Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to all who visit today after reading my devotion about our testimonies. On Tuesdays I share a top ten list. (You can learn more about who I am and my posting schedule at my "About Me" button on the top of this blog.) So today I thought I'd post my top ten moments that encourage me when I reflect on them:

1. I shared this moment in our book Learning To Live Financially Free. We were broke-- with only about $3 in the account, no food in the house and several days til payday. I went to unpack a box of books and pulled out a book that I had lent a friend when we lived in WI for a short stint. I felt this urgency to flip through it and found waiting in the pages a note and $25 she had stuck in the book as a thank you for giving us some of our son's baby things when we left. That $25 was enough to keep us afloat til Curt got paid again. I think of that moment even now, all these years later, as it was a defining moment of God's ability to provide in unexpected ways and to break through our moments of doubt and despair.

2. I was traveling back from a retreat and witnessed a horrific car accident. I pulled over to the side of the road and felt God nudging me to get closer to the accident. I stood on the perimeter for awhile, but felt God nudge me further-- to go and pray with the victim. I reluctantly did, and when I did all the witnesses who had gathered paused and prayed with me. It was a holy, God-filled moment I will never forget. He is there, even in horrific scenes that reek of hot asphalt, blood, and twisted metal.

3. Curt was out of work for 6 months this past year. Many of you journeyed through that time with me. When Curt lost his job, I made the comment that the only good thing I could see out of it was that my second novel was due on June 1 and this would give me more time to write. Curt didn't like that comment. Guess when he got his job offer? June 1! God is there in our times of loss, orchestrating the timing and taking care of the details. We really can rest in that.

4. While Curt was out of work, I wanted to go to this fiction writing conference but we knew to commit would not be wise since the conference was an unecessary expense. Several of my writing friends-- unbeknownst to me-- gathered money and offered to pay my way! I was floored by their generosity, and also by the way God brings people into our lives to be the conduits of His love and kindness. It ended up that I didn't need to take their offer, as Curt got a job. I just got back from that amazing conference and am still processing all I learned.

5. On the flip side, I've shared about the time I really wanted to go to a writer's conference and even won a scholarship to go. But travel wasn't included. We were still paying off debt at the time and I knew that commiting to the travel expense and babysitting costs still wasn't the way I should allocate our money. Soooo reluctantly, with a heavy heart, I turned it down. I couldn't understand why God didn't make a way for me to go. That weekend rolled around and found me immobile with a broken foot. I was so glad I hadn't committed to be there or I would've lost money as there was no way I would've been able to go. Sometimes I have to rely on His "no's" as much as His "yes's"-- that He is protecting me from myself at times. I didn't know I would have a broken foot but He did. He had me in a position to rest and recover instead of stress about not being able to go, and the money I'd lost.

6. When our third child was born with a birth defect that caused severe breathing and feeding problems, I learned so many things about God's goodness. But I also learned valuable lessons about struggling and waiting for answers to prayer. I learned that God has much to teach us as we wait for His answers.

7. My Bible is a testimony. Every time I pick it up I am reminded of the value of a praying grandparent. I wasn't always walking with God. But my grandparents never stopped praying for me. When I was 17, my grandfather called me and told me to go pick up the Bible he had ordered for me. I didn't have any interest in that Bible he had ordered. But because I loved my grandfather, I went and got it like he asked. Now I interact with that Bible daily, use it when I speak, and have looked up countless verses in it while writing devotions and articles to share my faith. Never stop praying for those you love-- no matter how far from God they seem.

8. When we moved to WI for Curt's job early in our marriage, I didn't want to go. I felt alone and abandoned there. Even in our desperate times, our abandoned times, God is working. Through my time in WI, I met a woman there who introduced me to this crazy concept called homeschooling. This began a journey for our family that yielded wonderful changes in our lives. Changes I wouldn't trade for anything. Though we're not homeschooling any more, I still look back fondly over the memories we made and treasure the vast difference it made in our family.

9. When Curt wasn't interested in being the spiritual leader of our family early in our marriage, I began to pray for him. I prayed that God would do whatever it took to make him the leader. "Whatever it took" involved financial devastation, a critically ill child, and the near end of our marriage. And yet, today he is an amazing spiritual leader. Would I want to relive those days that led to this point? No way. But am a strangely grateful for those times? Undoubtedly yes.

10. A good friend shared with me how God was enough for her. She told me that if she lost everything tomorrow, He would still be enough. I was struck by her love and devotion for Him. At that point-- though I was a Christian and went to church, etc.-- I couldn't say that with conviction. God led me to a place of finding Him to be enough. It was and is an ebbing and flowing relationship and I have learned to just sit back, and enjoy the ride.

There are many more testimonies I could share, but this is ten, so I will leave it here. Do you have testimonies of times He's drawn near to you? Use those testimonies as reminders of what He's done, and promises of what He'll continue to do in your life.
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Pam said...

