Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.”
(1 Samuel 7:12)
While my small group was studying the book of Nehemiah a few weeks ago, a question was asked in the course of study: “What acts or events in your life would you point to as powerful testimonies of God’s greatness?”
Wow. What a great question.
To be honest, this is a question I am finding it necessary to continually revisit and review, especially now. This last year has been particularly trying for reasons I can only guess at.
For starters, we there have been many significant changes to our lifestyle, particularly since the oldest two children are now attending private school for the first time and I am only homeschooling our 7th grader. Other changes are merely the usual ones associated with changing seasons of life and of parenting, while still other potential changes loom on the horizon and can only be imagined for now.
Then, too, there are some pretty wacky physiological changes going in my body on that seem to be linked to chronic migraine and very likely to pre-menopausal hormonal shifts as well. And of course, let us not forget the various stages of adolescence my husband and I are navigating, calling on the Captain of this ship for emergency course corrections as we venture through stormy, unpredictable seas.
Suffice to say that it has been a difficult year. But last night, I had a time where I was able to tearfully confess my own sinful responses to these changes to a dear friend and prayer partner who was faithful to lift me up in the midst of my struggle. Then this morning, for the first time in far too long, I was able to take a walk with my God and talk things over with Him.
And He reminded me of the question, and more importantly, of the answers to it.
Where have I seen evidence of His greatness in my life? So many places…
- The fact that my husband and I are still married despite a less-than-ideal beginning.
- God’s provision that has allowed me to stay home with the kids for almost 16 years – so far.
- Homeschool. Anything that was done correctly there was all God. I have never been trained as a teacher, did not even finish college, and never even had an inclination or aptitude to teach. But somehow, my kids have learned and learned well. No, not ‘somehow’- by the grace of God.
- My 8th and 10th graders made an effortless transition to private school, even calling it easier than homeschool and maintaining straight A’s (so far).
- Having a handful of articles published here and there – again, with no training or degree.
- Did I mention financial provision? Not only homeschooling on a single income, but His provision for private school and recently for a third vehicle. To God be the glory!
- That I have managed to complete a novel – the idea and the time to put it in print is all straight from the hand of God. If anything comes of it, that will be Him, too.
- The ability to praise Him in the midst of pain (OK, I confess – not always, but overall).
- A small group consisting of people with great diversity in backgrounds, ages, and careers. To hear of God’s work in many different seasons of life and perspectives is an incredible gift!
- My own unlikely salvation from a highly immoral and highly destructive lifestyle and from the depression which undergirded all.
Those are just a few of my “Ebenezers” – my touchstones to remember that thus far, God has helped me. Of course, there are so many more daily blessings like being able to see, walk, talk, and hear; having fresh water and plentiful food; the table I sit at and the computer on which I type; daffodils; birds; the air I breathe…
I could literally go on forever. And to be honest, I really should.
In the interest of not writing another novel today, I will end by saying that today I am particularly thankful for my the prayers of my friend and for my God who reminded me to look not at what He is not doing now, but at the many wonderful things He has already done. Truly, He has done great things for us!
The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!