Saturday, February 25, 2017

God's Plan or My Will?

As I have been studying the story of Sampson, in the book of Judges in the Bible, I have found myself wondering...

How many times have I robbed myself of the fullness of God's incredible plan for me because I sought first my own selfish desires?

If I am being honest, there are times when I am not unlike a stubborn child, wanting what I want when I want it. Completely unwilling to relent or even wait. Flat out refusing to take "no" for an answer. In those moments, when I was asserting my independence and declaring the sovereignty of my own will and plans, what amazing things was I rejecting without even an inkling as to what they might be... What have I stubbornly chosen to miss out on?

As a mom, there have been so many times when my children have asked for something and I have told them "no" or "not now" because I knew that something better was in their future or that the timing was not quite right for them to be able to fully appreciate it.

When the kids were little, I'm talking toddler little, those exchanges would be accompanied by some form of pleading, pouting and possibly crying from the child. As they got older, their reactions transitioned from anger and world-crushing-devastation, to disappointment and pouting, and now that they are older they will often respond with acceptance. 

They have learned something along the way. They have learned that sometimes what they want in the moment isn't what they truly want. They know that waiting won't kill them. In fact, they have learned that when the right time comes they will be really excited when they finally get it, or they may no longer even want it because they have discovered something better. 

I wonder how many times God has been trying to give me something better or do something amazing in my life but, driven by my internal focus and the emotions I was feeling at the moment, I rejected what He was offering.

Even as an adult, it can be hard to let go of what I want. Sometimes, I feel like I am losing something or like I will be missing out on something. There are times when I even feel a fair amount of fear in letting go. It can be hard to see past the things I want, the things I think I need, or my great plans, in order to be able to submit to God's will and embrace the unknown until the time when I can finally clearly see the awesome plan that God has for me.

All I know is, that I don't want to do what Sampson did. 

I don't want to choose my, often disappointing, plans instead of God's incredible design for my life. I don't want the most powerful part of my testimony to be my death. I want my life to be the testimony of how one girl continued to choose to put her faith, her trust and her hope in God's hands, no matter how crazy, scary or foolish it seemed. I want to live out the fullness of my purpose according to His plan. I want to live for Him with reckless abandon and love greatly, just as He loves me. 

I want to set my will and my plans aside.
I want to embrace God's plan.
I want to surrender to His will.
I want to take the leaps of faith. 
I want to live the life I was created for.
I want to experience all that God has for me.



I don't want to waste time and I don't want regrets. I want to choose His plan. <3

"God's plans will always be greater and more beautiful than all your disappointments."

Be blessed, my friends.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Answered Prayers and Miracles.

Our God is a God of miracles and He is faithful to answer us when we seek Him in prayer.

Sometimes the answer to our prayers is "no". Y'all, I have wrestled more with God's "no"s than a two year old that wants a cookie. 

God: "No."

Me: "But whyyyyyyyy? I need this! What am I going to do? Please, please, pleaseeeeeeee...". 

Yup, I can be REALLY mature when God's will doesn't line up with my own.

We have been told "no" to some pretty big prayer requests over the years and we have had to reconcile the disappointment we felt with the truth that God's will and plan are perfect. His plans for us are far BETTER than our plans for ourselves. That doesn't make "no" easy, but it gives us hope and the faith to trust Him, even when we can't see a way.

That was where we were at with the house. We were fighting the fear of the unknown to be able to put our trust in God's plan.

We didn't know what we were going to do when we sold the house. We did know a few things.

1. The house needs w.o.r.k. to be ready to sell. Work costs money. We don't currently have the funds in the bank and we have no idea where we would get the funding we need to make the necessary repairs. Which in turn take time. Time we didn't have.

2. When we sat down and went over the numbers, what we owe vs. what we would likely sell the house for, there wasn't much if anything left to put in the bank when it was all said and done. We would probably be walking away with very little cash if any.

3. Rent is twice the cost of our mortgage payment which we cannot afford on our budget. So, given all of the information available to us, that would leave us squarely in the "homeless" category.

