Friday, January 22, 2010
faith like a mustard seed
it has been two months since i last posted on here! two long months of feeling the icky sickness of the beginnings of a pregnancy, and i hope so badly that i am pulling out of it soon. the things a momma endures to bring forth new life... it amazes me.
God is a God who answers prayer! my husband's brother is getting married in st. louis at the end of february, and back in october when he told us the date my heart sank that we would most likely not be able to go. my youngest turns two the first week of february, so we are now a family of 5 plane tickets... yikes! my husband and i talked about it back when the date first came up and i told him how little faith i had that we could actually get the money together to go. we already live primarily off of missionary style support, which has stretched my faith enormously this last year, and the wedding would be following not only christmas, but also all our our kids birthdays (3 between jan 29-feb 12). not only that, but it would be during a time of year that giving is traditionally down because of people tightening their belts after the holidays and getting geared up for taxes. i told him that i actually didn't feel that i had any faith whatsoever to pray for God to provide it for us. i have been praying this past year for so many needs and this was a just a want. it is hard to admit it, but i had no faith for God to provide for my want and really didn't want to be disappointed.
so... my husband started praying with our three kids for God to provide the money. we would need about $2000 to go, which was only so low because of amazing airfare offered by southwest airlines. everyday they would pray that God would bring the money we need to go to the wedding, see their grandma and grandpa (who were flying in from guatemala where they are missionaries), see their cousins, and go to kansas city. most of the time they didn't pray around me, but the times they did i was brought to tears by their untainted faith that God was going to bring the needed money in just because they asked.
we had a couple neat things happen. someone left $300 in cash in my husband's bag one day. we were $300 closer, but still so far away from even just buying the plane tickets and the deadline we had set to decide was getting closer. finally, the day before the deadline, my husband decided to write our supporters to ask for their help. we hadn't even been able to mail the letters out yet, but that sunday morning on the way to church my kids and my husband prayed in the car for God to provide. while standing in line to check my son into his sunday school class, a friend walked up to me and put a check for $100 in my hand written out to me. she said she felt like she was supposed to give it to us. later that afternoon my mom told me she wanted to buy one of the tickets, which is about $200. so... we were closer, but not there yet. that evening my grandma gave each of my kids a bag of quarters and a dollar bill. asher, my 5 year old, counted his money. he announced he had $3. i told him he could save it towards something he wanted to buy. he said he already knew what he wanted to spend it on. i dismissed it, but as soon as we got in the car to go home he told us, "well, God provided $9 more for our trip!" he was referring to the money that my grandma had given each of the kids for their penny banks. he wanted to use the money to fly us on our trip. i cried on the car ride home.
the next day was our deadline and it came and went without any more money. we weren't sure what to do since my husband still really wanted the whole family to go, but without owning credit cards buying tickets without the money in the bank is not an option. so he said, let's just wait. so we did. we waited about a week, looking at the plane tickets making sure they didn't go up. the following tuesday while i was teaching piano lessons one of my students told me she had a new year's present for me. she handed me a check for $700. she isn't one of our supporters, nor had i told her yet how we were trying to go to kansas city and the wedding in st. louis. i just looked at the check, then at her, and said, "um, how can you do this?" she herself lives on support and i knew she didn't just have an extra $700 lying around. i was so shocked, blessed, surprised, and anxious to tell my family that we had the money to buy the tickets!!
i shared the story that night with our home group and started crying. the Lord had told me at the beginning on 2009 that He was going to teach me that year what it was the live by faith. when i look at my journey the past 10 months, i have learned more than anything how small my faith really is. we have been very low on money at several points with no way of knowing how to pay the bills, and somehow God has provided in the most unusual ways. however, none of that was because i was so powerful in my faith. it was such a struggle to trust Him to provide for my needs that to ask for something that was just a desire that i didn't really need to survive was naturally difficult after such a stripping process this year. but i think what i have learned most through it all is He doesn't take care of us because we have great faith. He takes care of us because He is Faithful. He can work with the smallest amount of faith... even that as small as the smallest seed of the mustard tree.
we still need a little more money in order to rent a car while we are there and pay incidentals, but i think it will come in. my children were a great example and reminder to me of what it looks like to believe like a child - to trust in the character of God's goodness and not take past disappointments or struggles in life to define who He is. He is so faithful to me.