As I mentioned yesterday, Ron and I had the opportunity to share out testimony this morning at church. I am thankful that we live in a place where it is okay to share from our hearts how God has been and is working in our hearts and lives. Ron and I had spent time talking yesterday and again this morning about what we were going to share. We both agreed about what was on our hearts and why we felt we needed to share certain things. Our desire in sharing was to show that we, in our humanness do things but in God's awesomeness He makes good come from even the hardest of things in our life. We hope you will see His awesomeness, His wonderful and loving care in our lives.
This is what we shared:
~ last winter and spring we were very financially strapped due to the loss of our plumbing business due to the economy. We found ourselves in the position of having no money to buy groceries. We had used the local food bank many years ago and yet the decision to go again was very hard. I struggled with having to go. I talked to myself for over a week about going. I shared with no one how desperate we were. One Monday I woke and said "today is the day. This is something that needs to be done and I am going to the food bank." As I walked in the door I saw someone from our church. I thought I was going to get sick. Thinking to myself "why is she here? How am I going to face her?" I went in, got the groceries and left. She greeted me warmly. I honestly don't remember if I talked with her. As I drove home God and I had a conversation. It went something like this:
Alice ~ God how could you let her be there? This is so hard.
God ~ Alice, do you trust me? Do I always provide for you?
Alice ~ Yes Lord, but how could she be there? I didn't want anyone to know.
God ~ Because I care about you. I tell you in my word "cast your cares on me. Share your burdens so others can help carry them. You don't have to walk alone. I am here to walk with you. I have put others in your life to help you. Don't be ashamed. I love you and my people, your Northwood family, love you. (Alice paraphrase)
By the time I got home I was at peace. Peace that I was not struggling alone, that someone else now knew of our struggle. And it was okay.
I had not shared that incident with anyone except for one friend. She knew my struggle in going to the food bank. That is until we returned from our time working/traveling with the carnival. It came up in conversation a couple of weeks ago with someone who is very dear to me. Since that time I felt like I needed to share that story with our church family. To encourage someone who might be struggling with the same issues I had been. Pride, embarrassment, shame that we could not provide for ourselves were the thoughts/feelings running rampant that day and God took those feelings/thoughts that were racing inside of me and turned them into a peace that He would make all things good. Even though I knew I had reconciled my thoughts/fears that day in February last winter, I needed to share with our church family one of our hardest struggles we had faced and that God was faithful in His love for us.
~ how we had prayed for a job for us. Over the past few years we had often said "wouldn't it be fun to work & travel with a carnival?" So near the end of January when Ron came home and said to send out emails to different carnivals I did. I sent out five. I prayed as I hit the send button. That was on a Thursday. The following Monday we received two phone calls. One gentleman told me to call back in March ~ that is when he does his hiring for the season. The second one was Rob Rhew from Funtastic Shows. We talked about 20 minutes. He asked us to come to Portland for a job interview. We made plans to meet on February 4th in Portland. We told people we were going to Seattle as I had an eye appointment. We mentioned to three people that we were also going for a job interview. We told two of those three that it was for the carnival. We asked that they pray for God's will to be done. The eye appointment went well. We were anticipating that maybe I would need to have a new artificial eye made as I am now in the 5th year of this eye. They usually only last me about 4 years. We were very encouraged, the eye is in great shape, the eye socket is in wonderful shape and I was not having any eye infections.
We continued from Seattle to Portland. One of the friends praying for us had gifted us with some money to go out to dinner, to enjoy ourselves and to trust God, reminding us He was in control. We had a pleasant dinner, slept real well and had a quiet morning before heading over to meet Rob. We arrived about 15 minutes before our scheduled interview. We joined hands and I prayed to the Lord to be clear with us about whether we should go to work for the carnival or not. I told him, he either had to open or close the door, no waffling, I don't do waffling. Within the first 10 minutes of that interview Rob offered us both employment. We came home. On the way home we called two friends and asked if we could meet with them on Friday. They asked no questions and we made plans to meet the next day at 12:30. We stopped to pick up Charlie Brown, shared our news that we had been offered jobs (the gal who had kept Charlie Brown was one of the two people who knew we were going for a job interview). She was excited for us and said she would pray for everything to continue to work out.
