Part 1 Written on February 9, 2009
Well, where to start? I've been meaning to start on this for some time. That's actually why I started this blog last year. I wanted a way to share what God is doing in our lives. I wanted it to be His story. This is really not about me, but about God and His faithfulness. So, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
First I'll give you a little background about Dave and I. Of course, I'll try not to repeat stuff I've already written about. When we got married 12 1/2 years ago, both of us had dreams...big dreams. We wanted to have the American Dream. You know...a nice house, nice cars, kids, travels, all that stuff. It was all about the stuff. Well, except for our kids! They are such blessings! So, we were "there". We had a nice house, nice cars, 4 kids and traveling. The thing is that it wasn't really all that great. At some points in our marriage, we were both out to make as much money as we could. We were making 6 figures, but that involved us working long hours. That meant not much time with our kids. The more money we made, the more we spent, the more we wanted. I wasn't having much fun being a single mom on most weeknights. Dave was working 60 - 70 hour work weeks.
Looking back, God was really trying to speak to BOTH of us. Every time Dave would climb the ladder of a company and get that big title and big salary, something would happen. The company would decide to cut out it's upper management, or would suddenly go out of business, or would suddenly need to shut down a branch. After this happened for about the 3rd or 4th time, our savings kept dwindling. You think we would get the hint! Of course not! You see...at that time Dave was our provider...not God, or at least that's what we thought.
When I quit working to stay home with our children, it was the best decision I made. It just didn't seem worth it to put our kids in a day care for 10 or 12 hours while we worked. Although I did get a part-time job about 4 years ago, but that really wasn't about the money. Remember...I work at a church. ;) The part-time job gave me balance. It got me out of the house and I got to bring Mitchell & Hailey with me while Kenzie & Amanda were in school.
Finally in September 2006, Dave and I took a Good Sense budget course at church. Probably one of the biggest strongholds on us was money. My husband would tell you that it was more of a stronghold for him, but it was for me as well. You see…I always thought that I didn’t care that much about money. I don’t spend a lot on myself, I’m not a big shopper, and I don’t need much. But the thing was…I wasn’t doing anything to change our course. God said to me: You know it BUT ARE YOU WILLING TO BE OBEDIENT! Now that is where I realized that I was right there with my hubby. Because what God meant by being obedient and what I "thought" it meant, were 2 different things.
Both Dave and I felt strongly that God was telling us to sell our house and downsize significantly. Matthew 19:21 Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” We interpreted this scripture as a way that we would be able to help the poor. We didn't know how...but we knew it would be in some way. That’s what we felt like God was saying. We then started telling our family and friends what we were doing. They thought we were crazy! This was culture vs God’s will for us. Now we didn't go sell everything, but we did sell our rental property to pay off our debt and then started to get our house ready to sell as well. We also stopped using our credit cards. We haven't used a credit card in 2 1/2 years. We just made that decision and cut them up. We kept one for emergencies, but we've never needed it. It just becomes a way of life, a decision we made, that we would only pay cash for things. It's very freeing!
Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” - So we had to make a choice.
The choice we made was to get out of debt. After we stopped using credit cards, sold our rental property and paid off debt, we started to get our house ready to sell. We decided that we would refinance first. One night we got together with some friends to play cards. That night we got to know a couple who are realtor's. We were telling them our story and how we were going to refi first. They recommended that we didn't do that, but we really felt like we needed to do that first. So, we went ahead and started to prepare for that.
A few days later, I was at the women's retreat. I was sharing with the women in my group about our plans and they were so amazed that we would do that. I felt so encouraged by their words. During a silent retreat that weekend God reminded me of my dream to help the homeless. I’ve always wanted to own an apartment building so I could allow homeless people to live in many of the units for free as they got on their feet. I would help them find jobs and teach them how to live a biblical life. I thought my biggest obstacle was not enough money. On March 10, 2007 I put my dream on paper. This was taken right from my journal. Even now looking back at this, I had no clue what these words would really mean to me in the months and years to come.
God speaks to me through the material and scripture. 3 qualities that excite God and make Him want to get involved in our pursuits:
Humility – Do you have a humble and teachable spirit? (I wrote that I’m trying to, especially financially)
Courage – God wants us to be courageous and to be set apart. It pleases Him when His children dare to step out of the crowd.
Loyalty – Being loyal isn’t hard. The test is when storms come, remaining loyal.
I also learned that God may be waiting for us to deal with some sin in my life. God was actively opposing us as a way of disciplining our disobedience. Hebrews 12:5-6 “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves and he punishes each one he accepts as his child."
He kept doing it by taking away Dave’s jobs. Because they were always about money.
Colossians 3:23 says “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites."
Ok - so keep in mind that I wrote that stuff on March 10.
On Monday, March 19, 2007 Dave lost his job. I was grocery shopping and when I got into the car I noticed that I had missed a few calls from Dave. I noticed that it was his old cell phone and right then I knew he lost his job. So, I called him and indeed he was on his way home in a cab. I was pretty calm because the Lord had already prepared me for this. That night we dropped our kids off at a friend's house and went to church to pray.
On Tuesday I went to work and told my team what had happened. They told me that I seemed at peace about it. And I did. I really did. I just knew that God would take care of us and everything was going to be OK. During our team meeting I started to develop a sore throat. By the time I got home I was not feeling well at all and I got worse as the night went on. Wednesday afternoon I decided that I should get to the doctor because I knew that this was not going to get better on its own. Even after taking medication, I had a 103 fever. It turned out that I had strep throat. I got on a medication and went right back to bed. The next 2 days were terrible. I thank God that Dave had lost his job, because he was able to stay home and take care of me and the kids. There was no way I was going to be able to take care of myself, much less our children. I was sick for 2 weeks. I ended up with pneumonia and then the infection went into my bloodstream. So, it really was a blessing to have Dave at home. Thank you Lord!
After all my illnesses subsided, it was time for us to start getting to work on our house. We had already planned on selling the house in a few months. But now that Dave lost his job and our refinance fell through, we needed to get moving! Quickly! We started praying and asking God for His guidance in all of this. With no money and no job, what will we do if we sell our house? We talked about renting an apartment or town home. We would need to find something that is in our price range but that has enough room for all of us. My mom made a comment about us moving in with them. We think that’s what God wants us to do. Wow!?! Could this be true? What about my dad and his drinking? What about the space issue? Well, we decided to just get our house on the market and let God worry about where we would do. With so much to do, where would we begin? How would we ever get our house ready in just a short time? We made a list (ok, I made a list) of everything that needed to get done. Dave, being the doer of all things, just dug right in.
We told our parents that we needed help and they came to help. Without going in to all the details, it was just amazing to see all the help we had to get us started. One thing that was really neat was that Shannon Olson, a mother who lost 2 of her children within one year of each other, and whom I’ve been developing a relationship with over the past year, offered to come and help. This was amazing to see how much God has opened her heart to now helping others. I had once organized meals and cleaning for her when McKenna was sick. And now she was helping me. It seemed really surreal. Although it was awkward to me to let her help, I knew that God wanted her there. She called Cindy and they both came to help me get a start on my laundry room. It was amazing. My friend, LuAnn from church, came that week and brought us a meal. That was so great as well. In the midst of this, Rick our cook at church, sent us home with a couple of meals as well. This is just so like God and what He does for us. He is our provider!
It seems like almost every day or night we have someone helping us. Dan came one night to help Dave paint. That was neat and they had time to chat as well.
During the next few weeks Dave and I spent a lot of time seeking God. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. **This includes the promise of financial freedom."
During this time Dave was sending out resumes – 100s. He didn’t get a single response. It was like every door was slammed shut and locked! Dave had gotten some advice from someone to ask me what my dreams were and to see if we could align our dreams. Then I shared my dream of helping the homeless. He had always wanted to work in the inner city. Some how we knew our dreams would align, we just weren't sure how. Dave started having visions of starting a non-profit. We sought wise counsel and he landed at Avodah Services. This is Hosanna!’s non-profit to help people find work. The thing about this job was that it didn’t pay anything. Yes, he took it. And this was even after he was asked to consider taking a job at Midwest Challenge as the President of the company. This was a time when I remembered the scriptures and teachings from the retreat and what I had written in my journal about how God is pleased when we are courageous and we set ourselves apart from others. Well, this is what we did. Dave took a step of faith and trusted God to provide for us while he got Avodah started. How ironic is that? Dave takes a job that doesn't pay him any money. That job is to help other people find jobs. Of course, the plan was to eventually make money, but we didn't know when that would be.
Well, I'm going to stop here and I will finish when I have time to tell you. What I can tell you is that the ways that God would provide for us over the next few months was UNBELIEVABLE!
May you have the courage to step out and be obedient to what God is telling you. This is my prayer for you!
Part 2 Written/Posted on May 9, 2009
"God Provides" while we get our house ready to sell.
Now, I need to back up a little bit. This post is going to be about the ways that God provided for us from March 2007 through April 2007. This was the time that Dave was without an income. This is also during a time where the Lord clearly had spoken to both of us about not using our credit cards. This was while we were trying to get our house ready to sell.
During the month of March we had spent a lot of time together, reading God's Word, praying, seeking God's will. Since I had been pretty sick right after Dave lost his job and in the midst of that I had my uncle's benefit, there wasn't much time to "dwell" on our problems. It was however a time for us to "dwell" in the House of the Lord. We just relied on Him. We trusted that He was going to get us through this. Since we were unable to refinance our mortgage, we knew our payment would be increasing by more than $600 in April. Wow! That seemed like a mountain. Where were we going to come up with the money we needed to pay all our bills once our savings was gone? Well, WE were not going to do anything. You'll see how God did though.
It first started with my Tastefully Simple business. Out of the blue, people started calling and emailing to have book parties and to place orders. These were strangers mostly. Or people that had been referred by someone else. Not friends or family who knew what was going on. God was just sending them!
