Thrift Shopping

We went to a thrift store today. We heard clothes were $1 a bag. We got there and it was a totally different story. Yes, it was $1 a bag, but we weren’t prepared for how they would mark everything else down as we went.

 Kids clothes were free. Men’s and ladies XL were free. We needed two shopping carts to get this all out of the store. Two leather winter coats and two men’s suits. Samuel even found a three piece suit that looks brand new. The little old lady at the cash register squealed when she saw how good it looked on him and marked it down to $1. Winter clothes for almost all the kids.  Flannel sheets for one of the kids beds. 

$13. For everything. 

Then we went to leave and she asked if our kids could have cake. She brought out two cakes and some cupcakes, and then loaded a shopping cart with black beans, diced tomatoes, Mac and cheese, instant potatoes, and applesauce. 

God said He would provide, and He most certainly did.

God Always Provides

What a busy few weeks it’s been.

The fuel pump on the big van went out. We got a call before we took it into the shop, asking how much it would cost to fix. “I’ll bring a check by tonight.” And just like that, God provided the money for the van to be fixed.

We went to Stephen’s parents’ church Sunday night, to see everyone and say our goodbyes. Stephen was asked to share his burden about Maine and to preach, our family was asked to sing, and they gave us a special monetary gift for our trip as well.

Before we left, they had us stand at the front of the congregation for everyone to hug us, shake hands, etc before we leave. One person gave me a hug and said, “I know the church already gave you something, but God told me to give you this” as something was pressed into my hand. I opened my hand later to see that it was a $100 bill.

When God first told us to move, we knew He would need to provide for it. It’s already gotten much more expensive than we ever expected, but every step of the way, God has provided what we needed right when we needed it.

Faithful is He

It sure has been an interesting couple of weeks. All I know to say is my God is faithful.

Our house here and the house in Maine are both under contract. We’re having some back and forth with the bank about requirements for the new loan – there is confusion on whether or not the new house is multifamily or not. Lord willing that will be sorted out ASAP. If it’s found to be multifamily, I have to take some sort of landlord classes….and time is running out to be able to do that.

The official countdown is 22 days until we move.

Yesterday we got a call that the movers we were going to use can’t move us. That was a bit of a shock. I think our current new plan is to have Stephen’s dad drive up with us to help drive the rental truck, and we’ll fly him back home. The kids are thrilled with this plan, of course.

Then our family van decided to start acting funny. Turns out it needs a new fuel pump. One of our best friends is our family mechanic and he can get it fixed this week (which is good – we’re using it to haul a trailer to move Stephen’s grandma into a nursing home at the end of the week!).

It seems like everywhere we turn something is coming up to complicate things. Honestly we expected the devil to fight us, and fight he has. I’m so excited to see what God has in store for our family.

My God will Supply

Once again God has supplied our needs in a mighty way.

Yesterday I got a phone call from someone who wanted to help us with our trip. They are sending us money for us to get a hotel during our trip so we don’t have to drive thee 20 hours straight through, AND enough money for us to buy all our meals out, instead of packing meals to eat while we drive.

What a blessing.

Then on Saturday, I got a text from our pastor’s wife, asking what size tops I wear. She said she was cleaning out her closet and had some things I might be able to use.

I love to wear sarcastic t-shirts most of the time around here, but I don’t feel like that’s clothing I want to wear as a pastor’s wife. I was just thinking the other day that I was going to need to get some different clothes for running errands and stuff. I hadn’t even prayed about new clothes yet; just realized I needed some.

God sent them before I even prayed about it. It was a huge tote bag full. Almost all of it fit. What was even more amazing is it was exactly the styles and items I’d been needing! It was almost all long sleeves, and one top was exactly the style of one I’ve been wanting to get. Not only that, but many of them still had the tags still on them. What an encouragement!

My God is Awesome

Monday we paid for the property assessment.

Tuesday we mailed our earnest deposit.

When we started this process, we forgot that these deposits are due right away. We had enough money in our savings account to pay for them, but the money was set aside to buy the kids’ schoolbooks for this fall. I took a deep breath, transferred the money, and sent the payments.

God said He would provide, and God also tells us to trust Him. He called us to Maine, and He would have to provide the money to get us there. Moving that far is expensive, especially for a family of our size.

Then today. What a mighty God we serve.

Today we were given a large sum of money toward our move. It was enough to pay the movers, gas for our own van, and money to buy winter clothes for all of us too. We don’t move for six more weeks, and God has already providing the money for it.

My God is Awesome.

I Have Never Seen the Righteous Forsaken

Once again I am in complete awe of the way God provides.

In sales like we are, income is unpredictable. The slow times make us even more grateful when the sales do come in. But things have been slow.

On Thursday of last week, I stood looking in the fridge and prayed for God to provide once again. My fridge and pantry were getting empty again.

Friday morning I got a phone call. Our pastor’s wife had been asked to clean out someone’s house, and she wanted to know if I could use the food.

I cried and said yes.

She wanted us to come pick it up immediately.

It filled a huge tote box and then some. What was amazing to me was that while it was non-perishable foods and canned goods, much of it was food that we do regularly eat and some were items we don’t buy often but that we really enjoy. There were tons of peanut butter, beans, and rice, and canned vegetables. All things we definitely use and needed.

