I have been back and forth with God about what to write this week.
I’ve prayed. I’ve thought. I’ve asked. And then I prayed and thought and asked some more. What do I share, and how do I exhort? Where do I go in Scripture and what angle of encouragement do I take? How can I best spur you (fellow hopers) on toward love and good deeds as you start afresh this year of 2018? And though I feel like there are a myriad of good things I could share, and even several specifics that have come to the forefront of my mind, there is only one thing that keeps reverberating in my soul.
Jessica, remind them that my arm is mighty.
So let me start by referencing a blog post I wrote in the middle of December. I won’t rehash all of the details because maybe you’ve already read it, but let me just sketch out the bare bones of that post.
At the end of October, our 6 year-old pitched an idea to my husband and I from the backseat of our red, Toyota Camry.
“I want to help kids in Africa have food and be able to learn like I do.”
His words hovered in the air between his dad and I, landing smack dab in the middle of our hearts.
And then, without a bit of hesitation, he proceeded to unfold his “hatched plan.” He told us he wanted our help to create a home video. He told us of his plans for me to share his idea on my “Facebooker.” Oh, and he insisted that the goal was to raise $5,000 by Christmas!? Friends, it was October 29th.
Yep. It sounds as ridiculous now as it did when I first heard the words tumble from his mouth. Genuinely, it was a crazy-big plan.
Sparing you all of the details from my original post, we got started. We found an organization to give to, we filmed our promo video in the backyard, and then I blasted social media. Friends, I had high hopes! The video was viewed over 3K times and was shared by at least (from what I could see on my end) over 50+ times; the response was HUGE.
So when I got our first, weekly update, I was shocked. The first update was $485. Not even gonna lie, I felt like my faith took a punch to the gut. WHAT?!?! It was viewed 3K times, and the total was a whopping $485?! I was simultaneously under and over-whelmed.
A week after that, he was at $1200. A week after that, we were at $1600. And it was at that point, I was ready to throw in the towel. Truly, I felt like we were standing at the base of Mt. Everest with a 12oz. water bottle and a day pack. Literally, I stood at my kitchen sink and said, “God, if this is going to happen, you’re going to have to do it.”
A few days after I prayed my “God-you-are-gonna-have-to-show-up” prayer, Caden came to me and said, “Mommy, you know how you keep talking about a ‘5 loaf, 2 fish idea’ of the little boy in the Bible? Do you remember how many people Jesus fed with the boy’s lunch?”
I about fell on the floor. 5,000!!! He fed 5,000!!! Why in the world had that never crossed my mind?!?!? Our little boy was coming to Jesus with a big
lunch idea of feeding raising $5,000. If anyone was gonna feed 5,000 or raise $5,000, it was gonna have to be God.
A week later, the next email update read: Caden is at $2500.
On December 13th, we were resting at $3,055 (about 61% of the way there); on December 14th, I wrote a blog post on here highlighting his “big plan;” and on December 15th, we were (very suddenly) told that our foster daughter would be leaving our home at the end of January 2018. To say I felt deflated on multiple levels would have been a vast understatement. Friends, I felt flat-out defeated.
Lord, where are you and what in the world are you doing?!?!?
That same night, the women’s basketball team from Clarks Summit University wrote me and shared that they had rallied together to raise $400 for “Caden’s Big Plan.” UNBELIEVABLE.
On December 20th, we were at $3,777… 25% away from our goal.
Two days before Christmas, I made one last plug on my wall. “Friends, we need $1,230 more.”
That same night, a mom wrote me and told me that her two, young boys heard about “Caden’s Big Plan.” After hearing about his goal, the little boys were moved to give their Christmas money (from their grandmother) toward his goal.
As we awaited a final tally, Christmas came and went. On December 30th, I received my yearly bonus check. Why do I share this? I’ll tell you in a second…
Finally, on January 2nd, the e-mail arrived in my inbox. Nervously, I willed myself to open it.
I blinked and then looked a second time. $200 short. I couldn’t believe it.
Why couldn’t I believe it?
Well, remember that bonus check I received on the 30th? It was exactly $200 more than I was expecting.
And although it wasn’t audible, it was loud in my soul.
Hey Jessica, I provided that $200 three days ago. I had it all covered… even down to the very last dollar. In fact, I’ve got ALL of EVERYTHING covered… you just have to believe me.
I found it hard to move that day. Though my heart was light and my soul was happy, my limbs were heavy with the knowledge of the Lord’s mighty arm. I found it hard to stand. Very literally, I felt humbled in all ways.
Isaiah 59:1 states, “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear.”
Psalm 98:1 reads, “O sing to the LORD a new song, For He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.”
And Luke 1:51 says, “He has done mighty deeds with His arm.”
His arm. His power. His win.
And if that same mighty arm… the ONE that created the world, parted the seas, healed the blind, raised the dead, broke the tomb, and helped a little boy in Ohio raise $5,000 for kids in Africa… then His mighty arm is BIG enough for ALL of our EVERYTHING.
That job, that relationship, that cancer, that payment, that prodigal, that loss, that test, that womb, that ministry, that dream… THAT EVERYTHING.
Hopers, I don’t know what we’ll face in 2018, but I want us to remember the might of His arm and the power of His hand. And because my heart is so prone to disbelieving doubt when the mountains get big and hope becomes hard, I wanted to write it, shout it, and claim it. I am claiming this:
“With man this is impossible, but with God [and His mighty arm] ALL THINGS are possible.” Matthew 19:26