I'm going to just copy and paste my journal entries as they tell the story as I was journaling day to day.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Today my sister met me and my team for lunch. They were taking Sheri and I out for our birthdays. My sister handed me an envelope. I looked inside and saw $100 bills. I didn’t count them, but I asked her if Dave had asked Scott for money. She said no, this is a gift. No reason. Scott was just feeling generous. I could hardly hold back tears and I sat there in awe. Once we left the restaurant, I counted the money. 10 - $100 bills - $1000!!!! I was speechless. I just couldn’t believe it. Here we are, worried about making our bills, buying food. And then this! She told me to get a babysitter and go out with Dave to play cards! Wow! So, then I showed Susan and her mouth just dropped. Because yesterday, when her and I talked, I had shared a little bit about our struggles. She told me that she wished that she and Larry had $1000 to give us. Then she just prayed. She prayed, “Lord, please deliver $1000 to the Engman’s, in 10 - $100 bills!” What?! You prayed for that? Yep, she did! And when I told Dede she just couldn’t believe it. Her and Scott had a conversation about what they should give us. And Dede thought $100 bills would be best. Wow God! You are amazing! Little did they know that they were carrying out your wishes for us. Thank you Scott and Dede and THANK YOU LORD! You are Jehova Rapha! Our provider!
This evening Shannon Olson and Cindy came over. They wanted to help me with the laundry room. I just can’t believe that Shannon would be here helping me. She has so much going on in her life and yet she is still willing to help others. I just pray that you, Lord, would bless her and take away her pain. I shared our miracle story with her and Cindy and they just couldn’t believe it. I did feel a little uncomfortable and bad sharing a miracle with Shannon. Anyways…we order pizza and had a good time laughing and talking as they helped me organize the gigantic mess in my laundry room. Thank you for such blessings Lord!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Dave is amazing and he really is trying to be a good husband. He is so awesome! I just love him so. He invited our parents over and they brought us a wonderful dinner. Ribs, potato salad, tuna salad, cake…and margaritas! It’s was a great night. Our parents blessed me so much with gifts and money. Much needed money! And a much needed pedicure! Thank you Lord!
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Cindy and Greg came over today. They helped us get some yard work done. It was so awesome! I just thank you for them Lord. I pray that you would continue to dwell in their home and bless their marriage. Lord, continue to give us strength and bless our marriage as well.
Tonight we played cards with The Crawfords, Henslers, and Wagners. It was a great time and a much needed break for Dave and I. We are spending so much time on the house, that we haven’t spent any good quality fun time with each other. We also need to do that with our children. Lord, help us see that. Help us to see that we need to pay loving attention to them. They desire to spend time with us doing more than just cleaning. Thank you for showing me that. Help us to remember that Lord!
Monday, April 23, 2007
Today my dad and Dave put in two new sidewalk squares. They worked until late that night to get them done. I felt so bad because I just knew they were exhausted. The sidewalk looks great. I’m getting overwhelmed with all the stuff we need to get done. We really want to have our house on the market in a week. How will we ever get there?
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Today I had a bit of a breakdown at work. During my team meeting, Jim asked me how things were really going. Well, I couldn’t stop crying. We’ve spent day and night over the past week and a half, painting, cleaning, going through closets, drawers, toys, etc. It’s been crazy. I’m having a garage sale in two days and I haven’t even started getting things ready. Well, of course, Sheri asked…”How can we help?”. I couldn’t even tell her. And before you know it, they’re planning and organizing the garage sale details. So, we prayed and thanked God for everything he’s done. We asked God for $1000 for this garage sale and Susan asked him to deliver us more money. She said, “Do it again Lord”!
This evening, Frank and Mary surprised us and came out to help again. And then Paula Hensler came over and started helping me get ready for the sale. Well, I had a very small pork tenderloin thawed for dinner. I had originally wondered if it would be enough for my family. Now I had to feed 3 extra people. Well, I just knew God could take care of that. I prayed fishes and loaves over the food and asked God to make sure there were left overs. And He did! That’s my God!
Later that evening Sheri showed up. She just took charge and really got things rolling. Then Paula left and just a while later (9:30 pm), Wendy C showed up to help. She stayed until after 11 pm. Wow! I’m so humbled and blessed, I don’t know what to say. My in-laws were in awe! Thank you Lord! Thank you for blessing me with such wonderful co-workers. They are friends that I will treasure forever!
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Things just keep getting better. Today was a great day at work. The staff took Sheri and I out for our birthdays. There were 20 people there. It was much needed fun for me. And my boss, Jim, blessed me with a gift card to Boston Market for Administrative Assistants Day. I’m saving it for a showing that kicks us out during dinner time. I pray that happens a lot!
Anyways…today, Sheri brought us pizza for dinner and Susan brought salad, pop and goodies. She even brought us donuts for the morning. They got everything ready for the sale. I never thought I’d get things ready in time. I wouldn’t have without them. Wendy came as well that night and we finished things up. Susan even brought me a cash drawer with all the change we would need. Frank & Mary were here again as well.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Susan and Larry showed up bright and early with coffee! They helped us set up and put up all the signs (which they provided). God, you have blessed us with such wonderful people. I can’t believe it. I just love them all and pray for them and their families. Today was a great day! We made over $500! Thank you Lord. We’re half way there!
Friday, April 27, 2007
Sheri came over first thing this morning. She was amazing. She watched the sale so we could go watch Mitchell in his music program. Mary came out today as well. She took us to the grocery store and bought us some food. Thank you Lord once again! Sheri stayed here the entire day. She is so amazing! We made just over $300 today. We’re so close! The Fannon’s stopped by with a bunch of groceries as well. They gave us a ton of meat and buns and rice and mac ‘n cheese. I am overwhelmed with this. I am overwhelmed with love and kindness. I just wonder how I will ever be able to repay all of these people! Thank you Lord. I know you are building a testimony right here in our house.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
I was so tired today. I really didn’t have the energy to keep going. Then Sheri shows up, once again. I just can’t believe this. I can’t believe how much people are helping us. Paula came today as well. She has been amazing too. Of course, Frank & Mary were here again as well. They brought us steak and salmon for dinner, plus a few other things as well. More food! Thank you Lord. I have to mention that my parents have been working hard at their house. They’re trying to get their basement ready for us. And I thank God for that as well.
The sale went great! We made just over $1000! Wow! God, you are amazing! You did it and you did it for us. I’ve never made that much money before. It really felt good to get rid of so much stuff. But we have so much more! We are going to have another sale once we sell our house. I think we’ll need the money to pay our bills. I have the number $1500 in my head for that one. Maybe God will surprise us with even more!
Shannon Olson came over and brought us dinner tonight. She brought sloppy joes, chips, dip, buns, cup cakes and cherry & grape applesauce. Kind of a funny little story behind that. We’re actually going to have that for dinner on Sunday. She also stayed and helped me pack up my sale. Then we loaded her truck and she went to the Goodwill for us. What a blessing.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Back at it again. We’re all exhausted and aching. Lord, we need your help to get through this. It’s work from the time we get up until late at night. Paula was here again…along with Frank & Mary. They have all been such a blessing. 2 more days until we’re on the market. It doesn’t seem like we’ll ever get there. I pray that the Lord would give us all the energy we need to get done! My mom came out and she brought us a bunch of groceries. The Lord truly does provide. She helped with some cleaning as well. Thank you Lord for our family!
Monday, April 30, 2007
Once again, we wake up and get right to work. Mary came out in the afternoon to help again. Paula was also here in the evening. What would we do without them. We are supposed to put our house on the market tomorrow, but we need one more day. We are pretty close, but unless I stay up all night, there’s just no way.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Well, we called and are going to get the house on the market tomorrow. My mom, Mary and Paula were here again. I’m so amazed by the endless help. We really couldn’t do this without everyone. Just when we start to lose energy, someone shows up. When I went into work today, I just knew there was no way I would get any work done. I talked to my boss and he said to go home and do what I needed to do. I have an amazing boss. My whole team is amazing.
We worked well into the night and I think it was midnight before Paula and Mary left. We had a great time chatting and laughing while we got everything organized. Paula has really been such a breath of fresh air. I just thank you Lord for putting her into my life. What a great person, who has sacrificed much to help us. My kids really adore her as well.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
WE DID IT!!! Without a moment to spare, we were ready at noon when our realtor got here. The house truly looks amazing! Our house is officially on the market. Now, we just pray that God would send us some buyers. And now we rest. We are both so exhausted.
I am so humbled by everything. All the help we received. The money! The prayers! Wow God! You are amazing. How will I ever thank all these people?
All of that is what God did for us through the hands and feet of our friends and family! But this would just be the beginning. This is JUST the beginning of the story. Even now as I'm reading this two years later I just shake my head. I can't even believe what amazing friends and family we have. What did we ever do to deserve this? That's the thing...NOTHING! We don't deserve any of this. But because of God's grace and what He did for us, He does it all. It's done. It's finished! He chooses to bless on right now, right here! Now that I found my journal, I can just copy and paste and get these posts done. I have to share what God did for us. He deserves ALL the glory!
If you are in a time of need...if you are in a struggle...go to Him! He desires to give you your hearts desires.
Psalm 20:4 "May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed."
Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."
I can only tell you from my personal story that this is true! He does, He will! If you have a prayer request, please leave a comment. I will keep it private if you wish or I will post it for others to pray for you as well.
Part 3 Written/Posted on May 11, 2009
When I say that God provides, I truly mean it. He is sufficient! He will meet our needs. Sometimes what we want is not necessarily what we need. Sometimes answered prayers are not in the form we think they should be in. Of course, we asked God to provide Dave with a job. Of course, we asked God to sell our house right away. But His plans are not our plans. I hope you will see God's glory in these journal entries that I made.
This is now while we waiting on the Lord to sell our house. Patience is a fruit of the spirit and it is not easy!