To make a long story short, we met with our friends on Friday. They prayed with us, encouraged us and said "just remember your home is in Blaine." In other words, you can go work for the carnival but remember you need to come back home.
Six weeks later we were on our new adventure. We were sent off with lots of prayers, hugs and a love gift from our Northwood family.
~ how God's hand was on us for the six and a half months we were gone. How when we lost the drive shaft in the motor home. We were not on the ferry, we were not going 60 mph on the freeway, how we could stay in the motor home while it was being repaired. And that we only had $645 to our name (most of that from the love offering from Northwood, that we were holding onto for when we had a problem with the motor home, because we knew we eventually would have a problem) and how I prayed "Lord we only have $645, please don't let it cost more than that when I go in to pay the bill." The bill was $641! God had answered our prayer!
~ how God opened doors. Giving us opportunities to share with others. How other workers knew they could come to us to pray for them. One young man, Shawn, who's cousin was killed in an awful accident in Portland while we were in Wenatchee. He came to us, cried with us and asked us to pray for him, for his family and for a way for him to return to his family. We did pray! And God answered! Shawn was able to go home for a week.
~ how a picture on our screen saver of a little town, Adele, OR was where Kollin was from, where her Grandmother taught brought us together. Over the months we were together, God allowed us to pray for Kollin, to support her with love when her Grandma died. To become her friend.
~ and we shared we had fun. We got tatoos (they were spray on but some of you thought they were real). We shared meals with many of the other workers, always praying before we ate and how God blessed us to share our home with others. We laughed and loved on people, sharing what we had whether it be a plate of spaghetti or band-aids and peroxide.
~ and we shared how God taught us to not take things for granted. Before we left to work/travel/live with the carnival if one of us woke up and decided we just didn't want to go to church or we were not feeling well (though well enough to traipse off to Bellingham or Mt. Baker or a picnic or ??) we would just not go to church. Oh how we missed church, missed the fellowship of being with other believers, missed being loved on and encouraged by other believers. How important it was to us to get back into fellowship, to hear God's word preached from the pulpit. So we encouraged others this morning not to take for granted that they have a church home and church family to be a part of.
~ things we learned over the past few months:
~~ don't be afraid or to proud so let others know when you have struggles. Just as we like to help others when they have a need, others want to do the same for us.
~~ be open about our love for the Lord, we never know how God will use us in someone's life
~~ and remember that God is in control even when things are out of control
After the service we were loved on, hugged by and encouraged by so many. A few people asked us what are we going to do next. Right now we are waiting to get our motor home back from Jerry Chambers Chevrolet. We have been told that should happen this coming Tuesday. Next week we go to our next job ~ selling Christmas trees in the Seattle area. We should hear this week exactly where and when we start. Depending on clean up after selling Christmas trees through December 24th we will be going to Lewiston, ID for about two weeks. Brandon is coaching high school boys basketball for Orofino HS and Max is playing basketball for the Boys & Girls Club in Lewiston. We plan on watching as many games as we can in those two weeks.
Then we are coming back to Blaine. Ron has jury duty from January 10th to 21st. And then we just don't know. We continue to look for work for next Spring/Summer. We don't know where the Lord is leading us, we just know He is.
If you have questions, job leads or a comment we would love to hear from you. One question I was asked after church today was "are you going to continue to blog?" I answered with a resounding Yes! I love to write. I have been told I write like I talk ~ A LOT! Blogging is one of the ways we can keep in touch with a lot of family and friends and we so love to do that. We hope you enjoy reading about what we are doing, where we have been and where we are headed. Tonight I even came up a few more ideas on what to blog about. Funny and happy memories, times when the Lord has spoken to me and worked in my life, and of course I have to keep sharing about our three wonderful grandchildren, and the happenings of Jamie & Suzanne and Brandon & Danalyn. So I encourage you to stay tuned for more from The Wandering Workentins.
PS...what do you think of the new picture and title of my blog?