Every morning when I open my eyes I have 3 of my 4 cats laying on my bed or sitting wide awake in my doorway, just waiting for me to get up and feed them breakfast. As soon as I swing my legs out of the bed they are meowing and running to the laundry room, anticipating that I’ll follow them there. Their food is kept in the cupboard there and I always feed them outside on the back patio. I get a big scoop of food while they are lining up at the door to eagerly eat some Cat Chow in the early morning.
Then there’s Charlie. He’s always the last cat to get up and around. By the time he gets up the others have usually ate their fill, explored a little outside and are back in the house. When he is finally ready to eat, he gets my attention and lures me to the laundry room. He sits right by the cabinet where the food is kept and just looks at me. I open the door for him to go outside and he just looks at that cabinet door then back at me. He wasn’t awake when I fed the others and he thinks I haven’t filled those bowls up yet. I call his name, open the door wider trying to get convince him that I have already provided breakfast. He eventually just plops himself on the floor and refuses to move. He’s the type of cat that has to see it to believe it. He never saw me take the food outside so he will sit there until I get another scoop of food to take outside or I pick him up myself and put him outside. Today this made me think of myself and how many times have I refused to move because I didn’t see God working ahead of me.
How often has God had that door wide open for me, trying to get me to go through it yet I refused to move because I did not physically see him set out the provision? I know it has been too many times to count.
I’m similar to Charlie in the way that I need to see proof before I move. I have a hard time moving, even when the one luring me is a God I can trust 100%. I have never tricked Charlie, pretending to feed him when I didn’t. He has no reason to not trust me. Just as I have no reason to not trust God. He’s always taken care of me, provided exactly what I needed. His timing always amazes me.
The next time I feel the Lord calling me to walk thru the door he’s opening for me I pray I have enough faith to walk on through it. I’m not sure what will be on the other side but I know he has plans to take care of me, not abandon me. He plans to give me the future I hope for. His Word also tells me that when I walk through that door looking for Him I’ll find Him. He promises that when I’m serious about finding Him and want it more than anything else, He’ll make sure I won’t be disappointed.
Help me to not live like Charlie. When I follow You and keep on Your path I know I’ll find goodness. Only You alone have the power to turn ashes to beauty. I will continue to walk where you lead me, even if it’s not where I planned to go. I know you have good plans for my life and I want You to get all the glory. Give me your eyes to so I can see beyond my human situation. When you open that door for me, give me courage to walk on through, knowing that I can trust You completely.
Don’t be a Charlie, trust God. He’s already gone before you.
I’ve done it. I’m sure you have too. Whether it was a text, email or phone call, accidentally contacting someone you didn’t mean to. Today I was the recipient of an email that wasn’t for me…yet it was about me. And it wasn’t very nice. The sender quickly sent another email right after they had realized what they’d done, apologized for their language and let me know that email was not meant for me. For some reason I just started laughing and could not stop. My kids came over wanting to know what was so funny. I didn’t want them to see this inappropriate email (especially one about their mom!) so I just shared what had happened, leaving all names out. My oldest said if she had received an email like that she’d be pretty angry at the sender. I just continued to smile and every time I thought about it that day quietly laughed again. I wondered why in the world I’d be able to laugh in a situation like this but in the back of my mind all I could think of was those verses I JUST highlighted two nights prior.
It’s no coincidence that the Lord brought me to Isaiah 51. I love so many verses in Isaiah. God has led me to many at the exact time that I needed to hear them. This time was no different. That night when I read it I decided I needed to memorize this one because it was something I struggled with every time I dealt with this particular person. I was giving them power, more power and credit than I was God. God is the maker of all of us, including those that don’t treat us well. God sees all. God knows all. I need to remember that MY God is bigger than any mean person. That may sound a little “kiddish”, but hey I am with 8 year olds all day long. 🙂
Here’s my letter from Him:
Listen to Me, you who already live out what is true and right, who treasure My instruction within your hearts.
Don’t be afraid of people’s scorn.
Don’t let their dismissive criticism, bitter anger, or hatred get you down.
For they’ll come to nothing; they’ll be eaten up as a moth eats a shirt; they’ll be consumed as a worm feeds on wool.
