by Lori Henry
ORIGINAL POST: JANUARY 11, 2018
When my husband, Pastor Carl, yielded to the call to preach, we had 2 small children. Everyone thought he should go to a big name college out in the Mid-West, but he felt called to go to a small Bible college about an hour from our home.
That first day of college came quickly! I gave him a kiss and hug, prayed with him, smiled as he pulled away, turned around and cried for over an hour!! This was a new chapter in our lives, and even though it was very good that my husband was going to Bible college to become a pastor, it was also a bit scary and lonely.
The particular college he went to would not allow students to begin a new semester unless their previous semester was paid in full. We did a lot of scraping the bottom of the barrel to make ends meet. If we wrote out our expenses and bills on paper in comparison to our income, it always came up short! But God was always faithful!
We spend $40.00 on groceries weekly. That had to cover food, baby food, baby needs, personal needs, laundry detergent, etc. His college professor once told the men, "Boys, nothing will make your family more bitter than going hungry through these college years, so buy a lot of something cheap to eat!" We learned that hot dogs were cheap! I could make hot dogs a dozen different ways! Pancakes were cheap! Many times Carl would go to work with peanuts and boiled potatoes to eat! We had plenty to eat---maybe not T-bone steaks, but our tummy's were full!
God definitely uses His people to bring aid to those in need! A sweet elderly lady in our church listened to God's voice many times through those college years to help us! When we went to the grocery store, we had to stick strictly to our budget! No Oreo's, or candy. Sometimes we had to choose between sweeper bags or paper towels. Everything was generic. But when this dear little lady would softly pull me to a corner of the foyer and whisper, "I have a few things for you in the car", we'd get so excited because she bought things we couldn't afford! The bags were overflowing with Oreo's, Pop-tarts---the REAL ones, not the fake ones--cereal, bread, brownie mix, a little bit of candy, cleaning supplies, and so much more! Those bags overflowed with something else, too! God's goodness to us! God didn't have to do this! We were learning lessons from going through tough times, but God, in His goodness, allowed some "extras", and we just got so blessed by it!
I can remember one particular time, we had very little left to eat! At this time we had 3 small children. There was hardly anything in the cupboards! Nothing to really pull together any kind of meal. We wanted to teach our little ones that God always supplies our needs, so we huddled up and prayed together for $40.00 so that we could buy groceries. We asked God to please deliver that $40.00 that very day. We watched with anticipation as the mail truck pulled up alongside our mailbox. When the mailman shut the mailbox and pulled away, we almost ran to to see what was inside! There was a plain, white envelope addressed to us. Once in the house, we tore it open, and to our utter amazement and joy, there, wrapped in a piece of plain white notebook paper, were two twenty dollar bills! Forty dollars!!!! Just like we prayed for! We jumped up and down, praising the Lord for His goodness!
Not only were our physical needs supplied, but our spiritual needs were supplied, also. In the third year of college, we had our 4th child. Carl went to college at 6:30 each morning, Monday through Thursday, an hour away. He came home at 2:30, ate on the run, left for work at 2:45, drove 15 minutes to work, worked until 11:30 at night, came home and studied, fell asleep and repeated the same thing each day! He had to study, memorize Scripture--a LOT of it--teach Sunday school, Children's Church, sing in choir, do a jail ministry, and be in bus ministry!
I, on the other hand, was alone with 4 little ones. We only had 1 car, so I stayed home most of the time. I had to depend on someone to pick me up for church. If they forgot, we didn't go. Again, God supplied the needs, but this time, spiritually. We learned to lean on Him for literally, everything! He gave me a true contentment to be at home, raising my babies for Him. I quickly learned that my attitude spilled over onto my husband, and that I needed to get behind him and encourage him.
I saw God work in his life. He never could have handled such a brutal work load without God! God was so faithful in keeping him safe on the roads, helping him learn the Word, helping him memorize, and more!
We were like Moses when he told the Lord he was slow of speech---not fit! We felt like little David facing Goliath! We struggled with our inadequacies and shortcomings. We definitely felt like a piece of clay on the Potter's wheel, and thought, "God, how CAN you use us? We are nothing---just 2 young parents trying to live for You!" But that is the key! We CAN do ALL things through Christ which gives us the strength!
God saw us through those years! For a while, we couldn't eat another hot dog, but we sure were thankful for the lessons along the way! Faithful is He that calls us, who also will do it! God proved Himself to us time and time again. An anonymous envelope here and there, school books secretly paid for, bags of groceries from time to time. All warm reminders that He cared and was taking care of us! Those years were precious to us!
Many years later, although we do not struggle like in those early college years, God is still supplying our needs, both spiritually and physically. We see His goodness to us numerous ways every single day. We are thankful to Him! Phil. 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."