Sunday, February 13, 2011
The program "Nightline" had a special presentation on television, DC: A City Divided. The topic of the program was racism in the US Capitol and the focus was on education. William Bennett, the Secretary of Education at the time, spoke -along with others. I found the speakers uninspiring, but after the main program finished, the filmmakers started interviewing people in DC. I found myself moved by how trapped the children were because of the rejection they faced in the larger society of the city. They were also trapped by failing schools.
I knew a lot about the problem with K12 education by this time. School was a nasty experience for my younger daughter who is dyslexic. In addition I was making my living using an Apple II+ and the school down the street had MAC computers, but they had no idea what to do with them. I thought that computers could make it possible for teachers to share resources (this was the late 80s). I had some experience programming computers. I thought there might be a way I could help solve this problem if I could go back to school and learn how to get computers to communicate with each other.
Before making a decision, I went to the elders at my church for their counsel. One was concerned that I was going to be taking time away from my children if I went to school full time. (The children were 10 and 12 at the time.) My parents were living next door, so I knew the children wouldn't be alone. Still I knew that taking time away from them was a big decision and that I should ask the Lord.
I prayed for a week. The weekend was my birthday. I was used to the Lord getting me gifts on my birthday (see my earlier post on this). I wondered what I would get for this birthday.
On Saturday, my birthday, I went out to the mailbox to find a “Special Issue” of Newsweek. Newsweek usually arrived midweek and special issues are rare. The cover proclaimed “The Future of Education.” The entire issue was devoted to the types of things schools need in order for students to be successful. Some might think it was a giant coincidence that this issue arrived on that particular birthday. I took this as a sign that the Lord wanted me to pursue the knowledge I needed in order to help teachers get the resources and tools they need to do their job.
For thou [art] my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness. -2Sa 22:29 (KJV from the Blue Letter Bible)
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Building an addition to transform my house into a duplex was more of a trial than I had predicted. My parents and I and my daughters were living in the original, small house. There were too many bosses under one roof, living on top of each other. Winter was coming and I knew things would get worse. I prayed for the Lord to solve the problem.
The shell and framing of the addition were complete. I wanted to move my family in over there, but I knew I would have to insulate it first. I only had $600 cash left in my budget. This was 1990 and I knew the money wouldn't go far. I also had a charge account with the building supply store. I figured I could charge the insulation. I could put up the insulation in the walls, but not the ceiling. The ceiling needed to be drywalled before I could insulate the roof. I realized I could not put up the ceiling drywall myself. I could charge the drywall at the building supply store and then see if I could hire a drywall man to put up the ceiling for $600.
I called the building supply store and asked the lady who answered the phone how heavy drywall was. I figured I could bring the drywall home on top of my station wagon. I would have to get it upstairs though and I knew that would be a problem if it was too heavy for me to lift. The lady at the drywall store asked what I was doing and I told her. (I guess most folks don't ask how heavy drywall is.) She told me her husband did drywall work, so I asked her to send him over to bid on doing the ceiling.
Harry, the husband of the lady at the building supply store, came over, and looked at the house. He said he would drywall the whole house for $200. I told him that was ridiculously low, but he said he needed something to do.
Harry told me a strange story as he worked. He said that he had been listed as killed in action in Vietnam.
Harry put up all the drywall in the house, then asked if I wanted the flooring put down. The flooring included laying a hardwood floor in the living room and tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. Harry offered to put it all down for $250. He did a terrific job. He even added tiling the bathtub area and building a vanity top out of tile for no extra money.
Then Harry said he would build my deck for $50. Next Harry offered to put in the baseboard in the house for $50. Instead of buying trim, he routed the wood himself and stained it. Finally he offered to paint and texture the entire interior of the house for $50. That used up the last of the $600. He painted the house and I never saw him again.
I never told Harry that I had just $600. I marveled that he came and bit by bit finished the addition and charged exactly $600. Wherever he is, I know God is blessing him. I call him my angel Harry.
I thanked the Lord and moved my family into the addition before winter. This was quite a testimony to my unsaved parents. By this time living with my family, my father said my life was "uncanny." Fortunately he came to know why. That will be in a later post.
Once again the reminder:
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phl 4:19
Thursday, January 13, 2011
When my parents retired I wanted them to come to Colorado to be by me and my daughters.
My parents had just suffered a financial setback. They had invested all there retirement money in a house in a small town. Just before they retired five factories closed in the town. Real estate values plummeted and my parents ended up with very little money for their retirement.
I owned a small house on a large lot. The lot was zoned for a duplex so I set about seeing if I could add on to my house. I wanted to build an addition that had an office for me and bedrooms for me and my two girls. My parents could live in the original half of the duplex.