So what do we do? 


We trust.

Seven letters.

We trust.

And... We pray.

We have been praying for the last year that 2017 would be the year we would be "debt free". It is our dream to be able to free up our income to be used to bless others. We want to be able to help those in need. We want to support missions. We want to use what God has enabled us to earn to show others HIS love in a tangible way. 

Our debt consists of our mortgage, the money we owe the people that have helped us, and our student loans. Even though there are no credit cards, car loans or other debts, the debt we have adds up and it isn't a sum that we can pay off with our own income or resources in the next 10 months. 

I know, it sounds crazy to be praying for something that there is no way we could possibly do on our own, but then that is the point of prayer, isn't it? We are asking for God's help with something we cannot take care of on our own. We are praying BIG.

So, why not add keeping our home to the list of the "impossible"?

We started praying for a miracle that would allow us to stay in our home, and if that wasn't God's plan, we prayed that God would bring us a new one that we could afford.

Regardless of the outcome, we made the decision to trust that God was not taking us from struggle to worse. We have been camped on Jeremiah 29:11-13 for the last two years and we held on to that promise even tighter as our list date approached.

A funny thing happens when you trust God. He comes through. When we surrender our will to His, we get to see that His plans for us really are GOOD. 


One night as we were praying as a family...

God gave us a word. We had been praying for Him to bless the sale of our home, that it would sell for more than we could imagine, and that He would bring us a new home. God told us that He would bring us a new home, a home that has all of the special little features that we have always dreamed of. One that would be on land, by a creek or river, that would have enough rooms for each of our kids to have their own bedroom and hopefully more than one bathroom. ;) 

BUT

We would not be selling this home. He told us that He would be faithful to keep His promises, (the prophetic words that were spoken over our home just a handful of months ago), that this home is ours and that it would be a "lighthouse" for others. He showed us that this home will be a place of refuge and hope for people in need and a place to stay for missionaries when they are home. 

We were instantly filled with joy and excitement to see what God was going to do and this hope that He had given us built up our faith to truly believe that He really would do something amazing with this storm.

Enough backstory... Get to the NEWS!!!

Two weeks ago God did 3 things. 3 amazing, incredible, impossible to imagine things. 

God fulfilled His promises.

He fulfilled two promises with one HUGE blessing. First, He fulfilled the prophetic word given to us months ago by another person that God would bring us the money we owed so we could pay back the couples that had helped us. Second, He fulfilled His word to us that we would keep our home. 

Though the love and generosity of two very dear people, who we could never, ever thank enough, we were given the money to pay the back what we owed. Which in turn enabled us to keep our home. 

We were just so overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude to the people that loved us so much that they would give us such a great blessing and to God for His faithfulness and the goodness of His plans.

Last week, we repaid the two couples. It was such an incredibly amazing feeling to be able to do what we could never have done on our own. 

There are no words to adequately express how blessed and how thankful we are to have received this blessing.

While we were still marveling at how this all turned out, God went and did another impossible thing...


He made something we were told "could never happen"... happen! 

When we bought our home, we used a "First Time Home Buyers Program" that essentially paid our 20% down payment. It didn't accrue interest and we didn't have to make payments on it. We would simply pay it off when we sold/paid off the house. 

Well, (forgive all the back story, but I want to make sure I communicate just how crazy amazing God is), several years ago, my husband had some medical needs. Our insurance said the treatment would be pre-approved so we went ahead with it. It turned out that it didn't get approved. We were on the hook for the entire bill. 

He wasn't making much money at the time and we had no room in our budget to even make small payments. Every dime had to go toward basic necessities.

As a result, we received a notice of intent to garnish his wages to pay the bill. 

Like I said before, we had no room in our budget to cover a small payment, let alone what they were asking to take out of his check. 

He was already working full-time at a new job and with his health concerns, he couldn't just get a second job to try and cover it. The kids were younger and fully home schooled at the time. The cost of childcare so I could get a job would far outweigh the income I would bring in.

