By Sarah N

My mother became engaged several months ago. She lives in Texas. Her future husband lives in Georgia. I kept asking her when they were going to be married and live together. She told me she didn’t know when she was going to be able to move because she taught a class and she didn’t want to abandon her students. I suggested that she pray and ask God to provide an instructor to take her place. I think only two weeks later she told me a man was moving to her area and that he was a Christian and even a more experienced instructor than she was. I thought that was so cool and so like God. How He answers our prayers and then some. Beyond what we are able to ask or imagine.

My mother called me a few weeks after that to ask if I wanted some furniture she would not be needing when she moved. This was such a blessing to me because I have been wanting my own place but had absolutely no furniture. Absolutely no household items except a manual juicer to juice my favorite fruit: grapefruits. I literally did not have a proper fork or plate to my name. I had only one towel. Not even a pair of sheets. Everything I was using was someone else’s. The idea of furnishing my own place was overwhelming and I couldn’t see how I was ever going to be able to afford it because I needed to start from scratch. My mother didn’t realize my situation and she was encouraged to know her belongings would be appreciated in a new home.

She started by saying I could have a bed. That in itself was enough of a blessing. But the more she packed, the more she offered. I needed all of it. It seemed like every day she was asking me if I wanted something else. It was beyond what I could ask or imagine. Patio furniture, two beds, chairs, hangers, a setting of six for dinnerware, a whole cabinet of towels and sheets, a couch, cookie sheets, side tables, etc. Too much to even remember.

Even something so simple but so important to me: I love Pyrex bowls and I lost or broke my last two that I purchased. Now my mother says she is going to give me several. Without even knowing how much I am blessed by such a specific little thing. Again, more than I can ask or imagine.

I was hoping I would be able to afford an air mattress and some plastic utensils. And here I am being given almost half a house for absolutely no money. Isn’t that so like God?!

Well, the devil doesn’t take a break. He keeps trying to discourage me through all this. Just telling me I’m a hopeless dreamer. Telling me to face reality and give up. Telling me that nothing ever works out for me. Telling me that blessings are always a double-edged sword with a bad side. Trying to steal and kill my joy. Telling me that I am not worthy. That God is finished with me and I have to suffer forever because of my sins. So give up.

And to be honest, I have cried out to God begging Him to help me not to hope in vain. There is a verse that says hope deferred makes the heart sick. Some days I feel like I can’t hope anymore. It literally hurts.

Some people know me as the cheerleader for one of my favorite phrases: “Never Give Up!” I love that phrase because I have experienced so many times in my life where I felt like I couldn’t go on and then God showed up and showed off. I always want to encourage people to hang onto God and don’t give into those thoughts that taunt us by saying it’s over. It’s not over until He calls us home to join Him in heaven. Until that time, we don’t have to listen to the enemy trying to take us out.

But even I have my moments. Where I wonder if my faith is not grounded in reality. Where I am afraid that my hope is in circumstances working out according to my desires versus my hope being in God with me even if circumstances only get worse. I whole-heartedly believe nothing is impossible for God. Nothing is too hard for Him. He can do anything. But will He?

Surrender. That has been the key for me this past week. After striving and fighting in my own strength to hope and believe enough. After doing everything I could to make things happen and nothing working out. I just stopped and surrendered. I didn’t measure up so I just surrendered. I was reminded of Matthew 6: don’t worry. I was reminded that He who began a good work in me will complete it. I was reminded that He goes before me.

I didn’t ask my mother for all of her stuff. God started that. God gave me that favor. I decided to relax and consciously work to push the thoughts of panic and worry away. I still don’t know the end of the story yet but I wanted to share something really cool and encouraging that happened to me today.

One problem I had was that I was scheduled to drive tomrrow to my mother’s and pack all of the items she has for me. I only had one week’s notice.

I needed to obtain some boxes. I work full-time and go to school full-time. I had a major test this week. I spent a lot of time studying. I had to work overtime almost every day this week. It seemed like there was always something. All of a sudden, today is the day before I need to pack and I have no boxes and I have to work overtime so I can’t even go buy any boxes.