I didn’t have much money, but figured I could come up with enough to put up the outside and insulate it by winter. I had a plan created and with my father, began to interview builders. The builder recommended by a family member came over, inspected the plan, and told us it would cost much more money than I had. My father gave up hope, and suggested we downsize the plans by half. We were talking in the kitchen with the plans spread on the table. I prayed for the Lord’s help. Then there was a knock at the door. I answered it and there was a builder there who was a relative of a friend. He told me that he remembered that I knew accounting and he had an accounting question. I answered his question and told him I had a question for him too. I brought him into the kitchen and showed him the plans. He said he thought I could certainly build the addition with the budget I had. My father was convinced and we moved on with the plans.
I know the Lord answered my prayers that day with His generous and gracious Spirit. He prepared a place for me in this life and is preparing a place in the next life.
For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Hbr 11:10
Sunday, April 4, 2010
I read in a commentary that graduation for the Christian comes when he or she no longer fears death.
One night I had a strange dream. I was walking up the isle of an outdoor stadium. There was no one around but a women with a hood who was running towards me. When she got to me, she stabbed me with a knife. Instead of waking up, I thought, “I knew something special was going to happen today!” I remembered the dream the next morning. I realized that I had slept though my own death and that I felt no fear. I had matriculated.
…that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. -Hbr 2:15
Saturday, February 6, 2010
In 1980 I started a small public accounting business. At this time I had a toddler and a baby on the way, so I wanted a job where I could work from home. In 1980 I took out a small business loan and bought an Apple II+ and accounting software. I had learned accounting by writing accounting programs at work. I would use the computer and the software to help small businesses with their bookkeeping.
After I was divorced the Lord was faithful to use this business to keep me afloat financially for 20 years, until my children were grown. I don’t know for sure, but I think is rare to find a single mom that doesn’t have to work outside of the home. I have never met another.
I only worked about 80 hours a month and I didn’t earn much, but the Lord always saw to it that I had enough. Truly my shoes didn’t wear out in the desert. Also my car never broke down, and I was never late with my bills. I never had extra, but I don’t believe the Lord wants me to have extra. Even today, if I find I have extra money, I know a bill is coming. Just last month, three times people offered me money. Sure enough I had a big repair bill. The Lord took care of it.
One thing that was difficult as a single mother with two young children is that there was no one to remember my birthday; no one, that is, except the Lord. In those years I never celebrated a birthday without a gift. They came from unexpected places. One I remember clearly is receiving a new pair of shoes as a gift from someone in the church who had no idea it was my birthday. I needed a nice pair for work and the Lord remembered. Some years the gifts were simpler. The kids made me gifts without even realizing it was my birthday. Then there was the special issue of Newsweek, but I will talk about that later.
What I learned was not to trust money. I was the only accountant I knew that didn’t believe in money. In my experience, money comes from the Lord and goes as the Lord intends it. I am just a steward. I don’t have to worry about the future or about a rainy day. The Lord will take care of rainy days and my future.
Now that I am older, I have plenty on my balance sheet; but I know this can change tomorrow. If I lose it all, I pray that it wouldn’t ruin my day. Through decades I have learned that the Lord is my provision. My true treasures are beyond the reach of this world’s economic system.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. -Phl 4:6
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I was saved in 1978, my husband was not. With salvation came a knowledge of my sins and I could see the damage I had done to my marriage. I set about being the best wife I could. Two years later my husband told me he didn’t know if he still wanted to be married to me. He said that I would always want him to become a Christian and he did not want God to control his life. He said he had one life and he wanted to be in charge of it himself. He felt I would always want him to change. Two years after that (four years after I was saved) he divorced me.
The first few years after my divorce were difficult. That is when I discovered what I call “the White Room.” When I felt really down I pictured myself curled up in a small white room. A strange thing happened in that place. As I sat still and waited, God spoke to my heart. At first it was just in words, but then He began to write on the walls – in color. Then the walls became more and more vibrant. Eventually I realized that the inside of this room was bigger than the world outside. So whenever I felt down, I knew where I could go. I could count on God to meet me in the White Room.
… we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. -Rom 5: 3-5
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Finding a church was difficult. I visited several in the two years after the Lord saved me. One I had dismissed early, but later returned to. The church met after the manner that I was looking for. It had an open worship meeting where the men were invited to share and everyone could suggest hymns. The church had elders and deacons, but no one designated as pastor. (The problem with the first meeting was that I heard women gossiping and figured I wouldn't fit in. After visiting several other churches, I realized that this was still the best church for me and I could avoid the gossips.)
I was reminded of the old saying. It would not be possible to find the perfect church if it had me in it. In the end, I wanted a place where I could minister to the saints in my own way. This Bible Chapel was the one.
Having been newly divorced I was feeling lonely. I prayed to find friends and the next time I went to church I overheard some women talking about needing a place for a Bible study. I had a house with a big living room, so I offered it. This answer to prayer was the beginning of a fellowship of single women that has continued for over 25 years. I think of this as my ‘air and water’ group. They are all very precious to me and I wish I could spend more time with them.
And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. – 1 Jo 3:23