Our old van was getting louder every time we drove it. The ride got rougher over time and our four kids in the back seat had to yell to be heard. (Not that they ever needed an excuse to yell at each other, ha-ha!) Finally, our old navy-blue-and-wood-grain-exterior minivan started jolting uncontrollably and sounding like a single-engine airplane coming in for a crash landing. Oh, boy… my husband and I realized the inevitable truth: we needed a new vehicle.
When our newly blended family started at our wedding in 1993, my husband had just been released (retired without pay) from the US Navy. For almost ten years of active duty and two years in the Reserves, Hank served as a Chaplain during the Desert Storm era, and during peace time. On our wedding day, with our five children (his three, my two), my father-in-law said, “You must be an angel! You’re marrying an unemployed man with three children!” But we knew our marriage was God’s plan, and that He would take care of us, as He always had.
Hank had received a severance pay from the Navy, small consolation for the budget cutbacks and “downsizing” that robbed so many military service men and women of their careers they weren’t allowed to complete. My husband had also developed some health issues during his service, so he retired (at age 40, with a new wife and now five children) with a “service-connected disability”. We thought that would provide a small monthly check, and were thankful for the medical care through the VA hospital 25 miles away.
However, the checks never came. And, since I had returned to college to finish my teaching degree after my divorce, I still had a year to go and had little income to contribute. We eventually were told that (due to the budget cuts under then President Bill Clinton) Hank had to choose which check to receive: the severance pay for being forced to retire from the Navy, or the disability pay for the health issues developed during his service to our country. Therefore, since they already gave him the severance pay (which equated to about 10 months salary), they now would make him pay back all that money — before he’d ever see any disability pay. Three months into our marriage, this was not good news, but we felt helpless to do anything about this unfair situation.
God takes care of His children, even when life seems unfair! #greatisthyfaithfulness #faithfulGod #inspiringhopeblog Click To Tweet
Those first coupe of years after our marriage, my husband did whatever he could to take care of our family, including his new stepchildren, with no financial support from their dad. Hank wasn’t too proud to work, even at jobs way below his Master’s Degree education and years of experience. He painted houses, cleaned up abandoned rental property, did handy-man work, even painting our church for seven dollars an hour. He was faithful, and he wasn’t lazy. We trusted God and He always provided — even though we’d worry from time to time. (Oh, we of little faith!)
God blessed us by opening the door for Hank to return to college, paid for by Vocational Rehabilitation services due to his disability, and earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, and start a new career.
Then, God blessed us even more, by Hank being accepted into a one-year Master’s Degree program in social work, where not only his tuition was paid, but he was paid a stipend while he went to school!
Once again, God proved His power, love and faithfulness to us!
By that time, we’d had two more children (his three had gone to live with their mom, so we just had four at home), and I’d resigned my teaching job to raise little ones again. Long before we ever got engaged, Hank and I had discussed important things that couples should knew before they get married. One was the importance of mothers being at home to raise their babies (if they have a choice – as a single mom, I had no choice), but God blessed and provided for us even in losing that second income. We moved to a smaller house, and I babysat a little boy my own son’s age for two years. They became the best of friends, to this day!
Fast forward eight years, to that day driving our jerking, overheating, angry-monster-under-the-hood old van. Hank and I both prayed, not seeing any way to squeeze a car payment and additional insurance out of our tiny budget. Then, the most amazing thing happened!
An unexpected check came in the mail.
It was from the Veteran’s Administration. It was a partial check, and we were told that the next month would be almost $500 (a full check)…. for Hank’s disability! After EIGHT YEARS, apparently, the severance pay he’d received was all taken back by the government, and they would now– finally — send a disability check.
The new income was exactly how much we needed for a new van payment, and the insurance!!
The song, “Mansion Builder” from the group Second Chapter of Acts (written by Anne Herring) was going through my mind just this week (and yes, I had to start singing it out loud again!): “So why should I worry; why should I fret? For I’ve got a mansion builder Who ain’t through with me yet.” YES!!!
In the summer of 1988, I opened my Bible to the Psalms as I sat at my piano. That day, I wrote five songs to the words of King David, lyrics he was inspired to write by the Spirit of God. One of those songs was “O Taste and See”. The lyrics read: “O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him… fear the Lord, you His saints; there is no lack to those who fear Him.” God’s unchangeable Word. Undeniably TRUE. (Hear the song “O Taste and See/ Great is Thy Faithfulness”)
Even though the months and years that followed brought great heartache at times, the Lord, my Heavenly Father, proved His love and faithfulness over and over again, often doing what most people would call “miracles” for me and my children.
Today, I am still learning the lesson, that my worry is WORTHLESS, a waste of time, emotional and spiritual effort. I think we’re all still learning that one! [Leave a COMMENT and share your experience!]
Matthew Chapter 6:25-34 tells us:
“…don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or … drink, or…what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith? Therefore, don’t worry … Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow…” (www.biblegateway.com)