While in some ways, the past year has held more hard times than any other year of my life, it has also held more clear direction and divine provision in such a short period of time than I have othewise enjoyed. As I write that, I am reminded that provision can be appreciated only when there is a lack, and direction when there is uncertainty. If you look back to Genesis, there is a pattern begun of a place for something and then a filling of it--land before animals, sky before the sun, water before fish. Just the same, there must be a void before fulfillment can be made. But I digress.
As far as direction goes, Proverbs says God's Word is a "lamp to our feet." How many times do we expect it to be a million candle-power shine, but that's not what He promises, is it? Let me give you one recent example. Instead of praying specifically for what I really wanted (!) I prayed instead for wisdom in deciding. It was early- to mid-August, and we had no good contacts with churches. I was convinced it would be easier to move big and preggo than with a small baby, but my husband is working through a temp agency and won't be potentially hired on directly until after the baby comes. Until then, his pay makes renting even a 2-bedroom apartment quite a stretch--or so we thought--never mind the idea of signing a lease agreement when we hope to be moving out of state before 6 or 12 months would be up.
But then I came across something on Craigslist that looked reasonable, and it could be even more reasonable if we were willing to take care of the property--no problem! Jonathan had an extra day off for Labor Day weekend, so we were hoping somehow we could move out of my parents' house by then.
I went to our church's Wednesday night prayer meeting and shared a general request for wisdom in making a decision regarding our living situation. But with the woman who prayed with me, I shared more detail. Thursday came, and I still had not received a response from the one who'd posted the apartment ad. I looked it up again, and noticed something I couldn't believe I'd overlooked before--the move-in date desired was October 1! (Our baby is due October 2, so I'm pretty sure that would not be a wise week to move.) The same day, we received a packet from a church saying they wanted it returned to them before August 31, as they would be reviewing potential candidates' information before then and making contact with their #1 pick on that day. Well, by August 31, it would be a bit late to be making a commitment to move Labor Day weekend. It seemed we had our answer. But there's more.
Even in my elation over such clear direction, I was a bit put off. Originally, we had decided Labor Day would be the last weekend we could possibly travel to visit a church before the baby is born. We were hopeful that we would be at that point, but no. Then we were hoping to move, but no. I privately asked God to give us something to anticipate that weekend, and He gave me two! We were asked to housesit for a couple in our church from Thursday through Monday (a whole house all to ourselves!), and some friends asked if we'd like to meet up with them in Madison on Labor Day--of course we would!
Other examples include the following--
- A friend's wedding being rescheduled from May to August, requiring us to change our plans to attend Family Camp from August to June--the week after God knew we'd be moving in with Mom and Dad and needing that spiritual refreshment (never mind Jonathan's not having to take off work at a new job)
- Being anonymously givin a good chunk of money last fall, which enabled us to update our technology--something that has proven invaluable in pursuing possible pastoral positions for Jonathan
- Having what was advertised as a 3-hour-per-week job turn out to be a 30-hour-per-week commitment for 4 months (something we would have never decided on my applying for if it had been made clear from the beginning), allowing us to save up the remaining amount needed to trade in our medium-sized sedan (that wouldn't fit two car seats in back with a tall Daddy and Mommy in front!) for a new-to-us minivan
All three of those things were provided before we knew we would be moving--but our God knew and provided even before we had an inkling of our need. What a mighty God we serve!