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.