I've spent a lot of time the past few days thinking about the last year of my family's life.
It really started a couple of days before Christmas in 2007. That was when we got a letter from the IRS stating that we owed several thousand dollars in back taxes. The next week was followed by a trip to Kansas where our van ended up breaking down, and we had to replace the alternator outside a parts store in the snow. Another couple of weeks passed and the motor in my husband's truck locked up.
There were resolutions to each of those problems. We were able to prove we didn't owe the tax money.. praise God! My van is still chugging along. Tommy's truck has a new engine in it, and we plan to run it until the wheels fall off. But those few things aren't the whole of what has happened. There's more... lots more....
We had a "family crisis" last Spring that I will not discuss in further detail because I don't want to "expose" anyone for the world to see. It was a very trying situation that finally resulted in my husband and I throwing our hands up in defeat and admitting we'd had enough with this particular incident. We've been out a lot financially because of it, but thank God, we aren't having to deal with the specifics of it an on-going basis.
Our health insurance company's website reports that for 2008 we had forty-four claims submitted from our doctors. That means we spent more time at the doctor's office than at church this past year.
Then came Tommy's surgery. Our doctor guessed yesterday that Tommy will be off work another eight weeks or so. (I'm enjoying my time with him but really miss a steady pay check!)
Then today... someone has stolen our checking account information and used it to pay their bills online! We have yet to decide whether to press charges or not. We'll spend some time in prayer before making that decision.
If we spent our time focusing on the negative in our life, I don't know how we'd be able to catch our breath. I praise God for His grace and mercy which leads, guides, and sustains us daily through every trial and circumstance that we face. ** 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, - But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. ** To which I say "amen and amen!"
I have recently begun reading Beth Moore's book "Believing God." One statement from her book has stuck with me. It says, "We will never take our place as 'more than overcomers' with nothing to overcome." Romans 8:37 says, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Praise God that He loves us enough that He has seen us through. He is faithful and just. He will do what He has promised He will do.
There was a time not too long ago that all of these situations would have overwhelmed me. I would have cried, thrown up my hands, and thrown in the towel. But more often these days I do as a dear friend once advised me and "put my big girl panties on and deal with it." I don't do that in my own strength though. I am able to do that because time and time again my God has come through for me. Time and time again He has shown up and shown me His great love, His power, His patience, and His mercy and grace. If not for the tests we have gone through, God would not have been able to prove Himself to me on so many different levels in so many different areas. I am reminded in Deuteronomy that God has a purpose even in the wilderness: Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (Deuteronomy 8:2)
And I am encouraged by three Hebrew children. They were put into the fire and when they came out, the only things that had been burned off were the things that had them bound. They didn't even smell of smoke! "God, may that be my testimony too."