Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Counting my blessings

Thanksgiving's officially over and we've got our Christmas decorations up. I'm still thinking about all for which I have to be thankful. One of the reasons I keep this blog is to share pictures with friends and family. The other reason is that I hope to have it as a kind of scrapbook/record for my girls to keep. Although 2009 is not over yet, it's been quite a year and I want to take the time to recap. God's hand has been clearly at work and I don't want to forget, nor do I want the girls to ever miss how He brought us through.

At the end of May this year, we were able to purchase a house that's just like a floor plan Matt & I have been looking at for years. We had pretty much decided it would never happen because housing prices had jumped significantly in the past few years and put it out of our budget. In May, this house was on the market. A builder's model, the backyard is a little strange, so they were having trouble selling it. We didn't have a problem with the yard, so we took a look. It was built almost 2 years earlier, so the price was less than current prices, plus the builder had reduced the price to try to sell it. Through a few conversations with the builder, they agreed to take our old house in trade and we were able to purchase a house that suits us perfectly that we thought was out of reach. Really cool blessing from God.

In July, we took a few days of vacation to Branson and had a great time. On the Monday after vacation, Matt returned to work and was greeted with the news that he (along with others) was being put on a "two week furlough." We were shocked. Didn't see that one coming. After we picked our jaws up and took a few deep breaths, we realized that we had some money in savings and were in a good position to handle the situation. True confessions here: for the first time in 20 years of marriage, we had money in our savings account and had no debt other than one car and our house. God wasn't surprised, huh? In the eight weeks Matt was out of work, here's a few of the financial blessings God sent our way.
(1) Martha started scoping for a 2nd court reporter. She came to me!
(2) In trying to straighten out our final electric bill at our former residence, the electric company discovered that the house had been listed and rated as a small commercial site for several years. They prorated the difference and sent us a check.
(3) Our insurance agent called and said that we should have gotten a prorated refund on our former residence and they hadn't cancelled the policy at the correct time. They sent us a check.
(4) Martha added three new piano students - they called me.
(5) Cell phone bill got messed up. That resulted in no bill due one month.
I'm sure there were more, but I don't remember them now. None of these things amounted to a huge amount, but they helped the cash flow. Mostly they came at steady intervals to remind us that God was there, He knew our needs, and He was working. After 8 weeks, Matt's employer called him to come back to work. I thought, "I'm glad that's over with. We made it."

November 1st - Matt & i shared a new song with Olivet called "Break My Heart" that Matt wrote. I shared a testimony about our heart for orphans and our feeling that God is calling us to minister in some way to bring more kids to forever families. When you make a public committment to do something for God, hold on tight.

November 3rd, Matt was put on another "two week furlough." I will always wonder why they kept saying two weeks. Weird.

(November 10th, I had hysterectomy surgery scheduled. Matt insisted I go ahead with that despite the cost and we'd deal with it. The surgery went incredibly well. I am convinced I had the best surgeon in town. I was up and around within hours and home the next day. Matt took really good care of things and I must admit I was very glad to have him home. Lots of prayers were said for me I'm sure, because the night of the surgery the nurses just kept saying, "You are doing so well! I can't believe you are doing so well!" Three weeks later, I feel better than before the surgery.)

Back to November 3rd and following. I digressed a little, so back to the job situation. This is cool! The day Matt was furloughed, he got on line and started looking at jobs to apply for. He sent his resume to Global Holdings that night for a position that looked liked a really good fit. After he sent it, he looked at their website to learn more about them. He recognized their office bldg as one he worked at for the year he was employed with the consulting firm. As he thought about it, he realized that a former co-worker of his might work there. He e-mailed the guy and he was right. Not only that, but the position they were hiring for was the position this guy was leaving to move up to another position. He had an interview within 2 days. A second interview followed in 2 weeks. A job offer followed a week later. Job starts next week! That first night when Matt saw the connection, he said, "This has God's fingerprints all over it." Man, was he right.

The second furlough amounts to 4 weeks. Not bad. I really didn't expect any of those "extra" financial blessings this time around. I don't know why. In the past four weeks...
(1) My church choir was bringing us meals after my surgery. We didn't have to buy hardly any groceries for a week and were able to freeze enough leftovers for several other meals.
(2) A precious friend sent us a gift card to help out just because she's awesome.
(3) My credit union informed me that I have been overpaying my car payment by $23 for the past 2 years and I don't need to make a payment this month if I don't want to!
(4) I made a mistake in our savings account and just realized that I deducted something twice resulting in a pretty big chunk of money that we didn't realize we had.

During these past few months, I have had some temper tantrums. I have had some emotional melt downs. I have been scared. But day in and day out, I have had a peace that God is totally and completely in control. That's not boasting in me, I assure you. I know that lots and lots and lots of people have been tried for a whole lot longer and in a whole lot tougher times than we have. Good people, people who love God, have lost their homes and are living in incredibly hard circumstances in this country right now. I have not had to endure anything. My kids have wanted for nothing that matters. I guess that's what I'm saying. I don't know why God has blessed us so abundantly, but He has. His grace -- that completely undeserved favor -- has rained and reigned in an amazing way.

I am thankful. I wait in great anticipation of what God will do with us next. He just keeps amazing me.


Katharine Grubb said...

Why am I not reading this on a regular basis? This is WAY encouraging! I am blessed by you and I wish I had seen more of you in OK!

Howard and Kim said...

Write it down for a remembrance of Him... He is so amazing! And you are wonderful followers of the Amazing One. I'm happy to know you, and I am excited to see what He's going to do next!!

Loved the post (she wrote through her tears).

Love you guys!

Susan said...

I'm sorry for the hard times, but what a wonderful testimony! Congratulations on the new job.

Jill and Rick said...

Martha, I'm so glad that I found time to come visit blogs today. It is amazing when we take time to stop and think about how God is with us always, even when we're hurting.

Thank you so much for sharing.


Mema Shaffer said...

What an awesome daughter-in-law you are. Matt sure picked a winner!! He's special and I'm so happy he has you. I love you all and can't wait to see how God leads you to your dream!! Love - mema Shaffer

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For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11