From time to time I will be sharing parts of my story with you on Faith Notes. God truly is amazing, isn’t He? He astounds me often. This is one of those stories — an amazing testimony of God’s faithfulness to provide. Not only that, but He orchestrated events through what we would consider mistakes. They weren’t mistakes at all — it was all part of His plan to take care of me — it was a God-thing. I love when He gives us such a beautiful glimpse of His goodness.
Arctic air of historic proportions blanketed our mountain for days. Wind chills well below zero froze water pipes and cars. Breath created patches of frost on fur-lined hoods pulled tight around cold faces.
Our 130 year old farmhouse heats with wood — only. We had rationed the wood to last until January’s paycheck following Christmas expenses. Everything was going as planned until the arctic air blasted the region and was relentless with its fury.
Notice the word planned.
And remember these wise words of Solomon:
“A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.” ~ Proverbs 16:9
The woodpile was getting smaller and smaller. On a bitter cold Monday, we had enough wood to last one more day, but payday wasn’t until Thursday.
I fought hard against worry, anxiety … and panic.
About a year ago, I opened a special savings account where I could put aside money for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference held in Black Mountain, NC each May. It takes several hundred dollars to attend. I had managed to save up three-hundred dollars so far and had vowed and declared that I wouldn’t touch that money.
But, of course, life happened in the form of an arctic air blast.
I stopped by the credit union and withdrew most of the money — sadly. Reluctantly. I don’t know where my faith was that day, but when I walked through the doors of the credit union, I left faith at the door. Don’t get me wrong. I was very thankful there was money available to order a truckload of wood. But I had other plans for that money and I depended on that money to accomplish those plans.
So I sighed and pouted a little bit — okay … a lot — and then I got over it.
I ran by Walmart to pick up a few groceries. In the middle of the frozen foods section I bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. This woman loves the Lord, is a single mom, and works hard to make ends meet. But that day she looked haggard and completely overwhelmed.
I hugged her and asked if she was okay.
“No. My car is in the shop, my pipes have been frozen for four days, my son is going to have surgery …” and then she stopped and wiped a tear.
“Could I pray for you?”
“Yes, Nan. Please pray.”
Right there alongside frozen pizza in the middle of Walmart we wrapped our arms around each other and came before the Father. We were completely oblivious to our surroundings. As I prayed, the Lord spoke to my spirit, “I want you to give her $40.”
In my thoughts I argued,”Lord! That’s our wood money. You can’t be serious, are You?”
“Yes,” came His reply. “Trust Me.”
I swallowed hard and said, “I have something for you. I have $4o I want to give you.”
“No! You can’t do that, Nan. I know you need that money.”
“Yes, I do, but the Lord has asked me to share it with you.”
She began to cry as I handed her two twenties. I thanked the Lord for choosing me to help her and, after a goodbye hug, I hurried on my way.
Honestly, I knew I had obeyed the Lord and I know that I know He honors obedience, but there was a part of me that was anxious about the wood. When I got home I called my regular supplier. He was out of seasoned firewood because it had been bitter cold for so long! I went to our county’s community facebook page and started asking for suggestions of who to call for an order of wood that I knew I could afford.
All the while the fire in the woodstove raged and the pile of wood outside diminished.
A name and local business for firewood was offered to me with three different phone numbers from three different people. I called all three numbers and got no response.
But then God stepped in.
My phone rang. “Did you just call my number?” an older lady asked.
“Yes, ma’am. I’m looking for firewood — I’m almost out.”
“Well, honey. I don’t have any firewood, but I know someone who does.”
She gave me the contact information for someone who lived near her that sold firewood to the community. I called him. An elderly gentleman answered and told me he had plenty of firewood, but his equipment was frozen. He heard my disappointment and said, “How much wood do you have?” I told him and he asked me where I live. He told me he had a little extra put back and would bring me enough to last a few days and then bring the rest of the load when his equipment thawed.
And that’s just what he did.
Mr. Powers brought me about $100 worth and wouldn’t let me pay him. He said we would settle up when he brought the rest of the wood. Mr. Powers and I chatted. He told me about an ear infection he needed prayer for and I told him how God had connected me to him through a wrong number — that it was a God-thing.
He liked that.
Because Mr. Powers had already brought me about $1oo worth of wood and I knew he was bringing a dump truck load in a few days, I wasn’t totally sure how much he would actually charge me. Yes, I was a little anxious because I had $3oo and that was it.
Saturday afternoon I heard a knock at the door. Mr. Powers had come a day earlier than expected because he was worried about me. In fact, he told me his wife fussed at him because he was out in the weather with his earache.
His response to her was, “It’s a God-thing.”
He backed the giant dump truck into the driveway, raised the truck-bed, and released a mountain of wood … I mean, a MOUNTAIN! I hollered up at him in the truck, “I’ve got to run in and get your money. How much do I owe you?”
“I don’t want anything for it.”
“Mr. Powers, that is a LOT of wood and this is your livelihood. How much do I owe you?”
“Ma’am, God told me to bring this to you today and to bring it as a gift.”
Well, I began to tear up. I said, “Mr. Powers, I have a story to tell you … ”
I told him about my friend in Walmart and how the Lord asked me to give her $40 of my wood money and to trust Him with the outcome.
“Mr. Powers, God used you to take care of me.”
And then Mr. Powers began to cry.
Thank you so much for stopping by. I would love for you to share what’s on your heart in the comments below. Scroll a little farther down and you’ll see where you can leave your comments. Together, we can find the nearness of God in our darkest moments.
Sweet blessings to you,