Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oil and Flour - Chapter 2

So, we moved into our beautiful old farmhouse in October of this year. God started providing by sending many friends to help us in the moving process. My friends Emma and Shirley came over for a day of packing and brought along lunch and didn't even blink an eye at our very embarassing basement. Our dear friends, the Wormans joined us for a few days of carting things over to the new house and beginning the unpacking. The best part was just getting to fellowship for a few days!
God fulfilled our needs in so many miraculous ways. We needed a washer and dryer. We found a dryer on Craig's List for $25 and a friend of my brother in law gave us a washing machine free!
We had a set of triple bunks which had been the boys' and planned on using them in the downstairs bedroom for the older 3 girls, we had a set of regular bunks which we thought maybe the two younger boys could use if we got some plywood to make "bunky boards" so that their regular mattresses would work, but we'd need a bed for our oldest son. God led Mike to a rummage sale where he found a wonderful metal bunk bed with the double lower bunk and the single upper plus a double mattress and two ready made bunky boards all for $10!!!! Isn't God amazing?
Last of all, we needed a stove for the kitchen, preferably gas. We kept looking and looking and nothing was turning up. There was a possibility of one for about $350 which wasn't too bad and we were thinking that's probably what we'd end up doing.
The morning we were moving, our landlord and friend came over to talk to Mike. He happened to ask if we wanted to get rid of our couch. Mike laughed, no way. :) We bought that super comfortable leather couch 2 years ago and loved it. But when Mike and the boys got the couch over to the new house, God turned the laugh on them. :) There was just no way, no possible way that couch was going to go in any of the doors! Mike brought it back and asked our friend if he was still interested LOL and they worked out a deal to trade the couch for a wonderful gas stove! Too funny, how God works sometimes!
So, we were moved in, getting settled - we are still praying for a wood stove but God hasn't opened that door yet.. (at least not completely) I never thought we'd manage financially without one. Propane is so expensive and it just wasn't in the budget. But somehow, one moment at a time, God provided. We get a minimum delivery of 200 gallons and it lasts about 3 weeks, but somehow every time we need more, the money is there - nothing extra - just enough - but it's THERE! (about the "not completely" part ... We have been offered a little wood cook stove recently which Mike will go to look at and hopefully bring home this weekend. It's not enough to heat the whole house, but even if we can just stretch the propane to 4 weeks, that would help.)
We've had times when after all bills were paid, there was nothing left for groceries, yet somehow the pantry is always full and there's plenty to eat. We've even had a neighbor show up at our door with *gallons* of milk!
Someone commented on my blog post yesterday that living in an old farm house is an adventure. LOL Don't I know it! The list of opportunities to watch God's providing hand just keeps going!
So, before we moved in all the inside water supply pipes had to be replaced. That being done, we figured we were set for a while. LOL About a month after we moved in, we noticed that our water pressure was not what it should be. Mike kept watching it on the dial at the pressure tank and it spent most of it's time right around 10 psi. Not so good. Since the pressure tank had been replaced along with the pipes, we figured it probably wasn't that, but weren't sure of course. Finally, Mike decided to ask a plumber to look at it. Mr. Lewko checked it out and confirmed that the problem was not in the house itself but had to be either in the well itself or between the well and the house. I was surprised to find out that plumbers are so specialized with certifications for each different thing, and an indoor plumbing guy wasn't necessarily able to also be an outdoor plumbing or well guy. (With the cost of all the certifications etc etc, no wonder they have trouble finding people who want to go into plumbing!) So, we called the well guy - and the adventure began. The well guy told us they would need to pull the pump up out of the well (the likely problem) and see where the problem was. It would cost $500 to go just that far, and then we'd see. If the pump fell apart in the process we could be looking at digging a whole new well! Yikes!!!
God timed everything just right, both with weather and with finances. Mike's brother slipped some money into his pocket one day. After Mike got home and looked at it, it turned out to be exactly $500! So we scheduled the appointment to check it out. It needed to wait until the next week when we were expecting slightly warmer temperatures. During the wait, God provided another $2500! So we could pretty much just do what needed doing. God is so good!
Day one, they came and pulled up the pump. It was dying badly so they replaced that right away. Went and checked the water pressure and it was still around 10psi. Ugh! $1500 down and still not all better, there had to be a break somewhere between the well and the house.
Day two, they came back with a backhoe. The new pump helped diagnose the issue by having the strength to bring the water to the surface of the ground. A puddle right by the well told the tale. :) So they dug down right there, found a broken coupling, replaced it, pronounced the rest of the pipe to the house in great shape, checked the water pressure and - hooray!!! 45 psi! What a difference!! With the final cost coming in around $2500, that left just a little bit for Mike to get some desperately needed work clothes that we'd also been praying for.
There are more adventures just around the corner of course. Some we have a glimpse of and can expect, others, who knows? And right now there is NOTHING extra to be able to handle them financially. But we know without a shadow of a doubt that God will continue to provide - usually just the right amount at just the right time with nothing extra.
In the Bible, the widow in the story was asked by God's prophet to make him a little bread to eat. She told him there was just enough oil and flour to make enough for her and her son to have one last meal. Elijah said, "make some for me first, and the oil and flour will not run dry ." In faith, she did as Elijah asked, and God worked a miracle! Her tiny bit of oil and flour made bread for many many days until God sent rain again! And that is EXACTLY how He works in our lives so often. He asks us to step out in faith, to bring the tithe into the storehouse, even when we look at the checkbook and think there's no way we'll be able to pay our bills, have food in the pantry, have something to pay the doctor if someone needs to go or a mechanic if the car breaks down. It doesn't make sense. It shouldn't work. And yet, somehow, miraculously, God keeps our checkbook going like oil and flour. There's seldom any extra. I'm sure the widow at Zeraphath had those times too, when she looked into the flour barrel or the oil jug and thought, there's just no way. We won't make it. I'm sure there were times she had to remind herself that God had already done so many oil and flour miracles, surely He would continue to provide as He promised. If we look at the "what if's", it's easy to get worried. But when we keep our eyes on the Lord, we can see that there's no better place to be than right in the middle of His incredible providing hand, constantly leaning on Him and Him alone. Isn't God amazing?!?!

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