But a special errand took me to a different building and I ran across a lady I needed to speak with. She took me on a different route through the building. All of a sudden I see a box in the hallway. I ask her if I can have it. She says yes and then takes me around the corner and shows me a giant wall of boxes that are completely empty. She says I can have them all. Isn’t that so like God?! I can hardly believe it. I ask her two or three times just to be sure.

I go back to my office in another building and finish my day. Around 6:30pm I am able to leave and I’m worried because it is a Friday and I assume everyone left for the weekend and the doors are locked on the building with the boxes. To my surprise the building is unlocked and people are still working. I didn’t realize that they stayed late two days a month – and today happened to be one of those days. Isn’t that so like God?!

So I go to work breaking down the wall of boxes so they will fit in my car. I am noticing that even though a worker just happened to have a box cutter handy that she let me use, almost all of the boxes are designed to fold down without me having to cut any tape. The boxes are of a really high quality. I had been afraid I would have to find free used boxes with germs from a restaurant or have to pay a lot of money for new boxes. But God shows off and gives me perfectly-sized sturdy high-quality boxes for free.

I am wondering how I am going to carry them from the second story to my car. Without me even asking, a woman in an adjacent office unlocks a closet and offers me the use of not just any dolly but an expensive dolly that folds out and lays flat so I can stack the boxes horizontally and not worry about them falling over or being too bulky to carry. I can also take the giant stack of boxes in one trip. Isn’t that so like God?!

Also, even though I had to work overtime today, through no fault of my own, I realized that God allowed me to work right up until the time where the parking meters are free in front of the building where I needed to park. And all the traffic had cleared so there was a spot right in front of the front door and elevators. Usually I have to park at least a block away when I go to that building. Again, I see His hand.

Exceedingly. Abundantly. This next part blew me away. The cleaning crew was starting to clean the building. I was very tired from having been awake for 13 hours with only a few hours of sleep the night before. I just worked almost eleven hours. I walked all over downtown in the heat. It had been a long week. And I felt like I used the last of my energy to break all the boxes down for over an hour.

Believe me, I was thankful. Praising God, thanking Him, and thinking how amazing He and His ways are the whole time I was breaking the boxes down. But I was still trying to brace myself for the physical task of hauling all these boxes to my vehicle.

As I start down the hallway towards the elevator, a lady from the cleaning crew steps out of an office just in time for me to ask her to move her cart so I can have enough room to pass down the hall. Then as I turn the corner and I can’t figure out how to get the dolly loaded with boxes through a narrow door, here she comes without me even asking and takes over and physically uses her strength to force the boxes into different positions so they will get through the door.

Then she takes over and pushes the loaded dolly for me all the way down the hall to the elevator. Any normal person would leave me there. No, this woman I’ve never seen before steers the loaded dolly into the elevator and rides down with me. Then she pushes it outside and I think for sure she will leave me now.

But no. She lets me put the first box in my car and then takes over and loads almost all of the boxes into my car. She actually told me to move over and let her do the work. I tried to give her some money just to show my appreciation and she said, “No, I did it from my heart.” Isn’t that so like God?!

After such a long week, I was so encouraged and blessed. I was refreshed. Here I am less than 24 hours from the time I need boxes. Feeling nothing but the bitterness of life all week. All day. And then God makes some lemonade for me out of what seemed like a hopeless moment. I didn’t have one box prepared and now my car is literally filled with boxes. I probably have more than I need.

This story isn’t over yet. I still have a lot of challenges ahead of me and a lot of unanswered questions in my life right now. But I am not giving up on God! He is up to something. I know however it all works out He will be with me.

But to be seen and known by Almighty God: what a blessing! To know He cares even about the little details. How He pours out His love exceedingly, abundantly. More priceless than the physical provisions is the deep satisfying peace that accompanies this trust that He is cultivating in me through deep choppy waters versus lounging around in comfort. But I’m thankful for and rejoice in the sweet moments!