Rags and Riches

God Guides…

Sticky floors and soaking scrambled egg pans had to wait until 11 am each day for me to turn my attention from my rambunctious toddler back to their silent clamor. Each day I thanked the Lord that he had clearly ordained nap time as an intermission for frazzled moms. My daily habit at that blessed hour was to turn on my favorite radio preacher while I grabbed a broom and got busy.

One dreary winter morning as I mopped the floor, I heard Chuck Swindoll advise,

“The next time someone presents an idea to you, don’t respond immediately. Take time to pray about it.”

I didn’t give the concept more than a passing thought until my husband came home that very evening and dropped the bomb. Weary from walking the mail all day in the snow, he told me he wanted to leave his job at the Postal Service. His plan was to drive our little family all the way across the country to southern California so he could finish up his master’s degree in geology in the field of creation science.

Had I spoken what immediately came to my mind at the time, I’m sure I would have provided some vigorous feedback. Both my left brain and right brain agreed: no one in full possession of his faculties, with a mortgage and a two-year old, would even dare to broach the subject of quitting his job and dragging his family off to live in California. In fact, had I not turned on the radio that day, it is likely that my remarks on the topic would have continued at a heightened decibel level until I convinced my temporarily-insane husband to abandon his ridiculous plan for our family’s demise.

But, in what I now look back on as a grace-filled moment of divine intervention, the grandfatherly voice of Pastor Chuck reverberated in my brain, helping me make a split second decision to bite my tongue and hit my knees. The result was that God gave me the gift of faith to say yes to my husband’s dream and vision. We didn’t realize at the time that God was transitioning us to an entirely different future than the one we’d imagined. But when we agreed to take a new tack, the Holy Spirit’s wind filled our sails and set us on the greatest adventure of our lives.

…and God Provides

It was just a few months after our move, and we were flat broke and homesick. Days before Thanksgiving, a kindly couple got wind of our situation and delivered to our apartment a turkey and a big box of fabric and yarn scraps. In addition to yardage I could use to sew some new dresses for my daughter and me, I was delighted to find just the right remnants to make her a rag doll for Christmas.

And now, decades later, God has given us four beautiful granddaughters in four years. When I recently unearthed a box of toys I’d saved for them from their parents’ childhood, I found the makeshift little dolly tucked in there right next to the Fisher Price Farm and bedraggled Pound Puppies.

I can’t tell you what joy flooded my heart to see my granddaughter loving this same raggedy baby so many years later. Not quite as dramatic a story as Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, but you can file it under the same category—God knows and meets our every need.

The change that changed everything was over three decades ago. We left the dreary winters of New Jersey and drove to sunny San Diego in our beat-up Chevy Van, never dreaming it was a permanent move. It has been, at times, at an arduous path, full of switch-backs and reversals, but on this zig-zag journey we have come to know God our Shepherd in a deeper way than we could have otherwise. In truth, our leap of faith sometimes felt more like a plunge off a precipice, but we have learned through it all that God will always  catch us. Because he continues to meet our every need, we love to call him Jehovah Jireh—grateful that he is our provider.

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