Memory Verse: "You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit." (Job 10:12 NIV)
The master planned community was called Providence and the irony in us moving there was it was the very place that God refined me so I could faithfully trust in His sovereign care. Seduced by lakes, parks, and a front porch, I was convinced moving to Providence was the best way to provide a happy childhood for the kids. I fantasized about leisurely evenings watching my children play, as I sipped iced tea from the peace of my charming porch. Maybe I had been watching too many heartwarming commercials on the Hallmark channel, because my "mind movie" and "real life" were about to violently collide. Looking back, I see that God allowed us to journey to Providence in order that I might fully experience His guidance and omniscent provision, but it was a painful "hands-on" learning experience I pray I never forget.
Not long after we moved, I began to see our new neighborhood with God's eyes and I realized I was way in over our head and needed a life preserver. In the darkest days, it sometimes felt as though there was a heavy stone tied around my ankles pulling me into the depths of desperation. For though it seemed like my own personal "Mayberry", it turned out to be something I could not have expected. Almost immediately, I discovered moving was a terrible mistake. If it could go wrong, it did. From harrassment to homesickness, our family saw the full range of how badly something can go when you "do it yourself". One night, suffering from buyer's remorse and chronic heartache, I went for a walk with God. With tears in my eyes, I mustered up all my strength and whispered, "God, I see now I was wrong. This place is not what I expected and things aren't always what they seem. You know what is best. Help us find our way home."
As our situation deteriorated, and fear began to grip my wounded spirit, sleep alluded me. But I have a Savior who never slumbers, and in those sleepless nights, I prayed. Giving it all to God, I continuously surrendered my will to His. Along the way, God was moving in ways I could not see. When all seemed lost and I was helpless to do anything to change our situation, God extended His arms of protection and pulled my family out of the abyss. Only by God's providence did we find our way out of the hopelessness that threatened our peace. In mercy and love, "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." (Psalm 40:2) In His faithful care, God brought me refuge as He healed wounds of my own making. I have never been more grateful for God's providence.
The definition of Providence is as follows:
prov·i·dence /ˈprɒvɪdəns/ –noun
1.(often initial capital letter) the foreseeing care and guidance of God or nature over the creatures of the earth.
2.(initial capital letter) God, esp. when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence.
3.a manifestation of divine care or direction.
4.provident or prudent management of resources; prudence.
5.foresight; provident care.
During my brief time in Providence, I learned to filter the cunning lies of my enemy. I was not alone. We were not abandoned. To the contrary, God reminded me,"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Dueteronomy 31:6 NIV) God was still reigning as my King, even as the storm swirled powerfully around me and my family. Though I was weak and powerless, He was strong. When I felt helpless, God assured me daily that nothing can separate me from God's love. And I felt I could not last one more day, God gave me promises of the days to come, reminding me that "I had a hope and future" rooted in Him alone. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
In truth, God promises His children, "neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Romans 8:39 NIV) And though our courage and strength will fade, God is faithful. Looking back, I see God was working quietly behind the scenes to bring us refuge. He had a plan, but I had to trust Him to bring it about in His perfect timing. When all was in order, God moved us and I rejoiced as He brought us back home. Not just to any home, but to one identical to the one we had left in the first place. How's that for God flexing His muscle???
It has been almost three years since we moved to Providence, and I have grown up since then. As a family, we have been quiet with God as He pieced together the broken fragments and collateral damage from our time there. Some things will never be the same. I will never be the same. For that, I am thankful. Now, I believe God is who HE says He is and I have seen Him move mountains on my behalf that I could not budge. After my time in Providence, I KNOW who God is in my life.
Things have come full circle as we moved into another new house this weekend. It has the same ameneties I was seeking for when we moved to Providence, but this time I have walked in God's wake, allowing Him to calm the seas before me, as we followed His lead. I have vowed to "look before I leap". And as my family settles into our new home we look forward to the promise of tomorrow in this new chapter in our lives together. With gratitude, we have once more experienced the joy of His provision. And this time, I am filled with peace rather than fear. Rather than looking at yesterday with regret, today I choose to focus on God in all things and rejoice in His providence.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are sovereign and we are yours. You are mighty. You are bold. You are powerful. You never fail. We trust in Your providence as everything belongs to you and is ruled under You alone. We praise you LORD for you are the one true living God of all.
Reflection: Are you trusting God's providence?