Wednesday, January 21, 2009

God's in the Details

This current recession isn't the first one Americans have faced in my lifetime. The 1980's were a difficult time, too, especially for those of us with young families.

My husband and I had four children still at home, three of them very young. I had just gotten my teaching certificate and started a new job. My husband's business was thriving, and we thought we were finally going to get ahead. We had built a new home on an acreage, complete with a long-term mortgage. Then disaster struck. My husband ruptured a disk that required surgery and a very long rehab period. In self-employed construction work, there's no such thing as paid leave or workers' compensation, nor did we have health insurance. All we had was my teacher's salary, a huge mortgage, a giant medical bill, and four children to care for. Add to that, a troubled, floundering economy, rising costs, etc.

I won't lie to you. The next few years were very hard. We had to let go of our dream home and move into town to a less expensive rental. For us, who love the country, and for me who loved my new home, this was especially devastating.

But God hadn't forgotten us in our time of distress. He opened the doors for me to work a second job after school and on weekends. He also opened the doors for my husband to attend college at no cost during his recuperation, a near impossible dream for a former high school drop-out.

But the best was yet to come. Our family longed to move back to the country. We longed for a home roomy enough for all of us instead of the cramped rental, but remember, finances were very tight. One day my husband drove past an empty house on thirty acres that not only was in my school district, but was closer to everything that mattered to us. It turned out to belong to someone we knew, who hadn't planned to rent the place, but was willing to let us have it at less rent than we were paying in town.

We drove out for my first look at the house and as we pulled into the drive, I saw a sight that told me God was definitely in this. I love lilacs and had tried unsuccessfully to grow them. Now, mind you this was October and lilacs normally bloom here in March. But two long hedges of stately old lilacs were in full bloom, sending their sweet smell all over the big, shady yard. I cried, convinced that God was saying very clearly that He had not only been working everything for our good, but that He cared enough to make the flowers bloom just for me.

Oh yes, the farm had four bedrooms AND a shop building for my husband who loves to tinker.

The story of God's faithfulness during that hard time doesn't end here. We learned a great deal about being content with what we have, about praising God in ALL things, about being good stewards of our possessions. Within a short time, we were able to buy that farm and an additional thirty acres. Best of all, God blessed us to the point that we were able to pay off the loan in one-third the time of the original mortgage. Twenty-eight years later, I'm writing this blog from that same home, content and happy to be here.

Why am I telling this story? To remind myself and everyone else, that no matter how bad the economy, no matter what happens in our lives, God already knows what's coming our way...and He's got us covered.


  1. This story is so touching and timely.

    Thanks for the encouragement and the openness.


  2. Why, you just gave me chills. Tell me, what happened to the house with lilacs? How long did you live there? And remind me, are you in your dream house now?

  3. Thanks, Cheryl. I though this was pretty timely too. God is just so, so sweet.


  4. Pamela,

    We still live there! The lilac house has become our 'dream' home, though it's nothing like our new dream home was. And yet, it's perfect for us and has been for years. AND BEST OF ALL, it's been debt free for most of those years, something the new dream home would not yet have been.

    As to the lilacs, I left so much out of the story, but when I was a little girl, we always had lilacs. They held so many positive memories for me and had long been my favorite flower.

    Additionally, it was "impossible" during that financially hard time for us to buy a place, especially after losing the first home--But we prayed and hung on tight to the Lord and saw first hand that nothing is impossible with our big, big God.

  5. Oh, forgot to say--We still live in the lilac house and in all those 28 years, the lilacs bloom in March, but they have never bloomed again in October!!

  6. Linda, this story just keeps getting better and better. God is so amazing.


  7. Linda --
    What a lovely story to share! I can smell the lilacs now. My mother used to grow them on the farm where I grew up in Montana. There's nothing like the smell. Thank you for reminding me of it.

  8. Linda,
    What a stirring story and such a blessing to read it. God can even make lilacs bloom out of season. Truly amazing.

    Lilacs are my favorite and I've always had them at every house. I've planted some here but I guess I'll have to move them. They are struggling and not blossoming.

    I want to thank for writing how you and your husband hung-together through tough times. So many couples start taking it out on each other.

    And I remember the rough times in the mid-70's to late 80's when everything was stunted. Our county in NE IL had 20% unemployment. Way above the national average. And my husband worked a good job throughout that time.

    Sometime I tell how he got that job!

  9. Lyn, I'd love to hear how he got that job!

    Families sticking together in the tough times is a message in itself, isn't it?

  10. Janet,

    I know! Just talking about lilacs made me go out in the yard and look at my bushes, longing for spring when they'd smell up the house and yard again. And I never smell that smell now without remembering that special time when God made them bloom just for me--anyway, I thought so.

  11. Linda --
    Seriously, I think He made them bloom for you, too. Miracles aren't always showy. Sometimes they were very personal and just to let us know we're in His hands.

  12. Linda, what a beautiful story!! Okay, I'll admit I had to wipe my eyes to be able to finish reading it!

    God is truly amazing. And generous.

    Missy--who just thought of what to post about tomorrow. Another flower story...

  13. CORRECTION: I said we'd lived in this house 28 years. I have no idea where that number came from. We bought it in 1990 so that's 18 years, right? My math was never too good. lol Sorry.

  14. Lilacs always say "home" to me. Thank you for the encouraging testimony of God's faithfulness!

  15. Hi Mez,

    Yes, they say 'home' to me too, always did, always will. I'm glad you found the story encouraging. (me, too.) :-)


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