Wednesday, May 26, 2010

All Things Are In His Hands - Part 2

So back to the story....

As I told you in the previous post, since September 2009 my husband, Dave has been without full time employment. He has skills that make him able to get work at odd jobs working with other contractors and doing remodeling work. This has been the only method of income we have been able to get since last year. September and October were slim but Dave was able to work with a brother in Christ who owns his own remodeling company. When November rolled around there was not enough work to keep Dave and himself afloat so Dave was looking for other avenues to bring in money.

During November, December and January the well completely dried up. Every job prospect fell through, every job turned out to be a no go and we were without any income coming in. We were barely surviving. It seemed like every opportunity that came along God would slam shut. The stress Dave was under was tremendous and all areas of our life were in turmoil.

As a side note, I must tell you that we owned two houses during this time. Three and a half years ago we purchased our dream house in Pleasant Hill, MO. but we still owned our old house in Lees Summit, MO. Originally, when we moved, we obtained a buyer for our old house. The couple had some credit issues which friends of ours were equipped to help them repair. We signed a contract to sell within 90 days and for rent to be paid until then.

Fast forward about three years.... the house still not closed, the buyers still just paying us rent. But good news, looks like they are going to be able to close the end of February. Or so we thought.

Back to the story. By the time January hit we were in serious financial trouble. We had depleted everything we had saved long before. Three months of no income had put us at the brink of ruin. The rent paid to us for the old house was about the only money we had coming in so instead of using it to make the house payment, it was used just to keep the lights on and food on the table.

Now our only hope was the closing of the old house in Lees Summit that would happen at the end of February. We were banking on it. It would catch us up on the three months we were now behind on our house in Pleasant Hill, and pay off all the debtors that were hounding us for blood at this point.

We were not the only ones banking on the closing of this house, all our creditors were aware and waiting for the payoff. JUST A FEW MORE WEEKS AND AHHHHH.......

Third week in February and one week to go. The phone rings..... The buyers mortgage company has decided not to finance them. They found something on their credit report and have decided to pull their financing. The closing is not going to happen.

All hope is gone. Both houses we own will be gone. Without the house closing, foreclosure is imminent. There in no hope, its over. Everything we have worked for all our lives is about to be gone.

But is it all really over when God is your Father? Or do we, in that moment just think it is? Sometimes, when you have nothing left, when you finally get to the end of yourself and what you can do on your give up and let God. Which is exactly what happened to my husband.

As the provider and leader of our home, he finally had nothing left that he could do but beg God for intervention. It was at that place where there was no hope unless God showed up. Why we must get to the end of ourselves before we completely step out in faith I do not know. But often that is the case.

Where my husbands reaction was to step out in faith, mine was to get angry with God. I had stood through all the currents in faith. I had walked day after day in faith. Continually, I spoke the words "Have faith, no matter what, we will be okay, we are His children".

But the day I found out that the buyers could not close on the old house, Satan threw me a curve ball that hit me square between the eyes. He knew what my fears were. He knew my past and the things I had been through. So he threw out the thought of "where will you go, you are going to be homeless. With no employment you can't even rent."

All I could think of was how close to being homeless I had been so many years ago. And I began to rant at God, "How could you let it go this far? Homeless Lord? I have to be homeless? Where will we go? We can't even rent when they take our house away from us. " I was angry and doubting. How could God really love me and let such a thing happen?

The following Sunday morning Dave and I both battled our internal dialog that said "whats the use, stay home today'. Neither of us felt like going to church, we were broken and putting on a "I'm OK" face was not going to be easy. Something pushed us forward. Maybe it was the Spirit inside us or maybe it was just routine that caused us to go that morning. Dressed in our Sunday best, we picked up our bibles and our discouraged hearts, arriving in time for service.

As we sang worship songs, my hardened and angry heart said "I will not sing to you! I will not worship you!" I was hurt. I didn't understand why. After all these months of faith, I couldn't muster anything even close to a mustard seed worth of belief. I was all out of faith and refused to sing to a God that would render me homeless.

As the Pastor opened in prayer, I placed my bible on my lap opening it to the book he would be preaching on. I Peter, first chapter. Now, I have a Charles Stanley Life Principles Study Bible. Sporadically throughout it sprinkles extra information that Mr. Stanley has provided. This day as I looked on the left page there was a column called "Answers to Life's Questions". And what was the question?

"How do I handle a difficult trial not of my own doing?" As I began to read, the tears began to flow down my face. God knows when we face horrendous situations. He hears our cries. Even those who maintain the closest fellowship with Him are not immune to feelings of hopelessness.

It went on to say... Many times God allows us to face hopeless circumstances in order to test and try our faith; it is the hopelessness that forces us to seek God, and it is there that we find strength and refreshment. Does God care that your trials make you weary? Yes, and He knows every emotion, need, and desire you have. He also knows exactly what it will take to bring you into a more intimate relationship with Him.

