Unexpected gifts… July 10, 2011
Walking through this season has already been full of surprises. I feel like the Lord surprised us with a scavenger hunt of sorts and He gave us at the outset a big gift basket overflowing with wrapped presents and a backpack full of tools and necessary items. We are going from clue to clue and seeing bent branches here and there, His footprints in the mud and little clues left along the way to remind us that He has definitely gone JUST ahead of us on the trail. So we know we are on the right path and we have the assurance of His presence, we just have no idea where this crazy adventure is taking us!
I am also truly thankful that right now He is teaching me lots. At the moment for me this is a fruitful journey. My prayer is I can record these lessons and that they will be embedded in my heart and spirit because I am learning some good stuff!! So I wanted to list some things that I have discovered already along the way. Some of them may not really make a lot of sense but they are clear to me:)
1) We are immensely blessed with amazing friends!
Are you familiar with Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
By God’s grace we are blessed with so many crazy, Christ lovin’, Bible believin’, sacrificial, fun, awesome and giving friends! We already knew this but we didn’t realize that they could love us so selflessly. Many friends have come to us and already financially blessed us by giving us monetary gifts, bringing us meals and gift cards and offering support any way that we need it. It is overwhelming. These are friends that have already sacrificially given toward the adoption and friends that don’t have excess money lying around. To give us these kinds of gifts means that they are SACRIFICING, and giving something to us means they are going without in some area of their own lives.
2) God’s provision through other people’s sacrifice and obedience also means that we learn great humility and surrender.
Accepting the fact that we are on the receiving end and not in a place to give this way ourselves is very humbling. There is no way around it. The Lord is dealing with some big, bruised areas of pride in our hearts. These are lessons I thought we already learned but apparently we need to be pruned more and it sounds so weird because we are SO overwhelmed at how loved we feel by these gifts and we are over the moon grateful…yet there is some bruising and pruning taking place that also stings and hurts. This is Christ doing a work, a GOOD and necessary work in us! This is keeping us on our faces and on our knees. Keeping our hands open wide…it is a good place to be, but a place of rawness.
3) The Lord can make surrender and trust a place of joy.
We are truly trying to walk each day trusting and not staying in a place of anxiety. That means a lot of prayer and speaking the truth of Scripture. It means reminding ourselves of God’s great faithfulness in stories from His Word and also of stories from our past where He has proved Himself faithful. The amazing thing is as we awake each day with hope and focus our eyes on Him…He provides great opportunities for delight.
We have had SUCH an amazing and fun summer as a family so far. We have been blessed with great time as a family and SO many tremendous experiences!! We went to the mountains for a week with college friends and went rock hopping and slid down Sliding Rock and went tubing down a mountain river. We celebrated God’s faithfulness with college friends. Several different families have opened up their homes and vacation homes to come and be with them. So we have had boat rides and gone tubing and celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks and made ice cream and fed baby deer and spied on alligators and taken golf cart rides and enjoyed time together and new experiences with wonderful, gracious friends. Instead of sitting at home and worrying and pacing and fretting…we are doing all that we can faithfully and then trusting and enjoying the time we have together right now.
4) He has lessons to teach us each day, if we are walking with awareness.
Realizing that I really need to depend on the Lord because automatic draft is not going to make money appear in my bank account…has heightened my awareness and honed my listening skills. I am hungry to hear what God has to say these days. Yes, I always want to know what God has in mind but when I really need His input and movement in my life like now…suddenly I hear and see Him A LOT! And I love it!! We need His direction and we need Him to move on our behalf…but what I am realizing is He ALWAYS is!! I just really don’t pay attention a lot. This is making me hungry for communication with Him. So as I see His fingerprints throughout my day it is oh so sweet! Like I was having a really hard morning waking up with a hopeful attitude a few weeks ago. I went on a run and just wasn’t feelin’ it…I was crying out to Him and asking Him to help me keep my chin up and put on that garment of praise…well the last song that shuffled on my silly ipod was my absolute favorite praise song right now!! The one that I can never get the silly thing to play when I run without skipping…but it played JUST when I needed it!! See, that is one of His fingerprints! Or when my devotion was randomly enough in the book of Numbers and dealing with the Israelites complaining about manna…it spoke directly to me about how manna fulfilled the Israelite’s needs but not their desires and cravings because He wanted them to learn to turn that craving toward Him. Kelly Minter says, “God uses scarcity in our lives (it can be in any area, not just financial) to draw us to dependency on Him self.” God’s got my number!
5) God reads my mail!
He knows every need we have. He answers us in lots of different ways, but I am learning slowly, that He wants us to take every need to Him and let Him decide how to fill it. It doesn’t hurt to ask! I was really sick last week with strep. Our insurance just ended and we are working on getting some “in-between” insurance but of course this week we don’t have any. I hated to do it but I was tore up sick so I went to Urgent Care and paid more than a pretty penny for it. I am truly thankful because I was so wanting to get better, but I gotta admit I was feeling awfully guilty for spending that much money on a strep test and a Z-pack! Today I received an anonymous letter in the mail with a Scripture verse and cash totaling, almost to the dollar, the exact amount I paid at the doctor’s office. What is that?????? God’s amazing provision and tender reminder that He is enough and He knows my need. I told maybe one family member how much the doctor visit cost. God used someone’s blind and complete obedience to not only meet our need but remind us that He is ahead of us on this path, therefore we do NOT need to fear.
Now do I expect people to be paying our mortgage for the next six months if Mark hasn’t found a job by then? No…but I can simply wake up tomorrow confident that God has a plan and whatever tomorrow holds, it is going to be okay. Not only okay, but good because I serve a God who is faithful and good. And God is not pulling out the stops for us because it is US. We are not super hero Christians or amazingly faithful Christ followers. We are sinners that mess up and make mistakes and don’t deserve our friends to sacrifice for us and certainly don’t deserve the Lord to rescue us. But that’s grace and it is beautiful.
I warned you that some of this might not make sense but I first of all need to record this journey because it is significant to us personally and as a family. But we also want to proclaim God’s faithfulness and how He provides and how He is SO, SO faithful!!