Today is Mother’s Day and Jenny has requested that we travel to Goodlettsville for church. She said she felt that our family needed to be there today, so we are going. At this stage of our journey we have learned that every step must be directed by God; there are no “obvious” choices. We simply don’t move, even to go to church, until we are directed.
The service was amazing! They had a special speaker, but the truly special part of the service was when our family went to the front to pray together. As we were praying, a lovely little church lady came over to us and prayed. Then she shared what she said was a word from the Lord. She said that when she was praying she saw our family on a winding dirt road and we felt alone. We were not to worry though because God was in the process of making the path straight and clear for us. Then she said that she had one more word for us. She said “God wants you to know that you have heard from Him and you are in His will. He will ask you to do some strange things, so don’t question Him just do them”. These words meant a great deal to us as we had recently been told that we had not heard from God and were not in God’s will. This timely word, from someone who does not know our story, has served to raise our spirits and renew our faith.
I was resting this morning, after dropping the kids at school and going to the gym, and was awakened by the words “It’s time to go.” At first I thought someone had said it aloud in the room, but Jenny was still resting next to me, so I just lay there thinking about what it could mean.
A week ago Jenny had felt that God told her to pack our belongings, because it was time to leave our friends house. This did not make sense because we had no money and our friends were perfectly content having us there. We had made a token effort by packing up our winter clothes and bringing them to storage, but we did not take the packing seriously because it was crazy. As I was contemplating these things, Jenny suddenly got up and said she felt very strongly that God again said to get up and pack. I shared with her that I had been awakened by the words “It’s time to go” and we both had a good cry in the presence of the Lord. He has indeed asked us to do something strange and we are going to do it.
We have been working with a local attorney and had become close (praying with him about specific family matters) to the office manager there. Today I felt that I needed to drive by his office after dropping the kids off at school. As I was driving I had decided against it, but turned in at the last minute. I stopped for a moment and told God that I would just drive by and pray, but if I needed to talk to the man have him outside because I was not going in. As I approached the office, he was standing in the parking lot. I pulled in and spoke with him about his family situation and assured him that I was praying and that God would help him. It is amazing to see the hand of God in even the smallest details of our life. He truly does have a plan for every minute. I never want to waste time again.
The feeling that it is time to go has gotten stronger and stronger. Jenny was resting after school today and she felt like God said to finish packing. We only had a few kitchen items left to pack, so she got up and packed them all. We are now fully packed, with the exception of clothes that we are wearing, and are waiting for God to show us where we are going. I have asked God to take the feeling, that it is time to go, away if it is not of Him. I honestly do not want anything that does not first pass through Him.
Tonight Jenny felt like God asked her to choose a house to live in. She said that she would be happy with whatever He chose to give us. She then felt like He told her that it was her choice. She told me about the conversation and we searched the internet for homes.
Today we drove by some homes that are for sale and discussed more of what we would prefer in a house.
Attorney friend called today. I felt led to tell him about God telling us to pack and be ready to move (he knows our situation and that this makes no sense). He agrees that God is going to do something big for us and soon. He made me promise to come in, shake his hand and hug his neck when God provides. I have agreed.
Jenny and I also discussed the house we would want in more detail. We decided that the “ideal” is not currently on the market, so we just described it to God. Still packed up and excited for the move.
Today Jenny found a house that was just added to the market and looked promising, so we drove by to look at it. The kids loved it because the yard was large. They wanted to get a showing so they could see inside. As we drove away from the house I had a conversation with God, in my head, about not wanting to get a showing and waste people’s time when we had NO prospect of being able to buy the house.
We had several other errands to do and after that Jenny said she felt like God had said to go back and walk around the house we had driven by. We discussed it for awhile and concluded that it was a silly thing to do, however, everything we had been instructed to do over the last year was silly, so we went back.
We parked a couple of houses down from the house that was for sale and took what appeared to be a family walk. As we approached the house a man and woman were sitting in a swing enjoying dinner. I remarked to Jenny that the man looked like Gerry the bus driver.
For months now we have been forced to drive the kids to and from school everyday as we moved out of county and did not have bus access. This requires Jenny and I to sit in the local Kroger parking lot for 3-4 hours per day (told you God does silly stuff!!). While sitting there we would see Gerry the school bus driver multiple times per day and one day he stopped me in the gym and asked about us sitting in the parking lot so long. I briefly explained the out of county situation and from then on he would honk at us or wave.
