Saturday, July 11, 2009

For All This Life is Temporary

I hadn't shared this publically as it was still very painful but as time has passed there is healing. I shared this yesterday and decided that even though this was a difficult failure for us, I pray that it will bring encouragment and wanted to share with you what God has done for us.

In the last part of March this year our entire lives took a new direction. While it was the hardest thing we had ever faced as individuals, as a couple and as a family, it has been a blessing to see us all grow and see God so evident and real in our lives. We had been struggling financially the last year. Despite all, we still lost our home. We were still hoping to work things out with the mortgage company as we were awaiting paperwork. However, what we received was being served with an eviction notice at 7am Wednesday morning from the sheriff with a 10 day time frame. During that time our heads were spinning and satan was present. And as you know with financial strife comes marital strife. We almost lost our marriage and family all in one. The fear and lies crept in fast. While in our heads we knew that God was in control and loved us and had our best in mind, our weak flesh could not seem to grasp the peace in the midst of the storm. I had called our pastor 2 weeks prior to the sale date of the home asking for help in the way of just counseling and advice, at the end of my strenghth. Ending the phone conversation with hope that all he promised might be the answer. But he never came or follow up on us. This brought on questions as if our own pastor had forgotten about us, did God really knew what we were being faced with, had he forgotten us? Had we did something so wrong that He had turned his face against us? But God showed up with his work gloves on.

From about 2 hours after the sheriff showed up, through the days that followed, I was not alone. I sent out an email cry just in need of help to prepare for a yard sale and help with the kids. What came in return was more than we could have ever expected. Over 30 families came along side us over the next month. Friends, people we barely knew and complete strangers. A pastor we didn’t know stopped by just to pray with us. Ladies brought meals by with paper products, families came and took our children so that they didn’t have to be there and see me crying and packing up all our belongings.

The kids didn’t understand all the whys, they had not been prepared to be getting rid of ½ their things and beds, or to give up their home they had grown up in. Allen and I were so emotionally drained ourselves that it was difficult to even have the right answers for the kids. We didn’t even know where we were going for the 1st week. I didn't even know if I wanted to be moving with Allen anywhere. So the only answer we could give to these little confused faces was, "God will take care of us." Close friends stepped in during this time. They were able to just make decisions and run things while my head was faint. They would make me stop and eat and pray. They talked me through a lot and prayed with me when I couldn’t find any words or when I was off track spiritually. There were women there marking things for the sale and setting up. There were men and boys there helping set up tents for moving things. I personally packed very little and Allen had more than enough help moving. Our neighbors and friends cried with us. Friends donated items to the sale. Friends gifted us a piece of furniture as a new start. Another friend provided a cake for Makensie’s 9th birthday in the middle of all this. Another family brought us their van to borrow as we didn’t even have tags or insurance to drive the van for the past 2 months. Women showed up to clean the house from top to bottom when we were out.

We had our things moved to this new location. And it was a sickening feeling. On one hand so thankful that we had a home, so thankful that God provided a location quickly and one that had a bedroom big enough that we can have the office at home. But did we deserve a “nice” place? Did we deserve anything? No. But God’s grace had given us a new start. I didn’t want to even say I liked the house out of feeling we should be punishing ourselves for our loss. Had we failed others because our weakness? Psalms 69:6 “May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me…” kept running through my head. While it was hard to know it was all going to be OK during that week and a half, God didn’t leave our side the day we moved. While out to supper with my mom when she came to town, a stranger brought a word of prophesy to our table. Then an acquaintance called just minutes after a negative phone call, with a word of prophesy, saying that she was almost embarrassed to call as we weren’t close but felt she was suppose to share a word and story with us. One of financial loss and marital gain. The scripture she shared was that the battle was won and to look forward. “God wants you to know you are not alone.” She had no idea what we had just gone through when she called. Then a Wal-Mart gift card showed up in the mail with no name for $100.

A call came in during the midst of the move that our 2 & 6 year old’s lead test was very high. They wanted to do a vein draw. I put it off till after we were moved and when we did it was normal. Perhaps the 100 year old pipes and paint were the cause of so many illnesses before?

Not that we wanted to ask for more grace than we deserved, but we were driving a borrowed vehicle from friends at this time. We received some money for cleaning our home one last time. We bought tags and insurance for the vehicles, bought QuickBooks and paid some bills. Then the van wouldn’t start. At all. Just so you know, two years ago we bought this used van and while it has served us well most of the time, it also about 6 months in starting acting much like a cat. Starting when it wanted, going to sleep when it wanted, getting mad and overheating when it wanted. Although my father is a mechanic, our pet would never act up when we would take it in. And since it seemed to be an electrical issue it was next to impossible to figure out the cause unless it was hooked up to the reader. While nothing too serious ever happened I always drove in the right hand lane just in case she decided she needed to take a break. Sometimes she would quit and with a little coaxing by way of a couple of pounds on the dash with the chair leg we carried, she’d start back up and we’d go on. Sometimes she would need a couple days of vacation and then be ready to go again. If it was just me or other adults, so be it. But with 4 little ones, it was rather scary. After being stranded in the Chick Fil A parking lot til 10pm one night with all 4 kids, one being barely 6 months old and having no more bottles, we choose to never go to Fayetteville or out of town unless I knew Allen could come and help us if something happened.