Here are my journal entries copied directly out of my journal. I'm really thankful that I journaled on the computer instead of writing it by hand. :)
Thursday, May 3, 2007Today is my mom’s birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! I love you. Lord, thank you for my mom. I know you have a big plan in store for us while we live with them. I pray that we touch her heart in a way unimaginable! I thank you in advance for the miracles you are going to work while we’re there. I pray that we are lights shining so brightly she will be blinded by your love! Use us Lord, in whatever way you want to bring my parents to you!
When I was at work, I was walking to my desk. Just praying. Asking God to bring us a buyer. Not even 5 minutes later, my phone rang. It was Dave. We got a showing!!! Praise God. It’s from 7 – 8 pm on Friday!
Today, when I went to the mail box, there was a piece of paper that said, Dear...Family, with a scripture verse on it. “I have a plan for you…” Inside the paper was a cashiers check made out to us, for $500!!!!! It’s anonymous. We showed Mackenzie and she said, “This is from God!”. Yes God, we thank you once again! I can’t believe this. Why do we deserve this Lord? Thank you, thank you, thank you! May you get ALL the glory for this! We will share and testify to your love. You are amazing! What people you have placed in our lives. How blessed can one family be?
My heart saddens right now. Because I think of Amanda and I wish she were here to witness all this love. I pray that you would draw her close to you. Protect her Lord. Bring her love and peace like no one else can!
Friday, May 4, 2007
Today was the day for our first showing. We got a phone call and they changed the time to 5:30 – 6:30. Ok, I got a gift card for Boston Market and I guess we’ll use that. We spent the day trying to get the house looking just right. It was beautiful. It rained and that was a bit of a bummer. We got the kids and the dog and headed out for dinner. When we returned it didn’t look like anyone had been here. There was no card, no footprints, no flyers were gone. We are disappointed. Did they come? We don’t think so. Lord, we just ask that they did come and they are thinking about our house.
We are having an open house on Sunday. We’ll see what happens.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Mackenzie had her dance performance tonight. I worked for a while and then watched the musical. Mackenzie did so good. She is so beautiful. Bless her O Lord! She is your daughter. She loves you and follows you. Thank you for Mackenzie!
Sunday, May 6, 2007
We went to church and then watched the musical again. My mom and Dede came. That really meant a lot to Mackenzie. I told my mom that her friend was the producer of the play. She got a chance to say Hi to her after the play. I hope that this will help my mom to feel more comfortable coming here. I just know that they will be going to church with us sometime while we are there. I just pray that you will put that seed into my mom’s mind and heart, Lord.
After the performance, we talked about Dede’s wedding. Her and Scott will be getting married at Hosanna! That’s just so cool Lord! Our whole family could be going to the same church. I proclaim that Lord!!!! Thank you in advance for that vision!
We got the house all ready for the Open House. Then we went to Frank & Mary’s. We had a great dinner there and then we all took the kids to the park. They had fun and it was good exercise. The open house went ok. There were 3 couples that went through. None of them are ready to buy though. I pray that Bud and Jean will get a new client out of that. Lord, they have been so faithful and I pray that you would bless them!
Thank you for a peaceful, fun day with my family!
Monday, May 7, 2007
Today was a little discouraging. I try not to feel this way, but we haven’t had any showings. Well, we know you have a plan Lord. You’ve provided for us thus far and we are believing that you’ll continue to do so. I was just so tired and not feeling well. I pray that you will protect me from getting any illnesses! In Jesus’ name! AMEN!
On the brighter side, Mitchell had his first practice. It looked like it was going to get rained out, but it cleared up just in time. Thank you Lord. He would’ve been so disappointed. There were only 3 boys there, but they had fun. Dave really is patient with them. He is such a great dad. Thank you God. Thank you for Dave. I love him so!
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Today I was feeling a little down. When I left this morning I tried to help clean up, just in case we have a showing. I was late to our staff meeting and that bums me out. Hailey is like Velcro on my leg. She doesn’t want to stay at Kid Kare anymore. She cries and screams when I drop her off. I’m not sure why that is. She’s been like this for the past couple of months. Anyways…after our staff meeting, I was sharing with Wendy C and Sheri B my feelings about the house situations. Both of them reminded me how we are to praise God and rejoice about everything. Especially all the miracles we’ve had in our lives. I agreed and did just that. Not even 15 minutes later, Dave called me to tell me that we got a showing. Praise God!!!! He is sooo Good! Thank you Lord!
When I was going to pick up Hailey from Pre-school (which she loves), I ran into my friend, Kim W. She handed me a card that talked about how God will take care of everything. In the card was a $20 gift card to Holiday Gas Station. Wow! She told me in the card that she went through something similar years ago. She said that other people helped her through that time and that she promised God that she would help others if they ever needed it. What a blessing! Thank you Lord. She was also so much help driving me home from work every Tuesday and Thursday when my ankle was broken. I tried to pay her for gas but she wouldn’t except it. Lord, I just thank you for my friend, your daughter. What a heart you’ve given her.
About an hour ago, my old friend Steve Weilinski called me. He was calling to see how we’re doing and if we’d like to get together with old friends. I’ve known Steve for 23 years! I worked with him at my first job. We all had great times growing up. I had a great bunch of friends and many of them are still my friends. As I sit here tonight I just reflect on friends, old and new. God has placed wonderful people in my life. I truly am blessed!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
We had our first actual showing yesterday. We haven’t heard any feedback and no offer, but we’re believing that it will happen soon. The Lord knows what we need. He will provide for us. Dave and I went out to lunch together today. We haven’t had much alone time together. It was really nice. We got my lunch free because I had a punch card that Susan gave me the last time we went to Tak Shing. (That was the day Dede gave me the money J)
Today was a beautiful, sunny day. It must have been 90 degrees today. Tonight is cooling down and there’s a nice breeze. I just thank the Lord for nights like tonight. I have a wonderful family and I am blessed.
Friday, May 11, 2007
It’s been a great day! Dave and I have had lots of time to talk with each other. He has shared his heart and his dream with me about starting a non-profit organization. I know that’s what he’s wanted to do, but the money part has always been a factor. Well, since we’ll be living with my parents for the next few months money is not as big of a deal. Is that what you’re up to God? Is this where you want us to go? Dave has been asking me about my dream. My dream to help people in need. Those that are homeless, jobless, just down and out are those that I have a heart for. Is this what God has been preparing us for all along? Did He bring us to a current situation to give us a heart for those who are financially hurting? Those who are really close to losing their home? I wonder…
I’ve been reflecting on the past few months. My number one strength is empathy. I’ve always had a heart for the hurting. I love to step in to a big project and help those in need. I love to organize meals and benefits. I’ve never been in a real good financial place where we’ve had extra money to give (well not recently anyways). So, I will always step up to do the big stuff. Not that I won’t bring a meal to someone or contribute to a care package, but I’m usually the one doing the organizing. It’s a gift. When it comes to friends or family in need, I’ve always said, “Call if you need anything.” And I meant it. If they ever needed anything and I could help, I would. Some people have actually called and asked for help. But most of the time, no one does. And I feel bad. I always sit there and wait to be asked. Then when I don’t get asked I feel bad. Well, God has shown me that you don’t need to wait to be asked. I am going to do my best to wipe that phrase out of my vocabulary. Really, what a dumb thing to say. Most people are like me. I would rather drown than ask for help! Me, need help? No way! Well, that’s how I was a year ago. I never wanted anyone to know that I couldn’t do it all myself. I’ve been that way forever. In college, I would never say no. I would do anything I could to help and please others. I was the do all be all student! Or at least I thought I was. Until I started getting severe headaches all related to stress!
This accepting help thing started last year. Actually, it was when I was just learning to stop saying that phrase and just doing. I decided to start that with in my small group and my friends. That I would stop asking and start being a little more “forceful” when it comes to offering help. So, when Rob & Michelle had their baby, I told them I was going to bring dinner. That night I delivered 3 meals. None of the recipients were really eager at first to accept it. But I stayed strong and wouldn’t let them say no. Cooking a meal for 4 families was no easy task, but it felt really good! When I would deliver the meal and drive away, I felt like I was in some small way helping out. And low and behold it really made a difference to those families. So much for Rob and Michelle that they decided they wanted to start something bigger in our small group. That we would help each other out with home projects. Now this was really hard. They wanted to help us first. Wow! I tried to say that we didn’t need it, but the words just wouldn’t come out. I justified it by saying to myself, “well, we’re going to get to help them next, so it’s ok.” Well, I don’t think that please God so much. I think He really wants us to know how to receive. So, right in the middle of our home project, I broke my ankle. I really messed it up and was in a cast for 3 months. Now we were on the receiving end of a meals schedule! That was strange. But I tell you what, it was really nice. I couldn’t cook and it was such a blessing to have a meal delivered. On top of that I had to ask people for rides and that was even harder. I really learned what it’s like to be on the other side of giving. I even had a friend come over and help me clean. It was awkward at first, but once I admitted that I couldn’t do it and I needed help, I was ok with it. It gave me a new perspective on what others might feel like. I thought that I had learned my lesson and that God was going to release me into something new.
Well, just after I finally get out of my cast…Dave loses his job. The next day, I get really sick. I was sick for more than 2 weeks. And right in the middle of organizing a benefit. So, now we have a house we can’t pay for, bills piling up and we need to sell our house. It was so overwhelming that I didn’t even know where to start. Since I hadn’t been able to do much cleaning over the past few months, there was much to do. Dave really started pressing in with God and spending daily time with Him. We knew God was calling us to sell our house and pay off our debt. We just didn’t want it to happen this way. But God had different plans.
