Thursday, November 28, 2013

Birthday Surprise! It's Yani!

Happy Thursday and Happy Thanksgiving! Today is my all time favorite Holiday and because it is I have invited one of my all time favorite people to write the Thanksgiving Day post. My friend Yani is dear to me for so many reasons. She is caring, loving, compassionate, transparent, honest, and insanely funny. She loves my Jesus so much and demonstrates to me what a life of gratitude should look like. You will be inspired, through her writing, to increase your faith and thanksgiving. Happiest of days to You!

photo credit

Sometimes God uses the most unexpected people in your life to teach you lessons. I have many wise people in my life, that God has used for just that purpose. But one of the most recent ones, and the most impacting, was when God used my fifteen year old daughter Samantha to show me how my faith was like an atrophied muscle... it needed a boot-camp style workout. 

Being a Christian for eight years, I have on countless occasions read Matthew 17:20 “ He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.  I know it by memory! I have used it in ministering to others. However, as we currently endure a difficult season in our lives, it must have slipped my mind (insert blushing emoticon here).  

In September, just one month after moving into a new home my husband lost his job. This was a devastating blow for our family. We had spent months praying for this new home. We had just moved in, and desired to have a good relationship with our landlords. And then BOOM!  It felt as if a a nuclear bomb had gone off and destroyed all of our dreams and aspirations. It might sound silly to some of you, but that’s what it felt like to us. Robert is the sole bread winner in our home. No job means no way to pay the bills. We were devastated and quite frankly terrified, but we put our “faith” in God and moved forward. 

Hillsong  was coming to town, and Samantha really wanted to go to the concert. After the move, things were tight and we weren't sure we were going to be able to purchase tickets. With Robert losing his job, the idea of purchasing tickets went from a probably not to a definite No. When we sat her down to break the news to her, she was bummed, and stayed pensive for a while. She tried to find ways that she could go to the concert, and every suggestion led us back to the same response, No. After a little while she looked at us and said “ I’m going to that concert. If it is Gods will for me to go, He will open up the doors and get me a ticket”. Robert and I dismissed it as wishful thinking and got back to more important matters like how we were going to pay the bills. 

As the weeks passed, she continued to hear about the concert on the radio. Week after week, she sang the songs at church, and learned that her friends and practically everyone she knew was going to the concert. Robert and I felt bad for her, but there was nothing we could do. 

Fast forward to Saturday November 23, the day of the concert. Our morning plans had been canceled and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get up to date on the chores. We were cleaning, doing laundry, and cooking dinner. The concert was at 7:30 pm and for sure we were not going. At 3:00 pm I got a text from a friend offering us three tickets to the concert . Samantha automatically looked at me, smiled, and said “I told you”. My faith was too small to believe that God would give us tickets, but not hers. Her faith was big enough that even at the last minute she knew and believed that there was going to be a way that she would go to that concert and jam with Young and Free. Needless to say, we went to the concert and it was amazing, even the seats were amazing! And in that wonderful way that God has of dealing with me, He let me know that I had just been taught a lesson.  

You see, after the concert our friend who had offered us the tickets came up to us, and as we are telling her how grateful we were, she told us, “ To be quite honest when I was informed of the tickets all I could think of was Samantha”. Right then and there I knew that, that was Gods subtle (not so subtle) way of letting me know that it was her faith that got us those tickets. In that perfect moment of clarity I realized that my faith muscles are in need of some serious exercise. 

Looking back at these last three months I realized that God has never let me down. He always comes through, like He did with the concert tickets, in His perfect timing. Our trials are those perfect training sessions for our Faith muscles.

James 1:2-4 says it perfectly, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."  We serve an amazing God who has never let us down and never will. He is our Provider, Friend, Redeemer, Savior, and the Lover of our soul. He died on a cross for each and every one of our sins,  He knows the depravity of our hearts, and loves us anyway. He turned water into wine, raised the dead back to life, and healed the sick. And yet we still doubt.

  Psalm 27 says it perfectly :
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?”

Next time the trial comes around, exercise those muscles. And remember who you have put your faith in, or God might just use your kid to remind you ;)

Samantha (left) and the Hillsong Young And Free Concert

 Happy Thanksgiving 

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