Long story short, we filed bankruptcy.

If you have ever filed bankruptcy you know the stigma that is attached to it. You know the judgment that others pass on you. You know the shame, the guilt, the disappointment, the self-judgement... It wasn't a decision we made lightly and it wasn't what we "wanted" to do. 

Unfortunately, at the time, we didn't see any other way to be able to continue to provide for our children. So we did what we felt we had to do.

We opted to keep our home, so we would still be responsible for our mortgage, the down payment loan, and our student loans.

Well, two days after we got to tell the people that helped us that we could pay them back, we got a message from our real estate agent telling us that, by some crazy miracle, that down payment loan had actually been discharged with our bankruptcy!

We no longer owed that money! We had equity in our home that we hadn't known about!

So not only were we able to keep our home, but...

In a matter of days, God erased $40,000 of debt!

As impossible as all of this seemed just a few months ago, God worked all things for good to answer our prayers in ways we could never have imagined or dreamed of.

I can't tell you how completely overwhelmed we are with gratitude, joy, hope and faith for the things yet to come.

Let me just say this...

Our God is a God of miracles and He is faithful to answer us when we seek Him in prayer.

No prayer is too big, no request is too great, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE with God. 



I hope that in sharing our testimony, you are encouraged to believe God for the things you need and even abundantly MORE. <3

Be blessed, y'all. <3

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

An Open Letter to The People Body Shaming Lady Gaga

I am... 


SICK. OF. THIS.


People, body shaming is NEVER okay!!!!


Period.

I do not understand all of the hate and judgement in this world.

It is disgusting that so many women, and men, can come together to "fight for women's rights" and at best turn a blind eye to the constant barrage of body shaming that women are facing in our culture. At worst, they are even participating in it. 

As a Health & Fitness professional, and a leader of women's Self-Esteem and Sexuality Restoration groups, I see the results of this kind of abuse all the time. This is something I am deeply, deeply passionate about. Body image and self-esteem are two things I have struggled greatly with and it is the cry of my heart to be able to help see women freed from the bondage of verbal, mental and emotional abuse in the areas of their bodies and their worth. 

In the past, when stories like this have surfaced in the media, I have not been silent on this topic and I won't be now.

I have thought a great deal about what I want to say, and it boils down to this...


FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!


*Please note the excessive use of exclamation marks. The purpose of which is to denote the intensity of the passion in my statement.


STOP.


4 letters. That is all it takes.

STOP.


There is a wise saying that has been passed down for generations...


There is a difference between honesty, (hard truths), and verbal abuse. I am saddened by the need for some people to tear other people down in order to "feel better" about themselves. I am sorry for whatever pain you suffered that makes you feel that the destruction and judgement of others is necessary for your own emotional healing. 

There are so many better, healthier, kinder, and frankly more effective ways to go about bolstering your self-esteem. 

What are you talking about?

Ah yes, I'm sorry. I just jumped right in with no explanation as to what I was talking about.

Lady Gaga. 

The Super Bowl Halftime show.

Body Shaming.

The insane and wholly inappropriate tirade of abusive comments about how "fat" she is and how "disgusting" her "stomach flab" was is not only grossly abusive it is ridiculous. 




Seriously?!

First of all, who are you to judge or shame her for the way her body looks?

Second, what could you possibly hope to gain?

Personally, I think she looks FANTASTIC. She was physically active while singing and she sounded and looked great doing it. 

Can somebody explain to me how it was anyone's right to speak about her body in a negative way?

Yes. We have the "freedom of speech". BUT that does not cover or extend to verbal abuse, mental abuse or emotional abuse. All of which apply in this case. 

Making someone feel bad about themselves, ashamed of their body, and like something is wrong with them or not "good enough" about them is abuse. Period. The result of which can be lifelong and devastating.

This "body shaming" problem has become an epidemic in which participants take pride in the vile nature of their hateful remarks and even go so far as to boast about it. 

Y'all...


