Throughout the month of November (and now December), I want to take time to share about people or things I am grateful for over the past year. Previous entries: Jeremy Bouman, Public Libraries, Fuel Saver, Eric Carpenter, WellCare/Medicaid, That One Jimmy’s Egg Meal, Beth Katz & Lonnie Michael, Mark Rober, Running, JK Rowling, Fire Pits, CCC Friends, Westroads, Beth Moore.
You know car bumpers that are covered in bumper stickers? Often a mishmash of religious and/or political statements that never influence someone with a differing view. I shake my head when I see it. Jana knows this, and made reference to the individual’s car before sharing, “They said the Holy Spirit told them to give us this.” It was a financial gift. Grateful. Humbled. Still shaking my head, but for different reasons.
When I started this Sabbath, I thought I had an idea how long I would be out of work. Based on my perspective, it seemed prudent to think I’d be back to work by the end of 2017. Obviously, God has changed my perspective over the past year. He has a different plan in place.
I’m typing this at Westroads, and I can recall nearly a year ago crossing paths with Jared Kliewer here. He was watching his kids, so we walked and talked. Before he focused his time and energy back on his kids, he took time to pray for me right outside Old Navy. It meant a lot to me. Moments that may not make clear what lays ahead, but they help you get through the day. For the other individual, it may only be a few minutes of their time. To Jana, my boys, and I, they are lovely. There have been numerous moments like that.
- The letter arrived from a friend and inside there was $200.
- Someone heard we had a plumbing issue and arranged a plumber to repair a leak. We did not see a bill.
- Jana was out of town with the boys, and I was home alone without a vehicle. “We have a car you can borrow if you need it while your family is away.”
- I’ve borrowed ladders from three different people this past year. All three have graciously lent them. One even making sure I knew it was not a big deal to ask again for their help.
- Countless friends who refuse to let me pay for a meal or a drink when we get together.
- Someone making sure, financially, Liam would make it to his required Boy Scout camp and have proper gear for the experience.
- Our lawn mower broke, and neighbors helped us get through the year with mowing.
- I was given bad repair advice on our minivan, and it caused an issue with our brakes. Someone heard about it and paid the bill once they heard I took it to another mechanic to get repaired.
- “Oh, and this is for you.” Treats had been delivered to the boys for Halloween, but then I was handed something. A prepaid Visa credit card for $500.
- Someone covering Awana Clubs registration fees for the boys.
- A friend coming over and tuning up our bikes for free.
- People donating clothes for the boys. One family in particular has been amazing. Their boys are a few years older than our boys. As our boys shoot up in height (Liam can wear my shoes now), it’s nice to go down to our cellar and pull out the various bags of clothes that have the next size up for the boys. (God only knows how much money has been saved through clothes alone.)
- A neighbor giving the boys their choice of leftover Halloween candy, which was full-size candy bars of all types.
- A pastor I barely know asking if they could pray for me in the middle of a coffeeshop.
- Another family inviting our family over to play in their pool.
There are many more moments like these. Moments like I described when we went to Jimmy’s Egg. Moments where we see God’s presence and provision through numerous people. Sometimes unexpected, but often necessary in that moment. The pool invite may not seem like a big deal, but to us it was a reminder we weren’t forgotten.
We haven’t always broadcasted the needs. Part of that has been a curiosity to see God at work during this time. Being on Sabbath, there is a self-induced aspect of all this as well that can make it awkward to publicize needs. God has provided throughout. By no means are we living the life of the rich and famous. Quite the opposite! However, in the midst of wandering and wondering, we’ve experienced “random” acts of kindness that remind us we are loved and not forgotten. I am grateful for so many of you, and how God has used you to bless our family.