But My justice will endure. I will extend My saving action to every generation. Isaiah 51:7-8
I am the One who comforts you and gives you peace, so why are you afraid of human beings? The children of men are only grass; they’ll wither and die.
Have you forgotten Me, the One who made you and the whole world, who stretched out the skies and made sure the earth’s foundations? Yet you constantly worry about others – how they hate and might harm you. But their anger counts for nothing. Isaiah 51: 12-13
I’m sure I won’t always have a reaction that is laughter when I’m facing adversity. But for today, I did. And for that I’m thankful.
Here I am again, Lord. Struggling to believe in your faithfulness and goodness that You have planned for me. The lies of satan have been loud and I’m struggling to turn them off. So, I will choose to remember how you lead me through a desert, to a place where waters will flow. You DO have a plan, and here is how my rescuing began.
Easter weekend, 2018
It had been less than a month since my husband had left. By this time he’d lost his job and was out of work. I was subbing at school every day I could to get some income. He’d already told me that I needed to get a job. I interpreted these words from him to mean, that a) he wasn’t coming back to the marriage or b) he wasn’t sure if he’d find another job soon because of how seriously wrong the decisions he made were. In the back of my mind, it was choice A that I believed. If I had to work, then I wanted to be on a similar schedule as my own kids. Working at the school made the most sense to me, the only downside was that I had a college degree, just not one in education. My son’s 3rd grade teacher was just finishing up a year long online transition to teaching program thru K-State. I’d actually already asked her about it and she informed me that the deadline to enroll had just passed. I checked online, and she was correct. I was too late to start the following summer. Well, I thought to myself, I could start the next year. I’ll figure something out for a year, then start on that degree. In the meantime I kept subbing at school. A few teachers knew of my current situation and one day at lunch one of them suggested that I email the person in charge of that program to see if they’d let me in. I was only a couple weeks behind, surely they’d accept me.
It was on a late Friday night that I finally typed the website into my browser to find out who I needed to contact about trying to get in. It was Easter weekend, which also happened to be my son’s birthday, and my brother and his family were about to arrive that night to spend the holiday with us.
I remember it being after 11:00. I was tired. My life was like a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle and there was no water left to spin out. I was dry and wrung out. As I finally found the page for this teaching program I couldn’t believe what my eyes saw. There it was in large print.
Enrollment Deadline Extended
I was beside myself. Was I that tired that I was imagining things or was this really true? At that very moment my brother’s family walked thru the front door. I hurriedly had them come look at the computer screen to tell me what they saw. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind.
It was correct. The deadline to enroll in this teaching program had been extended. I had just looked a couple weeks prior and it clearly stated that the deadline was passed and they were not taking new students.
You, God, opened that program back up for me. You literally had them reopen it so I had the opportunity to start this program.
Wow! I still get chills when I think about how faithful you were. You were leading me down a path and made it so easy to follow.
I spent the weekend filling out all the paperwork to apply to be in this program. I soon found out that I was accepted, had a ton more paperwork to fill out and even some tests that I had to pass. Somehow, I got it all done (and even passed the tests) within a couple weeks. Which was good, because my classes started soon after.
In the meantime, I was hired as the school secretary. I had a job!! And at the school!! Praise the Lord for getting me a job with a very similar schedule as my kids. The desire of my heart was to continue to be a SAHM as much as possible, this was about the closest I could get to that. The only problem was that the secretary got paid about half as what a teacher does. Could I live on a very small salary for one year? Once I got my teaching degree would there be any openings available? How was I going to pay for this degree? Where was the money going to come from? I remember the song that came on the radio as soon as I got in the car after taking those Praxis tests to get in this program. The words said “You’ve got me stepping out on water”. That is exactly how I felt. I had no idea how this was going to work, I was just keeping my eyes on you and walking on water. If I thought to much about it, I’d start to sink.
This part of the story is only beginning. I’ll write more on another day about how you just performed miracle after miracle. It’s pretty amazing how faithful you were. I’ll trust that you will continue to be the same consistent, faithful, all-knowing God in the future.
Thanks for letting me remember how You really do know what’s best. You’re plan is better than mine.
