type='text/javascript'/> A Latte Talk: And then He provided... again.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

And then He provided... again.

I love talking to people with a strong faith talk about different things that God has provided for them when resources were slim and needs were high.

Like the story from Great Grandpa: They needed wood to keep their cabin warm, and they had no wood. A prayer was prayed asking for a miracle. Minutes later, there was a knock at the door, and when they opened the door, nobody was there... except a pile of wood. It was snowing, and there were no footprints anywhere around the door or the pile of wood. An absolute miracle.

If you were in that situation, would you have prayed for a miracle, and believed God would provide?

Or would you have fretted about how you had no wood? Check.

Recently, I have been asking my God to stretch my faith so that I would pray prayers like that one.

In our first year of marriage, when we were both still in college, I prayed specific prayers like that a LOT, because, well, the needs were HIGH. And the resources were LOW. Really low. Like our entire monthly budget back then was less than our current mortgage payment kind of low.

And God provided:

The money to buy a computer - boom. It was there.

Incredible health insurance at a very low cost - there is no way health plans like that even exist anymore. And little did we know, we'd be needing it for some rather extensive medical bills that year.

A computer chair we had prayed for - a broken but fixable chair showed up in the hallway.

And at the end of our first year of marriage, a place to live AND work - all in one, God provided an apartment manager position for us.

Not to mention that whole first year of marriage our entire budget was like the 5 loaves and 2 fishes. I remember we tried to sit down and make a budget, but whenever we did, we always ended up with more expenses than we did income. Writing out a budget never worked. But we always had enough money to pay our bills. I remember us scratching our heads and saying, "how has this been working??" We never ever, not once went in the red.

And it's almost like our faith didn't take any human faith. God gave it to us freely. It was a no-brainer. "Well, of course God will provide!" Like, duh! I really honestly do not remember ever being stressed about money at all back then.

Except for the time I forgot to deposit a check and I overdrafted our bank account and had to pay $25 for one overdraft. That was stressful. That was my entire week's budget for food!! I remember that SO clearly. Anyhoo.

Then we both graduated and were a double-income-no-kids family, with NO rent (we managed an apartment complex, Matt was starting to get music gigs, and I worked full-time), and we had plenty of money. Suddenly I wasn't praying for provision or miracles because God was providing the resources through our jobs. How easy it is to forget that the provision is still coming from God. We got into an easy, comfortable time.

Once we had a mortgage payment, and then kids, and I cut way back on my work hours, we were living mostly on Matt's self-employment income. Which you all know is rock-solid and never fluctuates (HA!). So the game of trusting and praying and fretting began again. It's a game we've played for 6 years.

Sometimes we're good at it, relying on the trust and prayer. Sometimes we're not so good at it, relying on the fretting.

What we're relying on the fretting to do, I do not know. Let me know if you come up with a good outcome of fretting. So far I haven't come up with anything.

Several weeks ago, Lysa TerKeurst had a great story on her blog about a huge prayer of faith, and the miraculous outcome. I felt a spark in my heart, a little poke of the Holy Spirit, saying "I have all of this waiting for you, and more... just trust me". It really inspired me to begin to pray, "What should I be trusting you for, Lord? What am I holding on to that is rightfully yours?"

So, can you believe that all of THAT was a prelude for my story? Congratulations if you got this far!

We're having a foreign exchange student stay with us beginning in a few weeks, and we needed to have a desk and a bed in her room. Neither of which we own. Neither of which we really have room in the budget for at the moment. I prayed about it. A simple, seemingly selfish, not at all "spiritual" prayer. "Lord, we need a desk and a bed. Will you help us find them inexpensively?"

So I was looking on Craigslist, and searched "desk". That's it. Talk about a broad search.

The first, most recent listing that came up had been posted only 10 minutes earlier. It was a posting for a "FREE retro 50's desk". The desk was in this person's alley waiting to be hauled away.

The address of the house was 3 blocks away from my house. 3 blocks. I couldn't believe it. Within 20 minutes, we had loaded a very functional, large desk into our van! 3 blocks away! And the price? FREE!

It gets better. While we were waiting to load up the car and go pick it up, I got a call from my friend Sarah, and upon telling her what we were doing, and mentioning that we were looking for a bed also, she said, "Oh! My mom has a twin size matress and box spring that she wants to get rid of. What do you need?"

"Uh... a twin size matress and box spring. How much does she want for them?"

"Nothing. She says it's free!"

Woo. Hoo. !!!!!

One "selfish" prayer. And a wee bit of faith.

And one morning, within 20 minutes of each other, God provided a desk. And a bed. Not inexpensively, as I had requested. Better than I had requested. FREE.

"...him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think..." Ephesians 3:20

I don't want to over-spiritualize this, either, because it's not about a desk and a bed. God is far more interested in what's going on in my heart than he is in a bed or a desk.

But that's kind of my point. I am reminded about both the awesome power AND the personal care that the God of the Universe has taken on ME, little old ME and my cares and requests.

I believe that God impressed on me to pray that prayer- SO that he could provide far more abundantly than all I asked or thought- in order that I would see Him and praise Him.