It is NOT okay.

For. Any. Reason.

Let me just say this...

STOP IT!

Maybe one more time, just in case it was missed...

STOP.


Be kind. 
Be encouraging. 
Use your words to motivate and inspire. 
Speak kindness. 
Speak healing. 
Speak LIFE. 

If you can't...

Do yourself and those around you a favor and please, don't speak.

To Lady Gaga and all the ladies out there that have been torn down for the amusement of others...


YOU ROCK! 
You are strong. 
You are beautiful. 
You are brave. 
You are perfectly unique. 
You are valuable. 
You are loved. 

Ignore the hate. It speaks infinitely more of the orator/commenter than it ever could of you.

Bless and be blessed, my friends.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Women's Rights and Feminism...

Throughout this crazy election season and particularly in the last few weeks, I have had several female friends ask me "What side are you on?" in regard to "Women's Rights" and "Feminism".

My first thought is "Why are things always divided into 'sides'?"

My response is to ask them to please define the "sides" so I can give them an informed response.

Having been asked this question so much, I figured I would write my thoughts out here. 

Let me start by saying that I completely agree with the sentiment of a friend of mine. Men and women are uniquely different and that isn't a bad thing

It is a good thing. 

It is part of what gives each one of us our own set of unique skills and abilities, talents and perspectives, so that we can make a contribution to the world and the lives of others. 

Second, I want to say that "differences" doesn't make one more or less valuable than anyone else, it makes each and every one valuable because they cannot be replaced.

Generally, when I ask for clarification, it comes down to two deeply polarized choices: Are you "For Women" or "For Their Abuse & Oppression".

Personally, I find those options to be a tad ridiculous. 

I mean, really? 

Can't we be "For Humanity" and the dignity, respect and value of each and EVERY life? Why do we have to value one over the other and why is it bad to value the lives of men as well?

Having a husband, two sons, two brothers, a father, and a plethora of male friends and family, I have to say that to me, their lives and rights matter just as much as mine, just as much as my daughter's, mother's, sister's and female friend's and family's.

A friend of mine made a post about the differences between men and women and how we cannot, in all things, be "equal". It was a bold statement, that I happen to agree with, and she was courageous to step out and share her feelings on the matter. It is a risky position to take, and the responses she got did nothing to encourage others to share similar perspectives. 

Which, of course, is why I felt like sharing mine. She inspired me to share my feelings on "Women's Rights", "Feminism" and "The March".

Let's be honest for a second, it is literally the difference between men and women that facilitates the procreation of human life. It takes a man and a woman to create a new life. Seriously. It takes a sperm and an egg. Without either, there is not life. Neither the egg nor the sperm is more important, but both working together, in perfect union, create a new life. 

I have several friends who argue that the woman then does "all the work" thus making her more "valuable" than the man, and while humor can be found in the discrepancy of the physical contribution after conception, that does not make the man's contribution any less valuable. The woman would not be able to carry and nourish that life without the man doing his part. (Even if that part was "just" donating the sperm.)

I am all for bettering the treatment of women around the world, but honestly, I am really for treating everyone with dignity and respect and improving the quality of life for everyone.

I believe that around the globe, women face many forms of abuse and injustice and I believe that we, as humans (not just women), are obligated to help our sisters. 

However, I do not believe that it needs to include tearing men down, devaluing them or trying to assert our gender as superior. I have a surprising number of friends who have crossed over from equality to reverse discrimination. They want women to be seen as "better than" men. It is sad that a good cause is being lost in the drive for superiority.

I also believe that we can't just "talk about it" and "share our opinions" or even just "march" and expect things to change. We need to also get out there and make a tangible difference

We can donate time and resources to organizations that help free women from sex trafficking, and while we are at it, let's help free children of both genders from that as well. We can help women who are victims of abuse, and while we are at it we can help children of both genders and stop belittling the experiences of men who have been victims of abuse and help them as well. We can make a positive difference for women around the world while also making a positive difference for men.

