I just had the opportunity to attend the Sweet Retreat. This is a retreat for the seminary women (wives of seminary students or ladies attending seminary themselves) that is put on every fall. It’s a quick weekend but a good one. The senior students, or wives of the senior students, are asked to share. And to my disbelief I was one of them this year. How fast these two years have flown!
One of the things I shared was about coming here and God’s provision in that. I tell you, as I revisited this story and wrote it down, the tears were streaming down my face.
I figured if I could share it with close friends, why not the Internet as well…right? So here is it.
When we started making plans to come Fergus Falls, MN, so that my husband could attend serminary, I did what I like to do and that is to try to have as much as possible figured out and planned. Shortly after we decided to come here we found out that I was pregnant, and my due date was July 19th. That due date did not seem very reassuring in light of the fact that Daniel would be starting seminary about a month later. I have moved very shortly after having a baby a few times before, and while I knew it could be done, I also remembered the exhaustion, the hardship in trying to recover from birth and nursing a baby around the clock in the midst of moving. But I knew God had called us here. I knew that He could and would sustain us, and that even though this would be hard, it would all work out.
I also was worried about the financial side of things. How would we find jobs? When would we have time to work a job with husband in seminary and four children under the age of 5? How long would the process of getting settled take? We were able to tuck away a decent amount in saving’s though. And, well, I was feeling pretty good about that.
As the spring approached we were able to figure out where we were going to live, that was a huge blessing. But figuring out the income side of things was still totally up in the air. I was feeling fairly comfortable that at least we would have cushion through the fall to figure that part out. But God had another growing experience for me in mind.
In that start to the summer, we had a child completely kill our TV, along with flushing a deodorant stick down the toilet, which required a plumber to rip our toilet out to fix. We had a tire on our car get slashed, a tooth fell apart that would require a root canal and crown, and a few other difficulties along the way.
After all that, we started our road trip to Minnesota, and less than three hours into it, our van was obviously not doing well. By the grace of God we limped along into the next town. Daniel the boys and I anxiously waited for the verdict. Finally the mechanic came in and told us that our transmission had gone out, he wasn’t even sure how it was still driving. The mechanic said they would either have to rebuild a new one for us, or we could by a new car. So we walked to the McDonalds next door, let the kids run loose on the play place and discussed our options. It was evident that the new car was not an option. But we did have enough to have the transmission rebuilt. So that is what we decided on. Replacing the transmission about wiped us out financially. There goes the cushion we had been counting on.
It sounds cliché, but it’s really not cliché. God really was so good.
So, backing the story up a little bit, on July 5th I gave birth to the baby, who we now know as Silas. He came two weeks early, giving me much more time to recover and so then I felt better when it came time to move. Everything went so well with that birth. I went home from the hospital with him that day, which was wonderful.
Now back to the car, and God’s goodness and provision there. We handed over the keys to the mechanic. And the wife of the mechanic drove us over to a hotel, where we were supposed to spend two days, since that’s how long the mechanic figured it would take to fix the van. Somehow word got out of our story, and the next day we were told that someone had paid for our hotel room. Earlier that morning, while having the continental breakfast at the hotel, the manager stuffed some brown paper bags into my diaper bag. They were full of baked goods, crackers and fruit. Later that morning she came to our room and dropped off all sorts of fun things for the kids to put together and play with in the hotel room. For lunch Perkins donated food, two adult meals and a few kids meals. It was crazy.
I felt so blessed that crazy day in that hotel. God’s hand of provision was so evident. It was another reminder that, yes, God is here, He is going to take care of us. And I need to put my confidence in Him.
Our van was eventually fixed, and the mechanic charges us five dollars less than his quoted price (for real, how often does that happen?), and we were able to make it here. It wasn’t long before we were blessed with unexpected checks in the mail, and later that month food appeared on our doorstep along with some other provisions as well.
Things were not easy for us, especially that first year. But God always provided, He always carried us through. And I wouldn’t trade this experience. It has grown me so much, it has taken me to a new level of trust in the Lord, whether I wanted to get there or not! It’s helped further my belief that God is capable of the impossible, not just in the Bible, or someone else’s life, but in MY own life as well.
As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.