Saturday, August 09, 2008

A testimony of God's faithfulness

Sit tight, grab a cup of tea, coffee, or soda this is going to be a long one! I felt the desire to share this testimony for others to be encouraged by. It was spurred on by what someone else wrote, and then as I was sitting there thinking on it I thought, hey I need to "hear" this again as well :-) Plus with things being the way they are now, with prices high, it may be even more needed. This is the nitty gritty. This is personal. However, there are times and places to share deep, hard things and this may be one of them.





As a background, my husband and I became Christians about the same time a year or so into our marriage. We had some pretty tough times then as well, but we were so overcome by joy and new hearts that we didn't care. There were times when we were looking for change under the couch cushions to buy some groceries. And I am NOT joking about that. Two things made it a bit easier to deal with (aside from the spiritual), one, I was working and I felt we were doing all we could to keep afloat, and two, we didn't have children at the time. Fast forward 6 or 7 years. There were quite a few poor financial decisions made. I in no way want to bring disrespect to my hubby, so that is not my intention of sharing this, but I do share this so that you might not make the same mistakes that I have. I was very unhappy (read-fuming mad)at many of his decisions. Not happy at ALL! Being on the other side of this story and seeing what God taught us and brought us through I have to say that I really regret how I handled myself, especially in regards to my husband. I went kicking and screaming all the way! Ladies, I share this because you may be in that same position. It is not easy being on a sinking boat, especially when you seem to be the only one to know that it is sinking. I shouted, and pleaded and cried etc. Now I wish I had been quiet, offering my counsel and sat back to watch God's hand at work. So the scenario we found ourselves in is I was pregnant with our third child. I was a nanny at the time, taking my two children with me to work. That was a huge blessing. I however, really wanted to be a stay at home mom as come the fall time I would be starting to homeschool. I had been praying about it, and it didn't seem to be a possibility. My hubby said there was no way that we could afford for me to stay home. Two months before the baby was due the family I worked for called me to say that once I had the baby they thought it best that I stopped working for them. It was a very friendly "split". It was hard since I had been with them for 8 years and at the same time I was excited to think of staying home. My hubby said I had to find another nanny job right away. However that is not possible when you have three of your own children. I decided to look into in home day care, which would have been a huge decrease in pay. A couple of days later my husband lost his job! He got a short term position and then that was over, so we found ourselves with no income. After the baby was born and she was a few weeks old I took on two children to care for in my home. Can you say, disaster? Jeremiah stayed with them a few hours the first day and he said, "NO way is this going to work!" I stuck it out the rest of the week and then told the mother that it was not working. We still had no income. We went on public assistance. A note here, as this can be a controversial topic. My hubby sees PA sort of as an insurance. He (and I)paid into the system, and during this time of need we needed that money "back". He was very actively seeking employment and the moment he got a job we went off of it. He did indeed get a job, in another city. We had to move away from all our friends and "family". This was extremely hard. We were losing our house and so we had to move. Our realtor, a God send, found out about our situation, told her church and brought over at least 6 paper bags full of groceries that were a gift from the congregation. I hated to be in the position of being in need. However there was no way out at the time. We moved to another city and even though my husband was now working I wasn't, and we had a ton of bills. It was decided that I would stay at home and we would somehow make it. This is where our convictions were tested. It is one thing to say you believe that a woman should stay at home to care for her children and another to follow through when all the world around you is saying that you are being absurd to do so. During this time both our vehicles were repossessed. Thankfully we were about to get our tax refund so we were able to get a used vehicle (paid in full) before the second care was taken. It is not a good feeling to have a law enforcement officer come to your door to deliver you papers for repossession. I felt like a total looser. I think the guy who came to take the vehicles was very relieved that I wasn't putting up a fuss. I could tell he came ready to "fight" and was very surprised when I just quietly handed him over the keys and told him to have a good day (I said that in a very pleasant voice). I think he was ready for me to be yelling at him or something. So we are down to one vehicle. But God saw fit to go above and beyond that. Someone at my husbands work said that he had a car that he wasn't using and gave it to my hubby to borrow. He let him borrow it for a year!! We were able to save up some money during this time to buy another used vehicle.