So we started to pray for a reliable vehicle. We prayed Romans 13:8, that we could find a vehicle without going into debt. Allen called and there was a suburban in Springdale. 3 seats, rear air and they wanted $2000.00. But we didn’t have $2000.00 so we continued to pray. Then the guy said he would possibly take a trade in on the van. So we were getting closer, the van while not running well, still wasn’t that old. But even a $1000 difference was not attainable. As the next couple of weeks came, the panic that the suburban might be gone was tempting to go ahead and get it. The guy offered for Allen to work off the difference. Then early one Tuesday morning a call came in looking for Allen to come by and talk. A friend was here for our prayer meeting when Allen came home crying. I was so scared when I saw his tears as I’ve only seen them twice before. He handed over some money. As I started counting it there was $620.00. $620.00! Allen shared how this man had called him in and shared how our family had been on his heart. My friend asked if we had been praying for anything financial. Yes. The suburban. Allen called to ask if the guys mechanic would check it over as we just couldn’t get something that was going to need work. We got the word that all was ok with the vehicle. The guy even brought it to Siloam for us. And when he left, he decided he didn’t need the van. Then we were looking through the glove box and found a bill. The guy had the air conditioning fixed for us $788.00. It has been a tremendous blessing to be able to go to Aldi’s, the library, the Dr’s, the grocery store without that fear of if we’ll be walking home. I’m even taking some cake decorating classes in Springdale, something I’ve wanted to do for years in hopes of blessing my kids and possibly bringing in some extra income if that is God’s will. Every time I’ve went anywhere I can’t help but say a prayer of thanks for the men that made this happen and for God’s provision and love.

Since this loss, I have seen a growth and desire for the Lord soften my husband and seen his light shine brighter than ever as he too has seen the love of God pour out on our family. I have taken on the office position to help Allen out. While I had always resisted taking this on fully and only offering to do the paperwork, I’m thankful and honored to be working with him. This is the way it always should have been. I didn’t think I could handle more. To be schooling the kids and still have a toddler running around then to add answering the phones and scheduling the appointments, ordering and doing bookwork too. On paper it doesn’t work out at all, but God has given me strength and balance than I never knew possible. I remember someone saying once, there is only enough time in the day to accomplish all God has in store for you. I believe that God is pleased that Allen and I are working together when just a couple of months ago there was the possibility of us not even living together. We all have gained a “tent” mindset. We had placed our security in our home and rather than in the One who was providing it. This life is all temporal and the pruning was for our best to grow our character and faith.

It is all still very emotional and I still tear up each time I think of all that was given to us and how undeserving we truly are. We had always thought of our “church” as the one we attended on Sundays. But we saw the words of the Lord come to life as He wants the church to be.

Romans 12: 4-8
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these embers do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

Thank you. Thank you for blessing our family. By each of you following the promptings of the Lord on your heart, you ministered to our family in a way that has changed our lives.


Adelia said...

Oh, Suzanne!! While I'm so sorry for the things you've lost and endured, I love how the glory of the Lord shines through!! I'm a firm believer in "the greater the struggle, the greater the victory." My what the Lord has in store for you! You and your family are such a blessing to so many. You let your light shine through it all. You are amazing! Blessings.

Shan said...

I too am extremely inspired by what you have gained through this loss. Life is so hard and it is very easy for me to forget how much God IS able to carry us through such times. Thank you for sharing your story Suzanne. Praying for your sweet family!

Laura said...

I read this aloud to Kyle and it brought tears to my eyes. We have an Awesome God who is always present and molding us and shaping us into who He wants us to be. If we take the time to look for Him He is very present, even in the "bad" times. Thank you for sharing this.

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

This testimony alone is an outstretched arm of God's, to aid so many who are going through similar things right now. People need to hear that God is ever-present and the hard times will yield a good crop.

Thank you for sharing.

And, girl, thank you for sharing so many other things, too. Your transparency, advice, encouragement is such a blessing to me.

Lynn said...

Suzanne. When I read what you had written, my first thought was GOD'S GRACE is leading you. You and your life, and words truly have inspired many people as is evidenced just by the comments to this post. Thank you for that.

I will pray for you and your family and hope to see you soon.

Fruitful Vine2 said...

I'm so glad you stopped by my blog. Reading your testimony brought flowing tears to my eyes as I thought of the pain you went through and then more tears as I saw the hand of God providing time and time again. We've been through our share of just depending on God and still are so I am blessed to see how God is doing for you what he's been doing for us for years now. Our life has basically been one of faith from the time we got married 8yrs ago but I wouldn't trade it for any other life. People looking at us have no idea how we have the things we do through God's grace especially with my hubby in full-time ministry and I a stay at home homeschooling mom. Continue to walk the path that God has set for you. You have a track record of him providing so always remember those times when the enemy would try to bring doubt to your mind. Thanks for the encouragement today.

Suzanne said...

Thank you ladies. I am blessed by your kind words. I'm humbled at His power and timing.

Elizabeth said...

Dear Suzanne,
I randomly visit from time to time, but my life is so busy that I don't visit as often as I should. I just wanted to say how sorry I was for all you have endured as of late, and tell you how thankful I am that God is keeping you, protecting you, and providing for you in the midst of it all!

andrea said...

God has really gifted you with the ability to express yourself clearly and beautifully. i am so sorry for the loss and trauma inflicted on your family. i was not aware of all of this until weeks after the fact and even then, it was very spotty. thank you for sharing God's faithfulness in your lives. it gives hope and light to us all.

life...just saying said...

Incredible story of the foreclosure and going home again. Thank you for sharing it with me.


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