In my first blog of 2014 I told you about the ONE Word I had chosen to focus on this year – watch. My intent is to watch for the multitude of ways that God is at work in my life and take note of them. I asked you, my blog readers, to send me your own stories of the ways God amazes you in your everyday life. So, I’ll start with an email I got from my friend, Sarah, in response to that request. She wrote: I read your blog where you asked people to send you ways that God amazes them in their everyday life. I had to share! It is nothing specific, but I am continually amazed by the way that God loves. Whether it is by the way He created us, by the promises He gives to us, or the people He places in our lives. His love is outrageous!
Sarah is right. God’s love for us is outrageous! I think this next story is a perfect example of the kind of outrageous love God showers on His children.
Last week I had the opportunity to spend time with my friend, Mary, whom I’ve known for more years than I’ve been married (which is a very long time.) In fact, though we can’t exactly remember for sure, we think she and her husband, Mike, were instrumental in introducing John and I. She hadn’t seen my request for amazing God stories but wow, she had a great one to share.
Mike and Mary are following God’s call to move from northern Minnesota (I’m talking WAY up north) to a suburb outside of the Twin Cities. They are both small town people so this move is a huge leap of faith for them. And basically Mary is moving to support her husband’s dream; the same way he has always supported hers. In November, Mary was at a prayer retreat and all of those in attendance were spending time alone just to listen to God. Mary admits that she fell asleep during this time (oops) but God woke her up. And after He had her attention He said to her, “Mary, write down what you want in your new location.” Mary questioned God with, “You mean write down what I need?” “No,” God responded, “write down what you WANT.”
So that’s what Mary did. She pulled out her journal and wrote down a very specific list of desires for the townhouse they were planning to lease. I’m sure I’ll forget something but this is most of what she asked for:
- At least two bedrooms so she’d have an extra one for guests.
- Nearby green space with trees.
- A spot she can swim laps within walking distance.
- A library close enough to walk to.
- A private patio or balcony.
I think there were eight items on her list but this is all I can remember. She tucked her journal back into her purse and never mentioned it to Mike. A couple of weeks later the two of them drove down to the Twin Cities area and after Mike had looked at some office space he picked Mary up for lunch and townhouse shopping. The first place they looked at was directly across the GREEN SPACE from the community center, which houses a LAP POOL. It was also a short distance from the townhouse to the LIBRARY. And, it has not two, but THREE bedrooms PLUS a private deck! Every single thing on Mary’s list was there. Everything!
Mary was noticeably quiet when they left the townhouse and Mike questioned her uncharacteristic behavior. She simply pulled out her journal, handed it to Mike and said, “Well, Mike, I don’t really know what to say. I’m not sure how you feel about this place but I simply have to move in here.” If that was the end of this story, it would be an awesome story, but it’s not.
In an effort to keep this blog from becoming a novel, I’ll give you the shortened version of what happened next. Mike and Mary plan on keeping their current home in northern Minnesota and thus needed some furniture for their new townhouse. So Mary asked the townhouse manager if she knew of anyone moving out who would want to sell their furniture. Shortly thereafter she got an email from a tenant who would be leaving right before Mike and Mary were planning to move in. He wanted to sell everything in his townhouse and offered it to Mary and Mike. Through this man, God provided them with furniture for every single room of their townhouse. Not just furniture – beautiful furniture, in a style Mary loves. Additionally he offered them beautiful towels, pillows, two flat-screen televisions, dishes, glasses, silverware and cooking supplies all for less than $2000. That is NOT a typo. Two thousand dollars for a beautifully appointed townhouse full of furniture! You don’t even have to be paying close attention to see how God worked some outrageously awesome miracles for all of this to come about!
I asked Mary if I could share this story with you because it encouraged me. It doesn’t encourage me to ask God to be my Santa Claus and give me everything I think I want. It encourages me because it’s an incredible example of the way God blesses His children as they follow His lead. Mary didn’t ask God for all of this, she never would; she simply obeyed Him when He called her to support her husband’s dream.
It’s stories like this that buoy our faith. When we surrender our lives to God He sometimes calls us to do some pretty radical things. When we are obedient, even though we don’t always understand His ways, He is always, ALWAYS, faithful.