Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Year of Faith: Happy Anniversary!

Today, Abe and I have been married for 14 years!!



On our 12-year anniversary, I wrote about our story of how we met. :-) If interested, the link is below:

http://abeandrachelsbeautifullife.blogspot.com/2013/03/12-years-of-marriage-our-story.html

This past year-and-a-half, among other struggles, we have struggled financially. Abe has been working jobs all over the country. He has worked as a salesman and has sold just about everything possible in the past year: roofing, alarms, TV, solar panels, outdoor kitchens, etc. He left for weeks at a time and wasn't at church with us even once for 4 months straight because of his travels. He missed almost all of the kids' football/cheer games… for not nearly enough pay. He never panicked. He just continued to work hard.

Miracle at Walmart

Last fall, I ran into Walmart to get some fruit and some crackers for my children for lunch before I had to race them back to their afternoon classes. When I got to the checkout, I realized I didn't have enough money for everything. I only bought the crackers and ran like a crazy woman around Walmart returning everything else.

Meanwhile, my kids were in the car waiting for me with my phone. They answered a phone call from a friend of mine. She told them that she was right by Walmart and wanted to give us some things. This friend who called me had NO IDEA that I had just returned my groceries. In fact, once I returned to my car, I was trying to call her back to tell her I didn't have time for a visit. Before I could connect with her, she pulled up right behind me in the parking lot. She came running out with a bag of Clementine oranges- just like the ones I had sadly returned to Walmart only moments before.

That was an absolute miracle, and I knew it. Who randomly gives oranges to somebody in a Walmart parking lot? How did she know I had gone shopping but had to leave with only some crackers… wishing I had enough money for the fruit too? She didn't know…. but the Lord knew and inspired a friend to remind me that God was and is aware of every tiny moment in our lives. What a sweet gift from a kind friend following God's direction…

This morning I was reading in Matthew chapter 14 when Jesus walks on water.

When the disciples saw HIM walking on water, they feared that HE was a spirit, and Jesus said to them in verse 27: "...Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid." Peter also began to walk on water towards Jesus…

verses 30-31: "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried, saying, Lord, save me.. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

Like Peter, I sink when I doubt. I have to make a conscious effort to not doubt that HE will stretch forth his hand when I need it.

The gift of the clementines alone is reason enough for me to remember that principle and to have faith in HIS plan for me.

I certainly learned a tremendous amount of faith this past year…

The Flooded Car

The tests of faith continued…

One morning a few months ago, it had been raining hard all night long. Abe was driving Jackson to church at 5:30 am for his early morning seminary class. He was 1 block away from the church, and the street was dark still when he hit a deep puddle. Abe tried to drive faster through the puddle when he realized how deep it was, but his car stopped… and nothing he did could get it started again.

Abe called me as the water rose almost to his car door. Needless to say, his car was destroyed. So here we were, with 6 kids who each had a million activities they needed to be at while Abe was trying to work extra jobs that all required a vehicle… In fact, one day Abe walked 8 miles back from a job because he didn't have the heart to tell me he needed a ride. When I finally found him, he was waving his white towel in the air… I couldn't help but laugh at the sad sight of my weary, sweaty husband…I knew that this too was part of our trial… this was our "boisterous wind," and we were determined to maintain our faith.

The Lord truly did take care of us through our financial struggles. A couple of wonderful friends gave Abe some side jobs: clearing out homes, DJing, and voice lessons. One friend gave me a job to tutor her daughter in reading. Another friend gave me a job to teach her daughter piano. A neighbor gave me a job to make banana bread for his entire office- and he paid me generously. :-) We were making it inch by inch and were truly learning how to trust Jesus and not to "sink."

The Lord Stretched Forth HIS Hand in a MARVELOUS Way!!

Abe applied for a job a couple of years ago while we still lived in Michigan. This particular job seemed like the perfect job. He would be presenting leadership training principles to large companies and organizations. He would be using his public speaking skills on a regular basis. He prepared a presentation and was interviewed by Skype, but he didn't get the job. In fact, the interview ended in a way that Abe felt like they even wondered why he would be applying for such a job.

A few weeks ago, Abe received a phone call out of the blue from the same company on a Monday asking him if he was still interested in applying for that job. What? Two years later? Abe, of course, said he was!

They flew him to California two days later. Thursday he auditioned live in front of the owners of the company, and he was offered the job that very same day.

He started training that following Monday- exactly one week from the initial phone call.

He is teaching principles that he firmly believes in and is working with men and women who have a deep faith in God. He will be home every weekend for the kids' activities and for church. We receive full benefits starting April 1st without any out-of-pocket expenses.

We are still in shock. How did this happen? One minute we were wondering where each and every dollar was coming from, and within one week Abe was working his dream job.

I am grateful to be married to a man with whom I can struggle, find faith, and experience joy into the eternities. What a beautiful challenge this life is. We are not perfect. We make mistakes. We have committed to stay together; and because of that mutual determination and faith in God, we have overcome great challenges.

Thank you, Abe, for trying so hard, for loving and teaching our children, and for using all that God has given you to give us a beautiful life of learning and of love. Thank you for loving God. Thank you for living with passion and heart.

Thank you for loving me and for believing in me and in us.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!



(Abe's drinking sparkling grape juice by the way. :-))