Oh – our God sighting today was at Napa Auto Parts. Both of our vehicles have brake problems right now. A few days ago Dave bought break pads for the van and put them in. So, the front breaks are fine now. Thank you Lord that my husband can do that for us. Ok, so today we’re talking about how bad the breaks in the car are. We can't agree and what place to go to, but Dave passes TWO places and says "we need to go to NAPA". We go to NAPA and Dave comes back out asking if the car is pulsating. Yes, it is so we need new rotors. That’s a bummer and this is going to cost about $130+. Well, we don’t have much money. Every penny we spend takes away from our mortgage and food. Which by the way is pretty much all we’re paying. Except for our utilities to keep our gas, electric and phone on. So, Dave goes in to make the purchase. When he comes out he has this huge smile on his face. Apparently, the store clerk said “you look like a guy who could use a break”. Literally! Ha, ha! He decided to give him a discount. The total purchase was only $77! Almost half what we thought it was going to be. Thank you Lord! Dave asked the guy if he was a Christian…what do you think he said? Of course…of course this was a gift from God. Lord, how amazing are you!!!! You told that man that we needed a break – in more than one way. WOW!!!
I can’t wait to see the God sighting tomorrow!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Today didn’t start out so great. First of all, when Dave finally got home last night at 11:30 pm, I was mad. I had been worried. Wondering what might have happened. The conference he went to, “The Father’s Love” by Leif Hetland was to be over at 9 pm. I thought it may go until 10 pm but the building closes as 10. So, when he still wasn’t home by 10:30, that’s when the worry started. Lord, now I see that I should’ve just turned it over to you. But I was also disappointed. I had hoped on him coming home and us talking about the night. Well, we did make up and I got over it and we had a wonderful ending to the evening.
This morning I had over slept and couldn’t get online to get my investment club stock reports done. I was in a hurry and frustrated and Dave was trying to be a “fixer”. The thing is that he couldn’t fix it and I was only getting more frustrated. When he told me that I was out of luck and I just needed to except that, I snipped at him and told him “That really helps”. He got angry and stormed off. He started yelling and slamming stuff in the garage, saying that he wasn’t going to the conference. I couldn’t believe where this was coming from. I went out there and told him that this had nothing to do with the conference. We talked and all was good. He apologized and handed me the descriptors of our DISC profiles. He pointed out how his primary emotion is “anger”. My primary emotion is “optimism”. OK, that’s weird I thought. I don’t know if that’s my primary emotion. But whatever.
I pray that you would send buyers to the Bentz home today. They are having an open house and I just pray that they would get an offer as well.
Thank you God for all that you’ve done. Thank you that we haven’t had many showings this week which has given us time to spend together and with you. You are amazing and YOU use everything for good. Today is a gift. Thank you for that gift! I pray that there would be many God sightings in the lives of my friends and family. I pray that they would see them clearly and know that they are from YOU!
Dave was filled with God’s love at the conference today. Thank you Lord for the opportunity you gave in allowing him to go. We ended the evening with a nice walk and stopped at the park to play with the kids. We all had a great time and are very tired. What a beautiful day it was and a beautiful night as well. All is good in the Engman house! We love YOU!
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Mother’s Day! My family cooked me breakfast this morning and then we went to church. It was a great service. Leif Hetlund gave his message about The Father’s Love and used the eagles as a comparison. He gave the story about the courtship of a pair of eagles. How the female picks up a stick and carries it up to 10,000 feet and drops it. Then the male goes after it and brings it back to her. Then she goes and gets a heavier stick and only brings it to 5,000 feet and drops it. Same thing, he goes and gets it before it hits the ground. She continues this until she finds a stick equal to their body weight. She brings that to 500 feet and drops it and the males risks his life to get it for her. Then they lock talons and the honeymoon begins. When they have eaglets, the moma takes her babies out to teach them to fly. She has them on her wing and then lets them fall. They flap their wings trying to fly while the daddy circles above, watching. When they start to fall, closer the ground, the daddy dives down and catches them. That’s what our daddy, Father God, does for us. He can fly faster than I can fall!!! What a picture. He won’t let me fall. He’ll catch me. Amazing! I was in tears. How I needed to hear that. Dave and I are going through a molting process. Similar to that of Eagles. The story of how they go through the molting process is quite amazing.
Monday, May 14, 2007
In the midst of this storm there is a rainbow. It’s God’s promise. Everything will work out. Now, Dave and I are charged with the task of making sure that we go down the road God wants us to. WE are seeking confirmation on the Well Foundation. Is this indeed what God wants. We both feel that it is, but we are going to seek Godly counsel on this. We will seek some of the pastors at Hosanna! This is very important to me. I want to be blessed by them in this. The other thing we need is for God to give us a mission statement. How can we help others and allow others to know it in one sentence?
The arms reaching and the feet walking beside those in need.
Helping families one at a time.
Mentoring to those in need.
I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t written all summer. It’s the end of August. I’m so disappointed in myself. Well, I’m going to start to go back and try to write to the best of my memory for the rest of May, June and July.
Pastor Pat stopped me at work and told me to check my mailbox. There was $100 worth of Gas cards and a $200 Rainbow Foods gift card. She said that God told her what to give us and just how much. Thank you Lord. You are awesome and I praise you for your wonders! We are so blessed and you continue to take care of us.
Monday, July 30, 2007
This was a bad day to start out with. I called Dave at work and was asking him what we were going to do about our mortgage payment. It’s the 30th…and if we don’t pay today, we will be 60 days late. And soon after that…they will start foreclosure proceedings. We ended up getting in an argument. Dave had told me to just give it up. We were not going to make our payment. But I was determined to figure out a way! In the heat of our argument, I said some things to him that were not nice. I ended up in tears and he hung up on me.
I was on the couch crying when Dave got home. He came home right after he hung up in the middle of the day. We talked and prayed. We were asking God where we were going to get $2000 in one day. Then the phone rang. It was my mom. I tried to hide my tears but she knew something was wrong. I told her about our situation. She said she could give us half and suggested asking Dave’s parents for the other half. Reluctantly Dave did it. And they borrowed it to us. We may not always like the way God provides, but He does. All the time! God uses everyone to bless His children. Our parents may not know it, but He does use them. I thank God for our parents.
August ?, 2007
It's been so hard because we keep lowering the price on our house. We are below what we actually owe on it and almost at what we paid for it 4 years ago. Not that the money matters but it's still hard. I really am ok with it. Although my flesh gets in the way and I struggle. My prayer has been that if we need to sell our house this cheap that the Lord would bless someone by it. That the people that buy our house would know that this is a blessing from the Lord. If that is the case, then this will ALL be worth it. I just want to see God's hand in all this. I want for Him to be glorified and for us to be His servants. That's all.
Monday, August 27, 2007Today I’m going to really make the time every morning to spend with the Lord. I know that is what He desires and I just want to please Him. This has been such a hard time lately. Mackenzie keeps asking to get school supplies and we just don’t have the money. I’m so frustrated with our situation. Lord, I just give it to you!
Dave went to a meeting at the Farmington Lutheran Church. He’s been building a relationship with our neighbor, Craig. I pray for that relationship.
Mackenzie had a tough day today. She is feeling persecution from her friends. It’s because of her Christian beliefs that this is happening. I was reading about persecution and how it will come to those who seek righteousness. Mackenzie’s friends have been playing a wizard game. They’re making potions and doing witchcraft. Dave told them that it says not to do this in the bible and that Mackenzie is not allowed to play such games. Well, they are taunting her about this game. They go off and play it leaving her behind. When she confronted Ally about this, Ally told her that she does things behind her parent’s back and so should Mackenzie. But Mackenzie held strong! Praise God! She told me about this and I told her that she would be rewarded for this behavior! She was in tears and so upset. I know it was hard for her, but she remained steadfast in God’s eyes.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I started out my day in prayer and reading the Bible. I’m reading the Sermon on the Mount. I’m reading it to study about the Judgment Day. Trying to figure out what it is that God wants me to know about that day.
Today, we had our staff meeting at church. It’s always great worship time. After the meeting, Pastor Pat came up to me and said that she wants to take my children school clothes shopping. I was in tears. God, you are so amazing. I just know that Pat has a straight line to you. You speak to her often and not only does she hear you, but she listens. My plan was to ask Violet what help we could get for school supplies. I was so dreading that. And then when I got back to my desk, there was a message. She wanted us to come and get our school supplies from her. I was so humbled. What a lesson on humility. We now know what it feels like to have to be on the receiving end of these gifts. It’s so hard. It’s humiliating. Thank you Lord, for giving us a heart for this.
When I was standing in line, waiting for my family to have dinner at church, I was embarrassed. Embarrassed to be there. Ashamed that I have to be in that line. Feeling inferior to those around me. When approached by my co-workers I made excuses for being there. Instead of just admitting that I was there because the meal is free and it will help us financially. And admitting that we were going to have to use the back to school blessing ministry. I just feel for those that have been or are in my situation. I pray for each of us Lord. Help us. Help me to get over the humiliation and learn about humility. I will study that this week Lord. You are such an amazing God. You are teaching Dave, myself, and our children what it means to be humble and what it means to be on the receiving end of your gifts. Thank you!
After we got the school supplies, we went to Target. I got to get $100 in clothes, shoes, socks, etc. for Amanda, Mackenzie, and Mitchell. It was so fun to see them excited. What a blessing that was for our family. I pray that my children will truly realize what this means and that they are thankful for these gifts. They each got a pair of shoes, clothes, socks and underwear. All were much needed! Thank you Lord! And as if that wasn’t enough…Dave had went grocery shopping and he was going through a separate check out line. Well, Pastor Pat went over to him and paid for our groceries too! $225 worth of groceries! AMAZING! WHAT A GOD WE HAVE!
This is what our church is about! It gives! It gives to so many. I wish people understood what a place we have to worship at. Not that Hosanna! is perfect or should it be held upon a pedestal, but Hosanna! really does care about the community. That night, prior to Pastor Pat coming up to Target at 9:00 pm, she had taken a homeless family out to dinner. That’s what she does. She blesses those in need…for our God!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
This morning Dave and I sat down together and started reading our bibles. We had a good time reading to each other, sharing what we’re learning. We should have more days like this.