I really believe that we can make the greatest difference when we work together, in love, to improve conditions for all humanity.

Equality, true equality, is placing the same amount of value upon each life, not removing the differences that make each one of us special. That begins in the womb, before gender is known, and it continues even into how we speak of others posthumously. If we want to see equality for a specific group of people, we have to respect and value every life.

I believe that positive change can be made, but not by trying to bury the differences that make us unique or by trying to elevate one group while bringing another down. We cannot protect or gain our own rights while taking away the rights of others, including the unborn and men.

A wise man said...



The real difference will come when we love equally. When we help equally. When we are compassionate and passionate about bettering every life, not just our own or those "like" us. <3

Bless and be blessed, y'all.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Much Needed Break.

The last couple weeks have been crazy for us. 

From sickness to snow and ice storms, life has been so very disrupted. We missed out on some fun things that we would have been doing, and my posts have been delayed, but the slow-down was so very, very needed

Everything being cancelled forced us to spend time together, (*gasp*), making some great memories and it allowed us to fully recover from the illness that took us all out of commission.

As we began January, with the pressing need to get our home ready to list for sale by the 30th, we could not afford to "waste" any time. There is so much work to do, not a lot of time and only one of me. I was feeling so stressed and being on the downward slope of the excitement of the holidays, I was feeling drained.

When it came to our commitments, I felt like I had nothing, zero, to offer. I had hope and joy in the promises of the Lord and even some growing excitement to see what He was going to do with our circumstances, but I was tired. 

So, so tired.

All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and rest. For days.

- Be careful what you wish for. -

Because that is exactly what I got. The kids and of course the mommy, caught what I can only describe as the "cold from hell". The aches alone were enough to make me feel like crying, and then there was the fever, the sinus pressure that was threatening to make my skull explode, likely all over my beautiful bedding making a terrible mess to have to clean up, and the fever. My skin felt like it was on fire, my muscles felt like I had been pummeled by a heavyweight boxer and my head was throbbing from the building pressure from within. 

It was all I could do to take care of my sick babies and stand feebly in the hot shower in an attempt to comfort myself. Forget packing, sorting, cleaning, painting, and repairs.

Thankfully we still had a couple days before everything started up again. I was trying to figure out how I was going to get through the "obligations" of the coming week and something incredible happened...

* It snowed! *

You have NO idea how happy I was to see the beautiful, fluffy, white, sparkling blanket begin to cover the ground! I love snow anyway, but I have never loved it more!

Between snow and ice storms, the world around us stopped. Schools and business were closing. Families were spending time at home. Children were outside playing in the streets. The world was quiet and peaceful amidst the echos of laughter that filled the air. 

We had all just started feeling quite better when the snow came. The kids and I were able to spend afternoon after afternoon sledding on the hill by the soccer fields with friends and family. We even got to have an hour one afternoon to go sledding with their dad. (Who, poor man, had to work through the entirety of our grand adventure.)

There was excitement, laughter, squeals of joy, hot cocoa, hot cider and cookies to share. Everyone who brought a sled shared it with anyone who didn't have one. Kids and adults took turns trying out all the sleds and even shared the "favorite", reveling in the playful competition of "who could sled the farthest".

For a couple days all of the chaos, all of the busyness, all of the demands and obligations simply ceased to exist and our children got to experience the freedom of celebrating winter with the community around them.

For a few days, the adults got to make precious new memories with their children, reminisce about the joy of snow days from their youth and even become a kid again themselves. Even if it was just for a short time, it was wonderful!

It is hard to go back to the "grind" after so much unbridled joy. Times like these beg us to stay happily engaged in the dream of what life "could" be like if only things were less... complicated. 

All things must come to an end and it is often sad when they do, but we have been given a beautiful gift to hold onto in the days and years to come, when life is flying by at it's greedily demanding pace. We will have these beautiful memories to remind us of what is truly important. 

Reminders to slow down. 
Invest in the people around us. 
Laugh a little. Live a little. Love a little.



