Walking On Water
“Oh, what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out his hand”
Casting Crowns, Voice of Truth
There was a time when my life was mostly predictable. Part of me longed for the truth of this song; longed to know that I WOULD step out of the boat, if Jesus called me to. Longed to know that I DID have that kind of faith. But I never really believed it would be me that Jesus called onto the waves.
At that time in my life, my husband was in the Coast Guard. He had a regular paycheck. We had 3 children that I stayed home with. One of those children was school-age, and I was (I think) a “typical” Homeschool Mom. We went to church every Sunday and on Wednesday evenings. I hosted a small Bible Study on Tuesday mornings. We had friends that we hung out with sometimes, we lived on a budget, we had our ups and downs, like all people do. We had weathered a few storms. We were in the boat… but then something changed.
The Lord started telling me that my security needed to come from Him alone. And I knew that. I believed that. Of course, I believed that! I went to church, and prayed, and read my Bible all the time, didn’t I? I knew God would take care of me through anything. I’d been through a lot with Him already. So, the first couple of times I heard Him tell me that my security needed to come from Him alone, I smiled and I praised Him for that encouragement from the safety of my boat. I thanked him for being so good to me, and for always being there with me. In the boat. And I moved on with my day.
But there is a difference between head-knowledge, and heart-knowledge. I knew in my head, that God would always take care of me. That He alone provides security. He just kept impressing that thought on my heart, over and over again. He even showed me Psalm 37 in my Bible Study that I was doing. And imprinted verse 19 in front of my eyes. “Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times, even in famine they will have more than enough.” (Psalm 37:18-19) Even in famine they will have more than enough…I couldn’t get rid of it! I knew God was speaking to me, but I didn’t know why he was saying that. A little naive, I know.
My husband, Josh, came home one day and said over dinner, “I’m supposed to be reenlisting tomorrow.” Ok. It had been postponed several times already, it was nothing new. But then he says, “I don’t know if I can do that.” And guess what I saw next. My Bible page that I had read and looked at so much in the past few weeks. Even in famine they will have more than enough. After dinner we talked about it, he said he really believed the Lord was leading us on a different path, and could I argue? Not after everything the Lord had been showing me. So, the next day, he went into the office and told his XO he wasn’t reenlisting, he wanted to get out. He filled out the paperwork, and a few days later left for a job in Alaska.
It was 10 days after we made the decision for him to get out of the Coast Guard, while he was in Alaska, when I found out I was pregnant with my (unplanned) fourth baby; my youngest was about to have her first birthday. Within an hour of taking that pregnancy test, a friend of mine that I had not talked to in a VERY long time called out of the blue. She reminded me that God’s timing is perfect, and encouraged me to trust His leading. After a couple of days of prayer, we decided to continue to pursue the path we believed the Lord had led us to and, against much council, proceeded with our move back to TX.
It was scary. I was nervous. But we believed we were making the right decision, and held onto God’s promises. And I was proud of us for trusting God blindly in this. I was excited for what this new adventure would bring. We read and reread the stories of Gideon, Abraham, Noah, Peter, and Paul, and we looked to God to provide for our needs.
And the Lord was SO faithful. Josh had a job that allowed me to continue to stay home with my kids within a few weeks. We bought a house, and found a Dr that would allow us to pay cash while we waited on insurance to start. Our insurance went into effect on Nov 1, 2010; my baby was due Nov. 25, Thanksgiving. I went into labor at ten minutes after midnight, Nov 2. And we praised God for his faithfulness.
We didn’t realize it then, but God was PREPARING us through all of this. He was teaching us WHO He is. He was teaching us to depend on Him. He was teaching us that He provides against all odds. He was gently and gradually strengthening our faith.
Because He was about to call us out of our boat.
It wasn’t long before we found ourselves in over our heads. Sickness and money-trouble hit our house HARD. This was NOT an exciting new adventure. There were times when we faced despair, when it felt like there was nothing solid beneath our feet, but the Lord took our hand and redirected our eyes to Him. He reminded us of the things he had ALREADY brought us through. He strengthened us with the TRUTH of His Word. Slowly, with shaking feet, we started learning to walk by his power. My head-knowledge became heart-knowledge. Real-life experience. And with each step we took, we got further and further away from the safety of our boat and our stable predictable life. But when we could see him there, calling us, we couldn’t NOT go.
George Muller said “Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.”
George Muller was an incredible man. I found myself reading a biography of his life during that specific time of hardship. I was floored. I was challenged. (For any of you who may not have read about him, George Muller: The Guardian Of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet and Geoff Benge is a great kid-friendly resource.) This man had philosophies that blew me away! He was a pastor in the mid-1800s. He didn’t believe in saving money. He believed that God would give him exactly what he needed, so if he found himself with any “extra” money, it was because God had provided it for someone else, through him! I found myself thinking about this all the time. He had a wife and child. How could he not believe in saving?! What if they needed something 6 months down the road? What if there was an emergency? What if the Lord was preparing them ahead of time with that “extra” money? It really threw me for a loop!
