Friday, April 3, 2015

When God gives, he provides too

Sometimes when we ask God for something, and then we get it, we freak out because we have no idea what we're going to do now that we have it.  We ask for a home and then wonder how we're going to pay for all the repairs and upkeep of a house.  We ask for friends, and then wonder how we're going to manage staying friends once they find out who we really are.  We ask for children, and then wonder why in the world we asked for children.  Kidding :)  We ask and wonder how we're going to pay for them as well as raise them well without killing them first.

I asked God to go to Oman.  To connect with people through teaching English as a second language.  To spread the gospel of Christ in the Middle East.  To be with the man I love who is unable to move to the States.  God gave me the opportunities by, 1) getting my teaching certificate through Cambridge's CELTA course, and 2) having a place to live once I arrive in Oman.  Prayers answered!

Then the panic settles in with a load of other questions.
My lease is up at the end of May... where will I live between June and August when I move?
Who's going to accept me and my dog?
How am I going to AFFORD this move?  $3000 for the class, about $3,000 for the plane ticket and fees to transport Meg to Oman.  I make $10.50 and hour.  Seriously?
Will I be able to emotionally handle this huge transition?
Will I have support as I'm leaving or will people check out and push me out so it's easier when I go?
How will I manage to sell my car and still work?  Or will that even be an option?
I might ask well asked to climb Mount Everest.  Where was I going to get all that I needed to climb her?

All of it was out of my control.  I was entirely dependent on God to provide the people, the house, the money, the time, etc.  So I prayed.  I prayed a lot.  I checked my motives for going, constantly.  I never wanted this move to Oman to be 100% all about Joe, the man I love who was the catalyst to the move in the first place.  However, my motives for selling everything and moving to one of the most dangerous parts of the world are to make disciples of all nations of Jesus Christ, and to build up the church that's currently there with my gift of encouragement.  Keeping that at the front of my mind I began to study out the culture, how could I connect with these women and men of whom I am so different?  How could I build up a church who seemed to be doing very well?

Financially I began putting myself out there.  I asked for more hours at work, I took on a job to help a friend move, I began selling my things early and I put up a GoFundMe webpage to raise the rest.  I wrote letters to extended family members telling them of my decision, explaining my motives and asking for any help they might be able to give.  Joe is in the beginning stages of asking churches in the Gulf and in my home city to see if they can offer any financial support, however large or small.  There's an enormous yard/estate sale happening in my backyard on the 18th.

And I continued to pray.  I looked for the selfishness and pride that had a tendency to sneak out of the cracks in my heart and would quickly humble myself before God and remind myself that I am simply a tool for God to use over there.  I am a daughter of the Most High God preparing for a very intentional mission he has for me.  I continued to pray for God's provision.

A disciple from another church contacted me one day about a week ago.  I was in a financial pinch paying bills.  I didn't have what I needed because I didn't have the hours I was promised yet.  He asked me how much I needed to make ends meet.  When I told him he said he'd take care of it.  The money was wired to me the next day.  This brother and I have seen each other a couple of times over the course of the last year and he's one of my favorite people - even before his financial help.  We don't talk much between visits except to "like" one another's Facebook comments.  His gift came as an enormous surprise.

A few days later he said he'd take care of everything Meg and I needed for our move, and to stop worrying and enjoy the time I have at home.  When I told him how much it would be I encouraged him to pray about it and let me know what he was comfortable with in supporting me financially before fully committing.  God would help me get the rest, no matter how much "the rest" was.  The next day he said to let him know how much I had before a certain deadline and whatever I needed he'd pay the rest.  If that happened to be the entire amount, then so be it. Once again, he told me to stop worrying and enjoy the time I had at home.

I lost my wallet in Seattle while visiting a friend's grandfather for his 90th birthday.  Credit cards and you name it was inside - minus my social security card (never leave that in your wallet).  I prayed for its return while preparing to start over.  Lo and behold a good Samaritan had turned in the wallet to the hotel lobby where my friend and I were staying and the wallet is currently in the mail on its way back to me.

I've been picking up as many hours as I can at work, and yet its still not quite enough to make ends meet.  I got a call from one of my supervisors yesterday saying one family in particular wants me to be the one to help them out as often as possible.  That just gave me a 40 hour work week.

Back in March I was supposed to get a housing stipend from the GI Bill and never received it.  That cut my finances in half for that month.  I checked my bank account yesterday afternoon and found it had finally been put into my account.  I was able to put a chunk towards my GoFundMe account and get a couple of needed items for the move, like suitcases.  It also gave me the funds to buy the stuff to make a nice dinner for my mom whose coming to stay with me for the weekend.  Likely our last get together in this house before I move.

There is no formula to a relationship with God.  Just because you ask doesn't mean he'll give exactly what you asked for in the time period that you asked for it.  Asking means trusting him to provide what you need in the time that you need it.  Sometimes "no" is exactly what you need.  Sometimes "later" is best even if it means suffering right now.  Sometimes there's a spell of waiting that seems to last forever.  Other times the blessings pour out like a waterfall and you're just overwhelmed.

I'm so thankful to serve a God who loves me and knows me enough to know what I need when I need it, while at the same time desiring to give me the desires of my heart.  God is so great, and so good, and so RIGHT all the time!  I love that when I ask something from God, even if I ask for a mountain, if he does give it to me then he'll provide everything I need to handle it.  God truly is to be praised.