Do you ever look back, and see the hand of God in your life, taking care of you, providing opportunities, guiding you and directing your path? I call this the gift of hindsight.
When I look back it is so clear to me, how God took care of us, but when I was living that moment, it wasn’t clear at all. I think one of the reasons for this, is that I have my plan, and when that plan gets derailed, I feel frustration, disappointment and sometimes despair.
I’d like to share with you some of the ways God provided for us, to encourage you. God is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow– (Hebrews 13:8). He can be counted on. We, however, are all different from one another. The Bible calls us the Body of Christ. (Romans 12:4,5: Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body, we are many parts of one body, and we all belong to one another.) In other words –We have different purposes because we make up different parts of the “Body of Christ.” So, when I share my story, please look at what God is doing and what is true about Him. I hope you don’t compare yourself to me or judge me—as we were made differently, for different purposes. We are both needed, we are both necessary, we are both loved, but I may be the mouth of the body, and you may be the eye. Would you really want to live without either one?
So, here goes—When my husband and I were young parents, God was leading us to do something we thought rather drastic. He was leading us to trust Him for our finances, and for me to stay home with our children. We had both graduated from college. We had careers, yet we were going to live off one income and I was going to be the one to stay home.
My husband really wanted to start his own Construction Company, but he didn’t think he had enough experience, so, he took a job as a Resident Hall Director at a University, (which included housing and food–making it easy for me to stay at home with our child), so that he could get another degree, making him more marketable in the professional world. Then a year into the job, the University closed two of its dorms and my husband lost his job. At the time, we were devastated. We had our plan– and that plan was changed.
My husband was offered a job by a local construction company. He was offered $6 an hour, which was a little more than minimum wage at the time. When we prayed and asked God about what we should do, it seemed clear that this was the way God wanted us to pursue my husband’s dream of having a construction company.
We didn’t know how we were going to live on the wages, my husband would be making. Yet God was clearly asking us to trust Him and depend on Him. He was asking us to walk by faith. So—we did. It felt a bit like free falling, but as we walked with God, it became clear why He was the rock– the foundation, we could stand on. (Matthew 7:24-27)
Our first concern was housing—where could we afford to live? Well, the people my husband worked for had several rentals, and they were willing to rent to us. The apartment was a bit expensive for our current salary, but for apartments in the area, it was very reasonable, I think we paid $440 dollars a month.
Our second concern was food—we had a very small budget—I think it was $30 a week for groceries, (this was 26 years ago—but that was still low at the time.) I learned to use 1 chicken to make three different meals—roast chicken, chicken pot pie, and chicken soup. I made everything from scratch, because it was less expensive. I would make up a menu for the week, write down my grocery list, and estimate how much everything was going to cost. I would go to the store, and time and time again, the things on my list were on sale that week. Coincidence—I don’t think so—I think that was God’s graciousness to us.
Our third concern was clothing. We didn’t really buy new clothes at this time, we used what we had, later however, when money wasn’t quite so tight, we would shop at discount stores, second-hand stores, and garage sales. Our family would give us gifts of clothes and family and friends would give us hand-me-downs. We weren’t and aren’t too proud to accept hand me downs, and we gave and give away a lot of hand-me-downs too. God has used these support systems to help meet our needs many times, and hopefully has used us to meet others’ needs as well.
One of the biggest gifts from God at this time of our lives was a house we could afford to own ourselves. We had been renting since we were married, and we really wanted to have our own home. My husband had been taking side jobs outside of his regular construction job, and we saved this money to make a down payment on a house. However, we knew it would take an act of God to bring us a house that we could afford to live in.
Then a friend of mine told me about a house that had been given to our church. It was over a hundred years old, and it needed everything—roof, furnace, electrical and plumbing. It had layers and layers of wallpaper on the walls. It had great bones: beautiful hard wood floors, 11-foot ceilings, deep base boards—truly a diamond in the rough.
This house became our first home. We could afford this house; we bought it for $27,000!! It was less expensive to live in this home than it was to rent. We had enough for the down payment and enough to reroof the house! My husband traded labor with a plumber and electrician, so we paid nothing out of pocket for our house to be replumbed and for a new electrical service.
Then we bought a furnace for $50!! My husband was putting a new addition on a house, and the house needed a new furnace for the extra square footage, so the owner sold us their older furnace for $50.
These are just a few ways that God graciously provided for us and blessed us!! Within three years of my husband taking the job in construction, we started our own construction company. We have been in business for 24 years!!
I am glad that when I look at the past, I see God leading us, and I see us following God. Sometimes I see us following grumbling and complaining. Sometimes I see us following, in great pain, but still following. Sometimes, I see our disobedience and rebellion—when we thought we knew better than God did and went our own way. Many times, I see God carrying us, because we had no strength.
I am grateful for the gift of Hindsight, that allows me to see God’s will being played out in our lives. God tells us to look back and remember His works and His acts, (1 Chronicles 6:12), so when we are faced with faith hurdles in the present, we remember how He helped us jump those hurdles in the past and trust Him in the present as well.
I hope that in sharing our stories, it will encourage you in your own walk of faith, to look back at how God was faithful to lead you and provide for you, so that you can continue to follow Him in your life today.
So Be Encouraged!!