Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Testimony that God is good...ALL THE TIME!

C.S. Lewis writes, "God whispers in our pleasures and SHOUTS in our pain." I can think of no better quote as I begin this post that I have wanted to write for so long. As I have pondered over the past several days of how the Lord has provided for my family over this past year, I really marvel at His work. If I am going to start this, I should really begin at the beginning. In July of 2005, the Lord began convicting Ross and I about our tithing habits. We have always tithed, but never regularly until then. Now, I have to admit that in the beginning this was neither easy nor was it pleasurable; it was out of obedience. During this same time, Ross was being approached by a friend to start their own business together, and we were longing desperately for our third child. Ross had dreamed about starting his own company some day, but never thought it would turn into reality. After much prayer and continued obedience through our tithing, the Lord provided the opportunity for Ross and Richard to start their business, Control Services Inc., debt free in March 2006. We also found out that after trying for 14 long months we were expecting our third little bundle of joy. I am so glad that God's timing is not our own because my pregnancy wasn't an easy one; and with two small children at home already it was about to get much more difficult. I am so glad that the Lord knew that Mary Grace and Hannah needed to be a little older and a bit more independent before enduring eight weeks of total bed rest. After bed rest, multiple hospital visits and several overnight stays we had our sweet Abigail in November 2006. This sweet baby has been blessed and showered with prayer from before she was conceived until this present moment. On December 18, 2007, Ross and I took Abigail to the emergency room at Arkansas Children's Hospital out of desperation to find out why our daughter refused to eat. Much to our surprise our sweet girl was admitted for 15 days and diagnosed with dehydration, malnourishment, failure to thrive, and eosinophilic esophagitis. Eosinophilic Esophagitis...what is this rare disease and what does it mean for my daughter's future? At this point, we knew very little about EE, but what Jehovah-Rophe, "The Lord who Heals" was quick to show us was this: "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it" John 11:4. He showed me this through our first and our last roommates at ACH. The night we were admitted to the hospital, Ross had to go back home to work. I prayed that we not have roommates and no sooner did the words come out of my mouth did I have to change them to whomever we share this room with, let them be sent here by You. We did share that room that night; little did we know that He would send us a christian family that we would become friends with, laugh with during some of our hardest trials, and stay in contact even now. Thank you Jesus for sending Jerry and Rita to room 4703! Our last hospital stay was very exhausting and stressful; the last thing I wanted was a crying baby (who wasn't mine) in the bed next to us, but that is exactly what God sent our way. Lying in the bed next to Abigail's bed was the most beautiful little boy named Elijah, who has Downs Syndrome. That isn't even the best part! They were a nice christian family, and even though he was screaming at 2am I didn't mind because God had reminded me that He was in control and He has a purpose for everything. He brought Elijah's family and Abigail's family together in that place at that moment for a reason. Let me also tell you that He allowed Abigail to rest even throughout the screaming. What an AWESOME God we serve!!! After leaving ACH, Jehovah-Jireh, "The Lord our Provider" pointed us to Cincinnati Children's Hospital after Ross and I completed three days of prayer and fasting. I chose His name, Jehovah-Jireh, because He and He alone is our one true Provider. He knew that we were not financially in a position to take Abigail to Cincinnati, OH for treatment, but trusted that He would provide the way. Provideth He has done and He is still doing! His provisions have not been limited to health care alone, but have radiated throughout every aspects of our lives. Our dear friends, the Harris', knew that Mary Grace did not have a winter coat nor did we have the money to buy one. So after picking Gracie up from school we returned home to find a package hanging on the door. This package contained the most beautiful, meaningful white coat I have ever seen, and a perfect fit I might add. The funny part of this story shows God's amazing sense of humor; I had previously told Mandy that the only color I would not pick for a child's coat would be WHITE; yet white is all they had! A few weeks later, Amanda sent us a Christmas package a little early. There were Christmas pajamas for each member of our family, family pictures she had taken for us, and a gift card to Ozark Natural Foods. She knew that we had no Christmas jammies to sleep in Christmas Eve night, and the gift card would help with Ross' grocery needs. I never even had to tell her we needed these things...she just knew because after a 20 year friendship, there are some things you just know. See, the reason we needed these things is because Ross has had little to no work over the past four months. Because of this, we were unable to buy any gifts for our children or any others for Christmas. Our family members showered us with love and gifts for our children this year. That was a humbling lesson, and the best Christmas we have ever had. We will never forget the enormous generosity each of you have shown. Month after month we have gotten to the point where we have told Jesus we wouldn't make it without His help. It might be the day the bill was due, but each month He has been faithful to provide. Just this week we received two letters in the mail. A reimbursement check from a doctors office and a bill to another. The check was a credit of $41.71, the bill $41.76. Coincidence? No folks, that is the Mighty God we serve! The most recent example of God's faithfulness to provide came today. Ross and I were discussing and praying about where we were going to spend our money. Do we pay the car payment or do we eat? As I was praying I really felt like He was instructing us to pay the car payment because He was taking care of the food. In the next moment, Erin called to tell us to make a "Wal-Mart list" because our Sunday school class wants to help us out by getting us groceries. Thanks Directions Class! Throughout this whole experience Ross and I have cried tears of sorrow and tears of joy; and we have been in complete awe of how many times we have seen the face of Jesus in those we love and in those we have never met. Thank you Jesus for the amazing people we would have never met if not for EE! Thank you for Cincinnati Centers for Eosinophilic Disorders, and thank you for allowing us to build a friendship with Mike, Mona, and Coner while we were there. We have gone from controlling our own assets to completely entrusting them to Jehovah-Jireh, and honoring Him with our first fruits that He has given to us. I know this has been a long post for me, but that is really who it was I hope that our testimony can be strength for those of you who are in the midst of your own trials. God is good...all the time!