I’ve been thinking a lot about what it looks like to actually live out Matthew 6:25-34.
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
We are at a place in our lives where we desperately need to be living one day at a time. I suppose a lot of us are these days… To look ahead even one week is enough to set us up for a nervous breakdown. God clearly tells us to not do what comes most naturally to us. Don’t look around at these seemingly impassable mountains in our lives and worry about how we will get over them. He doesn’t stop there, however. He tells us what we should be focusing on instead… 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. What is that supposed to mean?
I feel like that’s a lesson God has been teaching me lately. Last week, we received a card from a friend in the mail with $160 in it, and that same night, someone slipped an anonymous $500 gift under our door! Our first thought was to praise God for meeting our earthly needs. Without asking Him what His plans were for that money (after all, He was the One Who gave it to us… perhaps He had a reason?), we had planned what we would use it for. We were going to get caught up on our bills, and save a bit for our rent bill coming due. However, the next morning , our van wouldn’t start. We took it in to the shop, and it needed $584 of work done. So that’s what it was for.
I drove around with the service guy, trying to get our van to reenact a problem (does that ever work?? I’m thinking not) and during the course of our conversation I mentioned that Sten-Erik was a seminary student. He said he really admired Sten-Erik for doing that and I told him we really didn’t have a choice in the matter… when God tells you to do something, you better do it! There was a short moment of silence, after which he said, “I wish God would make the car make this noise!” 🙂 A seemingly stupid conversation I guess…
Later, he called and talked to Sten-Erik for a while about his life, and how fear was holding him back from following God. They had a really good talk. Maybe my conversation hadn’t been stupid after all… perhaps it had started him thinking about his life. What if our van broke down simply to get us to the dealership to talk to him?
Our internet has been having problems at our house for a while and they sent out a repairman the other day. During the conversation he had with Sten-Erik, he asked what Sten thought about the 2012 movie and if there was any truth to it. It was a perfect opening, and as they walked to the car they had a great talk during which Sten shared the gospel. What if our internet wasn’t working simply to bring the repairman here to hear the gospel?
I want to go through life looking for kingdom opportunities to invest in. How many divine appointments have I missed because I’m choosing to worry about things I have no control over? There are people on these impassable mountains in my life, and if I can stop worrying about the stupid mountains, my focus will change so I can see those people. Perhaps in part, that’s what kingdom living is about. Choosing to leave the fear and worry, and the hows and whys of passing through those mountains up to God, and instead seeing and investing in the lives of the people He’s placed on those mountains.
The whole purpose of this blog is to give glory to God for His work in my life, and that of my family. I want to be able to encourage and comfort others with the same comfort God has given me.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:3-7
From the feedback I’ve been getting regarding my posts, my goal was being accomplished, praise God! Several months ago, Sten-Erik received a hurtful comment on one of his blog entries. I won’t ever forget receiving it. We were at the symphony, thanks to free tickets through the seminary, and were enjoying a rare evening alone. We were sitting in box seats with a great view of the performance, and were looking forward to hearing the last number… Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, with a full chorale. As the music began, we sat and took it all in. It was glorious! During the first part of the song, Sten-Erik’s cell phone buzzed. He checked it to make sure it wasn’t a problem at home with the girls. He read the message, and looked a bit sick as he handed me the phone. I read it, and my stomach turned.
As far as we were concerned, the concert had come to a screeching halt. We allowed an anonymous person’s opinion to ruin the night, and totally missed the one number we were so looking forward to hearing. We sat lost in thought, oblivious to the music around us.
As I shared my struggle with this message the next day with some close friends, I said, “You know what this makes me want to do? Not tell people what God is doing.” For more on this, please read Sten-Erik’s blog entry…
The months that followed felt different. God was still providing, but I felt a distance there that wasn’t there before. It really bothered me and I racked my brain, trying to figure out where we went wrong.
Last week, as I took Kaylee (a precious little girl I babysit) outside to drop her off, her mom asked me what was wrong. I told her we just had a lot of bills going unpaid, but I was sure something would work out. She looked at me with a worried expression and said, “Oh no! Has God stopped providing for you?” It was a knife in my heart. As far as everyone knew, our silence might indicate that He had! We had not blogged since receiving that comment. I was stunned. I was so sad that we had let one anonymous comment overshadow our desire to make God’s glory known.
I just want to give Him praise for the many ways He has provided for us this month! The most recent being a check from a friend and $500 anonymously slipped under our door tonight!! He IS ever faithful. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but He has never left us alone.
