OK, so I gave you tiny peek into the surprise I received last week & promised more info…so here it isJ
Last Tuesday, April 7 I was having a bad day. We had just found out that the job Ben’s had for the winter was coming to an end very quickly. Anyways…I won’t write all those details…go back & read my entry “Struggling” if you haven’t already to get a feel for what my mood was like that day. I posted that entry just after noon, did some school with Benjamin, fed the kids lunch & sent them off for quiet times. Somewhere in there I also started a topic on a Facebook group I’m in…looking for encouragement of how to have faith. I decided I had to do something to turn around my mood & “regroup” so I grabbed my Bible & sat down on the couch. I had barely sat down when Manda came in to grab a book. She looked out the door as she walked to the bookshelf & said “Mommy, somebody’s here”. I did a quick mental check & couldn’t think of anyone who was supposed to be stopping by. I leaned over & could see someone at the gate, but couldn’t tell who it was, so I got up & went to the door.
The first thought that went through my head was “Man, that looks a lot like Cheri……no it can’t be, she’s in Norway”. This thought was immediately followed with “Who on earth is that? I recognize them & should know their name…I’m going to embarrass myself by not knowing their name”. Once each of these thoughts had gone through my head with no answers, I opened the door. “Man, that looks a lot like Cheri……no it can’t be, she’s in Norway”… “Who on earth is that? I recognize them & should know their name…I’m going to embarrass myself by not knowing their name”. At this point I think I started to look like a jerky robot. Each time “Man, that looks a lot like Cheri……no it can’t be, she’s in Norway” went through my head I would step forward wanting to run & give her a big hug…but as soon as I thought “Who on earth is that? I recognize them & should know their name…I’m going to embarrass myself by not knowing their name” I would stop short, not wanting to run into a strangers armsJ. So that’s how it went…opened the door…did the robot…stepped outside…did the robot…walked to the edge of the deck…did the robot…went down the steps…did the robot. I must have looked pretty goofy (only Cheri really knowsJ…unless my neighbors were watchingJ). Each time those same thoughts was going through my head…as fast as I’d think it was Cheri, I’d tell myself it couldn’t be & try to figure out who this was. Looking back it’s really quite hilarious because I felt like it all happened in slow motion. Anyways…it was shortly after I went down the steps that I finally believed that it actually was Cheri. First I made some comment like “what on earth!?!”…then I was just speechless while she laughed…then I started crying…
It was just all so overwhelming. I went from feeling the most down I’ve felt in a long time to very suddenly feeling exceedingly happy & excited…bursting at the seams reallyJ. A cuddle with my nephew who we haven’t seen for 5 ½ months, a visit, & a long walk later I was pondering my afternoon. My mood was completely different. So really, what had done it? Yes, of course I was excited to see Cheri…but it was more than that. It was a God thing…I knew that much…but I just couldn’t put a finger on it…until I went back on Facebook & checked that topic I started.
Here’s what our pastor had written to me: I have a saying that I quote when times look tough or bleak. Here it is.
"Never question in the Dark what God showed you in the Light."
Think of how, when times were good, you felt that God was blessing you. How you feel so certain that He is going to use you for great things.
Well, when times are tough, that promise made by God has not changed. What God reveals to you will not change in tough or good times.
Want to know something else really cool - God looks after his children. Read through scripture and you will find example after example of God taking care of those who are faithful to Him. He still loves you and cares for you. He will take care of your needs.
Your job - be faithful to Him.
F.R.O.G. (Fully Rely On God)
Was any of this new to me? No! Is it hard to remember these truths in the middle of a tough time? Sure is for me…not sure what that says about my faith, but I’ll keep plugging away. Every bit of what Pastor Kent said was an encouragement to me that day…but guess which part stuck out to me? “He still loves you & cares for you.” Having a surprise visit from Cheri didn’t get us a job for tomorrow, it didn’t pay the bills, it didn’t even get any work lined up for the future, yet it completely changed my whole day & outlook on life. It hit me that GOD LOVES ME. You’d think after growing up in a Christian home & learning more about Him my whole life, I would have that figured outJ. If you’ve been following my blog since the fall, you know how much I struggled when Cheri (Ben’s sister) & then Sheri (missionary to Mexico) left. But now here & I am…and God gave me this wonderful surprise visit from Cheri…to remind me that He still loves me! He loves me enough to give me a sister-in-law who went to a lot of trouble to make her visit special to all of us. He loves me enough to give me a sister-in-law who understands how much surprises mean to me. He loves me enough to give me a sister-in-law who is sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading & listens…she came when I needed it most, instead of waiting a few days like she’d planned. God doesn’t change. If God loves me enough for all that, then He still loves me enough to take care of me in this tough time.
It may not look like we expect, it may not happen on our timing, but He WILL take care of us. He is allowing us to go through this time because He has a purpose. I pray that my eyes are open to see what He is trying to teach me. I pray that I can consider it all joy when I face these trials & that this testing of my faith develops perseverance & that perseverance will finish its work so that I may be perfect & complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4) Here’s the part that stuck out to me when Ben & I read this the other night: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, & it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown & tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:5-8, emphasis mine) We sure need wisdom right now…so how do I make sure I’m asking without any doubt? Lord I want to be a rock in the sea, not the wave that is blown & tossed by the wind.
One thing I want to clarify as I’ve shared more of my heart in these tough times for us…I don’t write about my struggles to try & get people to feel sorry for me or to send me money. I truly believe that I need to be open & honest about what’s going on in my heart…not hide it & make it seem like everything is OK. I trust that makes senseJ.
OK, so some of you are dying to know why James, Cheri & Max are home & for how long. Well, when they left in October their paperwork hadn’t gone through yet, but they were able to move as temporary residents (I’m sure that’s not the right word, but the idea is that you’re allowed to stay temporarily for a while). So they moved, expecting their paperwork to go through shortly. Well, they’ve been there for 5 ½ months & still no paperwork. After 6 months they would get kicked out of the country, so the company that James works for flew them home so they can get the paperwork figured out. They plan to be home for a month. It was wonderful to have Easter together with the whole family & I look forward to being able to spend more time with them in the next 3 weeks. Thank you Jesus for sister, surprises, & most of all for Your love!