The other day I was getting fresh produce and I saw a big bag of calaloo. I don’t know if there is another name for it, but it’s a type of greens. It reminds me of the greens I ate as a little girl in Africa (missionary kid, remember?). As I went into the kitchen to cook them I remembered the last time I made it. It was a few months after my husband and I had gotten married, so I was still 18. We had run out of cooking gas and didn’t have money to refill it. So I pulled out the electric griddle and put a pot on it and cooked the greens for dinner. For a solid week I cooked every meal on the electric griddle. I was thankful I still had something to cook on. Have you seen this quote floating around social media?
“I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now”
I do…until I don’t. I’m prone to have an answer to prayer and quickly move along onto the next thing I see on the list that I need God to come through for me for and fail to remember. So here goes. I’m going to remember.
I remember when I was a teenager and after 3 years of depression I prayed and said, “I will love you God, even if the depression never leaves.” Today I don’t battle like I did before. I can tell when it’s creeping back in, especially after having my boys, but I know how to fight it. I recognize it.
I remember when we first got married and 3 friends were living with us and I was pregnant and we ran out of money and groceries. They were looking for jobs. My husband was doing personal training at his first little gym in the village and I was teaching dance part-time. I looked through all my wallets and purses and couldn’t even find coins. That’s how bad it was. I closed the empty wallet and prayed and said, “We need groceries.” I opened the wallet to find some money ($20 or $50… I can’t remember exactly) and I was able to buy food that night. We all ate.
I remember when we had our first son and it turned into a csection delivery and we had him in a private hospital because it was the safest option. We sacrificed like crazy just to have enough for the normal delivery and were then handed a bill for over 4 times the amount we were prepared for. No payment plans. I started to sweat. Then we were told it was paid for in full. Someone we knew had been given a large blessing and decided to use some of it to bless us.
I remember when my husband and I took our first foster placement and needed…well, everything. We didn’t technically have three bedrooms so we turned one into two and cut a door into the wall to create a third. I remember the body of believers who gave toiletries, bought shoes, dropped meat off at our house and got us a bed. That room has now hosted 5 kids in the last 2 years.
I remember when we needed financial assistance to continue to run the youth ministry we had been leading at a church before it closed down, and a business generously sponsored us for a year and another ministry graciously opened up their space to us to continue doing what we were doing.
I remember the countless miracles and supply that happened after that year of sponsorship ended and we continued to do what God wanted even when we didn’t see the answer. I remember once saying to myself, “we can get groceries or we can take the kids to youth group and church this weekend.” We took them to church and God took care of the rest.
I remember a year ago when my husband was waiting to hear back if the loan for his own real gym would be approved. He had recently quit his job in anticipation and a step of faith in the next season. A few days after he quit I found out I was pregnant. I remember praying and waiting in faith that the Lord would provide. A couple of weeks later it was approved. Today his business is thriving and God has blessed us.
I remember when I needed $300 for my doctor’s appointment while pregnant with my second son and I prayed and prayed. The day before the appointment I pulled one of my sons books off his shelf and $300 crisp bills fell onto the floor. We live in a humid country. They looked like they just came out of an ATM.
My husband shared at youth group a few of weeks ago about his/our story since we got married. Of living by and stepping out in faith when there was no plan B and no backup plan. And I totally agree. But we do have something to fall back on…we can fall back on the promises of God and remembering his faithfulness in coming through for us at the very last moment when all hope was lost. When there seemed to be no way and God made a way. The past few weeks were hard. Everything seemed to be breaking and not going “right”. I got frustrated. Discontented. And God had to really wake me up to remind me that he has never failed me yet. And he never will. To remember how he always comes through and to be still, content and wait. And after I remembered a peace and a joy filled me. Right after that peace and joy came I got really bad news… and I didn’t flinch. I just prayed and went about my day. I prayed for grace. For favor. For a better outcome but no matter what I’d trust God with it. The next day the awful news got a little bit better. Not completely but it was better than I had thought. Then everything that had been broken somehow got fixed in the very same day and some incredible news came my way. And I realized that if the bad thing hadn’t happened I would never have been given the good news. He worked it all for my good.
So let’s remember more often. Let’s remember that there was a time we waited on God for what we have in this very moment and believe that for now it’s enough and he was always come through when we need him the most.
“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13