As I look around my home, I'm comforted by reminders of His faithfulness in my life. I recall times that we had to make decisions to step out, entirely unsure of the ground we would walk on if we did step - or if there would even be any ground to catch us. And every instance I can remember has proved Him both faithful and good.
Like when my firstborn was 6 months old and I felt convinced that I should stay home and care for him, rather than continue at my job. Unfortunately [or perhaps, too fortunately], my income provided over half of our family finances. Our mortgage was lower than any rental cost I had heard of...and we could change some of our spending habits, although, we certainly didn't live extravagantly. We did have 2 small car payments on our "new" used vehicles. We crunched the numbers, but it just didn't look like it would work out. After months of praying and calculating and aching to be with my baby, we finally decided that we were certain God was asking me to quit my job. And with no idea how bills would get paid and how numbers would add up, we determined that we would step...and prayed He would catch us.
I wrote out a notice for my manager. On the day I intended to give it to her, we were visiting my husband's parents. They sat us down and explained that for the past month God had been laying it on their hearts to pay off the remainder of our car loans, so that I could stay home with our son. They had wanted to tell us weeks ago, but circumstances had kept them from sharing it with us sooner. [Circumstance - bah! God just wanted us to sweat first!]
Or when we moved back into our one bedroom house, with our 2 year old son and a baby on the way...unsure of how we would manage fitting everyone and everything comfortably in here. And God slowing began to strip away things that we thought we needed. He graciously expanded our house, without ever tearing down a wall, or hammering a single nail. We sold our bed. God gave us insight and wisdom as we re-organized and found space we never thought we had. And now, 3 years and 2 more children later, He is continuing to teach us contentment, and a fondness for small spaces. :)
I think of the time that my daughter had a really high fever and we couldn't bring it down. My husband took her to the ER, and I stayed behind at home, so our son could sleep. Those hours waiting to hear an answer were some of the most difficult ever. I prayed and I wept and I paced and my mind was racing. By the time the phone rang with my husband on the other line, with good news to report, the Lord had taken my heart through a journey of fear, anxiety, and finally surrender. I knew that she was only entrusted to my care, she was not mine. And I was heartbroken, but willing to let go, if He asked me to. He didn't that day. And I am so thankful for each morning I wake up to her bright, cheerful smile!
And then there was a time when, despite my husband's hard work and long hours, and our best efforts to balance our finances, we were $500.00 short to pay our bills. It was the end of the month, and we had no way to come up with the cash on our own. We prayed about it and trusted that He would provide for us. A few days later [just in time to make our payments], a couple from church, who we barely knew, handed my husband an envelope. Inside was a card full of words of encouragement and a check in the amount we needed. They had no way of knowing our circumstances, but God had asked them to take a step, and they did, and He used them to "catch" us as we took a step. And in the whole process we were all blessed and amazed by the care and provision of God for His people.
I could go on – He enabled me to carry my children comfortably throughout my pregnancies even though I had severe back pain for years. He softened my parents' hearts, and we were married with their blessing. He provided financially again and again when we were in need. When my husband was away in other countries for work, he brought help and comfort to me through friends and believers I didn't even know. He asked my husband to leave a job he loved, and he did...and we were out of work for nearly a month, and had very little cash saved. God provided for us in the midst of a devastating snow storm, he was able to shovel snow for 9 days straight and earn more money than we normally would in an entire month! When my mother was diagnosed with cancer... When our son's leg was severely burned... He has always been faithful to go before us, and walk with us through each situation.
Once, when I was in my late teens, I was driving down the highway behind a larger truck, and I had an urgent sense to move into the left lane. I did. My mom was riding in the passenger seat and wondered why I was switching lanes; the right lane is safer, right? Suddenly, a huge sheet of plywood lifted from the back of that truck and flew behind it into the right lane - exactly where our vehicle would have been! We were both in shock. How could I have known? I did not know why...I just knew I needed to move, and God had protected us both from what I'm sure would have been a fatal accident that day.
I just think in my mind of all the ways He has cared for us...and I am reassured. He has never once failed me. Oh, He has left me uncomfortable in my circumstances...and He has ignored my hopes and dreams at times. But He has given me contentment in the middle of my discomfort and has been setting my heart on Him, rather than my desires for this life, and all the temporary sweetness it may offer.
So, as I look ahead...not too far ahead, I can only handle a day [okay, more often just a moment] at a time...I may not have any insight into what lies before us. But I know who goes before us…who holds us. And I trust Him. And because I trust Him, I can rest. I am going to enjoy these next few days together with my husband and our children, and not try to figure everything out. I have decided to be thankful in each moment, and determined to wait until He leads us to take a step. And when He goes before us, we will follow - even if it's dark, and we are unsure of where each foot will land. There is no place I would rather be than in the hands of Him who is perfect in both wisdom and love. I have a feeling this adventure will be the next great story we will tell of His faithfulness and provision in our lives.
"You hem me in - behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me... Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? ...If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, ' even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ...When I awake, I am still with You. ...Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." - Psalm 139