Monday, June 09, 2008

The rest of the story

Christopher giving "the rest of the story"
at his graduation

I will continue with Recession Proofing ideas the remainder of the week. However, I thought I would give you... as Paul Harvey would say... the rest of the story. Obviously we didn't stay in Western Michigan so how did we arrive home? That, my friend, is family legend. So much so that Christopher told about it during his five minute speech at his graduation a little over a week ago.

A lot of amazing things have happened over the years but the events surrounding our move from Muskegon to "home" still have us shaking our heads. For you see, we had reached a time we had to move. Just as in leaving Detroit, the house we were living in would no longer be available so we had no choice but to leave. Unlike when we left Detroit, we knew God was calling us back "home". We faced a move with no income and little money.

We were able to get together enough money to rent a U-Haul (which held half our stuff) and a storage unit to hold our belongings here at home. We drove that load (along with our car packed with stuff) to the storage unit and returned back to Michigan... a very long drive. We arrived home to pack the remainder of our belongs into the U-Haul (leaving behind many items we could not fit into the U-Haul) over the next day or two and then made way for home and to the storage unit.

Now, there were a few challenges along the way. First, we didn't have any money to stop for food on the way and this was a long drive. Second, uh... we didn't think we had enough gas to get the U-Haul all the way there. However, we knew this is what we were to do and the circumstances forced us to make that trip.

As we were getting ready to back out of the driveway, our neighbor came running and knocked on the car window. As Christopher told it, he was a "Harley driving, long haired, biker dude". We liked him, we had shared with him how God had been so faithful that year (his sister was a Christian... he wasn't). However, he had no idea that we were penniless. Imagine our surprise when he gave us a $100.00 bill because "something" told him he should do it. Money needed for gasoline and food... provision from a rather unusual looking angel (whom I still pray for).

It also so happened that our Jewish friends were on vacation someplace in the world for the next week, I think that may have been the year they went to South America. So after unloading our "stuff" with just a couple minutes to spare before the storage unit would close, and not much longer before the U-Haul would cost us more money which we did not have... we got everything unloaded, dropped the U-Haul off, and stayed the night at our friend's house. Actually, we stayed there the rest of the week.

From there we had just enough money come in for the three of us to rent a hotel room... one week at a time. Christopher stayed a lot that summer with our friends, until their boys started school. We watched God provide time after time, including the day we were a half an hour from having to leave the hotel room when money arrived from an aunt in California. A gift she "thought we could use".

That particular saga ended when my husband found a job at Lowe's and we found out we had received a small inheritance from another aunt who had passed away months earlier. That was when we moved into the townhouse and we were there for a couple of years before God opened the way for us to purchase our lovely little house in the country. (Oh, that townhouse... I cried when we moved in because the neighborhood was so terrible and it looked awful on the outside but we made it warm and cozy on the inside and God used us to share with many, many people those two years... in that neighborhood.)

It was while living in the townhouse that we realized the time had come for my husband to apply for Social Security Disability. We were told you rarely receive it the first time you apply. His medical background was so obvious that he did get put on Disability right away. Getting the monthly checks to begin was another matter but it eventually worked out.

That, my friends, is the "rest of the story", and the saga Christopher chose to share as he spoke to his fellow graduates and their families. His message... that God will provide in their years ahead even when times look bleak. As one graduate's father told us later, "The lessons he learned went deep and will stay with him forever".

Now, I can't say it was easy for now we can look back and see how everything fell together. It was a very difficult time in our lives. When we were living through it, one day at a time, we were in the midst of the heavy fog of the unknown and it was there we learned to hold onto God's character, even if we did not understand His Will in our lives.

That is why I believe we are to do our best to prepare for hard times but I have no fear for what is ahead. He is still in the miracle working business. :)


Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Brenda, Christopher looks so handsome and you must be so proud of him. Your blog today has brought me tears. When your neighbor brought you the $100.00 it reminded me of many years ago when my daddy died and my mother and I were existing on almost nothing. I was 11 and it was Christmas we had already wrapped empty boxes around our artifical tree and I realized it would not be the same as ever before. Then we received a cashiers check in the mail for $100.00. For 5 years after that we received the same anonymous check for $100.00 That was in the early 60's and we were able to have a wonderful time. My mother taught me to trust in the Lord and you have done that with Christopher. God knows our needs before we do and He will make a way. I look forward to your blog everyday. Trish

cheri said...

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Rpov. 31:25

God has taught you to trust Him and 'laugh at the days to come' and you are sharing those lessons with us.

Thank you!

Maggie Ann said...

What a blessing to read....I'm glad I happened over to visit. What a joy to see the hand of the Lord at work.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Dear Brenda, Thank you for you willingness to share these stories of God's love and Presence in your lives. Christopher looks like such a fine young man. You must be very proud of him. There are a lot of lessons for me to think about in your message. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your blog...thanks.

Dee from Tennessee

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

One of the biggest blessings, I have found, in homeschooling is having our children with us through those struggles and tough times. Your Christopher is a good example of how these trials bring them to such wisdom and reliance on God.

Congratulations on your son's graduation. Well done!

Terri said...

That was a good story and I believe things like that happen all the time.

I only wish that I would remember that and not worry and/or fuss so!

God always has a way of making things work out, doesn't he?

freetobeme said...

Thanks again for sharing with us. God is good. Christopher looks so handsome and rightfully proud.

my little corner said...

You story remind me of Job and what he had to endure from Satan and yet stay faithful. Your endurance and faithfulness has made you pull through. My parents went through the same thing in WWII in Europe with no money, or food on the table. To hear them speak of catching rabbits and feeding them dandelions to feed a family of 14. Cooking up tree roots to a soup. But holding strong in faith. This belief pulls us through.
Lovely picture of Christopher. I know how proud you are of him.


lady jane said...

Congratulations to Christopher. How sweet the honor to know our Lord has worked in his heart in such amazing ways. There was a purpose in every thing that happened. Blessings!

Our family knows how God meets ways very similar to yours. Blessed be His Name!

Carrot Top said...

"The Lord is not so much interested in our immediate happiness as He is in our ultimate goodness." Those tough times and your faithfulness to Him must have played an unimaginable part in the strength of character that Christopher has today. What a blessing!! (Tell Chris to wait, I have a daughter that he could meet in about 10 years! :) )

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

These are wonderful reminders that God is ever watchful and that we need not worry about the "what ifs" because He is faithful and doesn't want us to fret or stew. How often does He tell us that? Over and over!

Your son is one handsome graduate!

Manuela said...

Congratulations on Christopher's graduation!!

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story!


Misc. Muse said...

A big congratulations to Christopher!!! The Lord is so good, we've wonderful children. I had my first letter today from my Marine Recruit son- he loves boot camp--- maybe I should sneak over and take his temp!? shhhhhhhhhh-