It’s a big day today, because we have 3 showings! Wow! What is God doing here? Tomorrow is a big day for us because we will be 60 days late on our mortgage if we don’t pay it. Well, we don’t have the money to pay it. And we’ve borrowed as much money as we can…so we’re on our own. Well, not on our own, but heavily relying on God. So, getting an offer on our house will be good in the eyes of the mortgage company. You see, if we don’t pay our mortgage on the 30th…it’ll be 20 days until we go into foreclosure. What about foreclosure? Well, it will make the chance of getting into another house pretty hard in the months or years to come. It doesn’t honor God. At least I don’t think it does. We’re trying so hard. We’re trying to be obedient to Him. We’re praying that we don’t have to go down that road.
We had Mitchell & Mackenzie’s open houses at school this afternoon. That was fun. They both met their teachers and had fun putting their new school supplies in their desks. I pray that their teachers know the Lord and that they are loving Christian’s. Thank you Lord.
After that we went to Skateville for Mitchell & Mackenzie’s Birthday Parties. Another blessing…my mom bought us 2 free parties at my uncle’s silent auction. It was a fun night had by all. My mom, dad and Dede came. It was good to see my dad out. Mackenzie is having friends sleep over tonight and hopefully they won’t stay up all night.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
It has been a pretty peaceful day thus far. I fed the kids breakfast and then headed for my corner to spend some time with the Lord. I finished the Sermon on the Mount and had a chance to read some other scriptures about the Judgment Seat of Christ. I feel armed and prepared. Well, with knowledge anyways. One thing I meditated and prayed on this morning was when Jesus tells us…”you have not because you ask not”. Well, I’m asking Lord. Sell our house. Please Lord. I was on my knees for this reason. Surely Lord, you will bless us today with an offer on our house. I’m not spending my day worrying about our mortgage payment. Instead, I am giving it to you. This is YOUR house. You know what we need. I’m praying about it instead of worrying about it.
My friend, Toni C., just called a bit ago. She would like to give Mackenzie some of Megan’s clothes that she won’t wear. What a blessing! We truly are blessed. Our friends, our community, our church. What amazing people God has surrounded us with.
It is 7:19 pm. I’m feeling pretty down right now. (To be perfectly honest) Lord, please help me. I’m frustrated. We’ve had no offers. Dave has had no paycheck since starting Avodah. We will now have to wait until November at the earliest to get health insurance. That is if Dave gets paid in September and if we have money to pay for health insurance. I just don’t understand. And I know that I am blessed. I know that my situation is nothing compared to others. So, I come to the cross and I pray. I pray that the phone would ring and it would be our realtor calling with an offer. Lord, please hear my prayer. I ask this in your precious son Jesus’ name. Amen!
I’m off to help Cindy and Greg paint their new home that they just closed on today!
Friday, August 31, 2007
Well, at about 7:45 pm last night, we got a call for a 2nd showing! Praise God! Please Lord, let this be the one who buys our home! I was able to spend a good hour with the Lord this morning. It feels so good to put Him first every day.
I helped Greg and Cindy for a bit while we had our showing today. It was nice to spend time with Cindy. We haven’t really been connecting much lately.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Well, Praise God! Today we got an offer. I have to admit…I was so excited when the call came in…until I heard what the offer was. We originally had our house listed for $329,900. We then lowered it to $324,900. As time went on we realized that we needed to do something big. We had to go to our bank and see if they would do a short sale. Well, they will. So, we decided to cancel our listing and re-list the house for $299,900. This was really hard because we owe $309,000 and we will have to pay taxes on the difference. We then lowered the price to $294,900 and then our final price of $289,900. This is really competitive. So, the offer they gave us is for $260,000 with us paying 3% closing costs included in that amount! Plus they want us to buy them a new washer and dryer. And they want our extra fridge and freezer!!!! WHAT?
Ok, so I was a little hurt, angry, upset, etc. I didn’t behave in a very grateful manner. So, after much prayer, repentance and thankfulness, I know I am forgiven. I wish I would acted more grateful. After all, this is an answer to MANY prayers! And now it’s as if I’m telling God that this isn’t good enough. So, Lord I am sorry! Please forgive me.
I pray Lord, that you will give me another chance. Lord, we have another showing this afternoon. I ask that you would give us another offer. Lord, I will receive it with gratitude. Thank you Lord. You are so amazing and your timing is perfect. I know that I learned that I still have some pride in me that needs to go. I am prideful of this house. I was offended and I need to get rid of the spirit of offense!
We have a family reunion today with the Masurka’s. It should be fun. We’ll be going to the Fort Snelling State Park.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Another beautiful morning spent with the Lord! I had a late night last night. After the reunion, we went to my parents house to get our dog and talk about what we could do to help them get ready for us. That talk didn’t go so well. My dad is just such a crab and doesn’t want anyone’s help. After we got home I spent the evening at the neighbors. That was fun. Suzie Basset has tumors on her uterus and is having surgery next Friday. Lord, please give me the courage to go over there and pray for her before she goes in. Some of the families in the neighborhood are bringing them dinner next weekend.
Today, Dave said…”let’s start tithing again.” So, we’ve decided that we are going to give the Lord 10% of everything we get. We will pay Him FIRST…before we pay our bills! This is a big decision, but that’s what the Lord asks of us and we want to honor Him and be obedient. This is the only place in the bible where He tells us to “test Him”. So, we are. Well, we are choosing to trust Him. Trust that He will provide all our needs.
Well, we got a phone call at church today from Jean Wagner. Apparently, the people that came to our house on Saturday are pretty interested. They wanted to know where the bus stop is and they were video taping our house while they were here. Praise God! I pray that they will make an offer! That is so amazing! Here we decide to tithe…and give the full amount and already God has blessed us!
Later we went to dinner at Tim and Lynn P. They are the ones that introduced us to Al Newman. Al and Debra were there along with some other nice families. While we were there, Bud called and said that a third party is interested in our house. They wanted his fax number so they could fax an offer over to him!!!! Praise God! You are amazing Lord. I feel like God is telling me that this is my reward to putting Him first every day. He’s telling me that this is what He has been longing for all along. Daily chats with His daughter, ME! I’ve tried to do this, but have never really been a morning person. But I’ve asked God to please help me with that and He has. If I put off spending time with Him, it’s too easy to forget or get too busy. So, thank you to Tony Caterina for the word of knowledge from God. What a gift.
Oh, Jim Busscher called when we were at the barbecue. He wants to donate $500 to the tournament. How amazing is that?!
Lord, I pray that we get all three offers tomorrow. I pray that they will be good and they will bless us. Thank you Father for your love. You are truly our provider. You are our all in all. We love you Father. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen!
Monday, September 3, 2007
Well, we got another offer. Praise the Lord! It is a great offer. They offered us $280,000 and only want us to pay $2500 in closing costs. Now that’s an offer. Thank you Lord. They are so nice. They said they don’t want anything extra and won’t ask us to fix anything on the inspection unless it’s major. We are bargaining with them and have told the other family that they need to come up way more on their offer. So, we’re just waiting for them.
Thank you Lord, for all that you are doing. It’s so amazing to see how you are working in our lives. You are faithful and you take care of us.
The Lord has revealed to Dave that the Golf tournament needs to be FREE! Free for everyone. Ok, this is going to be a huge step of faith. If we don’t get enough donations, how are we going to pay for the tournament? Lord, this is your tournament, Avodah belongs to you, all the money belongs to you! You are our provider. You are so faithful. We are truly trusting you.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
The first day of school! I decided that I was going to get up extra early so I was sure I had enough time to spend my time with the Lord. It was wonderful. I’ve done this EVERY DAY since I made the commitment. This is huge for me! I’m really proud of myself. I pray the Lord will continue to help me stay on track. It’s made a big difference in my day. I need you Lord. Work is getting busy! I’m so blessed to have the team I do. It was fun to tell everyone that we’re on our way to selling our house.
Oh…another thing. I asked Jim how he wanted to list his and Rose’s name on the program for the golf tournament. He didn’t know what I was talking about. When I reminded him about the $500 he said, no, that’s not for the tournament. That’s for you and Dave! I was so touched. Like, what????? You and Rose just decided to give Dave and I $500!!!!!! Our God never ceases to amaze me. I am humbled. I’m amazed. I’m blessed!!!!!! THANK YOU GOD!
The kids seemed to have a fun first day of school. The Lord is good!
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Today, in my God time, the Lord revealed to me that I would be giving my testimony at the women’s retreat next year! Yikes! What was even more scary was the fact that Wendy was really excited. She hasn’t come up with the theme yet and thought this would be perfect since it all started at the retreat last year. Ok, so Lord, this is your deal. I’ll do whatever you want me to do.
Our story really is amazing when you look at all the stuff we’ve had happen. I can’t even believe half of it! WOW!
We are waiting for the purchase agreement from the buyers. We’ve selected the second offer we got. We did get another higher offer from the first buyers, but it still isn’t close to what these buyers offered. The second offer they gave was a net of $270,000 and they took back the other wants they had. But still, it’s not even close. So, we’ve accepted the other one. And this one just feels right. The realtor who came last week really seemed genuine when he said that we have a nice house. It just feels really right. Thank you Lord.
The only snag now is that the guy at our bank is going on vacation for 1 ½ weeks. He’s apparently the only guy who can do this. So, we’ll have to wait to find out if the offer is approved. He seems to think it will all be fine.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Today started out great with spending time with God and then church was even better. The worship was amazing and spoke to me. Right to my heart. It’s a new season at Hosanna! and it’s a new season for us. It was funny because during my God time as I was looking outside at the trees, I realized that summer is coming to an end and fall is upon us. I was thinking about the new season and how much has happened since last winter. We’ve been going through a molting process and now we’re coming to the end of it. I was thinking how our talons are growing back and our beaks are coming in and we have new eyes. Just like that of an eagle that goes through the molting process. We are now getting a new set of eyes. We see things so differently now. It’s amazing what this kind of thing will do to you. Especially when you rely heavily on the Lord. That’s what He wants. Anyways…so I spent the morning thinking about that and then I go to church and that’s what Pastor Bill talks about. A new season. It feels good. I’m thankful that I’ve been journaling because I’ll always have this to go back on. But I’m thankful that I can also put this behind us as we begin the new season. We’ll always have it as a part of us and we’ll never forget, but we do need to shed our old leaves. We need to do this so that new ones can grow back.
