Sunday, June 29, 2008

Warning: This is a very long post :)

God is doing an amazing work in Southern California, and it is exciting to see His hand at work. Since I was young, I remember evangelist’s and missionaries stories of God’s mighty moving. I always marveled at the story of the Israelites and how God did such amazing miracles for them. I know God has been at work in my life and in my family’s life in the past, but it is inspiring to be awake enough to know God is working, while I am still in the middle of His outpouring. Another incredible thought is that God’s working does not necessarily mean that we get what we want. That is not God’s work. God’s will is not for us to always be cured, receive a huge blessing or see a loved one broken. His will sometimes is accomplished when we are disappointed.

Two weeks ago, Gary and I began looking for a home. We entered a program that assigned a realtor to us. That alone was the first blessing. She is an intelligent, hard-working realtor, and we are really thankful for her. She does not know it yet, but God is going to be using us to share the gospel with her in a short time. We were out looking for homes one Saturday morning. Nothing had peaked our interest, by any means. Gary wanted to drive by an area that he thought he had seen a couple houses for sale on the internet. We drove into the neighborhood and fell in love with it right away. We immediately saw two houses for sale---both were bank-owned and foreclosures. We walked into the first home and really liked it, but we also saw the MLS listing putting it at a price $100,000 above what we were looking for. We then walked two doors down and looked at the exact same layout in another house. As the day continued, we found nothing of particular interest, except the two houses that “we happened upon.” Later that day, the realtor sent us information regarding the area and the houses. The second home was not officially listed yet, but she was going to talk to the realtor and find out about the price. She e-mailed us later; it was the exact price that we were looking for! A week later, we went back to the home. I prayed on the way that God would give us a peace. We don’t want a house that He does not want us to have. I want the neighbors that He wants us to have; I want the investment that He has planned for us. We were ready to make an offer later that afternoon. We made an offer $20,000 below the asking price and we asked the bank to pay the closing costs. We both knew if God wanted us to have the house, He could accomplish anything.

In the meantime, we have been waiting a week to hear what God has for us, and He has been working in so many other ways. Gary has been teaching the college class for over a year now, and they just recently started meeting on Tuesday evening to appeal to a wider base of young adults. They meet at one of our church kids’ home, Jake, and they have been running from15-18 each Tuesday evening. Gary has really enjoyed the ministry that God has given him there. This past week, Gary asked for prayer requests and one young lady, Amber, timidly requested prayer for her grandfather. He had been diagnosed with cancer two months earlier. The family, particularly her grandmother, was really struggling with it. Amber’s family is not faithful in church attendance, and prayer was not one thing that had been really discussed in connection with her grandfather. Amber asked the group to pray for him, and they did. Two nights later, Amber called Jake and wanted to talk with him. They met at the Ventura Pier, where Jake learned that her grandfather was examined that morning, and the cancer was now gone. Praise the Lord! Whether it was a misdiagnosis to begin with or if God just wanted to show his power to Amber and her family, God is real! On their way off the pier, they ran into a homeless couple. Jake did not ignore them. He and Amber spent 1 ½ hours talking to the couple. The man was apparently drunk, but the wife was very open in discussion. Jake became burdened for the couple. He texted all the members of the Tuesday college group and asked for help for this couple. They raised enough money to put the two up in a hotel for a week. Amber brought them clothes and a pre-paid phone. When Jake delivered a card, signed by the group, the two broke into tears. Jake said, “There is one exception….you have to come to church with me, and I would like for you to come to our church’s program called “Celebrate Recovery.” The couple agreed. It was so exciting to meet them at church this evening. We have also invited them to our home for dinner one night this week. We are all actively pursuing leads to find them a job. Praise the Lord for young people who are sensitive to God’s leading.

Their have been many requests with families in our church lately. My heart has been especially broken for a young couple with two children, whom I work with in children’s ministry on Sunday night. Recently, the wife left the family. They are filing for divorce. I know she has been feeling overwhelmed with her family, work, and school. I know this is not God’s answer for this situation, but my heart is broken for her and her husband, and their two children. I have been praying for her, and after not seeing her in church for nearly four weeks, I was so delighted to see her pick up her children from church tonight. I walked over to her and hugged her. I held her for a long moment. I wanted her to know that I really did care; she began to cry. I know God needs to work in her life, and I just strongly encouraged her to be faithful to church. “I want to see you here,” I told her.

After talking with this mother, my kids and I walked down to the main auditorium. Gary was talking to one of his best friends, Joel. Our families are close, as are our children. I was talking for just a short while to Kim, Joel’s wife, when I learned that she had miscarried that past week. Their youngest is Brooke’s age and Brooke’s best friend. They were excited about having another baby. At just 11 weeks gestation, Kim had miscarried this precious little baby. My heart was saddened for her and Joel, but so encouraged to see her strength and her trust in God’s will. She testified that this was God’s baby, and that she rested in that fact.

I know this post is getting immensely long, but I find it hard to stop. When I woke up this morning, I was in great pain. I have been experiencing pains in my leg for about 4 months now. The doctors have done blood tests and an X-ray and both have come back negative. No apparent problem. I am scheduled to get a nerve test later this week. Most days are fine, but some days are just painful to move. When I got to church this morning, I talked to our family pastor’s wife, who was formerly a diabetic, before she had a pancreas transplant. My doctor mentioned “diabetic neuropathy.” I asked Denise if she had heard of it, and she said that she had previously had it. She described the disease, and it really frightened me. The symptoms, however, do not sound like mine. I was somewhat overwhelmed. Fear makes me wonder what it would be like to be in a wheelchair, or what if something happened to my life. I did, however, experience great peace, when I realized that God is in control of this situation, as well. Nothing in my life is outside of His hands.

So, you see, many questions remain unanswered at this point and time. We hope to hear about the house on Monday. We will see what the outcome is. My nerve test is on Tuesday. May God’s will be done in that area as well. With great thanks and great amazement, I look to the week ahead, knowing that whatever happens, my God is in control, and I must rest in that!


SturgillMom said...

Oh Michelle!!! What a post! Thank you for your amazing testimony and for sharing how God is working in your lives. I needed to hear that! Let us know about your house today and we will definitely be praying for your nerve test tomorrow....let us know!

Ann-Marie said...

You sound so much like your mom! Such strength and trust in the Lord.

What a blessing to hear about your trials and triumphs. We'll be praying about the house. The story about the homeless couple just moved me to tears - what a blessing in their lives. And it is good to hear how God is working in Gary's life as well. Thanks so much for sharing your heart.

P.S. - Long post? Hardly! Have you visited MY blog...uh-huh. You've got nothing to worry about!

Juliet said...

This post needed to be long. Sometimes we have alot on our minds and hearts.

The true and living God we serve works in all our lives to bring glory to Himself.

We also will be praying for all the requests you have mention. Especially your nerve test.

Deb said...

I'll be praying for your health, Michelle. I love reading your posts because they are so uplifting spiritually speaking and in other ways, too. :) Keep on keeping us posted with your posts. He, he.

Hope it works out for you to get the house you want! Have a wonderful week and keep resting in the Lord.