I know today is hard for you. I was there twenty years ago when you made those vows. It breaks my heart too, what happened. Look for me today. I’m still here and I’m going to keep loving you and taking care of you. I’m still singing for you.
Zephania 3: 17 The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband.
Did you see the flowers I sent you? I planted those sunflowers for you. It adds to the beauty of the rest of the flowers in your yard. It was no coincidence that it bloomed today.
Did you see how I sent several men to help you tear out your old cement fence. I will be your provider and helper. Even though you no longer have an earthly husband, I will continue to care for and love you.
Keep looking for me everyday. I’m longing to be with you. I want you to feel loved not just today, but for eternity.
I know you’re sad, confused, angry and that this is a hard month for you. This afternoon I’m going to let you observe what I’m like.
Did you see that mama deer pop up out of the wheat field that you are harvesting? I know that by seeing her, you most likely know she’s got a baby in this field. You notice that she just keeps looking into one direction. That mama deer knows her baby is out there, in the wilderness, all by itself, not even tall enough to see where it’s going. The deer keeps moving around, but never takes her eye off that one part of the field. She even disappears from your sight for awhile. You’re starting to wonder if she just up and left her baby.
Oh, Beloved, I’m just like that mama deer. I know you feel like you’re in the wilderness, lost, fumbling around trying to find your way out. Looking for hope. Looking for Me.
But do you see it! She’s back. She never left her baby, she just moved to where you couldn’t see her. No matter where she goes, she’s always got her eye on the spot where the baby is. She has not left what matters to her the most. Even though you may not see me right now, I’m still here. I never left. I’m still watching you, protecting you.
When it’s starting to get late you see that mama deer bolt in the field, going after her precious baby. Although it seemed like she had abandoned her, she was really ready to give up her life for her child. Deer will protect their babies from predators by trying to get the predator to come after them, thus keeping the baby safe.
I gave up my son for you. I sent my son to die for you. That’s how much I love you. I will be here for you, forever.
I’m glad I was able to show you my love for you today. Thanks for looking for me. Keep looking. Keep seeking.
It’s the middle of June 2020. I’m in the middle of a dark pit. You know this. I cry out for help daily.
One way to help myself get out is to remember your faithfulness. Here’s the rest of the house story and how you worked out everything for my good.
I remember standing in the hall outside my pastor’s office talking to him, telling him that I needed to find a place to live, and soon. My divorce was in process and selling the house I was living in was part of it. The clock was ticking and I didn’t have a lot of time left. I can recall telling him about my housing search, most of the houses were over my budget unless I still wanted to be paying a mortgage when I was in my 70’s. He gave me some possible ideas on ways to get it lower, but what I really needed was God to move.
From coming out of a lot of debt when being married, I really didn’t want to be in much debt being single. At least when you are married, if one person loses a job, gets injured, the other partner is still able to work. This isn’t the case for singles. If I lose my job or for some reason can’t work, well there is no other income that is even an option. I wanted to be smart with my finances. Thanks to Dave Ramsey’s useful online calculator I was able to determine how much Dave said I should pay for my mortgage. And based on my salary, it wasn’t much. You can’t even rent a place in my community with how much he said I should spend on housing. I was feeling pretty hopeless.
I’d looked at all the houses in town that were even close to my budget and they all either sold after I’d call back, were tied up in tax issues, or were just not going to work.
There was this one house though.
I’d driven by a few times, noticing the “For Sale” sign in the window. It was not in a place I thought I’d like to live, right on Main Street. I’d asked a few people about this house and they said the kitchen was tiny, it had a small yard and was probably too small for my family.
I’d ran out of options though and had no choice but to call about this house. Much to my surprise I knew the lady that answered. She was one of my aunts best friends and would be able to show me the house the next day. She answered a few basic questions, like number of bedrooms and bathrooms and well, so far it was what I was needing.
Is it wrong to ask God for specific details in a house? I don’t think so, because I sure did. All I really wanted was a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, with a laundry room on the main floor, and at least one car garage. That didn’t seem like a lot to ask. It didn’t have to be new or nice, I was willing to put in a lot of elbow grease.