Back to the walk around the house. As we got closer it became evident that it actually was Gerry. He called out to us and we stopped for a chat. He asked if we lived in the neighborhood and we sheepishly explained that we were looking for a house and felt that we should walk around this one. He explained that the house was under contract and in a 4 way bidding war. We said that was too bad, etc. and Gerry explained that he lives a few houses down and was going to sell his house. It was not on the market but he gave us all of the details, etc. he got so excited about describing it to us, he put his dinner aside and took us to the house. He spent the next TWO HOURS showing us his house. Every room, crawl space, closet and improvement. He pulled out all of the receipts detailing each improvement, showed me the plans he had made for future enhancements and treated us like we had already given him earnest money and this was the final walk through.
The home has a large yard and plenty of space on the inside to accommodate our family and anyone else God puts in our path.
Gerry has not listed the house yet and we exchanged numbers with the agreement that he would call us before listing it, to give us the chance to buy it.
I am not sure what all of this means. We are still penniless, but we know we heard God’s voice instructing us to walk by the house. Also, sitting at Kroger for all of those hours now makes a little more sense.
Excited to see what is next!!!!
Today our friend, that we are living with, said that the day before he had been giving his kids a bath when he suddenly felt that God was in the room. He felt God speak specific things about his children and their life path. Additionally, he felt like God said that He was going to be giving the Sanders a house very soon.
Once again we are very encouraged and excited to see what God does next.
Today I found out that my former position, at Securian, is vacant and, according to the person who informed me, the position would be mine if I called and asked for it. This comes at a time when we feel that God is going to give us a home, show that He is more powerful than the God of money and that He really means it when He says to seek first the kingdom and He will supply all of your needs. It also comes at a time that our resources have never been more depleted. We have less than $100 to our name and there is a small part of me that is tempted to make the call and return to the “safety” that my old job offers.
Nevertheless, I am resolved to stand on faith and wait to see what God is up to. In my Bible reading this morning (prior to learning about my old job) I was reading about Abraham not seeing how God could give him a son, so he tried to help God out by sleeping with his wife’s servant. His story, and potentially world history, would be far different if he had simply waited for God instead of taking the easy way out. If I have learned anything over the last year it is to stand still and see the promises of God fulfilled. I do not exaggerate when I say that this is one of the hardest lessons to learn. It means looking like a fool to many of the people around you.
Woke up this morning with a confidence that God is going to supply a house for us. Had a couple of days where my faith was shaken. I had been playing the infamous “what if” game and attempting to figure out how God could do it. His ways are higher than mine, so I am learning to simply trust what He says, instead of attempting to make sense of it (should have learned this by now!).
The cause for the “what if” game is the fact that we have $18 in our bank account and, after raiding all change stashes, have $5 in cash. I naturally began to wonder how God can do anything with so little. Additionally we refuse to tell anyone of our financial situation for fear that they (with good intentions) may attempt to “help” God with a miracle. We want to see God, alone, provide. Proving that God’s workers need not spend time soliciting funds for God’s work. He alone calls, He alone equips and He alone provides.
I am so very thankful for faith filled friends that rely on the eyes of their spirit man, not their natural eyes. Over the last couple of days they have continually encouraged me to trust what God has said and prepare for a move. As a result, we moved the boxes we had packed to the storage unit and are ready for a move. Additionally, we feel like we should go to Minnesota to celebrate Jack’s 13th birthday. We have all prayed about it and feel a God “nudge” to go, but can not see (financially) how it could happen. Like so many aspects of faith, we simply have to trust God to provide.
Had my first working session with author Kevin Adams. We are developing material that will enable us to encourage other believers to step out, in faith, on their own adventures with God. We both feel that our family’s experiences will be used to ignite faith in others and we want to offer them the encouragement that we longed to have. We feel that we are pioneers in the modern “faith alone” movement. It feels great to finally see how this adventure will be used, to encourage others.
Tonight we had a family meeting to discuss the fact that our resources are now at $5.00. I started the meeting by reading Hebrews 11, then we discussed what faith is. I explained the financial situation, that my former job was open again and that it would be very easy to move back to Wisconsin. I went around the room, starting with Bella, and asked if we should go back. Bella said “we should stay, I want to see how God works this story out”. Max, Jack and Alex sincerely agreed with Bella. Jack said “everything is better here, so let’s see what God does”. I am so very proud of the faith that I see in these kids. They indeed deserve to be right up there with the names of the faithful that are recorded in Hebrews.
We ended the night by watching our favorite faith building family movie- “Evan Almighty”. I am more excited than ever to see what God does!!
