We try to at least keep a mental list, if not an actual handwritten one, of different ways we are blessed throughout each year. They are great reminders to go back to when we feel like God isn’t hearing us or when we question why we do what we do or when things aren’t going well. The Bible specifically commands us to remember the things God has done for us. Teach them to our children. Write them down. Put them somewhere as a reminder. Don’t ever forget what God has done! So, we wanted to share publicly some things that you may or may not know God has done for us this year – as a reminder to ourselves, our family, and to you that our God is faithful, gracious, and kind. All good things come from Him, big or small. Here’s a glimpse of our 2013:
- Financial gift from our SD church that helped fund our Dec/Jan trip to SD. (side-note: it seems like whenever we need to travel, a financial gift comes in at just the right time that covers if not the entire cost, the majority of it. Every. Single. Time.)
- Meeting a Christian car dealer who helped us out immensely so we could get our Ford Freestar in January.
- Never telling anyone but God our true desires for future ministry… and having every single one of them come to fruition. Actually, thrown in our laps and offered to us without any coercion on our parts whatsoever.
- Expecting one home here at MRF for a short period of time… and being given a better home, for long-term, that has a garage, 3 bedrooms, and is fully furnished.
- Piles of groceries from our home church – given a day after we were praying about how we were going to afford groceries that week.
- A crib from friends at church to replace the pack ‘n’ play Joe had been sleeping in for six months – and it converts to a toddler bed.
- The piles of clothes, shoes, books, and toys from my in-laws – more than enough for almost all of 2013. My MIL always seems to send boxes of clothes right when we need them, too. Just a few months ago, we got a box filled with dresses, shoes, and long-sleeve shirts for Elena – we’d never even told her we needed them!
- Finding a running stroller and an exersaucer on the side of the road, in mint condition, with a sign that said “free.”
- Bags of barely used clothes and shoes from other friends for my little boy who seems to grow non-stop.
- A beautiful TV stand and a TV to go in it, from two different people.
- A bag of shoes and socks from someone here at MRF who didn’t even know we had been praying about it a week before. We honestly could not afford shoes for Joe… and the next week, she sat me down in her house and had me dig through shoes for him and pick out what we needed. They had no idea what a big answer to prayer that was.
- A dentist friend in SD doing major dental work for me at half the cost. And being so kind and gracious to me during the ordeal since I was a WRECK the entire time.
- Simple, materialistic things: an anonymous coupon to my hairdresser, free decorations for the house, free yard sale items just because “your kids are so good!” while we were shopping, coupons for free kid’s meals at restaurants from strangers in the same restaurant, and giant discounts on big ticket items we need – found “by accident” online.
- Free fruit and vegetables from a local farmer’s market and free bread items from a camp.
- Being able to swap childcare with a friend for the last few months.
- Getting health insurance at just the right time since within a month of getting it, both children have needed to go to the doctor for emergencies.
- Coming home from Peru with basically no toys for the children and being given more than they could possibly use within a couple of months of being back.
- A Thanksgiving basket, also from our home church, complete with turkey. We weren’t planning on getting a turkey this year; now we don’t have to worry about it.
- Random financial gifts throughout the year that help pay for specific needs at just the right time.
It’s hard to list these things without getting emotional. Some of the things on this list may seem minor, but to us, they were a big deal. Things like getting socks and shoes at literally just the right time. Or, being given all the groceries from our home church when just the night before, I was in tears coming home from a needed shopping trip begging God to somehow supply our needs for that week because our grocery budget was already shot. He knows and He cares. He’s promised to take care of us; we just need to let Him. We have gotten the mentality of trying to do it all ourselves and providing for ourselves so we don’t need anyone, when in reality, we should be relying so much more fully on His care for us. Brian and I have found that the more we just let the worry about our finances and needs go, the more God takes care of us over and above what we even thought we needed!
If I can encourage you to do anything in 2014, I would say to truly let God supply your needs. In His way, in His time. Tell God honestly what you need and then trust Him to supply it. Continue to tithe and give to missionaries and those who need it worse than you do and you will be amazed – utterly amazed – how God will repay it back to you.
I was teaching the kids on Wednesday night a few weeks about the parable of the talents. Naturally, as I prepared the lesson, it spoke to me much more than it probably did to the kids. One of the things that hit me hardest was the fact that the talents in the parable did not belong to the servants – they belonged to the master. It wasn’t theirs to do with as they pleased – it was the master’s, and he demanded they do something substantial with it. In the same way, the gifts that God has given us do not belong to us – they belong to Him. Which begs the question: What are we doing with the good gifts God has given us? Read the entire parable here.