If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:13
In these tough economic times it is good to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness. I want to share just a few of the ways that the Lord has been faithful to our family in the last few years.
1- He has kept our children’s hearts. We know this isn’t because we’ve been perfect parents – in fact, we’ve been far from perfect parents. Having a Dad who is gone most of the time is not ideal or desirable if you are trying to be good parents. As most of you know, this is the situation we found ourselves in during medical school, residency, and again the 5 – 6 years before we moved.
– We did our best and trusted the Lord with the rest. When we give Him all we have, He tends to make it “enough.”
– We involved our children in all parts our lives. Dad’s work was “our” work, we just had different parts. Dad went to work each day, we stayed home and prayed for him. We made sure he came home to a clean, neat home with dinner ready for him. We made sure we all had good attitudes – including Mom!
– My motto became “The more Dan is gone, the less I can be gone”. This was truly a work that the Lord did in my heart over time. After much kicking and fighting, I gradually realized that someone’s main responsibility had to be the home and children. We couldn’t both be gone doing whatever, whenever we wanted to and expect things to run smoothly.
Since Dan being home wasn’t often an option and money for babysitters was almost non-existent for years, I finally yielded my desires to the Lord in this area. I read somewhere about a woman’s “heart being at home”. This describes what happened to me over time – a long time! I allowed our home and children to become my first responsibility. I looked at myself as the “default.” If I had plans and Dan couldn’t make it home, I stayed home by default. This happened many, many times – a physician’s life usually can’t be planned out in neat little time tables. Dan couldn’t say, “I’m sorry, but my wife is expecting me home to watch the children. Could you please have a heart attack later in the week?” I sometimes think this happened so many times because the Lord had to continually test my heart in this matter.
The Lord was so faithful to meet my needs as I yielded my desires to Him. I’ve missed a lot of things I would have liked to be involved in and I never found time to “find myself”; however, the Lord has brought relationships to me that I wouldn’t have sought out if I had been busy doing my things. I’ve seen the Lord’s plans come to life.
JOHN 12:24 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
I found that as I died to my desires and sought to help Dan become all that the Lord wanted him to be, I was also becoming all that the Lord wanted me to be.
Now, as we are meeting new families, my heart rejoices as Dan tells each one that the Lord kept the hearts of our children during all these years of overwork for him mainly because his wife (me) was willing to make caring for our family my first priority.
2 – Dan’s Job. I don’t know how many of you have heard this, but it is such a great example of the Lord’s faithfulness that I just had to include it. Most of you know the job situation Dan was in a few years ago. The theme became more work for less pay. The last year Dan worked for Fairview he received reductions in pay almost monthly, while working 15-18 hour days and catching up on what he was behind with on weekends. We often talked of looking for a job change, but he didn’t think he would find things any better anywhere else. I think he was afraid it could be worse!
The final straw came when he received a letter saying that if he didn’t produce more he would be fired. The truth was, he couldn’t work any harder than he already was. He also couldn’t afford to be fired after 15 years and have that on his resume. Dan’s father had been suggesting for years that he see what the VA had to offer. Dan had always insisted that he didn’t want to work for the VA. That night he decided to check what was available, just to honor his father.
I can still remember the look on his face when he came to tell me about the job in St. Cloud. It looked like a dream job. Not only that, but the medical director was someone he had gone to medical school with. It only took a month from his first contact with the VA until he had been hired for the new job. Now he leaves for work at 6:30 AM and is home by 6 PM – with no paper work. He doesn’t work any weekends, has only back-up call about two nights a month – but never has to go in during the night – and doesn’t type any of his own records.
The lesson here is: we are never too old to honor our parents.
Early in the job change/moving process the Lord gave me some verses:
Isaiah 37:1 “And it came to pass…”
Isaiah 37:6b “Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard.”
Isaiah 37:20 “Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou are the Lord, even thou only.”
I wrote in my Bible – Glorify Yourself Lord…
Over the next 10 months the Lord used these verses often –
-“And it came to pass…”
He reminded me that the current irritation would pass, that His promises would come to pass – all according to His timing.
-“Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard.”
The housing market has fallen apart – nothing is selling – it’s a buyer’s market – it’s a seller’s market – and we were on both ends. My own thoughts were often my worst enemies, telling me what Dan wants doesn’t exist, or listening to one of my neighbor’s hurtful remarks, then replaying them often in my mind.
– “Now, therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou are the Lord, even thou only.”
The chief end of man is to glorify God so this reminded me often to give glory to the Lord for all He has done, is doing, and is going to do.
3 – Our new house: We first saw our current home in September 2004. We were driving around looking for homes that were for sale. Dan turned down Schuman Lake Road because it looked so much like the road to the cabin we’ve rented since Eric was born. He came to this house and pulled over to the side of the road and said, “Can you imagine living there?” Since it seemed like a unreachable dream home, we all said that we couldn’t, and Dan drove on.
Our realtor was only showing us homes on 20 or more acres and we had our searches on MLS set for 20 or more acres. This home is on 7 ½, acres so it never would have turned up on any of our searches. Dan was just surfing the internet one night and saw it for sale. I didn’t even remember it from the online photos, but he insisted we make arrangements to see it. Of course we loved it and went back a second time before making an offer. Since the housing market in St. Paul had all but fallen apart, we made the offer contingent on the sale of our home in St. Paul. Our realtor didn’t think it would be accepted, but we decided to try anyway. To make a long story as short as possible – the sellers really liked our family and decided this was our house. They accepted our contingency and even extended it when our house didn’t sell right away. Their realtor was quite upset because they went so far as to refuse to show it to other buyers. We know it was the Lord’s provision for us.
Dan sits in his chair at night looking out the window and says, “I still can’t believe the Lord is allowing us to live here.”
Eric says while chopping firewood, “Dad, I think I was made for this!”
Why do we need to review God’s faithfulness? Because we tend to forget. Just as Moses had the children of Israel build a memorial after crossing the Red Sea – we too need memorials to remind us of God’s faithfulness.
Here are a few of mine:
-Renee’s photos –Before we moved, our church had a going away party for us. Our friend Renee made a photo board of our 14 years at that church. The first thing I noticed were all the smiles. For me this was a memorial – a reminder – the past years were not wasted or lost. Amid the long hours, leukemia, and job frustrations there were hundreds and hundreds of smiles.
-Little Boy Stories – When our children were younger they often asked Dan to tell them “Little Boy Stories”. These stories of when Dan was a little boy became memorials to God’s faithfulness as our children learned about Dan’s Godly parents and grandparents.
So, is our life perfect now? No way, we still have many everyday opportunities to experience God’s faithfulness, a few of which are:
-Having guests over in the “mess”. I’ve seen the Lord be faithful to us as I’ve set aside my desire to have a place for everything and everything in its place and open my home to friends during the messy part of a move and remodeling.
-Waiting for each project to get finished so we could clean up that mess and move on to the next project.
-Finding a new church home – it took us almost a year to find a new church home. Always being a visitor and constantly meeting new people was difficult for us, since none of us are natural extroverts, but prefer to work quietly behind the scenes.
We realized during our search, that people who moved and became back-sliders often just became tired of being visitors every Sunday. It is hard work to check out churches and find the place the Lord has for your family. It wasn’t leaving a church that became the problem; it was in not joining yourself to another body of believers after the move. So we persevered.
I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this: If there was any promise God would have wanted to back out on, it was the one to have his only son die for us. Since He’s kept that one, what promise won’t he keep?
Finding Joy in the Journey,
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© 2008 Phyllis Sather
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