Friday, January 09, 2009

The Lord has done great things for us...

... And we are filled with JOY! (Psalm 126:3) About a month ago we had our last service in our old church building. We recently moved into an amazing building where our whole church meets together. Anyway, during that last service our pastor talked about why we should take the time to remember what God has done in the past. He said that it allows us to show our gratitude towards God and helps us trust him for the future because of his faithfulness in the past. He went on to tell the history of our church and the amazing things God has done for us and through us. Anyway, I thought it was an amazing sermon and I thought it would be nice to remember what God has done for our family this year. I'm going to be honest...it has been a tough year for us, but through this year God has shown his faithfulness to us and his provision in incredible ways. He has strengthened us as a family and shown us His great love for us.

In January we started our Dave Ramsey cash budget and I'm so glad we did! We would have never made it through this year if we hadn't really gotten our finances in order. It isn't always easy to stick to the budget, but we have been blessed by being faithful. In March we decided that we were going to use some savings and bonuses Travis received to add on to the family room to try to help the house sell. God had another plan and we decided to give the money to our church building fund that we had committed to a couple of years ago. Read the full story here. Back to that in a moment. In June we realized that Travis was going to be out of work soon and we began praying about what God would want him to do. Travis felt like God was calling him to farm, but I wasn't totally sold. We made a trip to Harlingen to visit and God spoke to my heart and gave me a verse (Deuteronomy 6:18) as an answer to our prayers. "Do what is right and good in the Lord's sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers!" So we decided as a family that we would move to Harlingen and he would join his father and uncles on the farm. If you haven't heard the full story you can read it here.

After we made the decision to move we felt like God would sell our house quickly and the farm would have a great crop to allow us to easily join the farm. Boy, were we wrong!!! In July a horrible hurricane blew through the Rio Grande Valley and completely wiped out the farms cotton crop. It was devastating to the farm and we just couldn't understand what God was up to. Zac let Travis know in August that he would have to let him go at the end of September and so we decided that we would move in October because we would have no income here. Needless to say, the farm really wasn't in a great position to bring us on because of the devastating year they experienced. In September, Hurricane Ike blew through the Houston area and was more of an annoyance than anything to us. Little did we know, God was going to use this storm to provide for our family. Travis got several jobs to repair homes that suffered damage from the storm. Out of that work and through word of mouth, he has gotten numerous referrals for additions, remodels, and repair. In October, we got great news in that a family was going to lease our house for 18 months with the potential to buy at the end of that time. We were thrilled and decided we would be moving in mid-January. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks later we were once again devastated! They decided to cancel the contract and move elsewhere. We really were heartbroken and couldn't understand why God would do this to us! During this time I remember our pastor saying during several services that in the end God is going to be proven faithful. He is always faithful to us, even when it doesn't seem like it at the time. Well, I definitely wasn't feeling it at the time!!! Through the next couple of months we had a couple of second showings and of course we (or probably more like I) would get my hopes up and nothing would happen. But even looking back now, I can see God's faithfulness to us through this year. He was faithful to provide for our family when we didn't know where our next months income would come from. He was faithful to us and allowed us to meet in our new church building that we sacrificed and gave money towards- if we had moved in October as we originally thought we would have not been able to attend church in our new building. And I believe that he will be faithful to us and sell our house in the future- in his time. God has provided so much work for Travis that we think we will be able to stay here until the end of the summer. And we are believing God for a great year on the farm that will allow better circumstances for us to join his father and uncles. We are already praying for the crops that they haven't even planted yet! I believe that this entire year has also been preparing us for the lifestyle that we will lead as farmers. We will have to completely depend on Him to take care of us. We won't have a definite paycheck every year, but that doesn't matter because I know that he is going to take care of my family.

This year has been an emotional one, but God has taught us so much. God has taught us how to give up control, how to completely depend on Him, and just how much He really does care for us. We are so blessed!

3 comments:

Jenn said...

It is beautiful to watch as God prepares your hearts and minds for the next work He will do in your lives. I pray that 2009 will be a year overflowing with His incredible blessing on your family! Prov. 3:5-6

Love,
Jennifer

Dana said...

Sarah--what a wonderful post you have shared with all of us of your year's journey. I am so thankful for the faith you and Travis have lived out. God is so faithful and does bless us in all circumstances. I'm so glad you took the time to reflect on the year so that you could see God's blessings. I hadn't thought of it before in terms of preparing you for the life you will lead in farming--but how true!

I do believe you and Travis have both grown in your walk with the Lord because of the events of the year, and your ability to live by faith is truly evident.

I know God has plans to prosper and to provide you with hope.

Mom

Eric Smith said...

Sarah, I'm not really one to leave comments, but I found this trek back through your year to be of tremendous encouragement. Thanks for being such a great friend to Christina -Eric