If I had to describe what this past year has been like, I could sum it up in one phrase. Ping-Pong. Our year has been full of Isaac Blessings and trials like that of Psalm 69.
This year has been crazy, to say the least.
In March, we welcomed our beautiful little girl into this world. Oh, what joy! Her entrance into this world was obviously a mountaintop experience. I looked forward to being able to stay at home with her. As we were preparing for our little girl’s arrival, we decided that I would stay at home- no matter what. If my husband were able to work full-time, I feel as if it wouldn’t have been such a leap of faith. However, my husband is a full -time student! My husband is a crazy hard worker and pours himself into whatever he’s doing. (I know, I know. I’m biased, however, you can ask just about everyone.) However, with him being able to work only part-time, finances were going to be tougher than tough. Despite this, we knew beyond all doubt, that the Lord wanted me to stay home and raise our little girl. That’s our job as parents, and we take that responsibility very seriously.
So, our little girl was born. And I began the stay-at-home-mom life. Do you know how difficult that life can be? VERY! For someone who’s worked since she was 13, it was odd to not be “contributing” to the family. But, the Lord provided for us. For the first two weeks, I tried desperately to feed our little girl, however, we found out that I was just not producing enough milk for her. This was a Psalm 69 moment of despair for me. I know it may sound silly to be despairing because you have to feed your daughter formula, but hear me out. I didn’t know why I was not being able to produce milk. I didn’t understand what God was doing, (But He sure did!) Now, formula is very expensive. And this little girl LOVED to eat! We were flying through a tub of formula every week and a half. Those tubs are $27 a jar! This is one of those times that I wondered how we were going to be able to afford her formula.
And in this time of financial trial, God gave us an “Isaac Blessing.” My mom came up with this term and I have kinda hijacked it for my own. An Isaac Blessing are blessings that the Lord gives us that kind of make us laugh. You remember when God told Abraham that Sarah was going to have a child? Sarah laughed. She never saw how it was possible as she was so old. Yet, God provided a child for her named Isaac. Isaac blessings for us are ones in which, we had no idea how something was going to work out- and yet God makes it happen anyways. And often, it makes us laugh.
Anyways, the Lord had laid it on the heart of some friends and family to provide formula for our family for about a month and a half. What a blessing! We were (and are!) so thankful for their generosity. However, after this happened, we found out that our daughter was lactose intolerant (which explains the CONSTANT screaming.) All of the formula was now useless to us. We were not able to return it, as stores have a policy against accepting returned formula. So now, we were back at square one. Having to buy extremely expensive soy formula. But our daughter was worth it! So, we began to pray again for God to provide for the formula.
And He did. Soon after, a certain grocery store decided to clearance all of their soy formula of all brands in two different states! We were able to buy this formula for 1/2 off and use the coupons we had. Needless to say, we bought out every store in the area. And others bought it for us in their state! God again provided for us and showed us that He would continue to provide for us.
In May, we found out that we were expecting again (SURPRISE!) And do I mean surprise! Can you imagine two babies only 11 months apart!?! I was scared senseless at first. However, even in this, God knew exactly what He was doing. My husband and I began to get very excited. We planned how we were going to announce it to everyone. However, on June 6, God saw fit to take our little baby home to heaven. Cue another Psalm 69 moment. The first few verses of Psalm 69 say:
“Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.”
Yup. That pretty much described how I felt exactly. And yet, God was faithful. Do I still fully understand or know why God took my child home? No, however, I do know that God is faithful and will use it for good somehow in my life.
In July, someone that we ministered to got saved! Talk about another blessing! And even though July was a busy and crazy month, God worked in and through it.
My husband and I have an eBay store, and God provided help through my [amazing] mother-in-law to list much of our inventory! Another wonderful blessing. God allowed many things to sell on eBay and for us to be able to make a little bit more money to pay some bills. During this time, bills began adding up. When I had my daughter (yes, from March!), my insurance claimed non-responsibility for my daughter’s hospital bills. Ya know, just the regular ones. And my daughter’s insurance (that she had before she was born!) also claimed non-responsibility. We were to pay close to $2,000 because of technicalities. And yet, God had another Isaac Blessing waiting for us.
My pastor’s wife from the church I had grown up in, helped me understand how to possibly get my bills lowered. I didn’t think that there was possibly a way to do so! And again, God did what I thought impossible. He had them lower our bills by close to $1,200 dollars! Wow! Isn’t our God so incredibly good?
Then, God provided another Isaac Blessing for our family. School bills were starting to come in for my husband. We did not have money to pay for his schooling this year. The school was supposed to give my husband his last year free. However, due to a technicality, they had denied him that in his freshman year. This past summer, we had heard that there was a possibility that we could ask the school to reconsider this decision. We did so at the beginning of June, but had not heard back from them. In July we were told that they had reconsidered their decision and granted us the last year free. Our school bills would be completely taken care of -save $500! What a blessing!
During this time, my husband continued working hard. School was starting back up again and funds were going to get tighter than ever. And again, God was going to provide. He started school and worked part-time. We lived within our means and made it work.
And then? (I know, it’s a ping-pong match!) our air conditioning went out. In the middle of September. My daughter was sick and it was miserable. It was 90 something in the house! And right in the midst of this, my husband lost his job.
I really didn’t understand how God was going to use this. Many tears were shed. Many times, I read Psalm 69 and could relate with the trials David was going through. And yet, at the end of the Psalm, you see that David still praised God and put his trust in Him. So that is what we endeavored to do!
I had just started teaching online to children in China. It could not have come at a better time. Another wonderful Isaac Blessing. God allowed my schedule to start being booked right away. I started waking up at 3:30 AM to teach at 4:00 AM. My God is always faithful. Cody was able to focus more attention on our eBay business and God allowed our sales to start booming. Even so, I would still worry at times. Yet, every time I had a need, God laid it on the heart of someone to meet that exact need.
I have found that through every one of the trials that have been sent (and many of them have not been said), God has drawn me closer to Him. And through every blessing He has sent, He has shown me His love for His children and caused me to glorify Him.
So yes, this year has been very much a ping-pong year. Yes, there may have been some very hurtful, and difficult parts, however, I would not change it. God has taught me so much already, and I look forward to what He will continue to teach me. I’m sure I have still much more to learn as the year comes to a close.
And as I close this post, all I can say is
“Soli Deo gloria”