The time leading up to this mess was a huge black hole, spiritually speaking. We were both backsliding in different ways. Bringing us to another city, cutting us off from everything, and taking everything away really, really got our attention!! We have called this our desert experience. The Lord always brought the right people along to steer us in the right way. Not to say we always went that way, but He was faithful to point us to the right way. Sometime after everything was taken away (granted we still had a LOT of "stuff", compared to many in the world we were still rich!) I came across a site called The Blessed Mother. Shannon still has the main page up, but has switched to blogging. You can see her site on my side bar. Now this may seem silly to most, and if not it may just change your life, but as I was reading and devouring Shannon's words I learned or rediscovered a very, VERY important principle. You can take God's word as it stands! In other words you can trust the very words and nature of God revealed in His word. Again I know that sounds very elementary. I would have told you prior to that knowledge that "of course I believe God's word and what it says." I think a lot of us say that. But are we living like it? I don't think I can adequately express just what I mean by all of this. I started to make some changes though, and after I did so some amazing things started to happen. I had always prayed "in my head". I only sang praise songs, or hymns....in church. When I was praying it was "asking" for things. There are way too many things that I learned in those months to write here. But one idea that really stuck out to me as I was meditating on the Word was that God WALKED with Adam and Eve in the garden. I had never 'seen' that before. To me God was this big impersonal being in the sky. And I realized that I was totally wrong! His desire is to walk with us, to know us, for us to know Him. He put Adam and Eve in a lush garden which would meet all their needs. And here I was putting in "orders" like one would at the drive thru window at a fast food joint. So I started praying out loud to the Lord. This was huge for me. For some reason saying my words out loud really forced me to think about just who I was talking to. It made it very real that I was actually speaking to God Almighty. Not only that but scripture says that His sheep "HEAR" his voice and follow Him. So I started praying that I would hear His voice, and I started listening for it. Sometimes I had to remind myself to keep my attena up to be able to hear from Him. I also started praising Him without "asking" for things. The Psalms are a wonderful place to just start using the words to praise Him. And a big key was to pray scripture. If we are to be in his will, and pray for His will, how much closer can you get than to pray scripture? Again, all of this was new to me, even though I had been a Christian for some 7 years. I can't remember exact passages, but I had been praying that our time, and finances would be redeemed, like it says about the locusts coming to devour but that the Lord redeemed the harvest. I started praying for my marriage, by using God's words. I started walking with God, not just visiting Him on Sundays. I also started to hear from Him. I had total peace that he was going to bring us out of our situation, only because He told me He was going to. I had no idea how He would do it, as it seemed impossible. So a few months later when my hubby came home in the middle of the day, I was not surprised when he told me that he just lost his job. I just looked at him and said, "Oh, OK." He stood there waiting for the news to sink in and for me to start crying! But no tears came, I was totally HAPPY. I happened to be pregnant with our 4th child by this time, so I am sure he was waiting for a flood of tears! But you see the Lord already told me he was going to redeem our situation. I had been praying for freedom from our bondage to sin, from our bondage to debt and so forth. Which is why it was no surprise that we were going to have a girl (even though we hadn't had an ultrasound) because after praying about a name for our unborn child the Lord gave it to me! It was Saoirse, which means....Freedom!!! I had total faith that my husband was going to find another job that was better than his last one. And he did, THREE days later, AND it was in the city we had previously moved from!!! So we were going "home"!



The rest is sort of history! We had an amazing birth in our rental home. The Lord brought us through a few more interesting things, all of which I had peace about. Now after all this you may be asking why I have been so worried about Jedidiah these past months. Because faith is a day by day thing. Not the faith to be saved mind you, but the faith to believe God's word. I have been fearful because I have not been walking close with the Lord. Just worshiping Him, just singing praises to Him, just laying at His feet, just listening to His voice and just waiting for His peace to take over. I have spent most of this time steeped in using my energy to figure out what we should do next. I have been impatient. I want answers now. The silly thing is that I probably would have had answers and definitely peace by now had I just been praying all along. Instead I have found myself more fretful, and more worried. Which is why I said I needed to "hear" this testimony myself! I do believe that is why the Lord tells the Israelites again and again to remember and to tell the next generation about all He had done. It is so easy to forget His faithfulness and mercy and grace! We are no different than the Israelites were. We are prone to forget. So if you find yourself in a hard time, in fear or worry, go back and remember all His past provisions. Then remind your family of them, or tell them the first time to your children. And then fall at His feet and wait for Him to provide the way through your current troubles. This is not to say things will be easy. By no means!! Although His burden is light, and it will seem light if you are walking with Him. Enjoy your time with your family, with your church family and with your neighbors. God is bigger than our finances and medical problems. I have personally wasted so much time worrying. Instead I could have been making memories with my family. Money seems to make the world go round, but that is not what God's word has to say. Health is important and certainly makes this life much easier. However God is bigger than our son's health issues. I don't know about you, but I am ready to have the Lord's peace in my life. I'll keep you updated in my walk.

I hope this has been helpful to someone. I am sorry it is long, and probably not very well put, but I know that God can EVEN use my meager writings to encourage someone else :-)

Have a great day/night.

5 comments:

Henley said...

hi, thanks so much for sharing! You always inspire me - I'm amazed and in awe of how you manage your life so well - and by how much you love your children. You are a master at multi-tasking! I have always been able to tell from your blog how much you love the Lord; it's nice to read that your walk was a process. I think all of us have, in our own way, been through a process to get to where we are today in our relationship with God. Remembering to just let him cover us and surround us and just BE is one of the hardest things for us controlling humans to do! But really, we just need to plug along knowing that nothing that happens is beyond what is planned for us. Jed's life is unfolding just as it should! Whether he grows a lot, gains a lot of weight, etc. is not important because it's already taken care of - we just don't know what the outcome will be. The one thing I do know is that he is growing up knowing how much he is loved and he will grow up having a strong faith because of his wonderful upbringing. You are doing a great job - just try to remember that!!

Katie said...

Kerri this is so beautiful and really spoke to my heart. Thank you for being so open, honest, and writing praises of the wonderful things God has done in your life. What a blessing you are!

KathyEller said...

Thank you Kerri for being open here and willing to share what God has brought you through and taught you. He is so faithful and so Able to provide when it seems impossible to us. It is a tough balance to KNOW that and LIVE it and not take it for granted. I can see that you do have that balance.

Angie said...

thank you! that is so inspiring. I think i forget to be nice to my husband, i don't yell scream or cry but i silently dismiss him. which is insidiously evil. I need to remember to treat him as good or better than anyone i would meet. I got a lot of good from your post. like reminding me that Yes GOD is talking to me I truly hear HIM. Especially and even when from the rest of the world I appear crazy. thank you.

my typing is sloppy because it is one handed... n.a.k
blessings!!

Mary said...

Thanks for this post. It was exactly what I needed to read right now. It's not that I don't know these things, it's just that I'm having a harder time than usual putting them to work in my life right now. This past year has been one of illness for me (six stays in the hospital over the past year have left me feeling worn down and dull.) I know that the Lord is right there where he always was and that He loves me. However I am lacking joy and I'm asking God to get my "train" back on the track because right noe I feel like I'm driving on the ties.I know that I need to hang on tight to His hand and trust Him in the midst of my ill health. Please pray for me. Thanks...

Mary

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