Well, the next day I showed up to look at the house. It’s a cute little two-story brick house, that does sit on a corner on Main St. I walked in and was surprised at how open it was. The living and dining room/office/reading room were much bigger than what I currently had. Walk around the corner and there is the kitchen and so much storage, even more in the hallway. The kitchen counter tops were dated, but the cabinets were fine. Just need a little cosmetic work done. There were two good size bedrooms (both with big closets and built in cabinets/shelves), a laundry room (with a sink!) and a bathroom on the main floor. I went upstairs to find two huge bedrooms and an additional bathroom. I was shocked at how big these rooms were. In some of the houses we looked at I questioned whether I’d even be able to fit a twin size bed and a dresser in what was called a bedroom. The basement was not huge or finished, but a great place for storage and shelter. Did I mention that this house had a two car garage, attached! The one drawback was that I was coming from a house on 5 acres to a house that is on maybe 1/4 acre. The backyard is tiny, but was big enough to fit the trampoline (my daughters only requirement). I was curious about the price, I found out it was in my budget. This house had been sitting on the market for over 6 months, and the buyer was ready to sell.
I offered less, way less, and it was countered to an amount to what I could still afford. I couldn’t believe how God had saved this house for over six months for me. It was perfect (except for all that 1980’s paint) and had everything I wanted. After a lot of painting, some new carpet and some cosmetic work in the kitchen this place looks great. I love my house.
You know what else?
I love living on Main Street. I live two blocks from where I work, across the street from the high school (easy for the kids to roll out of bed then walk to school), two blocks from my church and a short walk to the middle school. I literally live in the middle of town.
I am blessed to work in my yard and have friends honk and wave at me while doing so. I am blessed to have a front row seat to any parade in town. I am blessed to be able to walk or ride my bike to anywhere in town. I am blessed to be able to afford my house and not still be paying for it when I’m 70. I am blessed to not have a huge yard to take care of (I can mow all my grass in less than 10 minutes!).
The Lord knew that Co-Vid 19 would happen and we’d be stuck in our house for weeks. At least we got to see people daily driving around. He also knew that I’d be living by myself for awhile. I can’t imagine the loneliness I’d feel out in the country. I get to see people, talk to my neighbors, say hi to people walking by my house, wave to friends driving by and just sit on my front porch watching the happenings around town. (Did I mention that an ice cream shop opened up one block from me!!!)
God knew what I needed before I even did. When this house went up for sale, I was still holding onto hope that my marriage would survive. God knew what was ahead of me.
I’m going to hold on to the hope that he knows what’s ahead of me right now too. There is a reason for this season. I don’t know what it is and I don’t particularly like it, but I do know that I can trust God. He’s got my best interest in mind for what he’s shaping me for. I’ll keep following him, going where he follows.
Thank you Jesus, for this house. I want to honor you with it. Please guide me in how to use it for you.
I am still amazed at how you worked out all the details. And a special thanks for that laundry room on the main floor. You know the way to a woman’s heart. 🙂
I want you to know that I am very aware of your situation. I see everything that is happening and what is going to happen.
I know the financial strain that you are under, not to mention the emotional strain as well. I see you up late at night, constantly trying to figure out how much you can afford for a house payment.
The agony of knowing that you cannot afford your dream house hurts me as well. Just remember a house does not give you eternal glory, only I can do that. A house is merely a shell for you to live in, I am what you really need to dwell in.
I know your budget, Lisa, I will provide exactly what you need when the time is right.
It may feel like a hopeless situation, looking at houses that are more than your budget can handle and need a lot of work. Stop worrying, I can handle this. Just keep looking, you will know, I’m about to show you. When it seems like it’s there is nothing left, I will reveal it to you.
I know the desires of your heart. I’ve got plans for you, bigger and better than the dream you had for yourself. You just wait and see, I’m about to show you.
Thank you for that love letter in the sky this morning. It was stunning. I’ve thought about it all day long and can’t get the picture out of my mind. And to think, you created that for me. Thank you.
Thank you for helping me find the positive during the difficult times. I have so many things to be thankful for today. A nice ride with my dad. Meeting new neighbors. Having a nice visit with them and even getting some needed help with a small chore. Supper and delicious ice cream with a friend. Getting to spend the evening with other friends. And there was so much more.