I was up early this morning asking God for grocery money. We received $30 in the mail today, so we went and got groceries. God is good. Our good friends knew that our annual gym membership needed renewed ($200), so they were going to pay it without us knowing, however, they felt God telling them not to do it. As a result, they prayed about what to do with the money. They felt that they should give it to Jack for his birthday, so they did. At family devotions tonight we had a good laugh about Jack being the richest member of the family. He is praying about what God wants him to do with the money. It is also important to note that we have maintained our commitment to God that we will only make our needs known to Him, unless He directs otherwise. I do not want people acting out of compassion to help us. God can tell others if their resources are needed.
After praying about his $200, Jack feels like we should use it to go to Minnesota. He said he was tempted to use it for groceries but felt like God said to use it for gas money. I am proud of his willingness to listen. Using the money to go to Minnesota sounds exciting, but my logical mind asks how we would get back to Tennessee. Our agreement with God prevents us from making our need known to anyone but Him, unless directed to and he has not directed. I will have to pray more about this one.
Father’s Day. This has been one of the more challenging days for me. I have always been “the man” to my children. I worked long and hard to ensure that our family had sufficient resources to thrive in this life. Now, after over a year of sitting still and watching our financial life line slip away, I feel like I have let my family down. While I am confident that God has directed every step and I have peace about it, I am sad that I am no longer the superman provider. This is yet another role (provider) that was rightly supposed to be God’s and I have attempted to take it from Him. It is with no small amount of struggle that I relinquish the role of provider.
After much prayer and deliberation, I am confident that God is directing us to go to Minnesota. I do not know how we will get back or survive while we are there, but failure to go would mean disobeying God’s direction and I will not do that.
We left Tennessee on the first leg of our Minnesota trip today. We will be staying with my parents in Illinois for a few days. I am looking forward to a time of refreshing as they support our faith adventure 100%. Additionally, I plan to get the van’s tires looked at as they have not been rotated in over a year and the steering feels loose. I look at this as God’s last chance to stop us from going to Minnesota. Please let there be something wrong…
Had great conversations with my parents about faith, from a Biblical perspective, and have been very encouraged. According to the tire shop, the van tires just needed rotated and there are no other issues. I even prodded for them to check the alignment because I did not have the money to fix it and, if something was wrong, I could just return to Tennessee. It looks like we are clear to press on to Minnesota. Kind of scared and kind of excited.
It was a long day of driving but we made it to Camp Galilee, in Minnesota, around 6:30pm. We went to the evening church service. The speaker said several encouraging things, and at the end of service we were approached by a man from the camp book store. He said, “I don’t know much, but I know when I have heard from God and He wants me to tell you that He is going to restore everything that was taken.” He went on to talk and pray with us. I thanked him for sharing and praying with us. It is important to note that we do not know this man. His words reminded me of the verse that gave me such strength after we lost everything (Shipwreck) in November of 2013:
“I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the Lord your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced. Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced. (Joel 2:25-27 NLT)
It was nearly 2am when we arrived at Jenny’ grandparent’s home in Hugo, MN. There was a note on the table stating that there was an issue with the basement (where we were supposed to stay) and we would need to sleep in their upstairs living room. I am sure tomorrow, or later this morning, will reveal the basement issue.
The basement issue turned out to be a sump pump failure and a flood from the overflow. We spent the last several days removing the wet, moldy carpet, throwing the water damaged items away, drying the floors and laying new ceramic tiles. It was a ton of work, but it gave me an excellent opportunity to work closely with my Minnesota family. Some of the best people in the world!
Jenny’s grandparents paid me for my time. As a result, we now have the money to return to Tennessee and pay for the storage of our stuff in Tennessee. We were able to keep our agreement with God to not make our need known to anyone other than Him and He provided. I am also struck by how important it is to follow each “God nudge”. If we had not stepped out in faith on the nudge to visit Minnesota, we would not have had provision for our storage.
We had Jack’s Bar Barakah (blessing his transition to manhood) at Jenny’s grandparent’s tonight. I feel truly blessed to see him mature physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was also nice to have the opportunity to share what God is doing with others who are full of faith on our behalf. Truly there are more for us than against us. God is good.
Another long day of driving but we have arrived at my parent’s house in Illinois. We plan to spend the next week with them.
We had a great week with my parents and returned to Tennessee two days ago. We were nearly overwhelmed with “what if” questions when we returned. What if God does not give use a house? What if we can not send the kids to the school they went to last year (we are currently out of county)? We had to calm our soul (mind, will and emotion) and our flesh and listen to our spirit, that is connected to God, in order to find peace again. He has provided for us for over a year and all of the events I have recorded above indicate that He will be faithful.
We are still packed to move into the house God will give us and now we are waiting for the next “nudge” from a merciful God who is better than we have ever given Him credit for. Imagine a God who not only tells you what to do, He also pays your way! God is good.