 


Be blessed, y'all. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year, New Dreams.

{ Traditions }

Not everyone likes them, but we have a few that we will carry with us always.

This year we decided to continue some of our old traditions, embrace one of our favorite experiences as a tradition and start a brand new family tradition.

Since having children, we haven't been big into "celebrating" the New Year outside our home. Sure, we go visit friends and family but we always try to be home by 10 p.m. 

The last few years we have been trying something new... getting out of the house. Actually, to be more accurate, we have been leaving town. One year we spent the holidays at the beach and last year we celebrated New Year's Eve by staying over with some very dear family. That is where we had the incredible experience that left us all wanting to incorporate as a tradition going forward. 

We had never thought of starting the New Year, at 12:01 a.m., with a communion celebration. We have always taken the time to thank God for all that He has done for us over the past year and prayed for His will in the coming year. We even have a jar with slips of paper that recount all of the incredible ways, big and small, that we saw God at work in our lives over the past year. But set aside those first moments to stop, focus on His loving sacrifice, give thanks, sing His praise, and pray for His direction in the coming year... we never thought of taking that extra step. 

We were so touched and blessed by that beautiful experience we had, beginning the New Year with those we love giving thanks to our Father, that we decided we would forever begin it that way going forward.

So, after an evening of watching neighborhood fireworks in the freshly falling snow, at 12:01 a.m., gathered in our living room, having stayed home this year to enjoy what might be our last New Year in our home, we broke bread together, and gave thanks to our Father in Heaven for His unfailing love. We thanked Him for our salvation, for the grace, mercy and forgiveness given freely to all through Jesus' great sacrifice. We prayed, together, for wisdom, guidance, provision, and His will for our family in the coming year. 



Then...

We went to sleep! (I don't know about you, but the older I get, the less I desire to stay up and "party" all night. Morning is coming. hahaha)

We decided to spend part of New Year's day creating a new tradition. We have been in a season of uncertainty, particularly regarding what direction we are supposed to moving with our house situation for months. We have been seeking God, His guidance and direction, in all areas of our lives and we wanted to really spend some time starting our New Year with HIS vision.

I'm sure many of you have heard of "Dream Boards" or "Vision Boards". They are a fantastic way of sort of mapping out where we would like go in the year(s) ahead. A dear, and very wise, friend of mine introduced me to "Prophetic Boards".

What is a "Prophetic Board"? 

Well, it is the same as a "Dream/Vision Board" except... You ask God to show you HIS plan for your year. 

How does He show you His plan using a bunch of old magazines? 

In the most incredibly awesome ways! I know, it sounds silly and maybe even a little suspect. I mean, we could totally be just "picking out what we want" right? Yeah, we could do that, but what would we gain from plotting our own will? Which, is why we pray first. 

We set our will and plans aside and we ask God to show us His will and His plan for our lives. We ask Him to show us what words, phrases, or images to tear out. We ask Him to show us how to arrange them on our boards. We trust Him to reveal their meaning to us at the time of His choosing. 

Some of it makes perfect sense when it all comes together. Some of it is the answer to prayer. Some of it makes no sense at all, but if we really let Him show us what to choose, if we set our own plans aside, if we put our trust in Him and believe that He has a plan for us and He wants to share with us all that He wants to do with, through and for us, then we get to experience something incredible!

So, we prayed and let the tearing commence. We set a timer for 45 minutes. The only rule was that whatever "caught our eye" or we "felt we were supposed to tear out", no matter how crazy, we would tear out. No thinking and trying to decided if we should or shouldn't, if we we felt drawn to something or like we were supposed to include it, we did.

When we had our precious bits of soon-to-be-recycled magazines all torn out, and had cleaned up the edges, we prayed again for God to show us where each piece of His puzzle should go. Then the Mod Podge insanity began.

When we were all done, we took turns sharing our boards. We shared the meaning of the things God spoke to us about throughout the process. We giggled at the things that seemed too silly to be real and embraced whatever meaning God had for them. 