I know it’s only day 4 for this “new normal”, but I feel like if I keep looking for you, that I’ll find you and together we’ll get to the other side. That love letter in the sky this morning, made me feel so loved. You really know the way to this girls heart. Breathtaking sunrises. Getting to meet new people (and from another country, what a bonus!). Friends. Ice cream. Some days I feel you spoil me too much. I don’t deserve all the love you have for me.
I often am amazed at this life I live and think of all the missed opportunities had my life turned out how I wanted. I still don’t know where you’re taking me, but I’m buckled up and ready for the ride.
I know you don’t understand what I’m doing, none of this makes sense. It may feel like I’ve abandoned not only you, but your children. I do love them more than you can imagine.
For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. Psalms 139:13
I want you to trust me with them. I promise that they will be okay.
You are right, this is not what I wanted for them or for yourself either. I did give you a free will. You and those you love have the choice to choose my path or reject it. I want everyone to choose my path. Though it may seem the long, difficult route, it is the path to wholeness in Me.
Stay on the path.
I’m leading you, straightening out your path.
Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on Him completely; never depend upon your own ideas and inventions. Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish, and He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead. Proverbs 3:5-6
You’ve been on a path that has had so many potholes, curves and roadblocks that it is hard to trust that I really am going to smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.
Keep spending time with me. Stay in my Word. Meditate on it. Keep singing to Me.
I am SO excited to spend some extra time with you this month. Will you join me everyday? Will you look for me? I want to be with you.
Well, it was a vacation to remember. Hot summer nights in a crowded humid Mid-Western city. Several good memories were made and some not so good ones. Things that in the moment were not funny, but now I can look back and laugh…and see how you were working in my favor. I had no idea this would be an ending to a new beginning. The last family vacation as whole unit.
The car getting broke into was just the begining. They didn’t take much, just left a small hole in the door. Kind of like the hole that was starting to form in my heart. I could tell he was somewhere else. This vacation was not his idea and he didn’t really seem to want to be there. He was starting to be distant, ever so faint, but becoming more noticeable to me. Never the less, we were thankful. It was just a car, loved ones were safe.
You knew what was going to happen next, on that long drive home. There we were about an hour from home when the check engine light came on. He instructed me to get out the manual to see what it could possibly mean. He made the decision to get off on the next exit to investigate further. We didn’t know that we would get stuck on that exit ramp. The car was dead. 100%. Would not turn over, make a sound, nothing. He was on the exit ramp of our marriage. He’d already taken that exit road off and he wasn’t going to get back on. Thanks to you Father, that it did start once, enough to gun it and at least get off the ramp and onto the side of the road.
He made the call to my father. He had a car trailer and could get us loaded up. It wasn’t the last time I had to call my father to come save myself and my kids. Praise God for a Dollar General within walking distance for a cool shady place to hang out while we waited for grandpa to arrive.
Sitting there in the waiting, I made a mental note that I was done with this car. We had so many breakdowns and had spent so much money on it that I was just done. I knew what I was going to do, and yet told no one at the time. You had kept stirring a thought and this breakdown was what I needed to prompt me to move on it.
After getting home I secretly started researching what I needed to do to become a substitute teacher. I told a friend about my plans at the pool one afternoon. It scared me to say it out loud. To me, that met I was fully committed to something I wasn’t sure I was made to do, but I wanted to earn some extra money so we could trade in our car for something more reliable. I was willing to step out, try something new because I was so tired of the old.
I soon did tell my husband of my plans to get certified to become a substitute teacher. He said I could do whatever I wanted. I had made up my mind that if I didn’t like it then I wouldn’t have to keep doing it. We didn’t really need the money. We could have saved up to buy a newer car, I just wanted to speed up the process. At least that’s what I thought. I had no idea how You were preparing me for my future and putting me right where I needed to be.
Thank you God for breaking down our car that hot July day in the middle of Western Kansas. That was one of the best blessings you gave me. That day was the beginning of a journey I had no idea was just starting. This is how my rescue story starts.
Until next time,
I love you.
Help me to keep trusting that You are using what seems painful, broken and difficult to prepare me for what is coming.