The God of Stolen Bicycles and Broken Trucks

As many of you know, my family moved recently. My husband was transferred to a city nearly four hours from where he’d been working. It was a hard move that took everything we had physically and financially to accomplish. We packed one day and part of the next and late in the afternoon of August 1, much later than we’d hoped, we hit the road. We arrived in town late at night. The house we’d rented over the phone turned out to have been broken into and gutted. After walking around in the dark and destroyed house, illuminating the damage with flash lights, we said “No way” and headed back to the moving van, the family van and a truck. There we were, at 11:00 p.m. on moving day, in a little convoy full of worn out children and pets and exhausted and exasperated adults, with no place to go. We stretched our very thin finances to rent two hotel rooms for two nights while we prayed and tried to find a new home. God provided a home, just as I knew He would. But the difficulties didn’t cease.

You know how those days go when one disaster bleeds into another and yet there’s still many blessings, too? Yeah, that. It was that kind of day today. At 4:20 this afternoon, my husband phoned us and said that the truck wouldn’t start. It’s done this before so we weren’t too worried about it but my oldest son and I headed over to check on him just in case. We thought we’d get there, the truck would start and we’d switch vehicles and head on our merry ways. We thought wrong. No matter what they did, they couldn’t start the truck. We got back into the van, my husband in tow, and headed out to do the errands my husband had planned on doing himself. Two hours later, we got home and found out my little boy’s bicycle had been stolen right out of our yard. I’m sure this would be upsetting to any family but for ours, it’s devastating. My son loved that bike. My husband and I had sacrificed to purchase it for him. He’d just learned to ride three days ago and now it was gone. There’s just no way we can afford to replace it. Just as there’s no way we can afford to fix the truck.

A broken truck. A stolen bike. And a loving God. It’s been one thing after another with my family for several years now. It’s been more things one after another this last month. God is in the good things that happen and He’s in the bad. God is in it all, I know He is. But, you still get tired, you know? You get exhausted with all of the bad news. This isn’t the first time the truck has needed to be fixed. It’s not the fifth time. It’s needed repairs over and over and over. Even if God provides a way for us to repair whatever it is that is causing it not to start, it’s still going to need brake work. And my little boy’s bike…. My heart just broke in a thousand pieces.

It’s always something. Yes, and it’s always Someone. As I said, God is always in it. God is Sovereign. He’s got a plan. We may not always see it and we’ll definitely not always understand it but it will all always work out just the way He wants it to. Just in the way that will glorify Him and bring us the greatest good. He’s the God of stolen bikes. He’s the Lord of broken trucks. And He’s my Father. I love Him and I trust Him. The way before us is hard. We’re way behind financially due to this move. Honestly, I don’t know how we’re going to make it but make it we will for my Father is also our Provider. Whether He provides another bike for my son and whether He provides a way to get the truck repaired once and for all, He’s still good.

The God of stolen bikes and broken trucks is the God of everything. And He’s good. Nothing that has happened or can happen can change that. He’s good, always and in all ways. And, bike or no bike, truck or no truck, things get better or they don’t, I’m gonna praise Him. I invite you to praise Him with me.

When Exhaustion Creeps In and Threatens

I’ve been packing all day. Filling boxes, moving boxes, stacking boxes. Trying desperately to get everything done at the last minute. Working hard to keep the house of cards from falling. I’m so tired tonight. As I finish up my work, I am having trouble concentrating. It’s been a discouraging day, a disheartening day, an exhausting kind of day. We’re due to move on Friday, just two days hence, and as of yet, haven’t found a house. We’ve looked, called, e-mailed and started all over again. Again and again. I know that when God desires this to work, it will work. It was He who orchestrated the transfer. He who planned the move. It will be He who sees it through. I know I can trust Him. But I’m so exhausted. I ache all over. My mind blurs with details of things yet left undone. Things that will not matter if the Lord doesn’t provide a home for us.

Things were already stressful with the events that led to us needing to move this quickly. Money isn’t just tight, it’s practically non-existent. So much has happened, so much I couldn’t control. It’d be easy to worry but it’d be wrong. God sees our needs. He will meet them. The thing I have to remember, that everyone needs to remember, is that our greatest need isn’t for money, or a house, or for things to work out. Or health, or happiness or anything else in this world. Our greatest need is for God. We must have Him or life is less than meaningless.

I’m going to bed in a few minutes. I’ll get up in the morning and accompany my husband to get the moving van. Vain? Foolish perhaps? Maybe, but I don’t think so. God started this and He did it for a reason. He doesn’t absolutely have to provide a house until sometimes Friday afternoon. In God’s eyes, in His timing, we have plenty of time. And we do for our times are in His hands. Always and in all ways. If He desires for us to have a home to go to, we’ll have one. If He does not, there is a reason. I’m praying. I’m hoping. I’m trusting that a house will come through. I have my children, and my pets, to think of. But God already knows that. And He loves them more than I do.