We were so encouraged by the unity of some of the messages across all of our boards. God spoke to each one of us about our home. He gave each of us a picture of a cabin in the woods, some covered in and surrounded by snow. He told us that we would have a "new beginning" this year. 

He spoke to us about missions, vacations and adventures to come. He specifically gave us England and Ireland!!! That is so exciting to us because, as many of you know, we are preparing to one day go on a long-term mission to Ireland and a short-term mission to England. 

Provision and Breakthrough were also constant threads among our boards.

There was such incredible encouragement and hope for the year to come. 

Much of what the Lord was speaking to us was confirmation of words He has given us through other people. In fact, at our New Year's day church service, a dear friend had a word for us that breakthrough was coming. God had provision planned for us and that He wanted to encourage us in our faith.

So we begin 2017, a year tossing about storms of questions and uncertainty, with renewed joy, excitement to see the Lord's plan for our lives play out in His time, peace knowing we are safely in His loving hands, and hope in the certainty that God is good and He is faithful to keep His promises.





Be blessed, y'all!

Friday, December 30, 2016

"What Do You Mean 'God Will Provide'?"

I had someone ask me, the other day, "What do you mean 'God will provide?"

I often take for granted my experiences where the Lord has provided when we could not. I forget that maybe other people might not have had that experience and that my saying that, may sound crazy. 

See we have had countless examples of God providing for us in both practical and miraculous ways. So, when we talk about God providing, we know that there are no limits or rules to what He can do or how He can do it. 

Naturally it doesn't mean that we don't do our part to provide for ourselves, but in recognizing that what "we" provide is actually coming from our Heavenly Father, we get to see the bigger picture of all that He does for us. 

For example, my husband would not have the income he has if God had not created the opportunity. It all began with giving his all at a job that not only paid far less than we needed, but in an environment where his hard work and dedication wasn't truly valued or appreciated. The disappointing work environment and Steve's desire to do his part to provide for the needs of our family is what led him to go back to college, full time, while working full time. 

He worked hard to earn that degree so he could in turn find better employment opportunities. Even when he got laid off from that job, which was a huge financial blow to our family, it was a blessing in disguise. He was able to complete his unpaid internship, which was required for him to graduate, and he received an outstanding letter of recommendation in the process.

He got his Bachelor's degree and began applying for jobs. It felt so discouraging to see him applying for job after job, knowing his education, certifications and experience more than qualified him, and yet no offers came. 

How is that a blessing, you might ask... Well, God had given him favor with the company that he did his internship for. Not only did they not have any open positions available at the time he completed his internship, it wasn't even in the budget to create one. However, one month later, he got a call from them, telling him that they valued the work he did so highly that they created a position for him and found a way to work his salary into the budget! The income wasn't what we needed or were hoping for, but it was a great place to start. The company had a history of being loyal to it's employees and it would be good experience. 

If he had not had the opportunity at that time, to take that unpaid internship, he would not have gotten that job and he would not have met the man who referred him to his new job, where he is finally making enough money for us to start saving and be able to help others! 

So when I say "God will provide", I am saying it knowing that He always has and He always will. It may not come in the package we expect it to come in, and it may not be exactly what we were asking for, but it is always good. 

We learned a lot in this season of limited finances about what to invest our money in, how to be grateful for what we have even when we don't know where our next meal is coming from and how we want to handle our money going forward now that we will be in a position to use it to help others who are struggling.

Saying "God will provide" doesn't mean sit back and wait for Him to do it all for you, it means do what you can, do what He has called you to do, and trust Him for the rest. 

It means discovering that what might seem like a curse is actually a blessing.

It means that no matter how BIG or impossible it may seem, God is not limited by our ability, or our circumstances, He can do anything!

It means not shying away from asking for the HUGE things or assuming that He doesn't care about the little things. Our Father loves us dearly and desires to give us GOOD gifts. Nothing is too big or small for God. 

Ask.
Seek.
Trust.

He is faithful to provide.



Be blessed, y'all. <3