His Provision

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

I have been preparing to write this for the past year.
I knew I would have a story to tell.

I would be lying if I didn't acknowledge the hesitancy in which I found myself 'trying' to trust this last year. Continually playing 'what ifs' and mapping out 'my plans' wondering just how all of this would fit on paper.

But that's just it, none of it fit on my paper. My checklist or budget.
Each time I think about how this piece will turn out, I'm not sure my words will do justice in expressing the journey, but I pray I can express, in raw words, all this past year was in trusting God for His provision.

I have previously written about our journey in Andrew getting into Nursing School. The closed doors that lead us here, and the truth, that this was not at all what I prayed would be the answer.

Truth is, he finished this accelerated nursing program 2 weeks ago, in the middle of a pandemic (more to come on these details in another blog), and is currently preparing to sit for his Boards. What a ride! It's crazy to think this thing is over. I think it's taken me some time to take all of it in, to look back, and honestly I'm just trying to grasp how much the Lord has provided for us over the past year.

Despite my fear. Despite my doubts. Despite my internal struggle and wrestling. 
I'd like to think that I just said I trusted Him at the beginning of this thing, and that each day I lived that out like I believed it. That's far from the truth.

Lets rewind a bit.
When Andrew got accepted into the Accelerated Nursing Program, we were told it was 1 year, and that classes were mainly online- taking up about 1 day weekly. We knew there would be times he would have to go in person to take tests, sometimes for lab days, and then clinical rotations, knowing at the end it may require more then one day a week, but to our understanding, it would mainly be one day weekly. He talked this over with his boss before starting the program and they agreed to this to help him further his education.

When we took out a loan for this program, we based our finances on him missing one day a week. 
Not ideal, but doable.

It wasn't long before he was into this program, sitting in the orientation, getting more information that we soon realized, one day a week was not the whole truth. There were multiple weeks he would be missing 2 days weekly. Going to Orlando for tests meant missing at least a half day of work sometimes 2 days. Getting a badge for each hospital clinical rotation- another half day or more missed. For the girl who budgets, and has things planned, this made me feel as though I was going to panic. And yet there was no way to know it all at this point. Each semester came with changes. Even changes at the last minute. (Did I mention I hate change?) His last semester- we found out he would only have 5 weeks to complete 12, 12 hour shifts with a preceptor whenever they worked.
I'm just trying to paint this picture the best I can for you to set the stage of the unknowns,  the changes, and the inability to control this situation. In some ways I felt that the information in his orientation was misleading.

I had even questioned in my own heart - Had we known all this prior to now, would we have stepped out in faith at God's open door? Would the fear of our financial situation have stopped us? I wrestled these thoughts. Not always, but often quietly, I spent hours worrying about this. 

Standing on the other side of this mountain, I can honestly say, this is not a journey I would choose if given the option, but what a lesson it has been for me.

I want to give some (just SOME) of the ways in which the Lord provided. There is no way other than His provision, that we have gotten through this past year like we have. I'm not sure from a financial standpoint, I have ever been in this position where relying on Him was not an option. Again not my choice, but oh what refining it has done in my heart.

Side note: we have tried to be diligent with our budgeting for about the last year and a half and specifically prior to starting this season of his schooling we knew we had to buckle down. We know how much comes in and where it needs to go in order for us to make ends meet.

Here are some practical ways in which the Lord provided. Ways that couldn't have been planned, known or in my budget. 

One Month, we were almost $300 short from being able to make ends meet. That week we got a card from someone who felt like they needed to give us $500. Not only did it cover what we were short, it helped set us up the next month to get ahead.

One week, I was trying to juggle money to find the best way to pay for what I needed to get Eleanor from the store- diapers, soap etc. I came across a gift card I forgot I had that had $50 on it, and it paid for what was needed.

Two times a year, we get paid 3 times in a month instead of two and this year, when it fell to be the third pay, it couldn't have come at a much more needed time. No way I would have known 6 months prior, all that we would need that week. But God did.

A friend who has knowledge with cars, was able to replace a fan in my car, not charging me a dime, when it would most likely cost me a few hundred dollars we didn't have.

Family members who have loved and supported us in this season, took the weight off of us in being generous in areas they never needed or had to to be. This was a lesson for my pride to say the least, but more and more I realized it was God in His provision. Showing me what it means to have to rely on Him. To get over myself, my pride, and my control. 

When our loan money ran out that we took out to help us get through this year of schooling- the extra that was left, that we used when short or needing to make ends meet, two day ays after this zeroed out  (I felt like I was in a panic at this point), we got back our tax return money.  To this day this was  most we had ever received in a tax return. This got us through the remainder of his schooling.

In recent days, I had been given $50 in a card back before January. I thought I had used this, but knew I didn't think I misplaced it, but kept wondering if I would ever come across this. I kept praying I didn't lose it. I finally gave up on finding it. Two weeks ago, while walking to my night stand to pick something up and leave, after just shelling out $800 unexpectedly on our car, the card and money I had been looking for, since before January, was sitting face up on my nightstand right there for me. There was the $50. While this didn't cover the $800 I reluctantly shelled out, it was a reminder that He's in control.

As I said there will be more to come on Andrews schooling journey and how this finished out, but the pandemic happening (long story short) came at a really brutal time in his schooling. He had just started his 120 clinical hours left in Orlando (remember the 12 hour shifts I mentioned in 5 weeks), He had 100 hours left,  and due to the pandemic and previous hours completed, the school made this assignment complete without having to do these hours. This saved hours, days off work, and gas to Orlando.

In the middle of all of this, Andrew's work hours got cut in half due to the pandemic. This was another time of trial for me, wrestling with how we would make ends meet as this almost felt like more pressure then his schooling. But God. Is all I can say.

Friends/Family have have stepped up to help us with Eleanor (and are still helping) so we can keep her safe, lessening our load financially in not paying for her school. This amount, made up for all not coming in like normal. I cannot thank my village enough for all the help during this time. 

I honestly feel like I could keep going with the fine details of just how God provided tangibly in the last year. For someone like me, who needs to 'see' it, this lesson has been changing my heart.
It wasn't just the support I needed from a spiritual or emotional support that things would be 'ok' it was God, in His Provision, tangibly and practically showing up. Monthly. Weekly. Daily. As we have completed this journey.

I said it at the beginning, I so wish I could say I just did this all with ease. That I took Him at His word, that I didn't question it, but I did. I wrestled. But in my wrestling He met me exactly where I was, proving over and over how faithful He is.

I could go on and on, and to be honest, this is longer then I imagined, but my heart is thankful. So thankful. That even in my prayers being answered the exact opposite of what I hoped and prayed, it was exactly what I needed. 

I am so happy, and excited for Andrew as he has completed such an incredible journey. Challenging on all sides- juggling full time work life, school, and life at home being both Husband/Dad, with a second little girl on the way. I so appreciate his work ethic. I appreciate his faith, and his unwavering spirit when it comes to trusting the Lord and His provision (something he does way better then I do). 
I am hopeful and excited to see what door the Lord opens next for him.

I pray, as I read back and look back on this experience, that I will be reminded of His continual provision and the way He showed me He had not forgotten me, each step of the way.

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