We had to rearrange the pantry to make room for all the food.

Once again, God provided for our needs, exactly when we needed it.

God Provides Again

Last week someone dropped by, and brought us $200 for groceries. It was right after we had used the last of the grocery money I mentioned before. My kids drink over a gallon of milk a day, so groceries add up quickly. This was an incredible blessing.

Today someone dropped by the house because they had something to bring us. It was ANOTHER $500 check for clothes and shoes for our family. I’m floored. Oh, and this was not the same person that sent the first check. They didn’t even know about the first one.

Several of the kids still needed shoes. I bought what I could with the previous money God sent our way, but hadn’t been able to get all the shoes we needed. Now I can finish looking, and have the added money to buy new items where we need to.

Living by faith isn’t always easy, but God always provides.

More of God’s Provision

God has provided again. Over and over and over. It’s been amazing.

I got a phone call, asking if we could use money for clothes, and if $50 a person was enough. I said yes (and thank you). When the check arrived, it was for $100 more than $50 apiece, AND they had included money for Stephen and I for clothes as well.

The next day, a friend stopped by with a $100 Aldi gift card. I cried. We didn’t have money for groceries, the pantry was bare, and I didn’t know when we would get to go shopping. So God brought the money right through my door.

We went to Value Village for clothes and found a TON of what we needed……then off to Aldi for groceries.

We knew we needed it and had been praying God would provide. He did, right when we needed it.

A friend had gone junking in the “rich district” and brought over 3 bikes for my kids…..bikes they needed because theirs were broken.

And then today God provided just a plain want. For years I have wanted Le Creuset cookware. Today, a cousin who works at the Le Creuset store brought a bunch of things to the family reunion. One was a stock pot, and I got to take it home. It matches my kitchen perfectly. It’s like God said, “Here’s even something you want, just because you wanted it.” We could have made do with what we have for longer, though it is wearing out. But no, God just blessed me with a completely new, gorgeous pot, that matches my kitchen.

I’m so blessed.

God will provide

These past few weeks have been intense.

In February, one of the platforms we sell on had a huge financial mess. Things were slow before that, but afterward, views and sales there have been almost non-existent. I’ve averaged 17-20 sales a week since then. Across ALL shops.  Together.

This business has been our sole income.  We don’t have a second job or a fall-back.

Honestly it’s been terrifying. Watching income dwindle instead of rising is scary. But it has been a wild ride too…..

Every step of the way, God has provided what we needed, just when we needed it.

We had one week where I didn’t have the money to even ship the orders that came in. We started selling off the old design stamps I don’t use. There was more than one time when the money would come in Paypal just in time to transfer it to pay for shipping.

It’s like the woman and the cruse of oil. There is just enough money, every day, to do what is needed. Not any extra, but we have not overdrafted. It’s been really hard.

It been hard to run my business too. I haven’t had the money to buy supplies when we need them. I’m making necklace cards again, stamping boxes myself, using different sizes instead of what I prefer, to use what we have. I started making necklace chains again, because making them is a cheaper investment than buying chains (and from a supplier with $100 minimum).

This is not how I imagined we’d run our business.

Last fall, Stephen and I both felt God calling us to shut down the supplies arm of the business. That was great at first, because of the extra family time it gave. We were free.

Then time went on and it set in that we weren’t making the money we used to. It got tight. Then tighter. And even tighter. And then terrifying.

We both feel that shutting down supplies was the right thing to do.

So the purpose of this post is to document to see what God does. He has truly supplied everything we have needed, right when we needed it. We are truly living by faith. It’s both terrifying AND freeing at the same time.

One thing that really encouraged me was watching how God has provided other needs when we needed them. On Wednesday right before supper, Anna was telling me she thought she’d need a pair of size 4 tennis shoes next time she gets some. We’ve been super gluing the soles on her shoes for a while now. I prayed right there that God would provide new shoes for her.

I kept Joy home that night because she’d been sick. Anna walked in the door with a bag of clothes from Stephanie. In it was a pair of almost brand new Nike shoes, a size 4. Of course. 5 hours after I prayed God answered my prayer……and He had provided the shoes for that need before I even prayed for it.

That’s my God.

It has been amazing to watch. I can’t wait to see how else He provides.

Hysterectomy – God’s Provision

I received a puzzling call yesterday that resulted in me being on the phone for what seemed to be all day long.

The hospital billing coordinator I’ve been working with called me yesterday. I had called asking for an itemized bill to submit to Samaritan Ministries so we can start paying on it. She returned my call, but had a question.

She said I was no longer in her division for me to set up payments. My bill has been transferred to another division and I am no longer responsible for paying this surgery out of pocket.

I spent quite some time after that on the phone trying to fully understand the details. After all that time, I learned that yes, my surgery really is being paid for.

We prayed that God would provide. We trusted that He would. And He did, in an amazing, incredibly huge, way that we NEVER expected. I don’t feel completely free to share all the details how and why publicly, but wanted to shout loud and long that my God WILL provide! He DID provide!

I went in to this surgery anticipating needing to make payments on a $50,000+ surgery while we wait for the money from Samaritan Ministries to come in. They have always been fantastic with our other medical procedures.

God had an entirely different idea, and chose to have someone else pay for it.

I’m humbled to watch how God has worked it out.