God had spoken. He knew where I was at. He knew I was weary, I was broken and I was scared. He knew the hopelessness I felt.

It didn't end there. As the Pastor began his sermon about "Praising God in all Circumstances" God spoke through him directly to me. These words came from his mouth and convicted my heart.... "Even if God did nothing else for you in your entire life, salvation was enough to continually praise him for"

Salvation was so big, it trumped anything I could ever expect God to do for me. How dare I. How dare I respond the way I was. I had told God in the beginning of this journey if I lost everything I would continue to praise Him. That had been my answer to His question "What if it all goes away, what will you do?" I had answered that I would praise Him because it wasn't what He did for me that deserved my praise. He deserved my praise because He is God and I love Him.

Instead here I was raging at Him in anger, refusing to sing praises to Him. As my heart broke, repentance began. Restoration was immediate and faith came with it.

That next week God showed His mercy and love for us. As He began to glorify Himself, I watched with tears of love.

Monday, May 10, 2010

All Things are in His Hands - Part 1

On February 28th I wrote a post called "Honest Before God". In that post I spoke very honestly about how I was feeling about the circumstances that my husband and I have experienced in the last year.

I did not completely reveal the story behind what I was feeling. I was raw inside at the time I was writing. Full of some very real pain from a year of hard circumstances. I spilled out some emotional words from the depths of the humility God had taken me too.

From that post an interview was sparked that aired on the radio station, 91.3 FM in the Dallas Fort Worth area. The post "Honest Before God" caught the interest of Jim Norman at "Wise People", who interviewed me for his program. (You can download an MP3 of the interview on the left side of my blog)

At the time I did the interview, the story wasn't complete. Today, we are further into the story but yet the story goes on.

I would like to share it with you here. I can't share it all, as I just said, the journey hasn't ended yet. But I will share what we have come to learn so far.

It all started early last year when my husband walked through the door coming home from work one day. It was an ordinary day, nothing strange had happened to spark my feelings of unease.

I caught just a glimpse of him as he passed through the hallway heading towards the bedroom to change his clothes. Sitting in the living room, typing on my computer as I am right now, the thought crossed my mind, "he lost his job".

What was I thinking! I had no reason to think such a thing. The Spirit within had warned me. He had lost his job.

He had not just lost a job; he had lost the best job he had ever worked. A thousand acres of manicured lawn behind our house (a golf course) and a swimming pool in the back yard. We were comfortable, finally living the good life. Or were we?????

It was that day that God began a work in me that is still continuing today. My initial reaction to the news was like most would probably have. I knew in my head that God is in control of everything. I knew I should just have faith and trust the God was good and that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. I loved Him; therefore He would take care of me. I knew all these things.

The problem came in putting those things to work and truly believing them. Although, I knew how I should respond, my heart was not at peace. My heart responded with fear while my head said I should just trust in the Lord.

The following day I spent a lot of time in prayer. While on the treadmill in my basement, I was asking God to help me. "Help my heart be a peace" I asked of the Lord. What I feared was what everyone fears in that situation. "We are going to lose everything, the nice house, the comfortable life we had built". All the worst possible outcomes ran through my head. Then I heard the Lord say to me "What if it all goes away? What if you do lose everything? Then what will you do?"

My response took sometime to ponder on those questions. How would I respond if everything was taken from me? Would I respond in anger and become bitter or would I trust that my God was good even when I did not understand?

My response was this "Then Lord, I will praise you. Because I do not praise and love you for what you can give me but for who you are." In that moment a peace washed over me like I had never felt. I would be ok; I was my Father's daughter and what ever happened that would not change. I might lose everything materially but I would never lose my hope and my God.

A month turned into two and the Lord provided all the way. Next thing you know, a job came. Not the job my husband wanted and with much less income but a job none the less. From the moment he arrived at this company, it was a complete mess. My husband, Dave, began to ask the Lord to get him out of there. "What in the world are you doing Lord? This place is getting ready to go out of business" Two month later Dave is back pounding the pavement looking for a job. While Dave was at that company, several very needy people heard the truth of the gospel. Lesson learned.... sometimes the assignment from God is short.

Back to the job search. One month later.... another job. Again not the money he was making but enough to survive and opportunity to grow. His excitement built as this company looked to have huge potential. They were a small company that was growing. Problem was they were growing faster than they could handle. Two months later....... the company can't meet its financial obligations because the bank decides not to continue to back them. All funding is pulled out and they are left with no alternative but to close the doors. Once again Dave is without a job.

This job ended in September of 2009. Since that time no permanent employment has surfaced. Dave, being in the business of construction, has the ability to make money on his own but there is no security. Each small job pays what it pays and then you look for more work. This has been our existence since September.

Continued tomorrow.........