This year is almost over....I cannot believe it. When I think back, it has been such a long year full of growth and stretching. January brought the situation with Becky....something that shook my faith and then provided a miracle that my kids were just talking about the other day when we were discussing their faith. My son said, "Mom, God has shown us he was real, like with the Becky thing....How could I not believe?" Then came March and we got to go help with tornado cleanup after those horrible storms ripped through southern Indiana. It was amazing to see one home completely flattened and the one right next to it not even touched. We pulled personal items from tree branches from homes miles away. We found photos and checks and personal documents--they were not even damaged although they had been ripped from their homes. June arrived and I left for my mission trip to Brazil This trip changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but it was a true test of God showing me that my plans and preparation were nothing. He used that trip to show me that he has things under control in all situations. It was a difficult trip in many ways, but also blessed my in unspeakable ways. In July, my kids and I traveled across the country to California and it was the trip of a lifetime. Unfortunately, it ended with me getting word that I was being laid off from my job. That was pretty scary! There were many jobs that I applied for and did not get. This fall has been incredibly tough for me. It just felt like nothing was going right. I worked and worked and tried and tried, but nothing....really nothing went the way I thought it should. I have cried and prayed and yelled and cried some more. I would say that I was kind of at the end of my rope, and yet I wasn't....it is difficult to explain. Even when things do not go my way, I know God has a plan. Not just any plan, but a good and perfect plan. I know this....I get angry and frustrated and sad....I don't understand, but I still know that there is a purpose and a plan....Recently, some good things have been happening. Jobs have opened up, people have anonymously given me money or items when I needed them, neighbors have mowed my yard, and cleaned my gutters, and shoveled my driveway. I was talking about this with my pastor and he mentioned the story of the widow and the oil in the Bible. I have heard this story, but I had never really studied it. Today, I read it again and did some research on it....it was pretty interesting.....It said that:
God Knows Our Problems--she had despair, debt, death, devotion....Me too! Despair--not knowing what to do next, debt-um YES!, death--I have lost several loved ones lately and my marriage several years ago (also a death) and my job, devotion--I deeply love God.
God Releases Our Potential--He erases our faith...he shows us that we cannot do it on our own. He expands our faith personally--he shows us that he has already provided a way to meet our needs. He expands our faith publicly--he meets our needs in ways that others cannot miss. He expands our faith privately--he meets us in our homes and with our family. She (the widow) taught her children a valuable lesson in her home that day. I try to do that with my kids.
Here is the link to the main notes I found: http://www.sermonnotebook.org/old%20testament/2%20Kings%204_1-7.htm
Here is the funny thing....I don't often feel it...What I mean is that I just often don't feel that my faith measures up. I struggle. i get angry with God and life sometimes. Sometimes I think life is just not fair....I mess up with my kids, with friends, with my job. I want to have this perfect faith that never doubts, never wavers, never struggles....But when I look at the stories in the Bible....all of those people struggled and wavered and screwed up. All of them....sometimes worse than others. I think God used those stories on purpose to show us that he gets it...our heart is what matters. Our intentions matter. And he sees us and hears us. He knows us. He loves us. He has a plan for us and that plan is good. So what about you? How has God stretched and moved you this year? Have you let him? If not, what is stopping you? And if he has, please share!