Giving back what is already His!
This is kind of hard to write because it involves a confession – yikes! But in order to share my testimony I need to get real!
Last month as the adoption process progressed and we realized we were going to soon need a LOT of funds to complete the journey we began to put the pencil to the paper. It just wasn’t adding up. We have been trusting God for everything in this process, following as He leads, finding that His plans are far greater than we had imagined. But the cost was escalating, and though we had come up with over half of it, there was still a l.a.r.g.e. balance.
We went to our friend and pastor and shared our hearts. For the previous processes we have been able to borrow the funds, if necessary, to complete the process. I know that debt is not the best option … but we have committed to do what was necessary to bring our children home, even it if means paying on a loan for the rest of our lives. Now, God has never allowed the debt to last very long – He’s always provided for timely repayment!
This time is different. Since starting up a new farming business, we have exhausted all collateral and ability to borrow. In the past we’ve felt we trusted the Lord completely for everything we needed, but this time we were really, really trusting Him. We’ve held fundraisers, giveaways, applied for 6 grants, received anonymous love offerings, cut our budget to bare bones and saved every penny we could, and still we were short – really short.
On September 12 we committed to fasting in order to seek the Lord. We desperately needed to hear from Him. Maybe He would confide His provisional plans to us. Or maybe, better yet, He would change us! We began our first extended fast. And the Lord spoke volumes.
Many times the enemy tried to make us doubt, question our motives, or remind us of our own weaknesses and allow discouragement. We spent a lot of time in the Word and in prayer, and God was faithful to speak. What we really wanted was direction, to know how He was going to provide all we needed, if we were to keep it to ourselves or make it public. We wanted Him to change our circumstances … but we didn’t expect Him to change US so much!
He began to remind us of Truths He had spoken to us months before about following Him with reckless abandon because His plans are so awesome and His power so limitless (Psa 40:5; Eph 3:20), others may forsake us but He never will (Psa 27:10), many may question our calling, but He is faithful to carry us outside the barriers of our comfort (Jer 29:11 ), He wants us to have abundant life here and now (Psa 27:13-14), and all good things come from Him (Psa 16:2).
We didn’t know how long the fast would last, but our prayer was that the Lord would speak the same things to each of us, individually. Throughout the week we shared things He had spoken to us, and then on Friday, were struck with an awful truth: we had become unfaithful in giving. In the previous months the budget had been tight, but there was no excuse. The simple truth is we had stopped recognizing that what we receive is God’s. We k.n.e.w. it was from Him, but we were not living that out by giving back. How He desperately wanted us to understand His abundant provision by trusting Him enough to give back to Him first. No wonder we were at a financial dead end! We lacked faith!
As we talked about it, we realized we needed to repent and start giving immediately no.matter.what! I am also grateful for the way He uses His faithful children to speak and live out His Truth. (Thank you, L, for taking the time to counsel and pray with us as well!)
Suddenly we were free! We still didn’t have the funds we needed, but we had the direction we so desperately sought. Our role is to faithfully give back. On a Friday evening, six days later we broke the fast.
Early Saturday morning a sweet sister from church stopped by, totally unexpected, and gave a gift of $1,000 toward our adoption! We shared our testimony of the previous seven days and told her that only $900 would be applied to our process because the first was for the Lord. That’s my God! We don’t deserve His blessing, but He is so faithful!
The following weeks as long-awaited paychecks began to arrive, we were so excited to set aside the Lord’s portion first, and He began to restore our finances! Still we lacked the amount needed for the adoption. Suddenly we had the idea of a benefit/fundraising dinner. We weren’t really sure how it would go over, but with the encouragement and prayers of our brother/friend/pastor we quickly put it together. We mailed personal invitations, spoke to our ministerial alliance and hung flyers.
Five days later we prepared a pasta feast with expectations of feeding 300 hungry guests. The weather turned cold and illness was rampant. But we had been praying for God’s provision. We had been placing our hope in Him. We knew He was speaking to the hearts of His children and many would respond. We just knew it. We were told over and over again by dear friends that He was surely going to do something big … and we had no idea how big!
We probably served between 150 and 200 people, but we were not discouraged. The cash box was whisked away as we began the massive cleanup effort. In hindsight I’m so glad it happened the way it did. Our pastor (friend!) has been one of our biggest prayer warriors and encouragers over the last six years of adoption blessings, and he was the one who shared what God had miraculously done on a cold Tuesday evening in a small church in a town of 500 citizens. We needed $21,000 to complete our process, and God provided $21,115!!!!
Because so many wish to remain anonymous, we do not know who gave or how much. We apologize that we can’t thank each individual personally, but publicly we say THANK YOU for seeking and responding to our Heavenly Father, and we PRAISE YOU, Father, for knowing and providing exactly what we need! Even when we are not faithful, YOU ARE!