I am not even sure I have the words to write this post but I am going to give it a shot. Prior to this Christmas season, I had been praying, daily, for the Lord to draw near. For Him to show himself as clearly and tangibly as he did for my family when I was pregnant with Asher. I feel like when it comes to the REALLY tough stuff and the tragic areas of our life, He has been so visible, but sometimes I REALLY struggle more with the daily stuff. So, I miss that closeness, and wasn't sure how to get it back. SO, I have been praying.
We started the Advent Challenge because of a STRONG desire to focus on GIVING this holiday season and teaching our kids the REAL joy that comes from loving others. We have been praying to be so filled with God's love that it also POURS out of us, overflowing like a tidal wave to those around us. Each night we have focused on giving and the true meaning of Christmas and I can tell you that my heart has never felt such joy and excitement for the Christmas season. I am brought to tears DAILY as I see God working. His hand is upon our family and He is so good.
Tuesday, I had a tough day. I woke up in kind of a funk and realized Howard had a snow day. I was glad that I would have some help around here. Then he decided it would be best if he went to work with his dad (who does construction) to earn a little extra money since we are behind on some bills due to a HUGE dental bill from the kids that insurance didn't cover. So off he went, and here I sat...feeling sorry for myself asking God why we have to struggle so much. I got the kids their breakfast and sat down myself with my daily devotional. My verse for the day was this:
"You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; He will also hand Moab over to you." 2 Kings 3:17-18
The devotional went on to talk about how often time to human reason, what God is about to do seems impossible, but that nothing is too difficult for Him. I closed the book (Streams in the Desert, the BEST devotional ever) and got the bill basket to write out a few bills. There just wasn't enough money. I called and used phone banking to balance our checking account and not only was there not nearly enough money for the bills, but there was nothing left to get the rest of the Christmas stuff we wanted to get for the kids. I sighed, cried, and cleaned up breakfast.
Once I got the kids working on a project I sat down again, determined to make SOME type of progress in our finances. We have been trying SOOOO hard...committing ourselves to getting us out of debt and cutting ALL extras, and yet it seems like we are NO farther ahead. The previous verse came back into my head and I again sat down to check our checkbook.
This is where I began to sob. This time when I checked the account there was more money, I am NOT EVEN KIDDING. I tried and tried to figure out where this extra money had come from. It didn't say. So I checked my email and found that one of the most precious people I know had been prompted that morning to deposit money into my paypal account, simply to bless us. Words could not even begin to thank her for the hope she gave to me that morning. I have no idea why I am continually surprised when God comes through. He IS true to His word. He is, and yet I was still stunned. He is so good. We have been so blessed. This is just ONE story of how he is working through our family this week...there are more...I have seriously been brought to tears (not too hard I know) daily, sometimes multiple times when I see how he is answering our prayers and drawing near.
I feel like the more we give and focus on giving, the more loved WE feel. The more JOY He brings into our lives, I am just overwhelmed right now with gratitude, joy and peace. I haven't felt this in quite sometime and it is a welcome change. I had no idea that just praying for Him to draw near would prove so powerful or that giving would give US so much joy.
How is the Advent Challenge going for you...perhaps tonight, you should pray for Him to draw near...I am telling you, you won't be sorry. He is here...right here and he REALLY does make the impossible possible.