I’ve been having a very hard time lately with all the goodbyes that are necessary at this point in our lives. We left all our family and friends behind to come to this foreign land. I haven’t seen most of my family in 2 years, and have nieces and nephews and cousins I’ve never met. There’s a family reunion this weekend, and a 90th birthday party for my grandma that we are unable to attend due to distance and finances. I’m so thankful for facebook, which lets me keep in touch with all those back home. Yet at the same time, it is SO hard to see all the pictures of new babies, kids getting older, all my family members having a great time at the reunion… It’s a constant reminder that those we love are going on without us. Their children will quite possibly never know who we are. This really grieves my heart.
I am one who places deep value on people and relationships. I long to keep these close relationships for life. I SO want to put down roots. Plant myself right next to those I love so that we and our children can grow old together. That is one of my deepest desires. This has all resurfaced as I had to say goodbye to yet another friend this weekend. I love DTS. We are building such great relationships here and I am so thankful for that! However, every spring we have to say goodbye to them as they graduate and move on to where God has called them. This sucks.
This morning I decided to stop avoiding bringing this up with the Lord. For some reason I’ve never brought this hurt to Him. I think because I knew what He would say. He went a little farther than I thought He would however, and I’m left with hope. I’ve heard myself saying lately “there’s always heaven.” to people as we say goodbye, or I realize I won’t be seeing them for a very long time. It wasn’t a sincere statement on my part, just a little bitterness seeping through.
This morning, He helped me remember what I’m here for. My whole purpose in life is to lead people to a growing relationship with Him. If He allowed me to have my heart’s desire and put down roots, I know deep down that I would forfeit my call. He gently reminded me of my sarcastic “there’s always heaven.” He showed me that my deepest longing will be fulfilled… in eternity. We are vapors here, passing through so swiftly. I will gladly spend my brief time on this earth showing others the way to the Savior. There is nothing more important than that!
As painful as the temporary goodbyes are, I will continue to love, and fully invest in the lives of the people in my life today… even if they’ll be gone tomorrow. Roots will have to wait.
1 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3 He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
4 He ransoms me from death
and surrounds me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
6 The Lord gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
7 He revealed his character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9 He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
10 He has not punished us for all our sins;
nor does He deal with us as we deserve.
11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For He understands how weak we are;
He knows we are only dust.
15 Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
17 But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children
18 of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!
19 The Lord has made the heavens his throne;
from there he rules over everything.
20 Praise the Lord, you angels,
you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
listening for each of his commands.
21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels
who serve him and do his will!
22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created,
everything in all his kingdom.
Let all that I am praise the Lord.
I’ve been going through a study on Hosea in my quiet time, and some thoughts have been hitting me pretty hard. I thought I’d throw them out there to see what you thought…
For those who aren’t familiar with the book of Hosea:
The book of Hosea is a tragic love story… God called Hosea to marry Gomer, an unfaithful woman. Predictably, Gomer was unfaithful to Hosea, and the marriage was shattered. In the end, however, Hosea “redeemed” Gomer by bringing her back to his home, offering his wife forgiveness and restoration, and urging her to remain faithful. Hosea’s experience with Gomer illustrated God’s experience with Israel. Hosea warned of stern judgment because of Israel’s unfaithfulness, for Israel had turned to other gods, just as Gomer had left Hosea for other men. Like Gomer, Israel would receive forgiveness and restoration if the people returned to God. -excerpt from NLT Daily Study Bible for Women
It is an incredible story, and if you are interested in getting a deeper understanding of the themes behind this story, I highly recommend this book!
I can’t help but read the book of Hosea and personalize it. In this metaphor I see God as my husband. How hurtful for Him – Who sees ALL and knows ALL- to watch me stray time and time again. How often I take my eyes off of Him… His faithfulness and perfect love for me… and place them onto other things – things that can never satisfy, and pale in comparison to Him! I seem to have no shortage of things… choosing to focus on my circumstances, searching for worth in how people perceive me, looking to relationships to fill the void, choosing discontentment as I focus on what I don’t have – or have had to give up – rather on everything He has provided, looking to others to meet my needs, expecting the perfection that belongs to Him alone to also be found in my husband… the list is endless!
He watches me run to these “lovers”. I run to them… all the while proclaiming my love for Him. I can’t shake the betrayal of this! If my husband ran to his lovers with my knowledge, and called from their bed to profess his love for me, would I believe it?? It’s like a knife in my heart!
How deceived am I?? What kind of love not only forgives me, but woos me back?? Will He ever tire of this? Will I?
I SO long to be 100% faithful to my God – this One Who gave all for me! It’s overwhelming to think, just as Hosea knew he was marrying a prostitute, God knew I would be as unfaithful to Him as Gomer was to Hosea. And yet He chose me anyway… He sent His Son to DIE for me, knowing I would be unfaithful. He allowed the price to be paid… and it cost Him dearly! I have to wonder if it was worth it…
Then God so graciously reminded me…
He is outside of time. All of it is laid out before Him. He saw every infidelity I would ever commit – and with this full knowledge – He chose me. I’ll never be able to wrap my brain around this… It was worth it to Him. I will never be the same.