Yes, God does use his workings in our lives in the past to show us HIS presence in the now! I cannot even count the amount of times God has reminded me of a journal entry from days, weeks, and even years past that he reminds me to go back and read always giving me the encouragement I need for that moment. HE is faithful and it helps me to be reminded of his past goodness in my life for whatever present moment I find myself in.

Thank you for sharing your top 10 today. We certainly serve an awesome God that is concerned with our everyday lives. Even when we can't or don't see Him, He is always there!

Sweet Blessings,

Arlene @At Home with the Grimms said...

Thanks for this encouraging post Marybeth!!

Anonymous said...

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
When our 19 year old son was born, we thought the Lord had made a terrible mistake. He was born with Down Syndrome and he was our 7th child.
" Lord, did you not take note that we have 6 children already and this child will have so many special needs?" What I thought with my near-sighted eyes would be a huge burden has been one of the greatest blessings "from the Father of lights." His love for the Lord is inspiring!! His siblings have been given the gift of compassion for people with special needs that I could never have placed in them.I would never have wanted to miss him in my life. He is our perfect number 7.
"I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."Lam 3:22

Cheri Bunch said...

Powerful! This is a very encouraging post. Thank you for being real. Your testimony reveals the fingerprints of God. Thanks for stopping by my blog. You made me smile!

Carrie Turansky said...

I loved reading your top 10! So encouraging! What a great God we serve! It was wonderful to see you at ACFW even though we only got to say hi a couple times. Hope it was a good weekend for you. I came home feeling so blessed and ready to write.
Hope to see you again next year,

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

Your testimony ministered to me in the deepest places today, Marybeth...

Thank you, thank you, thank you...

He is radiant in you!

All's grace,

Our Crazy Crew said...

Have you ever sat down with your Bible and looked up all the times 'remember' is used? And all the ways it is used? God calls us to remember His faithfulness to give us hope for the future and remind us where we came from.

Debra said...

Thank You Lord for working through Marybeth today. You words encouraged me this morning.

Thank You for testimonies of God's Faithfulness in your life and how it makes me "remember" HIS faithfulness in my life.

Have a great day!

Kristi said...

As I read this I am sadden at the fact that I have never really stepped out on faith fully dependant on the Lord to have a “testimony” or "moment" that can be an encouragement - I have been on a journey with the Lord for a while but it's been a very comfortable one - which I'm sure is due to hundreds of things that he has done for me that i have not been in tune with. I know this lack of "moments" is also of my own doing. I feel like I'm pursuing a "moment" as we speak, I'm trying to find a way to spend more time at home with my children for the next year and 1/2 entertaining going part time. However, I also worry that because this is something I want SOOOO bad that maybe I’m not truly seeking God’s will but yet chasing after my own will. I'm asking for all and every prayer warriors to truly help me hear from the Lord on this and to surrender to His will WHATEVER it is. I want to depend on Him and then give HIM all the glory.

Lydia said...

My Husband and I went through a financial devastation these past two years. I can not tell you how encouraging your testimony is to the both of us. We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now and I can actually look back at the day when we had $.28 cents in our bank account and be thankful for the learning that came with it. All though it was painful I read your blogs and found peace knowing that my God would provide. And he has! So thanks again Mary Beth. God Bless you and your family. :)

Marybeth said...

Thanks to all of you who've commented today. It's been a long, hard day as I haven't felt well. Got a brief nap this afternoon and feeling a bit better now.

Kristi, I pray you will find that testimony you are seeking. I know it's hard to begin, but once you start looking, you do start seeing it. His answers are out there, He is writing your amazing story and the more you tell it to others, the more amazing stories He will provide. That's been my experience.

Lydia, so glad our testimony encouraged you in a dark time. So happy to hear you are making progress!

Lynn said...

Thank you for this reminder. My pastor is teaching on Exodus. I have been convicted that like the Israelites I am also prone to forget what God has done for me when things are not going my way. I have been blessed with many answered prayers as well as some grand displays of God's provision & protection. After my husband died God set a series of rainbows in the sky for our circle of friends and family. It was a beautiful and powerful reminder of his covenant and faithfulness. My eight year old son walked away from an accident that easily could have taken his life. He was thrown six feet by a cab that crushed his bicycle. Thank you for the opportunity to share the reason for my hope.

Marybeth said...

Lynn, what an incredible story about your son! So sorry for your loss and I applaud your quest to still seek God's goodness and rest in it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the devotional. Currently, I am in a period of waiting on the Lord! I really don't know where to turn. I have spent much of my effort trying to see what is ahead, but after reading you devotional, I will start remembering what is behind, because he has always been faithful to me!

Annett said...

If I had read this post yesterday I wouldn't have the following to tell. But being "a day behind" is actually God being ON TIME. My husband has been having problems at work. The secretary is ornary and hard to deal wtih. The other guy that works for him is lazy. Hubby hasn't enjoyed his job lately. We discussed different options such as transfers (for hubby) or replacing the lazy employee. This morning hubby tells me of 3 wonderful possibilites, one in which we wouldn't even have to sell the house and move. God is so awesome at providing doors and windows. Like I said, if I'd read your blog on MY time I wouldn't have a story to tell.