Friday, November 2, 2007

God is good!

I know that title sounds so churchy - something someone would say when things go the way they want them to. But how about when things don't go the way we want them to? It is not as easy to say that God is good. Why is it so hard to see and know and feel God's goodness when we are hurting?

So many times in the past, I found myself praying so much harder in times of need. Deep down in my heart, I really did want to know God, but at that moment I was more desperate for His answers than simply just to know Him. It was a difficult transition from praying for God to move on my behalf, to just simply knowing Him. It's easier said than done, when you have a sick child, or you were thrown into a situation that you have no clue how to handle, or you have bills to pay and the money is not there. God has given us a greater revelation of Himself through all these difficult times. The message we continued to hear was how we needed to surrender ourselves to Him. HOW to surrender was the question. How do you lay your burdens at the foot of the cross and leave them there - without the temptation to pick them back up again?

I say all that background to get to this point. When it came to finances (with Dave working on commission most of his 11 years at Cornerstone), we have been desperate at times, but at worst, we MAYBE went a week or two without a paycheck. During that 11 years, Dave left Cornerstone to start his own business. This year was probably the most difficult financially (as we went $14,000.00 into debt), yet Spiritually, it was the best of our married years. God taught us so much that year, but interestingly, being a good steward wasn't one of them. When I say being a good steward, I do not mean just living within our means, but seeing everything that we own as belonging to God. We said it all belonged to God, but lived as if it belonged to us. It wasn't until now, that we are truly understanding that it all belongs to God.

Over the past few months, as paychecks have been slim to none, we have questioned God's provision. I began to wonder if God supplies all our needs, than what was the reason we did not have enough money to pay our bills. We prayed for provision, but did not see it coming in. Not once did we think God was not doing His part, but questioned what WE may have been doing wrong. God is a keeper of His Word, and if He says He will provide, then He will.

A few months ago I decided to look back at our past 6 months of paychecks. I realized that had we been living as tightly as we were for the past couple of months, we actually would be pretty close to on target to pay all our bills. This made us realize that only God knows what things we need to prepare for (like an economy crash), and we cannot live like it belongs to us. I don't know about others, but we don't usually prepare for a crisis.

A few weeks ago, as I was having my time with the Lord one morning, I began to pray that the Lord would provide a paycheck that week. (At that point we had gone 5 out of 7 weeks without one). It seemed that my desperateness for a paycheck was not what it was in the past, even though times were more desperate now. The reason why is because we felt God was refining our hearts SO much in this area, that I feared that getting a paycheck would send us back into our old ways. I wanted this mindset to stick. I know this may sound strange to some, but God had so much more to teach us. I remember just crying before the Lord that day, with joy, because I felt for the first time of ever coming before the Lord with any kind of desperateness, that my desire to KNOW HIM, was greater than my desire to receive something FROM Him. I felt a peace in my heart, as God reminded me of the story of Jeremiah and how He is the re-builder of ancient ruins. God put my heart to rest, that although we may struggle a little more in the area of finances, and maybe even go more into debt, that in His perfect timing He will repay it all back.

There was a time in my life I would never have wanted to share any of this (Pride). But I wanted to share this story on the other side of a miracle. After God works it all out, it is so much easier to share the story. But today, God is still God, and we KNOW He will provide. Not in the way we thought, but the lessons learned will be worth the wait. When we were financially stable, we missed so much of a hurting, dying world. We were so selfish with how we spent our money. We helped others and gave whenever we saw a need, but never did we sacrifice ourselves in order to give. God has truly humbled us during this time - especially through those who DO sacrifice to give. As we began raising support for full time ministry, we have seen so many things concerning finances. Many people are struggling financially more than ever due to the economy, yet we can see sacrifice on the part of so many.

There is so much more on this topic, but for sake of time I will end with this sweet story:

We have a precious, 78 year old woman, living in a trailer, on Social Security on our support team. She is my mentor and friend. She has been a constant source of love and encouragement in my life and honors God with how she lives her life. A few months ago, she sent us a check in the mail, saying she would pledge a certain amount monthly as long as she could afford to do it. Every month may be different, but she would try to send something. We noticed the past two months that she was sending multiple checks, and this month we received three. Knowing how little she has, I called her today to make she she understood what was going on. She had no idea this happened. She said she just writes a check every time she gets an envelope in the mail. She did not realize an envelope is immediately mailed once a check is received. At first she was concerned because she thought a check may bounce because she does not have that kind of money. Once she realized her checkbook was fine and nothing had bounced she said, "You know sweetheart, every time I write a check, I say, 'Lord, I wish I could give them so much more', and so God went ahead and did it for me."