Something really neat happened. Our buyers came by to have an inspection on the house. We left and when we came back, there was a beautiful plant with purple flowers on it. (my favorite color). There was a card sitting next to it. On the front it said "You are a blessing". Then on the inside the buyers had written us a note. I'm going to paraphrase because I don't have the card right in front of me. "Thank you so much for accepting our offer. We know that this must be a tough time for you right now. We want you to know what a blessing this house will be to us as we could not have afforded such a beautiful home at more than this price. We will cherish your home and we will be blessed to raise our children here as you have yours. We give thanks to God for you." WHAT????!!!! I was in tears. I called our realtor and she was in tears. She said that she's NEVER had a client receive such a card and flowers too! Wow God! YOU ARE SOOO GOOD!!!! That has been our prayer over the past month. That if we had to go through this and "give" our house away, that it would be a blessing to someone else. How gracious of our God to show us that?! I just can't believe it. As I type this I'm in tears again, because this has been a painful journey but right now I can just smile at what an amazing God we serve!
Now to get packing! We close in October...less than 4 weeks!
As we pack we will now go to my parent's house to help them finish remodeling their basement. How strange it seems that I will be back home living with my parents. It's surreal. BUT I do trust God and I know that He has a plan for us. I pray that I will ALWAYS see His works in everything we do.
At times I can't believe how God has provided for us. All the while, we still have not charged a single thing! No income from Dave and a small income from my part time job at church. But yet all the while God has been providing our EVERY need. Not necessarily every want, but certainly every need. Dave continues to work at Avodah and he continues to place people into jobs. How ironic is that? The way this was "supposed" to work is that companies would pay for the people that Dave places. Like a placement agency. But that is not the way it's working. The companies that Dave is placing these people at can't afford to pay for it. Dave wants the people to work so he places them anyways. :) I just chuckle at this. What is God up to?
As I look back and reflect on these past few months, I have to thank God. I have to thank Him for all He has done. I'm sure that one day we will share our testimony. We have to tell people how much God cares and how He does provide for our needs. When we started on this journey we had no way of knowing what this would look like. We always thought that we would sell our house, make enough money to pay off some of our debt and then down size on a new house. We never planned to take this path. But if we had not been down this path, how would we ever have learned about God's provisions? How would we ever have received ALL this LOVE? I'm amazed. I'm at a loss for words.
I can't wait to share the next chapter of our lives because it's going to get even better!
Part 4 Written/Posted May 12, 2009
This is the final leg of this journey for us. This was from the time we moved in with my parents until now (May 2009).
We closed on our house. Or rather, we gave away our house. Well, ok, we sold our house. It felt like we gave it away though. It was a little difficult leaving our realtor's office. The buyers were not there because it was a dry closing and the buyers actually live out of state. I think that was best as then there were no tears. It was a huge weight lifted off our shoulders yet a little sad. Well, quite sad. Not because of the house itself, but because of all our neighbors and the kids' friends. That's the hardest thing of all. My friend Shannon was in my driveway and she had made a comment about how it was too bad we had to sell our beautiful home. Then I said, "it's just a house." Then she said, "that's true, I would live in a cardboard box if it meant that I could have my children back." Oh my gosh! Talk about a reality check. I will NEVER forget that comment. That's what you call real perspective. She has lost the ultimate things - her children. This is JUST a house for crying out loud! It's a material possession. Whenever I start to get down I just think about her and her two beautiful children. Yes, they are with Jesus. But that doesn't really make it that much easier when faced with waking up each day without them.
We're moving into my parents house, it's not ready, my sister is getting married this weekend and I'm going crazy! Since the basement is not finished, all of us are sleeping in the guest bedroom upstairs. We also share a bathroom with my aunt. And since my sister is getting married and we'll all need to get ready I'm wondering how this is going to work!
Moving into my parents house is not without it's challenges but also it's not without it's blessings.
Philippians 4:4 - 9 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Oh man...do I have to rely on this passage. I need to be thankful for everything and not to worry about anything. God has provided us with a home. What more can I ask for? And to think that I'm worried about how we're all going to shower and where we're all going to sleep. Such trivial things!
I don't have an electronic journal of the rest of our story. So, now I'll have to retype and write what I remember. We didn't have our computer hooked up for a few months after we moved in.
The kids had to switch schools and this was tough on Mitchell. Mackenzie had no problem and she even brought home a new friend on her first day! With his sensory integration disorder, Mitchell has a more difficult time transitioning. We have been praying that the kids would be blessed with good Christian teachers. And God answered our prayers. The funny thing is that Mackenzie usually LOVES her teachers and they her. But this year her 5th grade teacher was not a nice lady and there definitely was no connection there. This was a blessing because it made it much easier for Mackenzie to leave. And her new teacher is wonderful. Mitchell's teacher is amazing! I had told her in an email what a blessing she was and she recognized that I worked at a church and told us how she prayed for Mitchell and felt blessed to have him in her class! What a gift from God.
In the months to come after we moved in, there were many tears. You see, my parent's house is a very dark place. My dad is an alcoholic and he's in a deep state of depression. He goes to work, he drinks and he sits in front of the tv. That's really pretty much it. That's his life. My kids walked around on egg shells as to not bother grandpa. Not once did he play with him, say a kind word to them or ever hug them. They fear him. It was very sad. Of course, because we were living in his home and he was after all blessing us, we just tried to stay out of his way. Many nights I cried and prayed asking God why He would have us living here. It was very dysfunctional and very scary. My dad treats my mom very poorly and it brought back many sad childhood memories. I know my dad loves my mom and us. I know he's a good man and he definitely would give the shirt off his back for anyone. He did completely finish their basement so we would have a place to live. But my dad lives in darkness. He's trapped by his illness and he doesn't know Jesus.
The light...we are to be the light. These are some of the scriptures that helped us get through this trying time.
Psalm 4:6 Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?" Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.
Psalm 18:28 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
Psalm 43:3 Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.
Psalm 89:15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.
We love you Lord we love you, we love you Lord! We know that we are called to be the salt and the light. We are called to live a Christ centered life. Even in the midst of darkness. No, especially in the midst of darkness.
During this time, for a short time, Dave became very depressed. He was feeling like a failure. He was coming under attacks and believing lies from the enemy. This became very scary for me because all along both Dave and I had always been believing God and that this was His plan for us. Our faith was strong. When Dave sat and told me that he was giving up on God, it felt like the ground was crumbling underneath me. Dave was my rock. He is the spiritual head of our household. He was beginning to turn his back on the Lord. It was the most awful part of this journey. He had no hope at this time. He wouldn't even take communion when we were at church and that really scared me! I was so concerned that I called my boss. He's a pastor, he's Dave's mentor as well. He called Dave and they met. I also began praying for God to place godly bold men in Dave's life to set him back on that path. And of course, our God did that. Every day someone was calling Dave for lunch, to pray with him, to give him encouragement, and just to check in on him. I didn't call one of them. Dave even asked me what I was up to. I had to tell him the truth...I turned to our Father! As quickly as he went into that state of "depression", he came back out and we got back on our rock! What a great place to be...standing on the rock of our Lord!
I have asked to be full time and my boss is trying to make that happen. Not right now is the answer and so we wait.
Meanwhile it had been over 5 months since Dave took the job at Avodah. He still had not received a paycheck. We were not getting any closer to paying off our debt and getting a place of our own. We began seeking God's will and asking what next? Dave started to send out resumes again. After a couple of weeks, he started to get some interviews. Before we knew it he had 2 job offers on the table. One offer was from a heating and air conditioning company. It was a great offer and would provide financially for our family. The other offer was half the money and it was with a non-profit. It was a job in the inner city (Dave's dream) and it would be helping men. Some coming out of prison and some homeless. It was an offer to work at Midwest Challenge. So, we're driving and Dave asks, "what should I do?" And of course, I tell him it's a no brainer! And he looks at me all puzzled and says, "well, what?" I laughed. :) Of course you need to take the job at Midwest Challenge I say! He can't believe it! Really he shouts? Of course, I say! We've been down the road of money. We've seen where that takes us. Now, we need to choose the road that God wants us on. I've never seen him so relieved and so happy. It's not about the money!!!! We're free of that!!! We no longer serve that master. Living with my parents gave us that opportunity. We now could dictate our lives and our means instead of it dictating us.
I can't tell you what a pivotal moment that was in our lives. It was a test I'm sure. Of course both of those job offers came at the very same time. Both in the same day. Who else would orchestrate such an event as that one? What was the test? Why would God test us? Or allow us to be tested? He had brought us to our knees. Now He was going to give us the choice to choose. We had to choose to continue to serve Him. God does not force us to do anything. He has given us the free will to choose.
I have learned many things over the past few months. One of them is best told through this scripture: Matthew 6:19 - 20 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."
I truly get it now! Our time on this earth is short and temporary. We will live for eternity in heaven. I want to have my treasure there...waiting for me. It no longer matters to me how much money we have. It no longer matters to me where we live. I mean of course, my "flesh" wants to have nice things, but I can honestly say that I will live and I will do what God asks of me. At least I hope I will.
God continues to work on our pride and humility.
Dave accepted the job at Midwest Challenge. We received a gift from Avodah. What a blessing that was. He's so excited. It's funny how God works, because if Dave would've taken the job as the president of MWC back in June, he would be overseeing the business and responsible for bringing in money. But now with this job he actually gets to work with the guys. That is where his heart is.
