Jehovah Jireh

So after years and years of hearing about it and having it on the “you must read this!” list of several people whose judgment I trust, I finally started Experiencing God by Henry & Richard Blackaby. I read Spiritual Leadership by these authors a few semesters ago as a text for an Ed Leadership class, and really admired their writing and the way they support their positions scripturally, I just had not “gotten around to it” yet.

Today I read the section on “God will provide” (Jehovah Jireh) in the first chapter about the names of God. We were waiting for the “kickstands-up” time for the Polar Bear ride to kick off, and I went to sit down for a few minutes because my back hurt. So there I was sitting in my car, reading on my phone (that Kindle app is going to be my most used app *ever*, I see that coming) and thinking about all the times that the Lord has provided exactly what I needed when I had no earthly idea how my needs might possibly get met.

For those of you who don’t know my testimony, I am a survivor of an abusive marriage to a drug addict. When my ex and I split up he left me in a horrible financial position – I learned that he had not been paying the household bills for months, so all my utilities were on the verge of being cut off, plus he drained the bank accounts and pawned everything of value in the home before leaving. I had three small children, it was February, we lived in Oklahoma City, and it was an extra-specially cold winter. Getting our gas heat shut off would have been – probably not a death sentence, but really bad. The ex pawned his own vehicle and then took off in mine, by the time I got the mini-van back it was unsafe to drive for a variety of expensive reasons.

Unexpectedly and out of the blue, a coworker offered to let me drive her truck for a few weeks until my van could be repaired. This was not a close friend, in fact I barely knew her. I don’t even know how she knew that I was having problems. I was able to walk to the auto-parts store from my house, and do most of the repairs myself, but some things are necessarily a two-man job. My boss offered to come over and help me bleed the brakes on the van after I changed the cylinder.   The gas company found a clerical error that resulted in them crediting my account over $100 dollars, giving me an extra month to get caught up on my payments before they shut off my service. Then my sons’ day care gave me about five bags worth of canned foods (they told me we had “won a drawing” but I think they had gotten an idea of my financial position somehow).

Fast forwarding about 9 years, I have remarried, left the Navy, married my Marine :), and have a great job with Raytheon – and then the time comes for Bo to transfer from Florida back to NC. So I had to give up my job. As soon as we got here, before I even started looking for a job, he got a phone call – instead of deploying to Afghanistan 4 months later, as planned, he was deploying to Iraq practically immediately.  To help ease the transition for my kids, then in middle school, I decided that it would be better if I did not look for a job right away and instead stayed at home so I would be there when they got off the bus.

This was, honestly, a financially foolish decision despite being a wise parenting choice. We had just purchased a home, and our mortage was considerably more than our rent had been in Florida. Utilities were higher as well, and neither his truck nor my car was paid off at the time. Yes, he was getting combat pay and family separation allowance, but that was no more than maybe 2/3 making up for the income that we had lost when I left my job. And yet, things worked. Many, many months I don’t know how they worked – but just when the month came that I had NO earthly idea how I was going to pay the electric bill (for example), I got a notice saying that we had held the account in good standing long enough and they were crediting our deposit back.

Now, I know for a fact that God does not provide magic-wand miracles every time one of His children faces a financial burden. At least, not the kind that I am describing. And I am not going to pretend to know why He does that sometimes, and sometimes He lets faithful, praying believers (and many many other people) deal with eviction, homelessness, repossession of vehicles, etc. I have no idea and if I was arrogant enough to pretend to understand it, I hope you wouldn’t read my blog. Seriously. But I know that He has a plan. And sometimes it is a really really good one. For example, I was evicted from my apartment in Florida in 1999. I had already made the decision to get out, it was only a few months before my Navy career was going to end, so I was not going to be in the area long enough to fulfill a lease on another apartment – and three BR apartments were scarce as hen’s teeth in that town anyways.

So I asked my mom if the boys could come and stay with her for the school year, since I planned to move to Denver anyways. Then I moved into the barracks and got a second job part time as a cashier in a grocery store to fill my empty time. Then I met Bo. Honestly, if I had still been living in that apartment and spending all my free time with my boys, I don’t know if I ever would have dated him. Maybe I would. I’ll never know. But I don’t think so. I prioritized my time with my sons way higher than dating at that point. I’m very very glad that I allowed him to fix me dinner that first night, though.

So – tell me how the Lord has provided for you. I have a lot of friends right now who are facing obligations they can’t meet on their own, who need to hear your stories.

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