I am so humbled by this precious woman of God, who financially had nothing her whole life and raised two children on her own who grew to know and love the Lord. As she lives the last years of her life she will never regret not having nice things, or think of all the vacations she could have gone on. God has truly provided every thing she has needed and the legacy of faith she leaves to so many, not just her own children, is something you cannot place a dollar on.

I pray I never lose sight of the reality that God has so much more to offer just by knowing Him, than any amount of money, friends, family or health. Knowing Him is truly the greatest blessing I can have. There is no greater joy than having a revelation of who God is and what He wants to show me in my life. It has been so fun to watch Him work in my husband and my boys as well.

Back in June, I posted this poem by Beth Moore. Rather than going back and finding it again, I pasted it here, because I think it so so appropriate for the topic. It just encourages me to keep trusting.

The Life I Planned

Has someone seen the life I planned?
It seems it's been replaced
I've looked in every corner
It's lost without a trace

I've found one I don't recognize
Things missing that were dear
Promises I'd hope to keep
And dreams I'd dreamed aren't here

Faces I had planned to see
Hands I planned to hold
Now absent in the pictures
Not the way I told.

Has someone seen the life I planned?
Did it get thrown away?
God took my hand from searching
Then I heard Him say

"Child, your ears have never heard
Your eyes have never seen
Eternal plans I have for you
Are more than you can dream."

"You long to walk by sight
But I'm teaching eyes to see.
I know what I am doing
'Til then, you must believe."

He's done so much, I felt ashamed
To know He heard my moans
To think I'd trade in all he's done
For plans made on my own.

I wept over His faithfulness
And how He'd proved Himself
How He'd gone beyond my dreams
And said to Him myself,

"No, my ears have never heard
My eyes have never seen
Eternal plans you have for me
And more than I could dream."

"Yes, I long to walk by sight
But you're teaching eyes to see
You know what you are doing
'Til then, I must believe."

I felt His great compassion
Mercy unrestrained
He let me mourn my losses
And showed to me my gains

I offered Him my future
And released to Him my past
I traded in my dreams
For a plan He said would last.

I get no glimpse ahead
No certainties at all
Except the presence of the One
Who will never let me fall.

Are you also searching
For a life you planned yourself?
Have you looked in every corner?
Have you checked on every shelf?

Child, your ears have never heard
Your eyes have never seen
Eternal plans I have for you
And more than you can dream.

Perhaps you long to walk by faith
But He's teaching eyes to see
He knows what He is doing
Child, step out and believe.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what
God has prepared for those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:9


Anonymous said...

Wow! Every day I check your blog to see if you post anything yet. I'm usually disappointed to see yet again nothing new. But today as I glanced to see if there was anything new I just want to say WORTH THE WAIT!!!! God has blessed you with a gift of insight beyond human. You have such spiritual eyesight and I am blessed to learn from you! What I have been learning with God He has taken it up a notch with you and you have developed such a truth in your heart that helps me know what it all means. Thank you for sharing your insight and your Godly heart! I thank God for you! "Bless be ye the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love." I love you, CC!
Love always, KK

Toknowhim said...


I want you to know how much I love you, and you inspire me to seek after
God everyday (well, almost everyday :) It is such a beautiful thing to see God working in your life (and your family). I just can't even imagine what God has planned for you in the future, but I am anticipating watching Him work in your family. Write more often on this blog... I need my Fwend Fix!!

Anonymous said...

God is good, all the time. He teaches us constantly about Himself, in the tough and easier times, and unfortunately for us, we only learn when the pain and struggle is so tremendous that we can't see our own way out. It is then that we turn our attention off ourselves, off of our own strength, and start to walk in the light that He casts onto our paths. When we finaly learn(if we ever truly accept it is a whole new story) that He wants to run everything in our lives, it is then that the treasures of this world completely dissapear in our eyes, and simply becomes 'stuff' that only has value when it can be used to strengthen His Kingdom. God is good all the time, and He continues to mold us into reflections of His one and only Son, and He won't give up on us, no matter how hard headed we can to be. (And I for one certainly can and am).
God bless you in your ministry, as the old saying goes, the best of things are worth the wait! I can't wait to see what God is going to do with marriages through your ministry!

Toknowhim said...

Make sure to stop by my bloggy and participate in my new MEME... It just wouldn't be right if you didn't participate :) Love your Fwend..