It's Christmas time and of course, we still don't have much money. Dave won't receive his first paycheck until January. We won't be buying a bunch of gifts like we usually do. I just love Christmas time and I just love buying gifts. I love taking the time to figure out what people really love and what they want. Now is the time for us to teach our children what Christmas is really about. It's about Jesus.
We got a call from the church to be a part of the Adopt-A-Family program. What happens is that people adopt a family to purchase presents for. This was really awkward and we didn't know if we should do it. But it didn't take long for us to realize that this was a gift and it would bless our children. Well, a couple weeks later we got a call from the church that said two families had adopted us and one of them had left the gifts and we could go pick them up. They wanted to remain anonymous. Then the next day we got a call from the other family. They wanted to meet us and give us our gifts. What?! They want to meet us? I was not ok with this. I was very uncomfortable, but quickly I realized that this was my problem and I was still full of pride. We agreed to meet them at church before one of the services. They asked us a little bit about our story and it was just really uncomfortable. I can't quite describe it. I know that God was developing my character through this. And I know that it was about pride. But also, I learned what a blessing it is to be an anonymous donor! We can take our victory and award here on earth or we can get it in heaven. Not that everything should be about an award, that's not what I'm saying. What I am saying is that God knows our hearts and He sees everything we do. I want to get to heaven and have Him say to me, "Well done good and faithful servant." I want His blessings. Like as a child when we do something for our parents, often we wait for their approval. Also, I'm not saying that everything we do should be anonymous. Like when my sister and Scott gave us that $1000. That was a time when it was a blessing to know that it came from them. It was so much more meaningful to know the story and how they came up with the 10 - $100 bills. But one day, I would love to be able to put a $1000 cashiers check in some one's mailbox and walk away without them knowing! How cool.
We got an offer to move into a house and pay 1/3 of the mortgage. But right now, we don't have that money and I don't feel like we're being released from my parent's house. So, as good of an opportunity that is, we will stay where we are. Now is the time of learning to hear God's voice. We really press in when we are presented with choices and ask Him what we should do. We pray that we make the right choice.
I still am not able to go full time at work. I would love to have the benefits as the cost for benefits through Dave's job are astronomical! $1400/month right now. Wow! It's a blessing that we're living with my parents so we can save.
We continue to make our way through this time in our lives. We wait on God to show us where we go. We are spending time at Dave's parent's house on the weekends and we stay at a hotel once in a while to take the kids swimming and get out of my parent's house. This gives them much needed breaks as well. I'm sure it's been hard for them having us there. They go from having a quiet house to themselves to a house full of an additional family of 6. And it's anything but quiet with 4 kids. I thank you Lord for my parents and their generosity. It's been great spending time with my mom.
Mitchell has made so much progress at his new school it's unbelievable. We had tried many things with him and had tried to not go the medication route, but now it is so clear that this is what Mitchell needed. After years of Occupational Therapy and Sensory Diets we had reached our potential with those and Mitchell was falling farther and farther behind academically. That was another blessing for Mitchell's new teacher. Of course by law she could not say anything about ADHD or medication and she didn't. But when I asked her opinion she did give me some great advice. And I believe that God spoke through her. Since starting on medication Mitchell has met almost all of his goals. He has advanced a whole grade with his reading. He actually enjoys doing his homework now! Wow! Before it was tears from the moment the papers came out of his folder. He was struggling so much. The first night he came home from school after starting his meds, he took out a 90 page academic workbook and did the WHOLE thing!!! His teacher couldn't believe it and emailed us that day telling how dedicated we were. But the thing is...we didn't even know until I "caught" him at 11:00 at night doing it! Anyways...yet another way God has provided for our needs and those of our children.
We are starting to look for a place to live. We feel like our time at my parent's house is coming to an end. My mom has tried to talk us into staying for another year, but there's just no way.
We've found a few houses that we really like. For now, we'll have to rent. At first we were thinking we could afford $1500/month. Then we found one that we loved and we were really close to signing the papers. That one was $1750/month. God clearly told me to do our budget before we signed. So, I did. I took all our expenses and factored in our savings and tithing. Guess what? We can afford $1200/month! Wow! We are not going back there again by allowing our home to dictate what we NEED to make. No way! So, the search begins.
After looking at houses, duplexes, apartments, town homes, etc. it's exhausting. It's really hard too. Because $1200 doesn't get you much where we want to live. We finally found a very small, but CLEAN duplex that we were going to rent. I tell Susan about this place and she questions if this is the place for us. It's super small and there's no basement but I tell her that I'm good with it and we'll make it work. We go to sign the lease and we're talking about our dog. The guy says you have a dog? Well ya. We assumed he knew because we have never even checked out a place unless it said pets allowed. But then we realize that this wasn't online or in the paper. We were driving by and saw a sign. Then we're righting down our children and he doesn't realize that we have 3 instead of 2. Because only our 2 youngest children were with us when we came to look at the place. Really I tell him we have 4 children, but only 3 will be living her. Now he decides he needs to think about this. :( I'm bummed. And I go into work the next day and tell Susan and she says "PRAISE GOD!". What?!?! I say, "no...this place was good. It was clean and we really are ok with it." Then she says "God's got more for you. I just know it. I've been praying that He would put up obstacles so that you would not move into that place." I just couldn't believe it. Now what? Back to searching which I was not looking forward to.
I then went into our staff meeting and sat at a table with Janee. Susan sat down with us and I was telling Janee what she did. Janee then tells me that she knows someone who needs someone to live in their house for 7 months while they travel around the world. Within a few hours I'm on the phone with this person. I tell her...we can pay $1200/month, we have 4 children and we have a dog. She says she'll need to talk to her husband about the dog. They were planning on renting their house for $2000 but knowing who's living there is worth the money. She asks me to stop by and look at the house. Oh my gosh! It's beautiful. It's on a lake with it's own private beach, a hot tub, a game room, a beautiful office/loft with the most gorgeous view, 3 fireplaces, and a bedroom to die for. Does God have more for me? I'd say so. We move into there and have so much fun. All the while wondering why we are being blessed like this or if this is just a cruel joke to tease us?
A now know that again, God was testing us. He was testing us for our obedience. He was testing us for our character. He was testing us for our hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 says"The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be."
God knows the condition of our heart. I believe that He knew that we were truly ok with living in a small place out of obedience. It's like the story of Abraham and how he was willing to sacrifice his son. When God knew that he really would do it, he sent an angel to tell him he didn't need to sacrifice his son. Our hearts were right. Then we were blessed with 7 months in an amazing house. God is so faithful. He knows our desires, our wants, and our needs. Throughout this entire journey I have known that. I've had complete peace with every decision we've made...when it's been the right one.
One day in our staff meeting, one of our pastors announced that he was leaving. They were being called to the east coast. God had already prepared me for that and I wasn't surprised. While he was speaking I felt as though we were supposed to move into his house. Strange. In the next month, we talked about this. But they were leaving at the end of December and we were to be in our house until March 15. They decided they would try to sell their house and so we had put that on the back burner. Fast forward to the end of January and we are now looking to find a house. We were exploring many options but I just had no desire to even look for a house. I continued to have this feeling that it was supposed to be this pastor's house. We called them again and they had not sold the house yet. And they were not officially planning to move out of the house until the end of February. Which meant they needed someone to move into the house in March! No way! God you're funny! At that moment I knew our search was over and it was indeed to be this house. Now many things had to take place and we were heavily in prayer. You can read here for more details about that. Basically, I needed to go full-time at my job. Not so much for the pay increase but for the benefits. If things stayed status quo, we would not be able to afford this house. You see, once again I had done our budget after Dave got a raise and we were still short. Of course if you read about the details just above by clicking on that link you'll see how God provided.
When I was talking to the pastor on the phone and he said we could go look at the house before we decided, I said no. I had no need to go look at the house. I knew this is where God wanted us and it didn't matter what it looked like. You might be thinking "Really?" and I would say "YES!". I had such peace about this house that I had no need to go look at it first. We signed the papers before I looked at it. Now I will say that I had been in there house years ago but had never seen the whole thing. And it was before they did some remodeling. So, I knew that the house wasn't a run down dump, but I had no idea how beautiful it was and how big it was! When we did finally go see it, I was floored! In case you didn't read this post, here's a look into our new home.
These are some key scriptures that we have been standing on.
Matthew 6:32-33 “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.
Luke 12:15 – Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.
God desires for us to live in abundance. Here and now! Does abundance mean being rich? Absolutely! Rich with love and rich with obedience and most of all rich with his character! Money is not what it is about. The world would tell you so, but not in God's Kingdom. If you struggle with money, let me know. You can remain annonymous if you would like and then I won't post your comment. I know that God has called Dave and I to help others through this struggle. And I will continue to remain obedient in that call.
What does life look like now for us? We both continue to help the needy and homeless. Now, our hearts are different. Dave continues to love his job and MWC and I love mine as well. Recently, I got to lead our church in an amazing service project. We made 40,000 sandwiches to feed the poor and the homeless! How cool is that? That is the God that I serve. Even within my own job He blesses me with opportunities to help those I feel called to help.
I pray that this is an encouragement to you no matter what your struggle is.
I leave you now with my final verse which sums up the past 2 years of our lives:
Philippians 4:12 – I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I pray all this for all of you! Bless you!
Ecclesiastes 7:14 – When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.
The funny thing is that the last part of my testimony was written in May 2009. I thought that was the last leg of our journey! The Lord must've been giggling when I wrote that. As only He would know what lied ahead of us. In time I will share that as well.
