Friday, June 20, 2008

Just Some Morning Thoughts

Lately God has taken me to some several new blogs. All are wives and moms. All are in financial distress. All are pouring out their heart to God to help them make their next mortgage payment, to pay their light bill, to put food on the table and gas in the car.

My heart hurts for them. We are coming out of the darkest time financially. While we aren't completely out of the woods and things are still very tight, I praise God for providing over the last 18 months. I thank Him for using specific people to encourage us in this dark hour and pray that one day (hopefully soon!) we will be able show them just how thankful we are for their sacrifice.

Anyway...these blogging sisters are on my mind big time. I went through my journals from about this time last year and found some scripture that was encouraging to me. I hope that if you are in this sort of situation, you will find some comfort in knowing that you aren't alone.

Isaiah 32 read the whole thing, but especially verse 15-20.
"Till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. Justice will dwell in the desert and righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Though hail flattens the forest and the city is leveled completely, how blessed you will be..."

Going through financial turmoil sure can feel like walking around with the scarlet letters "FF" (financial failure) on your chest. For us, it was a job loss that triggered it. That on top of several years of medical debt that we were still paying on. (We made a poor choice and put a LOT of it on credit cards. BAD CHOICE. CREDIT CARD DEBT IS NEVER A GOOD OPTION. In my opinion and that doesn't count for much!) BUT, God provided and that medical debt is gone. (we have a little, but not like it was!)

As I read these ladies blog posts, I "hear" so many of the feelings I had last summer. One hurt I can so relate to was a comment made by a blogger who had been told by a family member that "It's hard to know when to help and when to let someone struggle so they learn a lesson." That comment hit very close to home as we heard it to. You know, I think when people are in financial turmoil because they have shopped themselves into it, or bought a house that was WAY out of their budget, or purchased new cars/boats and then they can't afford food, clothing, etc...that is one thing. They absolutely need to work their way out of that, they may need some tough love. BUT,

When someone is struggling because of circumstances they didn't choose..that is totally different. They don't need to be told how to manage money, they don't need a lecture, they need love, encouragement and friendship and money!

My heart hurt so much for this one particular blogger. I wish I could stock her pantry, fill up her car and then take her shopping for a new outfit. But I can't. We aren't at that point yet...but I can pray.

You know we are hearing everywhere just how bad everything is. And it is bad...but our God is still in control. He still owns the cattle on a thousand hills. His word still says that He will provide our needs, maybe not our wants, but our needs! He tells us that He will destroy the years the locust stole from us.

I can honestly say to you that this 18 months or so have been just as hard as the years that Chad was physically at the point of death. I am not joking around here. I have been at lows that I thought I would never visit again.

But God has been faithful to us. And He Will be faithful to you. He is not a respecter of persons and He is just crazy about you.

My prayer today is that if you are struggling financially, that you would experience some heavenly peace today. It may be a while before things seem stable and okay, but you have a Saviour who wants to show you some pretty awesome things during this time. You are not alone.

Exodus 14:14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Psalm 34:9-10 Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Be still and listen. I'm asking him to sing a little louder over you today and to make you very aware of his presence.


BethAnne said...

When I hear of people who are struggling financially it makes me wish I were a billionaire so I could help them, but you hit the nail on the head......I am more than a billionaire, I am a daughter of the Most High, I will inherit all those cattle on those thousand hills, and I have the honor of taking their case to the Throne of God - and that is much better than paying off their debt for them. My father is the Director of Stewardship at First Baptist Woodstock Georgia - his blog is on my sidebar - I am sure that he would be glad to offer suggestions to anyone you know who is in financial distress. He's pretty smart (now, he wasnt when I was 15 - imagine that). ahhahahaah Thanks for sharing your heart and your struggles - what a testimony to a might God! You are a sweetheart!

LAURIE said...

Thanks for sharing from your heart today. I pray that if even one who reads your blog is struggling financially that they will be encouraged to know that God is in control. I have walked exactly where you are talking about and I have also walked in plenty (I think I am somewhere inbetween right now) and I have learned that no matter how much or how little you have God will ALWAYS provide!

I have experienced Gods provision but sometimes I did not recognize it as His provision and then I made poor financial choices (like credit card debt...been there, done that, don't want to go back!)and then cried out "Why haven't you provided God!!".

duh..Remember the unexpected bonus you got...God provided...remember what you did with the bonus? went on vacation and charged more on your credit who is to blame for still having credit card debt?

God ALWAYS provides, it is my prayer that I will have my eyes open to see His provision and to be a good steward with what He has given me.

Thanks for the reminder of holding those up in prayer that are struggling and who need encouragement! -Blessings, Laurie

Christina said...

I will pray for your friends to overcome their struggles.

Tamara said...

This is such a thoughtful and encouraging post. Thank you for ministering God's grace so tenderly to those who need to read it!

Speaking Thru Me Ministries said...

hey sweetie - what a beautiful remembernace of what He has done for you!!! love that and thanks for sharing!!! love, Leigh

Fran said...

Oh, its such a hard, hard journey.
We sold our "dream house" that we built so we could be a little smarter with our money. We were trying to be something that we weren't but thought we wanted. That is just a piece of how people can get in way over their heads.

I will pray for those girls too.
I pray for us all to be good stewards of everything He has blessed us with and to see the difference in wants and needs.

Bless you sweet friend. I absolutely love your heart.
Blessings over you and your precious family!

Heather said...

Stephanie- You have the sweetest heart and this post makes me wish we were "real life friends"- I'd just love to hang out with you!
I tagged you for something fun on my blog when you get a sec!

jenmom said...

Thank you so much for the encouragement Stephanie! My family and I are some of the people you mentioned in your post. I just want to scream sometimes just to be honest! I just get tired of the struggle! And then, I know I have sought the Lord like never before during this time. And yes He does provide!
I have just today finished the course in Medical Transcription. Please, Please pray that I can get matched with just the right doctor and his practice. We are hanging on by a thread, but praise God that thread directly leads to His throne of Grace!!!!!

Heather C said...

What a sweet and thoughtful post! I can feel your heart beating for these women, and your concern and love is in every word. This was beautiful, Stephanie. I'll be praying for your friends, and in the next breath, thanking the Lord for putting you in their lives to offer encouragement, counsel and love. :)

Michele said...

Stephanie, Thank you for this post. I am bummed today while so many people are leaving for the beach. A place we dearly love to go to as a family every summer but can't go this year. BUT, I am so thankful that we have food on the table, and are barely making our bills. There are so many people hurting right now and we just need to pray for one onother and not make judgements on how they got into the situation or how they afford "this and that" right now because some people have family members that help and some don't.

Great to be back at your blog. I have not visited in a while.

Julie said...

What a wonderful post and a great testimony for those struggling! The scriptures you shared were most appropriate and spoke to me conerning non financial issues! Thank you so much for sharing!

The Stokes Family said...

This is such a REAL, no-mask post . . . and what an AWESOME testimony of how God can carry us through the darkest of times. As always, you are such an encouragment, always pointing others to Him!