About four years ago, I was living in an apartment in Vancouver, WA, with my husband and our oldest son who was three. My favorite little boy’s curly hair that reached his bold silver-grey eyes always caught people’s attention, and if it didn’t it was his love for life and enthusiasm that made them stop and notice. I have prayed for the last seven years of his life (he is seven now), that his little spirit would not be broken. That his enthusiasm for life would be a mark on his character, that he would live in the moment, and easily draw others to enjoy that moment as well. When he was three, we got a bunch of comments about our sons looks. We have been told he could be a model (hello, college fund!) and that he looked like a mini Harry Styles. Well, to our comedic surprise he kinda did. We laughed about it and posted it to our social media accounts. We didn’t take it too seriously, but I do love any time someone thinks my kid is cute. Every mom does, right? Okay, stick with me this isn’t a mom-brag post. In fact, let’s change the tone now.
That summer was one of the most discouraging summers I lived through, and I want open up a little bit here for a moment. My husband was injured at work, I worked limited part-time, and the renters who lived in our house back in Idaho moved out without notice. Five years worth of savings for a new house went to repair the damages to the Idaho house, medical bills and groceries. Every extra penny, was no longer extra. We literally started eating beans, rice, and hamburger helper almost every single day. I would reheat my coffee that was left over from the day before, so I could have coffee that next day. Things were so tight, when just months before we had a large savings, enough for a solid down-payment on a house. In a matter of weeks our lives were flipped upside down. Another post is coming (eventually) that actually gives a better picture of that season, but I want to zoom in on one special moment during that difficult summer, and how it affected my son.
We were so tight on funds, we couldn’t afford new shoes for our curly-haired little one, who was growing like a weed. His little toe nails were bending down poking his toes, and his toes would curl inside his shoe. I remember helping him get dressed one morning and praying with him for new shoes. Holding back my tears, choosing courage, not even knowing how to ask for help because it all happened so fast, and I hate giving people room to gossip, and having to explain myself so they don’t. When I get emotional, things go fuzzy, so I have to control my emotions from the beginning. I knew I needed to trust that our hard work from the past was not all in vain, and that God cares about the ruined house in Idaho, the new house that was no longer an option in Oregon, and my little loves growing toes, more than I do. It was painful for him to walk and painful for me to watch. We were in a season where we could give up because it was hard, or persevere because that’s what God’s people do.
So here is the miracle in the story! TWICE that year, new shoes were given to us. Not for Christmas or for his birthday, but just because. Just because we prayed and just because God answers prayers. No, not everything in our situation changed, but having shoes my kiddo could play in comfortably changed everything in my mind. My embarrassing perspective of my limited ability was lifted to see God’s unlimited ability to provide in our time of need. Since then, buying shoes for my boys has been such a highlight for our family, because at one point in our lives we couldn’t. It’s probably no big deal to others, but it’s something we look forward too. We get excited to pick out new shoes and then to wear them so much, that our second son could say “new shoes” just as soon as he could say “no!” True story!
Ephesians 3:20 & 21 in the New King James Version says “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” You see, the power that was working within me, was the Holy Spirit sustaining me and comforting me through the embarrassment, the shame and my inability of the season, stretching my faith to believe God really does care about the things or people I care about. But the real challenge wasn’t believing God cares, the real challenge I faced was believing God could change the situation. How much can God change? Well, according to Ephesians 3:20 he can change more than I think he can. God can do exceedingly, abundantly more than I ask of him in prayer, or in the writings of my journal, and He can do exceedingly, abundantly more than I think. Those secret thoughts, the worries, the wonderings, the moments of fear and the moments of faith, God can do more than what I think and am afraid to speak out loud. So now with that in mind, how much can God change? Well, he can change it all, but he can also change one small thing and let it effect everything that hasn’t changed.
I learned something significant in that season. I was taught since my toddler years that God answers prayers, but I still have prayer request after prayer request that remain unanswered. I have seen God answer prayers for other people, even prayers I have prayed for other people. Miracles are real! But in this season I saw God answers MY prayers that are about me. The difficultly caused me trust in the truth, it pressured me to persevere and believe that God’s Word is true for me.
Have you experienced a situation where you needed God to come through? Remembering the goodness of God and sharing those moments bring Him glory and encourage our Christian friends. Can I challenge you to share a prayer that has been answered with someone this weekend? And if you are in the middle of a situation where you can’t budge, cry out to the Lord and stand strong on His word. He hears you! God loves you, and He can change everything or one small thing about that situation. Recite Ephesians 3:20, not as a challenge but as a promise and one that is comforting in your difficult season. God is on your side, and He will see you through. Does that make sense? For us, a new pair of shoes is a reminder of the faithfulness of God. Comment below! What little things or everyday things remind you of the faithfulness of God?