I will commit Myself to you forever; I will commit Myself to you in righteousness and justice, in steadfast love and tender compassion. I will commit Myself to you in faithfulness.
I wanted to share our current situation because I know God will provide and I want to let you see His faithfulness! Here we are, May 4th, with no prospect of rent, utilities, car repair money or other basic essentials. I am amazed that God really does give us peace when we depend completely on Him. Why I’m amazed when He does what He promises, I have no idea… 🙂 I guess I’m amazed at His faithfulness, and that’s something I never want to cease marveling at.
In my time with God this morning, I finished a Beth Moore study called Living Beyond Yourself. It was so encouraging to go through the verses I read today in light of our current situation. “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to You and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3 I will wait expectantly, refusing to focus our circumstances. In order to see God do great things in our lives, we need to be in a position of great need… so bring it on! Keep piling on the bills! I want to see His power and glory!!
“How do you know He will care for you today? Because He cared for you yesterday! And the day before! And the day before! He never changes. He’ll never forget you. When He discloses Himself to you, remember it, praise Him for it, and record it!” He is SO worthy of our complete trust!
Where are you needing God to work today? What are you waiting for, that only He can do? Do you believe He can do it? Do you believe He will do it?
I wanted to invite you to pray, and watch with us today. He will be faithful. I look forward to sharing with you how God meets our needs this time… I will say with the psalmist, “I have not kept this good news hidden in my heart. I have talked about Your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.”
to be continued…
5/4/09- the Lord is faithful!! He provided enough money to cover rent and a couple utilities!! Praise His name!! Do not fear! He will provide for you as well.
5/6/09- He just provided more, enough to cover every bill we have!!
I found The Noticer to be a very enjoyable read that left me with lots to think over. I appreciate the concept that a different perspective can profoundly change one’s life. It gives me hope that no matter my situation, if I can take a step back and get a little perspective it can radically affect my life, and the lives of those around me. “And how far into the future could we go, dear lady, to show how many lives you will touch? There are generations yet unborn, whose very lives will be shifted and shaped by the moves you make and the actions you take… tonight. And tomorrow. And tomorrow night. And the next day. And the next.”
There are so many nuggets of wisdom in this book! I think this will be a transformational book for whoever picks it up!
“This is the truth…. just a little different perspective. You are a logical young man. So sit still. You’ll appreciate this.”
December has been an amazing month! It started with a visit from our dear friend Ross, who stayed with us for five days and got to attend some classes with Sten. It was so good to see him, although we missed the rest of the Wuthrich’s! He brought stockings for all of us, packed by his amazing family, which was SO thoughtful! It’s easy to feel alone down here, with friends and family so far away. We didn’t get to go home for Christmas, in part because our van had broken down. Thanks Ross, for bringing a bit of Christmas to us!
Speaking of the van, God provided for that in a pretty incredible way. Our neighbors here in Swiss Towers, Adam and Katie, were a big help to us! Adam tried to help Sten figure out what was wrong, and drove him to the Auto Zone to get our battery tested. To make a long story short, it turned out that we needed a new battery. That was a huge relief, but we didn’t even have money for a battery. Adam “happened” to have a spare battery sitting in his apartment… the exact size we needed for the van. He kindly gave it to us for free! God rocks. So do Adam and Katie. 🙂
I want to thank all of you who have been so supportive of us! I simply cannot go into all the ways God has provided through you (if you’d like to call, I’ll happily share… it’s just way too much to write), but suffice it to say that every single month, He performs miracles to keep us here at DTS. I wrote in an earlier post that I didn’t think waiting on the Lord to provide would get any easier. I’m thankful to say, it does!! We can honestly say that we aren’t the slightest bit concerned about where the money will come from. God has been SO faithful, and we can peacefully go about what He is calling us to do here without fear of lack of provision. It’s been really neat for our girls to see as well. They see, over and over again, that when we have a need, we pray and God provides.
Currently, rent and our tuition payment have already been provided for February, praise God! We only have the little bills to pay, and I know God will provide. It’s been humbling to see that when we try to raise support, God just closes that door. We are not here on our own effort, that’s for sure. It’s such a beautiful thing that God is using in the lives of our children. They are asking a lot of questions about God. Even at times questioning His existence. (Did I mention the spiritual warfare here is insane??) It was so encouraging for me as well, to sit down with them and point out the myriad of evidences of God’s work in our lives. One significant thing being, that we are bringing our requests and desperate needs to God, not people. He ALWAYS provides, even when no one on earth knows of our need. That has been very powerful to all of us.