Please pray for us.

On Disasters, Brokenness and Asking Why

Ecclesiastes 3: 11, He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Romans 8: 28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Do you ever just feel like giving up? You’ve come to the end of your rope and tied so many knots that, in your own strength, you cannot possibly tie another one. Your rope is worn and frayed. You are exhausted and at the absolute end of yourself. What do you do?

You give up. Yes, give up. Give up trying to do things in your own strength. Give up trying to do that which only the Lord can do. Just give up and repent.

I’m a rather stupid girl sometimes. You know the old bang-your-head-against-the-wall-because-things-are-crazy-and-I’m-overwhelmed-but-I’m-going-to-keep-on-trying-anyway routine? Yep, that’s me. I want things to be right so bad that I sometimes try really, really, hard to make them right when they were never meant to be right in the first place. Not everything is meant to be right or good or perfect.

The Lord doesn’t mean for everything that comes into our life to be good. He doesn’t promise that everything will work out in a way that is pleasing to us. Not always. Not everything. What He does promise is that all things will work together for our good. It might take a long time. It might seem like it takes forever. And there might be a whole lot of endless wave-upon-wave of disasters in the meantime. Things might get bad and stay bad for a long time before we see good start to come out of them. And when life is like that, when problems roll, what do we do? We try to fix everything. We do. We just do over and over and over again.

And sometimes doing is the very worst thing we can do. Sometimes we just need to let go. To stop. To quit trying to fix it. Just pray and trust in God. Trust in His goodness.

Life is full of pain. Sometimes disasters happen. Sometimes, life goes downhill and stays that way for a really long time. Sometimes pain upon pain mounts and multiplies until it seems that there is nothing at all but pain left to us. Even the good left in our lives is painted with pain. And we try to fix it. We fight to fix it. And we end up broken and full of aching. Full of questions as to why.

Why? Why did this have to happen? Couldn’t God have stopped it? If He’s really a good God, wouldn’t He care that we hurt so bad? If He’s a great God, couldn’t He stop it?

We can keep right on asking those questions. We can keep right on trying to answer them. But the truth is, we can’t always know why. God has His reasons. His ways are higher and better than ours. We must trust in Him to do what is right. To bring forth good in His time.

But it’s hard. Really hard. Sometimes it just seems too hard. So we keep on trying to do something, hoping to somehow, someway, make things better. Make them right.

I too am guilty of this. I just keep pushing ahead, trying to make things right, desperately trying to make things better. Accomplish some good. And it wears me out.

Some of my efforts are good. But some are pointless. I can’t fix things. And neither can you. I don’t know what is wrong in your life. But I do know that, no matter how things might seem, God is still good. He is still in control. And in His time, He will bring forth good. He has promised that and we can trust Him.

Yes, disasters will come. We’ve had nearly ten years of them, rolling one on top of another. Sometimes life is like that. Billows upon billows, trial upon trial, pain upon pain, until we are totally and completely shattered. We might cry out to God in our brokenness and some might even accuse Him but what we really ought to be doing is praising Him.

Praise Him, for He is good.

Praise Him even as billows roll.

Praise Him for, if we love Him, if we are called according to His purpose, all things, broken things, even disastrous things, will work together for our good. In His time.

Praise the Lord!

Soli Deo gloria!

Trusting in God When There’s Nothing Left

Psalms 145: 14-17, The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

There are boxes stacked to the ceiling filled with memories and needful things of a family struggling to stay afloat. A move is coming up. We have a few days more to act in than we thought we did yesterday. Still, it’s not much. Today the moving van is being reserved for packing on next Thursday. One week from today, we’ll be in it and on the road, heading off to..where, I don’t know.

We don’t yet have a house to move to…but we will.

We don’t yet have the money to pay for the van when it’s returned or to fill it with gas even…but we will.

We don’t yet have a clue how any of this will work but I know it will work. It will for I serve a great God.

There’s four children moving with us, our youngest, who saw many great sorrows in this house. They also celebrated many great wonders these past three years. The greatest of the wonders is getting to see the Lord act on their behalf. Again. They don’t doubt that God will provide and is, in fact, now providing. They’ve had to lean on Him to keep them safe, trust in Him as their Provider, and hope in Him as their Protector far more often than many adults have ever had to.  The oldest of the four was only 12 when we moved here. She moves now as a capable blossoming young woman. A leader at heart and a substitute Mama to her younger siblings, she keeps things going with them when I have to turn my attention to other things.The youngest of the four was barely past kindergarten when we first pulled into this driveway. He can now do his times tables, write and spell and do all sorts of remarkable things. His moniker is funny boy. It fits him. Last night, he drew funny faces on each finger, personalizing them, just to make us all smile. The two in-between, a boy and a girl, are sensitive, creative souls, who care deeply and create beautiful remarkable things with their hands. The boy will be 13 this December. He loves to design and build, destroy and create, again and again. His ability to see detail stuns me. The girl, 11, is a crafter, a seamstress, a budding crocheter and more. She has inherited my mother’s and grandmother’s gifted hands. Even now, she creates beautiful things. I can’t wait to see what she does someday.