Friday, July 23, 2010
My Testimony - The Storms continue
After I hit publish on Part 4 of my testimony back in May 2009, I really did think that we were just going to sail off into the sunset. Well, kind of! Little did I know that the story was really just beginning! If you have not read all 4 parts of my testimony, you can click on MY TESTIMONY or you can go under the header of my blog and click on the page MY TESTIMONY. As I sit here today, I watch the rain fall. It's Wednesday, July 11, 2010. I'm recovering from surgery and so I've had lots of time to rest and think. The rain is coming down HARD! The thunder rolls. We're supposed to get big storms today. The thing about having notice about storms is that you can prepare. You can plan your day around them. In life we don't always know exactly when the storms are going to come, but we know they will.
Proverbs 10:25 When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.
John 16:33 Jesus says: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Jesus said that in this world you will have trouble. We know that. What I can do is to trust in Him.
We were not expecting what happened in June 2009. Or were we? You see, although Dave loved the men he was working with at his job, other things were volatile. He felt as though God was telling him it was time to move on and start another ministry, but that was a scary thought. Instead, he stayed and was really having a difficult time. The job he loved was not the same. He really loved the men. They were like brothers to him. So, on Father's Day 2009, we decided to do something different. We had the men over here and loved on them. Many of them had a hard time with that day because their father's had let them down. Many were estranged from their families and their children. They had made too many mistakes and no longer were involved in their children's lives. This made Father's Day very difficult for them. But we wanted to help them to take that day back. We had a barbecue with lots of food, some went fishing, while others played yard games. But then was a time of prayer and reflection. We were going to pour into the guys. Instead, they poured into Dave.
One by one the guys told Dave how much he meant to them. There were tears and more tears. A graduate of the program came and he brought his dad with. The dad got up and could hardly speak. He told Dave how he couldn't believe the changes in his son. He thought his son was lost forever and now he was sitting with him. He cried and thanked Dave for loving and believing in his son. Another guy said he had never trusted anyone, especially a white man. But Dave broke that wall down with his brotherly love. Dave continued to give God all the credit. But then one of the guys said, yes this happened with God's help, but you had to say yes and act. You had to love us. He told Dave that he needed to accept this love the guys were giving to him. It was really neat. This was not what we had planned for this time, but looking back it was God's plan all along. Because you see, the next day Dave would go into work and be told that they could not pay his salary anymore. He was welcome to stay and raise his own support, but the pay checks would stop. There was a lot more that happened and we were very hurt. God knew this would happen and I believe that's why the day before had went the way it did. Dave would need that love and encouragement to get him through the next few weeks. The guys would need that to get them through as well.
This was a storm we were not expecting. Although we also ignored many things along the way. Looking back...we were acting out of fear. Fear of not having money. Ha, ha! Pretty ironic if you know our testimony. Yes, we slip back into things like fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of not having enough money to pay our bills, etc. But once again, God is our provider. This needed to happen if Dave was going to do His works.
The month of June was a time of seeking the Lord. We spent a lot of time praying, talking, and seeking wise counsel. Once again we were back to trusting in God. It was a tough month. It seemed as though we had just "arrived" to our destination and now we were back on the move again.
July 2009 - On the way to the cabin, Dave asked me if I would help him start a non-profit to help the homeless. I didn't answer right away. Fear came over me. There's that word again. I sat there thinking. "I don't have time to help you start a non-profit. We don't have money to do that. How will this work? It will never work. I don't have time. Where do you even begin?" But louder than my thoughts I could hear God saying "With Me ALL things are possible." For hours Dave and I talked about what this might look like. We even talked about names. I actually started to feel excited.
Both Dave and I have had a heart for the homeless for many years. God had us on a journey to prepare our hearts for such a time as this. We were completely dependant on Him, which is exactly the way He likes it. Over the next month would be a time of preparation, research, and prayer.
We launched Breakthrough Ministries and started a blog. To read about the launch of Breakthrough, click here. We started out with a prayer meeting in our home. It was amazing! There were about 15 people there. Our prayer right from the begining was for God to break our hearts for what breaks his. For us to open up our eyes and our hearts to see and feel what He sees and feels. These people living outside, under bridges, in the woods, some in tents, some with nothing more than an old blanket. It's heartbreaking. What I thought I was going to see and feel through this experience was nothing compared to the real thing. I blogged about it here.
At the time, back in August I knew that my main role would be to pray, support and encourage my husband in any way that I could. I would help when I could, but this would become Dave's full time job. We were aware going into this that it may be months before he would ever take a pay check and we were ok with that. Right now, this would be a time to care for others and show them love. We do not work for the world, but we are working for God.
Here's one of the foundation scriptures for Breakthrough. This is what God has laid on our hearts and how can we ignore this. This is when Jesus is speaking about the final judgement.
Matthew 25: 31-46
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
A powerful passage that is. This may start out as an act of obedience for some. But as we've prayed for God to break our hearts for what breaks his...it's been amazing. How can I walk around here, living my life in my home, and yet ignore those who have nothing? How can we not show them the love of God? This was just something that I could not let go of. And although I work at a church and am in ministry already, this is different in many ways. This is going out and seeking those that have been tossed aside.
If you've read my testimony (Parts 1 - 4), you may remember how at first I wanted to be rich so I could help the homeless and then God told me that he was going to show me how I didn't need any money to do this. How true. God is faithful and he keeps his promises. Little did I know how this story, this journey, would unfold. We are now relying on God to show up, because this is not of our doing that this ministry will happen.
Fast forward to July 2010. It's been a year since we decided to start this ministry. We still fully trust in the Lord. He is our sustainer, our provider. There have been many obstacles and yet even more bridges bringing us over the obstacles. God is faithful, always. His loves endures forever. We can do nothing without Him.
If you would like to get involved in this mission, go to the Breakthrough Ministries website. There are many opportunities to help this cause. There are many people who not only don't have a home, but they don't have anyone to love them. We need YOU!
Monday, November 15, 2010
My Testimony - Where Oh Where?
I guess this would "officially" be Part 6 of My Testimony. Maybe chapter 6 of a book? ha, ha! As luck would have it (I guess if I believed in luck), but actually as only God would have it, I received a comment from someone on Thursday evening. This person had read through my testimony. It was geniune, heart-felt, uplifting and so timely. Thank you to whomever wrote it. Because I don't want to forget it and the timing of it, I'm going to include it in this post.
I am amazed that I am the first person commenting here. I have spent the last several hours--crying, writing in my journal, praying, praising God in between, eating, etc.--reading your testimonies. I googled "God will provide" or something similar, and came upon your page.
At this very moment, I am standing on the LORD's promise to me that He will provide for ALL of my needs: I love him with all my heart, and I am doing what He has put me on this earth to do. Reading your story has filled my heart with such praise and awe for the mighty and loving GOD we serve--How good and faithful He is.
Christine, Christine, Christine, may the LORD continue to bless you indeed, and pour out His great favor upon you and your family--so much so that you are wonderfully overwhelmed by His gifts. I don't know where you are right now on your journey, but I believe, in Jesus' name that your testimonies of God's goodness to you shall never run dry. Amen.
I thank God for using your blog to bless me tonight, and I thank you for listening to the LORD's voice, and blessing others with your testimonies of His goodness and faithfulness. In Jesus' name...
November 11, 2010 8:02 PM
If you're wondering what she's talking about, here's My Testimony page.
Well, here's the thing about the timing of this comment. We are in the midst of another storm. We have been attacked from all sides over the past few weeks. Two of my friends are facing major battles as they both have cancer. We've been robbed twice, my husband has been accused of mean, untrue things, my dad is facing a major surgery, my husband needs surgery, and now we are going to have to move. We are trying to soar above the clouds, above the storm, but sometimes it's tough. When I read this comment it reminded me of how much we have to be thankful of. Because it was just that night, Thursday evening, probably just about the time the person was leaving this comment that I found out we were going to have to move. When Dave told me this, I was like REALLY? REALLY GOD?
Part of her comment really struck me. "I don't know where you are right now on your journey, but I believe, in Jesus' name that your testimonies of God's goodness to you shall never run dry. Amen." I really believe God was speaking through her. She said that God's goodness to me shall never run dry. Amen! I'm standing on that.
How quickly we can forget about all He has done for us. This comment left me in tears. God has never forsaken us. In fact, He has always had our BEST interest at heart. I know this.
So...where oh where do we go? We've been renting our house. The owners want to sell the house. We haven't talked about a price, but we're pretty sure that what they want is not what we're going to be able or even willing to pay. We'll find out soon I guess. The other thing is qualifying for a mortgage. Since Dave was without an income for so long, I will have to qualify on my own. Not sure how that's going to work. I'm totally fine with renting a place. It's just the thought of packing up and moving. The thought of looking for a place. The thought of changing schools. I really do not want our kids to have to change schools. That's the worst thought of this whole thing actually. Our kids have been through enough and I just do not want to have to think about that.
The next thing I don't want to think about is going through showings. Needing to leave at a moments notice. We have a busy household and this will be stressful. Well, I feel like I'm whining now, so I'll stop. I am indeed thankful that at this moment we have a home. There are many who don't. Whenever I start feeling sorry for myself, I just remember what I have. I remember the very people we are helping right now and that they are living outside, in the snow, in a tent if they're lucky. It breaks my heart.
Back to God. God has a plan for us. We will be obedient. We will now listen once again for His voice. Some scriptures that have been and continue to be part of our testimony.
Matthew 6:32-33 “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.
Luke 12:15 – Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.
Philippians 4:12 – I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Ecclesiastes 7:14 – When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.
I will continue to stand on God's Word. He indeed is our rock! He knows the plans He has for us and they are plans to prosper us not to bring harm. Jer 29:11
Thank you God for where we're at. Show us what you want for us. Where you go we will follow! We love you LORD!
To be continued...
Welcome to our journey. The purpose of my blog is not only to journal our life experience, but also to share what God is doing in our lives. I do not claim to be an expert in parenting, marriage, or even the Bible. But I do have a heart to share my experiences and the true love that God has for each and every one of us. You can read our testimony by clicking on the top of the page. And if you'd like to know about the Homeless Ministry my husband started, you can click on the Homeless tab. I hope you will comment freely on my posts and in my community.