Thursday, January 1, 2015

provision

2014 has been a year full of clear evidence of God's provision in our lives.

He provided a new job for Bradlee, a job that I believe he was born to do. His former job was not a bad one. He influenced a multitude of young people, many of whom became young men who are now influencing others in a similar way. However, after several years of teaching and coaching, I think his training in those areas was complete. I believe God used that season of his life to fine-tune and hone his leadership skills in order to increase his effectiveness in ministry. For a while there, we thought he was going to become a school administrator. He was incredibly close to going that route. There would have been absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I believe he would have done a great job, but he would have had to sacrifice a lot of the time he used to commit to ministry and discipleship. His heart is in disciple-making, and although the job would have been a good one with great pay and benefits, I believe he might have regretted it later. God provided a job at our church instead, and I have no doubt that is where he is supposed to be.

He provided hope, strength and courage in a year filled with the roller coaster ride of a adoption. I don't even want to tell you how often I checked my email and Facebook for updates on Sweet C's case or the situation in DRC. It was a bit excessive. Sometimes I would learn new information that provided small glimpses of hope; other times the DRC adoption group walls and email box would be deathly silent. It was a trying year. It continues to be a trying adoption. But God is here. He dwells in our midst and has promised to remain. He has continually proven himself to be full of mercy and justice, not only in our lives but in what we have learned in the God-breathed words He has provided to us in the Bible. The Bible is truly the Living Word in our lives because it continually instructs, encourages, admonishes, stretches and refines us. The timely study of God's work in Moses' life has been incredibly meaningful in this season, and my reading of the Bible in one year (finally) continually and completely proved his faithfulness throughout the ages. Where there once was heaviness, fear, and ashes, we see now glimpses of hope, strength, and beauty.

He provided great friends and family both near and far to encourage, support, and intercede for us in prayer. Friends have sent small gifts, quotes, prayers, donations, and verses our way continually. We may not discuss our adoption with friends and family often, but we know they are thinking of us and discussing the situation with God on our behalf. So are we.

Furthermore, although we did not receive the answers to prayers we wanted at the time we wanted, he recently provided me with a way of understanding the phenomenon. After all, our boys sometimes ask for things in exactly the way we have instructed them (politely, sweetly, with a "please", and a smile), and we still must say no because they are asking for things that would not benefit them at that time.

He provided me with courage to make the tough but necessary decision to stay home, and after that, he continually provided for us financially by sending me small jobs to help make tiny contributions to our income and by providing Brad with a new, slightly better-paying job. He has even provided for us by sending extra money our way that we didn't expect to get. When I quit my job, I created and recreated (about 55 times) a detailed budget to help us stay on course. Numbers rarely added up in our favor, and when I began keeping track of everything I was overwhelmed and full of anxiety about how to make it work, particularly with the frustration of unexpected expenses. Then, realizing that things weren't adding up and it was often unexplainably to our advantage, I gave up budgeting in favor of trying to be as wise as possible. (Full disclosure: I still make a few extra purchases that aren't necessary...but I'm trying to quit.) I am exceedingly grateful to be home with my boys and to have other opportunities to throughout the day.

He has provided for our adoption by fully funding it with donations and grant money, and although our adoption expenses will continue to grow with the length of our wait, we are not worried in the least about the money involved. He has not failed us in the tiny or the big, and we don't expect that to change.

2014...the year of God's provision (among other things). Pray with me that 2015 is the year of Sweet Mercy.