Monday, September 15, 2014

Three Testimonies

            A few days ago, I wrote about sharing your testimony. I challenged our ladies bible study group to do the same. Since I challenged them, I felt it only right that I too take up that challenge and share mine. For the past three days I have been sharing various aspects of my walk with the Lord where He has worked in miraculous ways in me and through me. Today, I wanted to recap these testimonies, in the hope that someone out there may read them and be encouraged to keep trusting the Lord for whatever it is that you are waiting for. I pray you are blessed.
Day One- Testimony
God my Jehovah Jirah (God my Provider)
My husband and I were down to nothing- absolutely nothing in our bank accounts, nothing in our cupboards for food, and no money coming in anytime soon. It was the middle of February, and my husband's family was coming up for a weekend visit. The knowledge of someone else to feed was overwhelming. Our food pantry was bare. My husband said that we would have to bite the bullet and put groceries on a credit card. This was hard to do because having the money to pay for the groceries we would put on this credit card the following month would not be there either. It was hopeless. But our children needed to eat, and so did everyone else. I began to pray. I knew that my husband had mailed off our income tax forms to the NC IRS. I knew that just a few days ago the forms had left our mailbox and were headed towards the government. I knew that if that check would come, we would have enough money for food and no reason to use the credit card. My husband told me there was no way- no way would we get that check anytime soon. (We all know how long it takes the government to process an income tax return.) But I had hope, I had faith. I began praying every day; all day that God would somehow in His God way bring that check to us before I had to use the credit card. The morning of grocery day came- still no check. My husband handed me the credit card and told me to go- we had no choice, we would figure something out. I climbed into my car and began down the trip down the drive way. I heard a still small voice tell me to stop and check the mailbox before I left. I stopped. (At this time our mail did not come till after 2:00 in the afternoon- it was approximately 11:00 in the morning. But I checked anyway.) To my amazement, to my husband's amazement, to all the amazement of all my family- that check I had been praying for, that check that everyone told me would not come had come! Lying all alone in the mailbox was the money we needed to purchase food and all our other needs for the rest of that month! I still see that yellow envelope laying there on its side, just waiting for me to pick it up! There was nothing else in that mailbox but the answer to all my hopes, all my prayers, all that we could have asked or hoped for was sitting in that black mailbox just waiting for us to burst out in joyful praise of our God. All I kept saying was “Our God, Jehovah Jirah!”
 To this day when we are down on our finances, when we are feeling overwhelmed at the amount of money going out and nothing coming in, I think back to that day when God showed me how faithful He is to His children and how true His promises of His provision to us are. He proved these words to me that day: "I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread." Psalm 37:25. That day He showed me the glory of His provision for those who trust in Him. I pray that these words encourage you today to keep trusting, keep believing, even when it looks hopeless, even when all seems lost- don't give up because God is your Jehovah Jirah. Amen!

