Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will declare what He has done for my soul!
I cried to Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue.
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.
But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer,
nor His mercy from me!!
I feel like now is a grand time to declare what the Lord has been doing for my soul these past few months! He has been renovating my life in so many ways! Bear with me; my thoughts are unorganized. I'm about to pour out what's on my heart & mind...
My desire to know more about who God is and what He has done and is doing and will do is intensifying. Some people can't start their day without coffee; I find that I can no longer start my day well unless I've had ample time to read the Word and pray. What a difference it makes! No, it doesn't magically make everything go well; I mean that it makes a world of difference in the way that I react to what is happening around me. I still have days when kids pee on the floor or sisters fight or break things or scream at me or lie. I have days when people I love die or end a friendship with me or I'm berated for the choices I've made. But in all those things, there is a peace that passes all understanding; there is patience with some to spare; there is on my tongue the law of kindness and wisdom - all mine from the Lord if I'm but willing to take time to ask for it!
God is bringing peace and restoration to our marriage. I tend to be stubborn, selfish, and critical often with Will. And the Lord is convicting me and softening up this ugly heart. I am finding that the more I let the Word of Christ dwell richly in me - the more I just am so overwhemingly grateful for the gift God has given to me in having Will as my husband (corny joke time: I married God's Will!! pahahahahahaha. OK.)
Even though Elizabeth is testing her ability to be both openly AND passive-aggressively defiant, and Abby spends quite a bit of time some days standing with her face to the wall, and Hannah has a blatant disregard for the term "no" - I am finding joy! real joy! in loving and training my girls how to be women of the Word of God and enjoying the privilege of being their teacher (and all of the other roles that I get to fill). When I get frustrated with them (which happens often some days, especially those days when I haven't fed my soul with Scripture!) and snap, mock, or yell at them, God is teaching me and humbling me by giving them such forgiving hearts. A wife and mom - what a noble calling, for them that are called!
And most noticeably (for me), is the increase of faith in God as Jehovah-Jireh (The God who Provides!). Will and I were obedient to God's call on our hearts over a year and a half ago to start the process of opening up His Bible house here in town. We don't know what we're doing in the way of running a business - we just follow His lead. And there have been periods of time when we haven't heard His voice as clearly because like Peter, we've stopped staring at Jesus and instead looked around to realize He's got us doing something dangerous. "Lord! Save us! We're drowning! We don't have an income to rely on! Bills are due! Girls need shoes! Phones are shut off! Jesus! We can't do this - it's not natural!!"
And the reason it doesn't seem natural to leave a decently-paying job when you have a wife and three small girls at home to open a Christian bookstore in the middle of a recession is because IT ISN'T NATURAL. It's super-natural. All that has been accomplished through the Bible House is because God alone has orchestrated it. We're not faithful superheroes. We are a couple of ordinary, uninteresting people whom God has chosen to render others speechless and uncomfortable.
We have seen God's miraculous doings. When we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, He adds unto us that which we need.
Lately, our faith in this area is being tested. We are going through a deeper refining. Though the Lord has always been faithful to provide for our true needs (food and clothing), it has been His way for the last four months to not allow completely for rent, hot water, electricity, college loans, car insurance, and other things. We have not shared this before - partly out of pride, for which I beg your forgiveness - and partly because we did not want people to think we felt that God was not providing and/or being unjust. Will recently made the decision, however (and I believe it's a wise and obedient one) that if the Lord does not provide all of the money that we need to pay late and next month's rent on time (January 5th), that he is going to take that as the Lord's sign that we are to close the store and move on to the next chapter of God's story for us. We are praying for a miracle!! To us, the amount that we owe is so great, so insurmountable, so impossible that it gets so easy to get sidetracked from the truth that God owns all of the money everywhere ever and can meet that need in a heartbeat. All of those weeks when we made less than $100 might have been because He wants to display His ability to provide huge things now.
I grapple with the reason why He hasn't done it yet. If He hates debt so much, why hasn't He allowed us to pay each of our bills on time?! We don't need more than that; just enough so that the collection phone calls stop and we don't live with the real possibility of being evicted. But God is sovereign, my friends, and everything He allows (good or bad) is used to glorify Himself and to make us more like Christ!!! And that is one of my deepest heart's desires, that I identify with Christ so much that people look at my life and their minds are blown because they see that Christ is REAL and ALIVE, working in my life!!! and that He came to set them free from their slavery to sin if they would just accept that gift!!
Bookstore or no bookstore, whatever God has for us in the coming days/weeks/months/years, I trust Him completely and absolutely. He may ask us to close the store because He's got something more amazing for us - another way that we can live a life that is dedicated to sharing the hope of Jesus with people full-time - or He might provide the thousands we need in the next two weeks because He wants Will to stay behind the register for now. We don't know. We are waiting on His answer. And His answer will be perfect.
Come and hear, you who fear God. We are not doing anything extraordinary. We are following Jesus. And He is worth everything we've 'given up' and He will be worth whatever else we have to leave behind to go where He leads us.
By His grace, and
for His glory alone!!