Set aside, "just in case." Money that is clearly, clearly not meant for us to pay for our own journey overseas. 

But I wondered, when will I learn?

If He has told me He will provide, if He has shown me He will provide, when will I stop trusting in myself and start trusting in Him?

Thus, I repent. I repent of my independent self-reliance and I trust.

I trust that Jehovah Jireh, the One who continues to hold this entire world, and all its possessions and wordly wealth in the palm of His very hands, can handle what we need. He can handle financing a trip He has ordained. And, more than that, He feeds the birds of the air and clothes the flowers of the fields.

How much more can He house these precious ones of His?

So, it's all there, in His hands. Every one of our needs. For Him to handle. For Him to lead us in His wisdom toward wherever we are to go.

And we're praying.

And we're waiting. Faithfully.

08 May 2015

Of a Prayer for All Women this Mother's Day

I have been anticipating Mother's Day as a woman whose Love Language is gifts does these days - or one whose Love Language is gifts who has a husband that doesn't speak the same Language, and has a small budget with which to work, and four kids under the age of seven whose idea of a perfect gift for Mom is a My Little Pony DVD or a Supehero Matching Game - I'm keeping my expectations low. And trying really hard to keep my mouth shut in planning my own Special Day (it's not working too well).

But as I prepare my low expectations with secret wishes that they will be far exceeded, there are those who do not anticipate this Sunday at all. They dread it. They hate it. They maybe just want to sleep through it with the covers over their heads. They'll be the ones avoiding Social Media because those posts about everyone's perfect day - the breakfast in bed, the hand-drawn cards, or the spa gift certificates - will be too much to handle. Or those posts thanking Mom for all those years of hard work - those yank at hearts, too. Mother's Day, much like Valentine's Day is a sleeper holiday - one of those that seems to make it onto the calendar as an afterthought, meant to honor something beautiful while, in the end, creating unreal expectations and alienating those without.

As this Mother's Day approaches, I am praying.

For those in the trenches, wiping poopy bottoms, nursing in the night, sneaking chocolate in the closet, and facing endless piles of dirty laundry (or baskets of clean laundry that just can't get folded), I pray supernatural energy over you. I pray rest for the weary heart and renewed strength for the long days and short years ahead. He sees you.

For those waiting with the weight of empty arms, those who are mothers in their souls and are turning another month without the living embodiment of a dream, I pray supernatural peace over you. I pray for a satisfied soul whose desires are met, whether in expected or unimagined ways. I pray endurance. I pray for understanding companions to lift you up as you grow weary in anticipation. He sees you.

For those who have opened their arms to the child of another's womb, who have birthed a family in their hearts and created a home of acceptance to those who had none. I pray supernatural blessing over you. I pray your family will forge together with an unbreakable bond and that your welcoming heart would be filled to overflowing with the love you have allowed into your home. He sees you.

For those who wait beside machines this Mother's Day - machines that measure the life in your little one - not knowing what the future holds as you pray for a miracle. I pray a supernatural strength over you. I, too, pray for that miracle. I pray for a child who can come home into your loving arms and I pray peace over you as you wait for a day you are unsure will ever come. He sees you.

For those seeing the years fly by too fast while they seek to settle sibling squabbles, manage family schedules and still tackle that laundry, while creating a home of love and belonging. I pray supernatural wisdom over you. I pray for the ability to savor these waning hours, preserving the precious moments of the past and present, as you slip into the future. He sees you.

For those visiting their children where a mother never should, under a graven stone marking their small place of earth on this Earth, I pray supernatural comfort over you. I pray His arms would wrap around you in a way you've never known as His peace washes over you and you bathe in the beauty of your memories. He sees you.

For those preparing to send their babies into a world of wolves, wondering if they have prepared these little ones enough, wondering what you'll do with a home that feels a little emptier, I pray supernatural courage over you. I pray for a heart willing to let go, looking ahead to a brilliant future they will write for themselves. He sees them. He sees you.

For those waiting for the phone to ring or a card in the mail - who can't even handle including these in their low expectations. Those who feel forgotten by the ones whose hands they held and tears they wiped. I pray supernatural love over you. I pray you know your hard work has not been overlooked by the One in Heaven who formed those precious ones in the womb many years ago. He still sees you.

For those with a Momma on the other end of the phone, the one who held your hand and wiped your tears, those with a mother who prayed over you and listened to your stories. I pray supernatural understanding over you. I pray you would treasure what you have and see the ways you can model your life after hers as you wonder how she ever did it. He sees you.

For those whose hand to hold is now held in the Everlasting Arms, who are now left to wipe their own tears, of which there are many when they long to pick up that phone but have no one to call in those wee hours when life is heavy and they just need a listening ear. I pray supernatural belonging over you. I pray you would know and feel your home is not on this Earth and you have a Father in Heaven. I pray for another earthly soul, not to fill a void which cannot be filled, but to bridge the gaps, to be that listening ear or the voice on the other end of the line. He sees you.

For those who struggle to know the mother who birthed them, who feel a need for her, but don't feel her love, only her distance, whether physically, emotionally, or both. Those for whom the standard well-wishes of this day seem incomprehensible and empty. I pray supernatural guidance over you. I pray you, too, would feel your belonging in Heaven and would find a soul who can walk beside you, speak wisdom over you and be an example of loving motherhood where you had none. He sees you.

For all of us on Mother's Day, I pray for a moment in the arms of El Roi, the God Who Sees, as we are wrapped in His love, as we are grateful for his blessings, wherever they are found, as we mourn what we thought we would have and rejoice for what we do. Praise Him, for we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, prepared for the task at hand and loved with a light that shatters the darkness of this fallen world.

He sees you. He loves you.

Happy Mother's Day.