Day Two- Testimony
A Leap of Faith
Many times throughout my walk with the Lord I have found myself standing at a cliff. I know that the Lord wants me to jump, and to trust Him to reach the other side safely, but the jumping part always scares me a little. But jump I must.
After being a stay at home mom for many years, my husband and I decided that I needed to go back to work. So I did. I worked at a wonderful retirement community in Raleigh, loved the people, and the residents there. I was making plans to stay there, continue moving up in the ranks and making it my career. But God had other plans.....One day, early in the morning before anyone else had arrived; I was sitting in my office catching up on some paperwork. It was a spring day, the sun was coming up and the birds were singing their beautiful praises to God out my office window. As I am sitting there I hear a voice say, "Quit your job. I have something better for you." I stopped what I was doing and looked behind me. That still small voice was so clear in its speaking that it sounded like it was standing right behind me. But, I was all alone, no one else in the office and no one else had even come into work yet. And again that voice came, "Quit your job, I have something better for you." I went throughout the day without giving it much thought, and told my husband what had happened when I got home from work. My husband disagreed, said there was no way that God would tell me to quit my job- just not possible. But, day after day, night after night the same voice kept speaking to me to quit my job. Not only was He speaking it to my heart, but everything I read, listened to, taught and wrote about was about faith and trusting God. Even in the impossible. Then one evening as I was preparing the lesson for the kids at Church on Sunday the Lord gave me a picture. (Just so happens the lesson was about trusting God through faith.- Not a coincidence!) The picture He gave me was of me and Brett standing at the edge of a cliff, before us was a dark cavern full of all our worries and fears, and on the other side was our God, standing safely on the other side of the cliff with His arms out. He was saying to me, "Just Jump- I got this." Once again my husband and I talked about it, but still, we just couldn't seem to work up the amount of faith needed to take that jump. So, I stayed in my job, even though I knew that we must jump eventually. Another month rolls by....June 1st comes.
I go into my office, flip my desk calendar to the appropriate day. Written on that calendar is "Faith doesn't know where it's being led, but it knows and loves the One who is leading." - Oswald Chambers. I called my husband knowing that we had to take this jump, we had to follow in obedience. He agreed, so I gave my notice and we jumped, trusting that God who was waiting on the other side would catch us. And catch us He did! (But that is a testimony for another day!) Let me just tell you that God always does what is best for you. He will never tell you to take a leap of faith, or jump off a cliff if He is not there waiting to catch you when you do. Whatever it is that God is asking you to do today- just jump. Take that leap of faith and you will be in awe at the glorious care and provision of God in your life. I promise you, that cliff is not as wide as it looks. Just Jump.
Day Three- Testimony
It's not mine- It's His
After I left my job, my husband, still not sure how we were going to make it financially, asked me to at least work part time somewhere. I did. But no matter what we did, we found ourselves once again, deep in debt and without any substantial amount of money coming in. Our bank account was in the negatives, bills kept coming in, everything seemed to be breaking down and needed fixed (water heaters, dryers, washing machines, cars...I know you can relate) One morning, after crying out to the Lord for His provision once again, I found myself opening the pages of my Bible to Ezra chapter 8.
"Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions." Ezra 8:21
As I read these words I knew that the Lord was calling me to fast and pray for our needs. So I did. I spent that day in fasting and prayer, reading my Bible, praying the scriptures He gave me and just laying before Him the requests and needs of our family. I realized that day that all our needs, all our possessions, all that we had were not ours- they were His blessings that He gave to us. We did not "own" anything- He was the ultimate owner of all. From Him we needed direction in regards to our finances, how to live for Him and how to use the resources He had blessed us with for His glory. So I prayed for all of this, and fasted before Him that day with the knowledge that no matter what- He was in control of His possessions.  About a week later we received a letter in the mail. It was from a developer who was interested in buying our property. We had a little over 2 1/2 acres and a 1/2 acre pond. This developer wanted the pond. They were building a sub-division and NC law stated that
they needed a pond for runoff. The developer gave us a buy-out price. My husband refused the offer and told the developer what it would take to get us to accept. He came back with more than we could have hoped for, at a time when the housing market was at its all time low. God used this developer to bless us in abundance. Not only was it enough to pay off our mortgage, but the offer also gave us enough to pull ourselves 100% out of debt. Now, I am not here to tell you that if you fast and pray the Lord will give you what you want. But I am here to tell you today that when we go before the Lord with our wants and our needs, we must realize that He is the original owner of them all. It is not your home- it is His. It is not your car- it is His. It is not your family- it is His. He gives and He takes away according to His will, and we, as His people need daily direction from Him to use the blessings He has given us for His glory. It is not yours, it is His. Had my husband and I not followed in faith and taken that leap off that cliff, I believe that none of this would have happened. Everything about our lives with Christ begins with faith, without faith it is impossible to please God,(Hebrews 11:6) without faith we cannot be saved, and without faith we have no hope. Have faith today to walk the way the Lord is calling you to walk, and have the faith to follow Him as He directs the way in which He desires you to walk with the resources He has given you. Amen?

                I pray that these words that God has led me to share with you will encourage you to keep pressing on, to keep trusting and to jump when He says jump. I pray that our Heavenly Father will give you the strength to face the trials, the challenges, the struggles that this life brings and that through it all you will be able to sing His praises, and give glory to Him for His ever giving, never late faithfulness. In Jesus Name. Amen