Hi all.  This is a little bit of a venture from what I normally write, but I want to share with you a special story that might encourage you if you find yourself in the same position.

At the end of 2008, I was laid off from my full-time job with benefits. My husband and I found ourselves not being able to pay all our bills, afford groceries, and (to top it off) we experienced an unexpected and scary trip to the ER which racked up thousands of dollars in one day. We kept meeting obstacle after obstacle.  I had almost secured a full-time position through a friend and former employer, but it fell through.  I had temporary jobs here and there, yet my main one was so stressful, I had to quit because of panic attacks.  But in that season of loss and repeated losing, we witnessed a God who provides.

I don’t want to downplay the struggle.  We had many tough conversations about money.  Tears were shed.  Tension was cut with machettes.  We had to support each other through fearful moments – talk each other down from anxious places.  Scary letters came in the mail.  We cut back back back on superfluous things until life was…  depressing.  Applying for jobs was a full-time job, adjusting resumes, references for every new one.  Starbucks interviewed me then told me they wanted a male.  Not sure why they would tell me that. 

I don’t remember who gave us the idea, but we decided to keep a list of all the blessings in the dark place we were walking through.  Watching the list grow through the months of drought bolstered our trust in a Higher Power.  We were held, folks.

You may have read in the Bible that the Israelites recalled the miracles that God had done in their past (i.e. parting of the Red Sea for one), and that gave them the faith to move forward into new frightening unknowns where they met God again and again.

So, this is a list I made in the back of a journal of all the support we received and unexpected blessings from January 2009 to March 2012:

  • My scholarship for 2008-2009
  • $210 from G
  • $500 from R
  • $100 from S
  • 3x opportunity to earn $ by cleaning
  • $2,500 in tax refunds
  • $200 Christmas from B
  • $200 Birthdays
  • $100 Anniversary
  • $100 from D
  • Meals paid by friends/family
  • Free clothes, hair product from family
  • Free hair cut and esthetician services by S & T
  • $600 from R
  • Grocery Cards from City of Grace Church
  • $25 from anonymous
  • Groceries from R
  • Household item from R
  • $215 from G towards ER bills
  • $100 in Grocery cards, 2 utility bills paid by City of Grace Church
  • $1000 and card of encouragement by anonymous
  • $150 from B for fun
  • $80 for selling back my textbooks –> enough to get lenses for my glasses with newest prescription
  • Botanical Gardens & Dinner with O
  • Fabric & supplies from R
  • More Fabric from R!
  • Shared dinner with G
  • Clothes/fabric from D
  • Free food (lots of bread) from Without Walls Christian Center
  • Free food from G
  • $300 from B
  • More grocery cards from City of Grace Church
  • Rest of Medical Bills paid by Arizona Healthcare Cost Containment System
  • $480 in utility bills by Mesa Community Action Network!
  • $40 for selling back textbook
  • Old Navy, prescription card, coffee, lunch, & Target $100 from R!
  • Sales on my handmade items were up!
  • Tuition waiver for college!
  • Extra work opportunity with old friend
  • Clothes from S
  • Expensive medication changed to extremely inexpensive one
  • More fabric & thread from R
  • Diamondback Deal – free tacos – at Taco Bell – Yes, I really wrote that down! 
  • Fabric from T
  • Sheets from R
  • Fabric from F
  • Random $34 credit to B’s Dentist account!
  • $20 and coffee from R
  • Lunch with V
  • Dinner & dessert with G
  • Pots, pans, and dishes from S
  • Loan Modification –> cut mortgage payment in half!!
  • My financial aid for 2009-2010:
    • $3200 Pell Grant
    • $6600 Work Study job
    • Scholarship
    • Tuition Waiver!!!!
  • Frozen yogurt with G
  • Free Diamondback tickets
  • $1/hour raise
  • Leadership opportunity for husband
  • Car repair quote changed from $1000 to $300!
  • IRS returning $75 from previous year!
  • Surprise $325 scholarship!
  • Financial Aid for Summer included $500 academic achievement scholarship and iMac desktop computer, as well as Extra $ for work study position
  • Fall Financial Aid included a scholarship
  • Fabric from B and T
  • Promotion & Raise!
  • $80 found on the ground!
  • New laptop with scholarship!
  • Raise!
  • Paycheck received just before Mortgage was due!
  • Permanent position, health benefits, raise
  • Paid off debt

Just writing this blog post has refreshed my wonder and reverence for a God who cares.

I hope you know this God who longs to meet you in the sunshine and storm. Also, I believe if you keep a list, it won’t be too long before you look back in awe.

My last thought: Even a thunderstorm can provide a cleansing wash.