Sanders Family Unabridged Part 15 (July 2015)

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July 28, 2015

For most of July we were in Minnesota and Wisconsin visiting my family and I took another break from writing while we were there. We stayed with my sister and her family before we headed to my grandparents, so we ended up going through part of Iowa to get to Minnesota. I’ve always heard about what a boring drive it is but I thought it was really charming! It is mostly farms, but it also has rolling hills with quaint barns. Very Americana, I loved it!

Once we got to grandpa and grandma’s the whole family did their job of spoiling us with shopping trips and stuffing us full of our favorite foods. Can I just take a moment and thank the Lord for Swedish meatloaf and enchiladas? What if we made Swedish meatloaf enchiladas??!! That might be divine inspiration right there! Or, not.

We are now back in Tennessee and we spent our first summer night in the van last night. It was HOT!! Yikes, man!! We had to keep turning the van back on every twenty minutes or so to let the van cool down. We were all sweating like crazy. I am sure the smells permeating from the van were things dreams are made of. Not good dreams, but dreams anyway. We are sitting at the library now, still wearing the clothes we sweltered in last night. My hypersensitivity to being smelly is going bonkers right now. Anytime someone walks by the table I snarl at them so they do not get too close and smell us. Okay, I do not snarl, but I am sitting here totally freaked out. Jack has freshmen orientation at the high school this morning. He is going to be there from 8:00-12:00. Thankfully he had a change of clothes with him, so I do not have to obsessively worry about how he smells while he is with his friends.

We are not sure what we are going to do from here. More waiting on the Lord, I guess. πŸ˜‰ I feel like a little kid whenever I pray. “Are we there yet, are we there yet?” I am getting tired of hearing “You need to wait. Just rest and be still.” Ugh!! Someday the answer will be different, right!?

It is so hot right now! The heat index is forecast to be up to 107*. I love the heat, but I love the heat when I am able to escape to air conditioned rooms that have plenty of cool water. We have the rec center, but we have no desire to be there for eight plus hours a day. So, life right now is moving from place to place hoping to stay cool, trying to find things to do that are free, showering at the rec center at night, putting on and sleeping in the clothes that we will wear the next day, stopping at parks to get water, having to use public bathrooms all the time (so gross!), brushing our teeth and doing our hair in the van, walking around with swollen ankles because we sleep in a sitting position all night. The kiddos have gotten used to making themselves comfortable at the library because that is where we can charge our phones and computers and stay cool. We eat a lot of sandwiches and if we have extra money we buy fresh fruits and veggies, but we are still mostly eating whatever we can get from the food pantry.

Yes, yes, I am totally venting and whining. But, I also want to write this all out to document how most days are for us right now. I do not think we will ever forget it, but rereading what my emotions and thoughts are at this time will be valuable as well. The bright spot to all of this is that in the middle of trying to get from one “safe place” to another we will randomly meet people that we are able to encourage or that encourage us.

This life has really opened our eyes to how many people we could be walking by every day that look like they have it all together, but in reality are hungry, broken and destitute. We are in a slightly different place because we know that God is with us and that he is asking us to walk this path right now. He could make everything we need appear from nothing, but he seems to like using people to bless people. We are missing out when we pass up opportunities to help others. I believe that when we fulfill the needs of others God turns that around and gives fulfillment to us. I pray that I never, never, ever forget that and that I do not wait to be able to give a grandiose gift, but that I will give whether I have much or little. There are times when a genuine smile means just as much, sometimes more, than thousands of dollars. Humans are the ones that determine whether something is a great act of service, or if it is insignificant. What is true is, we do not know what kind of impact our actions have on others. We need to be led by God.

God, let us hear your voice for each interaction, every situation, so that your brilliance will shine through us and give light to someone’s day.

Wednesday July 29, 2015

After my tirade yesterday, Aaron and I were talking about how it might be time for a change. We feel like all we do is go from place to place trying to keep warm, or cool, or trying to stay busy so we are not just sitting in a van. We do not see anything happening and we do not feel like we are accomplishing any kind of mission. It would be different if we knew what our “mission” was and we were working at it and knew that God was working behind the scenes. But, we have no clue as to what our mission even is, let alone what kind of scenes God could be working behind! We are wandering around homeless and uncomfortable, what kind of mission is that?!

We decided that if we are going to fill our days with being busy doing nothing, then we are going to be busy working and getting money so that at least we can have a place we can rest and eat and have our own bathrooms! We could even just buy a camper for awhile if need be. At least it would be ours! And, after that mini tirade, we calmed ourselves down and said that we need to seriously fast and pray to be able to see and hear what God wants to do through us and for us. We know he has plans for us and we do not want to do anything to delay his plans, but neither do we want to wander doing nothing. We are going to dedicate the next seven days to prayer and fasting. We are going to pray for purpose and a plan and remind God of his promises.

After writing the above decision we went to the library (oh, lovely library) to charge phones and have somewhere comfortable to sit and write. I started my devotions for the day and the author was talking about an illness they had and how fear and worry over that illness had consumed them until they decided to meditate on Psalm 143 and specifically verse 8. For me the whole Psalm was like reading my own mind of late, but especially verse 7; “Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me or I will die.”

Aaron went and found a couple of books on prayer by E.M. Bounds. We are seeing, as we read, that we often turn from, or cannot hear the voice of God because we are listening to too many other voices. I believe every one has their own journey with God and everyone is at a different point in their journey. You can listen to the advice from the person on the mountain top, but unless you are also climbing a mountain you might not be able to apply all of it to your life. You might be walking through a valley, so mountain laws and survival skill will not be necessary or applicable to you. I have specifically heard from God many, many times to keep asking, seeking and knocking, but then I will read a book or devotional that says to wait on God because he already knows what you need. I know and believe that and there will probably be a time in my life where that is what I need to do, but right now the voice I need to listen to is the voice of God and he keeps saying, “Ask, seek and knock.” So, that is what I am going to do…while I wait. πŸ˜‰

Thursday July 30, 2015

“Prayer is asking, seeking and knocking at a door for something we have not, which we desire, and which God has promised to us.” ~ E.M. Bounds

Funny that I would decide yesterday to concentrate only on the voice of God and what he is saying about asking, seeking and knocking and then I would read the above quote, from E.M. Bounds, this morning. πŸ™‚ After reading it we began talking about the promises God has given us. Not only the ones in his word, i.e. the Holy Spirit, healing, miracles, peace, etc., but the ones that he gave specifically to the Sanders family. Before we even moved here (we were still in the process of it all) God told us we were going to have more than enough and that we would be a blessing to people. Since we have been here he has promised he would give us a house. The promise of “seek first the kingdom” has been true and active in our life. We always have food, clothes and a place to sleep. It may not be a lot of food, but we are never hungry and it my be our van, but it is somewhere safe. We see that promise every day, but we are waiting for the other ones to happen. I want to hold on to this insight that I have been given; that I so easily stray from the voice of God and from his promises when things do not look the way I think they should. For now he told me to ask, seek and knock and he told me to write. Those are the things I need to be doing until he gives me the next step.

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Author: Jen Sanders

I'm the wife of a gorgeous hunk of man named Aaron and momma of 4 beautiful offspring that occasionally make me want to pull my hair out. My life goal is to be like Jesus.

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