Because that's just what He's like.

So, I'm asking it again. "What should I be trusting you for, Lord?"


Anonymous said...

Isn't God awesome?!! A couple of weeks ago, we ran out of money (after a year of no "real" job) and asked God, "should we sell or rent out our house to pay our mortgage?" A couple of days later, Lance decided to check on a 3 month old job lead. It was still open and within a week, he had a job in Longmont prompting us to put our house up for sale so we could have more family time and a bigger house for less money up north! And this job is soooo perfect for him! It actually uses all 3 of his graduate degrees (we never thought THAT would happen!) It is so cool to see how God works!
Keep on asking, Jenny!
Love, Kathie

Dawn S. said...

awww, I'm teary! God is so good. He does want to stretch us, although sometimes I want to say, "OK!! That is enough!" As Mama (or Grandma to you!) always lived big faith. Like Lee said recently, "Mom prays for EVERYTHING" and I knew what he meant, because she is in constant prayer. For everything and everyone. Nothing is too small for God to care about, she always told me. "He knows how many hairs are on your head and how many tears you have shed!"

I am proud of you, happy for you and I love, love, love you. Grow. Stretch!

Charlene said...

God is so great I could write a book on how many time's He has provided for me and my family...I loved your story

Kelly @ Love Well said...

That's food for my soul.

As you know, we're in a bit of a faith-producing stretch right now. Corey's job is falling apart, we still have that house down south that won't sell, and we can't do anything about either situation.

But God is still God, and His timing is perfect.

You've en-COURAGE-d me. Thank you, Jen!

Leys said...

It is so awesome to see the ways that God provides! I agree with above comment.. it is SO encouraging when we share with one another these stories of faith and God's abundant provision. It gives us courage and strength in the Lord to trust when all our circumstances tell us otherwise.

Elena said...

The Lord is sooo good. Thanks for sharing how the Lord has provided for you in the past ans present. Such an encouragement, a reminder of how good the Lord is and will be!

Julie said...

I have stories like yours too...aren't they just awesome.

It's amazing to me how Papa cares for me.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love having visitors stop by. It's nice to meet you.


Laura said...

Thank you for this! What a great reminder.

Tiffany said...

We've been praying for a desk and a dresser and a bed....all of which we haven't yet gotten. Craigslist is what we peruse too. That's encouraging. I need to keep praying and KNOW that He will provide!

Lelia Chealey said...

I found you on Lysa's blog. I thought you were my friend Jenny from Georgia, but glad God led me here anyway! :) This is an awesome testimony of God's greatness!!! Thank you for sharing this and you are so right, it's not about a desk and a bed it's all about our hearts. He sees you and loves what is going on inside of you!
On my blog every Tuesday I host a Yes to God study. Right now we're doing Lysa's book, "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith". I'd love to link your post of faith.
Glad I "found" you, I'll definitely be back to read more of what God is doing in your life! We have a friend in common too...Missy from It's Almost Naptime! I just spent time with her in North Carolina at She Speaks, she is an incredible woman of God!

Linda said...

This is a great testimony! It's good that you put down so many details for your kids and grandkids to come. They'll be inspired, as will other readers here.

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Exactly. What. I. Needed. As someone who doesn't know how some of the expenses for this month will be covered, well, let's just say that the Lord is talkin' to me through your post. He is FAITHFUL.

Sheryl said...

okay, i am just going to be really honest here. i love the post and i love the story. where i struggle is when i ask and nothing changes. is is because of lack of trust/faith or just because He's saying wait. in my heart i know He hears but i wonder if i'm not praying in faith. hmmmm.....

thanks for giving me something to think about. i think???


Jenny said...

Yes. I SO hear you. I have plenty of those stories too. We're in the middle of one of those stories, actually, one that's been going on for years.. where we ask and ask, and the "provision" that we're begging for just isn't there.

But the fact that there are always these consistant reminders that He IS taking care of us, he HAS us in His hand, He sees it all and cares for it all... is amazing, when it sinks in how awesome He is.

I didn't mean to lead on that the majority of my prayers get answered like this, like I hope... quite the reverse.

It's the fact that sometimes he knocks our socks off that is this reminder to me that, yes - He IS the one that is in control, and he's grabbing my heart and wanting me to see Him and trust in HIM.

Anyways, now I'm babbling on my own comment :) I'll be praying for you.

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing your stories. My family has experienced many, many miracles of God's provision in the last two years, after my husband's job loss. Sometimes God says "no".... but it has been our experience that when something is a true need, He always comes through.

Laurie Ann said...

Our God is an awesome God! When our transmission went out on our car years ago God caused literally $1500 to fall into my lap. I was surprised but later I realized God was showing His provision for us. I had prayed for exactly that amount - I didn't want to be greedy - and it literally fell into my lap. Is that not amazing? God will bless you for sharing your testimony of faith in Him. You blessed my heart, indeed.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Preach it sister.

I think too many of us think we can only pray "big prayers" but God is intimately involved in every single detail of our lives.

I have a blog post about this I have been writing for months. Need to finish it....