A Million Stories About the Goodness of God

29 Nov

There are a million little stories I could tell about the goodness of God. I am afraid they will get lost in the overarching shadow of how hard this season has been, but I need to tell them anyways. We started this year with excitement, slight terror, and a lot of anticipation. My prayer and stirring had been “Disturb us, Lord” and He did. But as He pushed us out of our comfort and security, He provided in every way possible. He opened doors and cleared our path, leading us by fire and cloud, giving us every provision necessary for our journey. 

There are a million stories I could tell about the goodness of God, but I will start in July of 2021. After a short 2 months in Texas preparing for the trip and watching God do miracle after miracle to launch our ministry, we hugged goodbye to my dear father and mother-in-law and hit the road. After 4 years of living 1,000 miles away in Minnesota, we were so grateful to return to Texas as our home base and were looking forward to us and the kids spending more time with family when we weren’t traveling. I am going to try to tell the story the best I can but I know I am missing pieces that probably won’t resurface for a while. 

We started with a miracle of rain. It was dry, so dry, as the dessert is. The pastor in Seligman, AZ, asked us to pray for rain. So we told the kids and we watched them grab hands and pray at a gas station in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. The rain started a few hours later, following us into the tiny town off of Route 66. 

We entered California with hope and excitement. This state had been on our hearts for over a year, and there was something about the first returning back to the place where Jean-Thomas and I were both born, together. The prophetic words, the spiritual atmosphere, the way the church was alive in the middle of a crazy and corrupt culture. We worshipped on the porch of a ranch surrounded by orange groves. We had the best conversations and food with the most precious people. We had our hard days, and our good days. We were invited to a wedding reception. We watched the Holy Spirit move in a bowling alley, and in the church where my father-in-law got saved, met my mother-in-law, and started their ministry.

We worried and gave everything to the Lord, yelled, laughed, and cried. We watched our kids come alive, rebel, pray, act out, get bored, whine, and worship with all their hearts. I prayed a kind of selfish prayer that we would somehow miraculously be able to take them to Disneyland, and the next day, on our 8th anniversary, I get a text from a beautiful soul who wishes to remain anonymous, insisting they buy us tickets! We had more fun as a family than ever. We walked more miles and laughed and made precious memories. 

We slept in different beds and hotel rooms of all different sizes and levels of newness. We watched our car break, multiple times. We worried again and gave it to God again, and somehow, every time it was covered. Everything we needed was there. God kept speaking over and over again, “There is no lack.” I thought it was about finances at first then realized it was so much more…. of course, I had no idea what those words would mean to my spirit in a few short months… 

We drove north and saw redwoods and air polluted by nearby fires. We visited churches and dear people who welcomed us like family and shared their homes and their meals and their insight. I watched my husband bring the Word in power and authority to hungry people. We went to see Crater Lake on a day where it was supposed to be too hazy, only to watch the smoke clear and the lake appear in all its bright blue glory.

We drove many miles across many state lines. We picked blackberries in Idaho and sat on a back porch overlooking mountains to study the bible. We met a biker ministry in the hotel hot tub who spoke words of encouragement and support. We spent a beautiful, hard week in Montana, watched the sunset, led a 3-day crusade, prayed over people, and remembered spiritual warfare was real.

We fixed our car, again, only to immediately get reimbursed when we weren’t sure how we were gonna pay for it. We made some long drives, exhausted and unsure how we were going to keep going. But we persevered, knowing that there was rest at the end. But rest never came. The unthinkable happened. We got a phone call that flipped our world upside down. We sat in a hotel overlooking the skyline of Las Vegas and prayed as we had never prayed before.

We came back to where we started, Arizona, knowing everything was hanging in the balance. In another old hotel off of route 66, we found out my dear mother-in-law went to be with Jesus. My husband lost his mother. My kids lost their grandma. It was unthinkable and unexplainable. We kept believing for a miracle, a resurrection. We kept moving forward knowing that was where God wanted us to be. We spent a few days in Phoenix and saw glimpses of how Jesus was already bringing good out of all of this. Yet there was so much still to grieve and process, and we still had to finish strong. 

We pulled into a catholic retreat center in a canyon utterly broken. We had no WIFI or cell phone service. I was angry at first that God would bring us to such a place with nothing to distract ourselves from the pain, but I knew He was moving, healing, speaking, even as we wrestled with Him. I watched my husband preach and worship with his whole heart in the same church where he first came as a baby in his mother’s womb for her baby shower. The timing was tragically beautiful, and something only God could have pulled off. I realized how He had orchestrated every moment, how dear Wendy had listened to His voice and helped us launch our ministry with her last days on earth. 

The Holy Spirit moved. We saw physical healing. The people and conversations were just what we needed. We left for Texas, barely making it as our car broke down one last time. But this time, it was literally as we pulled in the driveway, despite having smelled a burning smell and heard an awful noise 500 miles prior. I believe God literally held that car together as we limped home. I told Him I didn’t think we could emotionally handle being on the side of the road in New Mexico, and He came through. 

“There is no lack.” Those words reverberated as I felt like the extreme opposite. I felt the lack, the huge gap missing in my mother-by-marriage, my kid’s wonderful grandma, the one who had raised the man of my dreams. I felt the lack, but then I felt God fill in the gaps in all the little and big ways that He does, as long as I let myself have eyes to see it. His abundance. His beauty from ashes. 

“There is no lack.” 

I watched Him come through: physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually. Providing what He knows we need, sometimes more, sometimes just enough for the moment. 

I know, the story is far from over, life is just beginning and this chapter is just getting to the interesting part. The part of the adventure where the hero begins to realize that even when it seems all is lost, the strength to carry on was inside of him all along. The part when he stands up and wipes off the dust, the tears, the blood and knows that his calling and purpose is so much greater than the trials and struggles that inevitably come when pioneering a new path. It’s the part when the night seems the darkest and the world seems in chaos like the evil has actually won…. But then…. A soft cry pierces the silent night…. Our hearts leap inside our chests…. HOPE. 

There are a million stories I could tell about the goodness of God, but I will tell just one:

Jesus came to us, so we could have life and LIFE abundant.

There is NO lack in Him.

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