But as I continued to read, I just became more amazed. He did what I had always dreamed of doing, only so much better than I had ever imagined! He started an orphanage, he helped children on the streets, and God funded it through his prayers! He never asked anyone for a single penny! God provided for all of his needs without him ever asking for a cent! The orphanage grew from one building to five over the course of his lifetime, with the ability to house over 2,000 children at once. He helped raise over 10,000 children before his death! And the whole thing was funded through prayer! He kept a journal where he recorded his prayer requests, and when and how the Lord answered that request.
Remember how I mentioned we were in a time of financial distress? So, after reading this story, I decided to keep a journal like that and give my requests to the Lord. And as always, He came through in amazing ways. There are too many things to tell here, but in one month he provided us with over $800 cash from many different sources. And we never asked for a penny from anyone but God!
During that time, as well, my husband was looking for another job and had decided he wanted to enter the mission field once we had taken care of our debts. We decided to sell our house and downsize, eventually. The Lord had given me another verse. Ephesians 5:15-17. “So be careful how you live, not as fools, but as those who are wise. MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY FOR DOING GOOD IN THESE EVIL DAYS. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.”
Josh got a job working off-shore. The day he left, my sister-in-law called me and asked me to come stay with her for a week. Her car had broken down and she needed a way to get to and from work. We went. There was no reason not to and it was an “opportunity for doing good.” While we were there, her roommate decided to move out. After talking it over with my husband, we decided to move in. She needed a roommate, and had the space. We planned to put our house on the market anyway, and it would be much easier to do if we weren’t living there. We sold and gave away most of our things that had filled our 2,000 sq foot house. The Lord was teaching me to let go of “stuff.” It was a hard lesson, but He was teaching me that if I wanted to be able to make the most of every opportunity for doing good, I couldn’t be burdened by things that were only temporary anyway.
In the course of time, we have found ourselves needing to reevaluate the decisions we made to give up having our “own” house. Twice, we have been faced with a need to move our large family (which now includes 5 kids, my sister, and 2 dogs, as well as my husband and myself) to a new home. Both times we considered renting a house. But if we did that, not only would we have to furnish it, but we felt like we would be back in the same position we left so long ago. Both times, once we made the decision not to rent, and to wait for the Lord to provide direction, he quickly did just that; providing us with a furnished, affordable solution.
These things only skim the surface of what our journey to this point has entailed. The Lord has brought us through LOTS of difficulties and tears. He has also blessed us beyond expression by allowing us to witness and experience things that, to some, are unbelievable. He is continually drawing us deeper into a plan that is beyond anything we could ever have imagined on our own. It didn’t happen overnight. It hasn’t been easy. We haven’t been blessed with any sort of supernatural faith that makes our journey easier or more understandable. We have never reached a point of “figuring it out.” But day by day we are learning to trust God a little more. We are learning to take those baby steps that He puts in front of us, so that we are prepared when He calls us to take the bigger ones. We are learning that not being able to see a solution to problems does not equal there being no solution.
And I have learned to expect answers when I pray.
I prayed to know God better. I prayed to have a life in which my kids would see me living by faith. The Lord has, and is, continuing to work that into being. I prayed that I would be able to say with George Muller, “I have joyfully dedicated my whole life to the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and faith.”
Enter Joseph’s Grain Publishing. This company was born, partially, out of the journey that my family has been on. (There are other pieces of the picture, of course, because there are other people involved in the creation of JGP, but their stories are their own and not for me to tell.) We are a not-for-profit publishing company with a vision to impact the world. As a publishing company, it is our goal to print material that will be educational as well as fun; material that will draw families together and encourage discussions. We want to help Americans learn about issues that we hear about, but don’t often see; and to show people how BIG our God is. But that is only a means to an end. Our ultimate desire is to make a greater impact. We want to help people, especially children, realize that they CAN make a difference. Every book we print will have a specific project goal printed on its cover. Some of our first projects are to raise money to help feed and educate children that have been rescued from abuse and child slavery. At this point, 60% of our income is dedicated to those projects.
Right now through Sunday, we are holding a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for our startup costs. Our goal is $7000, and at the moment we have two people who have pledged to match the next $800, so all donations will be tripled up to that point! You can check us out at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1509289460/print-for-change-with-josephs-grain-publishing. You can also find us on Facebook, http://facebook.com/groups/printforchange or Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoeHMTpr0oG9IO-zdpbg1AA. Remember, Kickstarter is an all or nothing campaign, so there is no risk to you if we do not make our goal. Your donation will only go through if at least $7000 is pledged to us by Sunday night.
(I know that this campaign does not hold true to the George Muller philosophy that I so love, but it is multi-faceted, and it accomplishes goals that we believe are important aside from raising money.)
Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May He be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
Image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/Marcus_Larson_-_Storm_p%C3%A5_havet.jpg