Thank you for allowing God to use you to bless our family. Please continue to pray for us! Especially for God’s protection on our minds and hearts. The spiritual warfare here in very intense at times, and it’s easy to forget that “Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.” We love you all, and are praying for you as well. Please let us know how we can pray specifically.
That is a description of our recent life here. I am so tired of choosing the wrong attitude, and watching my family go down with me. I try so hard to teach the girls that they have a choice. They can choose the right attitude. Is this what I’m teaching? Yes. What I’m modeling? Absolutely not.
We were blessed to have one of Sten’s professors – Dr. Allman and his lovely wife over for dinner last week, and they were such an encouragement to me! We were able to have a great discussion on God and suffering… a topic they’ve learned a lot about, and one we are every day more familiar with. When you get lost in a bad attitude, how do you recover? It feels impossible. Dr. Allman shared one of his bad days with us, and that he started thanking God and praising Him for what He has done. He said he started in Genesis 1, and didn’t make it to chapter 7 before he had been raised out of his foul mood.
I am leading my girls and some friends of theirs through a little Bible Study of sorts. Last week we talked about learning contentment. We talked about the importance of thankfulness, and how when we are tempted to be discontent about something, we could instead find things about that same thing to thank the Lord for. I’ve really been struggling with discontentment lately, and God keeps gently reminding me that I need to thank Him instead of complain.
Yesterday, we went to Richardson to pick up our old recliner and bring it home. When we got back in the van, it wouldn’t start. Immediately, I did the one thing I’ve learned to do a lot here in seminary. Pray. Just kidding. I cried. I infuriate myself sometimes. My attitude started plummeting. What were we supposed to do? We’ve decided to remain debt free, so credit cards are a thing of our past. (good riddance!) We didn’t have a dime. God reminded me to think of things to be thankful for in that situation, so I started thinking.
I was thankful that Sten was with me. I was thankful that we were in a safe parking lot and not on the side of the road. I was thankful for jumper cables in our van. I was thankful to our friend Bill, for being able to give us a jump. I was thankful the van started right up. I was thankful we have the van, and that it is paid off… you get the idea. It wasn’t but a few minutes before the tears had dried and I was praising God.
Please pray for me if you remember, that God would help me see things to be thankful for in every situation. That I would learn to get a grip on my attitude, and teach my girls to do the same. He is SO faithful, and SO good to us. I want to make sure I stay constantly aware of all He has done, and is doing in our life. I don’t want a bad attitude to cause me to be blind to His work around and in us.
One last thing to thank Him for… my recliner has returned! 🙂 Okay. I know it seems ridiculous, but suddenly I look forward to getting up early, making a steaming cup of peppermint tea (thanks Erin!!), and climbing into that chair to meet with my Father. All is right with the world.
Our God is amazing.
This has been a trying month. Actually, I could say that about every month I guess. We struggle with God… asking for provision, trusting Him to do what no one else can do, doubting, crying… He doesn’t have to provide. People occasionally have to leave DTS because they waited on God and He didn’t provide. At least not in the way they expected. It seems like every month here will be our last.
I decided to read a biography on George Muller to be encouraged, and to read about God’s miraculous provision for this man. If you aren’t familiar with his story, you should definitely give it a read. It was very encouraging, and as a finished the book, I went into the kitchen to start supper. I watched Sten sitting on the couch, his internal struggle with God written all over his face. He was on the computer, trying to list everything we could possibly sell to make rent. I said “God will do something, Honey. He will. Don’t worry.”
As I started supper, I realized that I was out of soy sauce for my recipe. I started thinking about the Muller book, and thought, “I should pray for soy sauce. I bet there’s some by our door right now.” I decided to go look out the door, and I noticed a white envelope lying on the floor by the door. My heart jumped as I picked it up and looked inside. I pulled out a paper that said:
God has provided this gift for you. Praise God!
God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Inside, was $730 in cash… the exact amount of our rent. I just started crying, and called Sten over to see. We just sat there for a long time, in awe and wonder.
About 15 minutes later, there was a knock on the door, and a friend’s husband stood there with a large box of beautiful clothes to give the girls.
Later that night, I went to a meeting at school and a friend handed me two bottles of soy sauce. I didn’t know what to say. I still don’t.
We still owe all of our bills… our electricity is set to be shut off on the 12th… but we are not afraid. God will supply our needs. There is such comfort in knowing that He knows every bill, every due date, and He will provide.
You’d think it would be easy after a while… maybe we’d get comfortable in knowing our needs will be met this month, and the next… it doesn’t. I’m trying to figure out some theology in all of this. Something I can claim. Something I can know for sure, and use to encourage others. I’m not sure there is… we’ll see… until then:
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
Even if He doesn’t, we want to make it clear that we will continue to follow Him. We can do nothing else.