Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mary's Five Hundred Dollar Story aka Thankful Thursday #3

I've heard recently a story Pricilla Shirer tells of her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Tony Evans. She shared her parents struggles while her father was attending seminary. Reaching for a can of beans, the only food in the house, her mother burst into tears. Her father came home to find his wife crying because she was tired of their scant existence. Her mom felt awful for the way she felt about the life her father was able to provide. She said if God would provide just $500, enough to get some food in the house and take care of a couple of other things she felt she could keep going. Her father told her mother that if God did not answer her cry, he'd quit school and get a full-time job. They prayed. The next day he went to his campus mailbox and found a $500 money order. This story serves as a reminder of God's faithfulness in their lives and encourages them to rely on God in the good times and the rough, resting in the knowledge that God is always in control.

While working on my Bible study, and moving through this section, I decided that I would like to share some of my own stories of God's faithfulness in my own life. I want to thank God for his faithfulness and remember them and honor him in the retelling and sharing with other people.

John just graduated from Maranatha Baptist Bible College and had been asked to come on staff at our former church in Woodbridge, Virginia. The plan was for John to go on ahead, begin working and find a place to live. He would also send money as he could. Once everything was set up down there we would join him. We were so excited. I had just had our third child, Michael was almost two and Matthew was four. I had a paper route to supplement our income. This route was in the country and was run once a day, six days a week. If I could not run the route, I could get someone to take it in my place, however, I would have to pay for it. At the nearly two month mark that John had been gone, money began to get a little tight. I rode the bus from the college to church to save on gas expenses and did what else I could to watch our money. My gas tank was getting low and I had been praying and asking for God's provision for our family. I would pray, and when the mailman would come, I'd run to the mailbox thinking this is it, and look for a check--something. I'd be so excited, open the mailbox and look in expecting something.............but there was nothing like a check or money. I'd do this day in and day out all the while watching the needle on my gas gauge get lower and lower. I believed God could and would provide, after all, I'd heard many stories of miraculous things God did to provide for the needs of others and believed that he could and would do the same for me. I must say by the end of the second week I was getting pretty bummed out. I was worried and was chiding God about my need and the fact that I had to have gas to work. I was upset and began to tell God I was going to run out of gas and it was going to be his there. As the time neared for me to leave, I prayed and asked God to take care of the need. I waited for the mailman one more time. I was disappointed once again, there was no money to take care of this need. I got my children dressed and into the car. I asked God to help the gas stretch so I could complete my route. I got into the car and turned on the car. Tne needle began to move...upward. Yes, I said upward. I paused my car, stunned, as I watched the needle on my gas gauge climb to nearly a full tank. When I parked my car the day before my gas gauge was showing pretty close to empty. All I could do was cry, and tell God how sorry I was for not trusting him and to please forgive me for my big mouth. I don't know how long I cried that day and told God how sorry I was for not believing he would take care of my family but it was a time I would not forget. It was one of those "mile marker" times in our lives that he "refreshed" me so that I would be encouraged to continue the journey.

Most recently, our family was the recipient of all brand new stainless steel appliances. You heard correctly, all new appliances. We do not know who gifted our family with this wonderful surprise but this is just another way God has take care of this family. Totally unexpected out of the blue.

I serve, we serve, a wondrous God! Job 42:5 says, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Bumps in the road, snags, trials, troubles, journeys, call them what you will, these are the times God uses in our lives so that our faith can be built and we too can say with Job these same wondrous words. If our lives were perfect, bump free, we would never mature.

Thank you, Lord, for all you've done in my life and what you will do in the future. May I honor you with my life.

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