There are other, older, children in our home at present. Two are leaving, moving on to a new life. Two are going with us. The oldest of those going with us is also our oldest child. He is a mirror image of my leader-daughter. If not for the fact that they are separated by 10 years and he is male whereas she is female, they could be twins. As it is, they are twins of the heart. He, like she, is deeply sensitive to things of the Lord. He, like she, is driven to make things right, get things in order, keep things going. He plans to preach one day. The final one who will be moving with us is somewhat of a conundrum to me. That’s true because, of all of the children, he is the one most like me temperamentally. Deeply sensitive, very logical, he struggles with our trials but I have hope. I have a lot of hope.

I have hope in all of this because I have hope in the Lord. This isn’t the first time, the tenth time or even the hundredth time, that I’ve had to sit back and trust that the Lord would act to provide, to protect or to defend us. God has had me in such a place where the only hope I’ve had is and has been in Him. He must act for I cannot.

The safest place we can be is where we are completely dependent upon the Lord. His ways are best. His ways are truest. His ways are the only ways that will work. When we can do nothing, He can do everything. When we trust in Him, He acts.

So today we pack some more, clean some more and pray a whole lot more. One week from today, probably just about this time, we’ll be pulling out, heading north. Our final destination isn’t quite yet known but we have a job waiting there for my husband. Now we just have to get to it.

And we will. For my God is not only able, He is trustworthy. And He will do it.

Despair or Faith?

I’m choosing faith though the dams have broken and the waters of disaster are pouring through. The hardest thing, with everything happening, is watching my children hurt. Seeing their pain, their fears. If you are a parent, you understand that pain. Have you ever been in a place where troubles simply won’t stop? Where, no matter how much you try, the waves roll, thunder crashes, and trials mount higher and higher? Where, but for the grace of God, you’d lose hope? My family has lived in the midst of trials for so long. Sometimes it seems it will never end and other times, it seems as if the sun just might shine again one day. For us, the sun has seemingly disappeared. These last few days have brought pain unbearable and disaster unspeakable. They have been ones of pure pain and utter calamity. Now, this morning, we find out things are even worse than we thought.

Because of circumstances beyond my control, we’ve just now found out that we have only a very few days to settle things that need far longer than we now have, to move out of our home and move on. We had a move looming but this leaves us no time at all. We’re against a giant unmovable wall. With no place yet to go, so little time, very little money to manuever with, with children to think of, plus all of the disasters of these last few days, I can’t think straight. I covet your prayers. If God doesn’t act, we can’t.

I, like anyone facing disaster, need more faith in the only One Who can help, the only One Who will never stop caring. God never leaves us. He cannot forsake us. And all things work together for good when we love Him. I’m holding onto His promises, to Him. I have nothing else to hold onto.

I’m reeling. I’m overwhelmed. I’m heartbroken. I’m so tired of watching my children hurt. Their emotional pain, their having to do without, their fears, break my heart. Their tears bring forth my tears. Right now, I’ve very near to crying again. But my God is good. And I’m trusting in His goodness.

A Childlike Faith

A child-like faith is what God calls us to. He said it, we do it. He commands, we obey. Trusting in the Lord is active. If  I trust in Him, I pray, I act, I serve, I love. If I trust in Him, I do all those things and more. So much more.

What God has called us to do, God enables us to do. What God desires us to do, we can do. Through Him.

It might be hard, perhaps it is overwhelming, no doubt there will be obstacles but faith persists. Trust does. Belief acts. Time and time again, belief has acted.

Trust in the Lord has climbed mountains.

Faith in God has moved mountains.

Belief in the Lord has caused mountains to disappear.

I want mountains to disappear.

There is so much work to be done. So many people who need to hear the precious name of Jesus. So many churches that need the whole Gospel, churches that have been limping along on a partial gospel for far too long. So many widows, orphans, hurting, scared, broken people needing Christ, needing His saving power, needing His love. So many families to strengthen. So many prayers to be prayed. So many dying every single day without Christ. So many people that I love are so lost. So many, so very lost.

There’s so much repenting to do.

Me. I need to repent. I haven’t trusted, believed, obeyed or acted enough. I haven’t had faith enough. I haven’t trusted in the Lord to move enough mountains.

Have you?

Lord, help us.