That's how long ago I was given a promise, a word of encouragement. I only know the date because I wrote it down in my journal. I could never forget the moment, though.
I can't tell you why I went to Target that day. I don't know what solace I expected to find in a store, especially since I had no money to spend. I had finished school, graduated the month before. All the highlights and celebrations were over. There was no more daily routine to keep me going, keep me moving.
I crashed. Emotionally.
My life was the farthest it had ever been from the dreams I had for it. As I walked down the toy aisle, my kids asking for this and that, pointing out every exciting item that grabbed their attention and promised fulfillment, the tears started to over flow. I couldn't contain them.
I looked at the pools, the slip-and-slides, the funtastic sprinklers that I couldn't afford. I knew they wouldn't bring satisfaction, they wouldn't fill the aching gap in our hearts and souls but they'd certainly offer a few hours of respite. A break from the daily pain over our fractured family, we were trying to wade through.
All my disappointments, hopes, desperation, dreams, and prayers were contained in that one word. My heart cry.
He answered with this:
Which became this, as I processed and listened a little more intently.
Relationally and financially, our lives were a wreck. Beyond a wreck. I didn't know where my rent would come from, much less the other basic living expenses like groceries, car insurance, gasoline and monthly utilities. I held on to that word of hope, tightly, desperately. I prayed desperately. Help came. It came in various forms. Supernaturally, naturally, anonymously, when asked for, unexpectedly, right on time, when not asked for, it was there.
My children needed clothes. I instructed them to pray first. Then trash bags full of awesome clothes would arrive randomly. Gifts were given. I got side jobs here and there. Each month, I practically begged God to provide for our rent. Each month, eventually it got paid.
As the months passed, my prayers became less desperate and more faith filled as I saw God continue to provide through various means. By December, exactly six months later, I knew I no longer had to beg God for help. I knew the help would be there, consistently and I could praise Him for it. Praise Him, even in advance.
The Mr. booked a commercial AND got a regular day job. Our rent went from being non-existent and scraping by for it, to being two weeks late. Each month, it was paid closer and closer to it's due date. Each month I praised God and hoped that maybe one day we could even pay it on time! By June 30, 2013, exactly one year since I had made that walk of shame and despair through Target, we had the rent early, two weeks early.
Our utility bills were getting paid randomly and were more often than not, months behind. Getting paid when it was desperate and we had received a disconnect notice. By June 2013, I was able to make a payment to get them all caught up. The Mr. then accidentally made another payment which caused them to be over-paid and have a credit. Now they are paid up for three months in advance!
The brakes on my car, for some unknown reason, kept going out. We would replace the brake pads, which was the cheapest way to go. By June 2013, we were able to take the car in to the dealership and have everything taken care of fully.
Last year, our oldest son generously contributed as much of his paycheck as was necessary toward our household finances. It's been months since he's 'had' to do that (beyond his own personal financial obligations). Not only that, but his hours at work have increased. He is now making twice as much money as he was last year when he was covering some of the monthly expenses.
I am a different person than I was when I walked through Target that day. We all are. God really does restore. He brings things back into order.
I could go on and on. The main thing is, God DOES keep His promises. He does keep His Word. He is real. He speaks and He changes your life. He IS who He says He is! I am excited to see what THIS next year will hold!