Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jehovah Jireh (Journey to Ellerslie)

I'm sharing this story of how faithful God has been in my life to honor and glorify Him and to encourage you, dear reader, to allow Him to do the same in your life. He is stretching my faith beyond what I ever could have dreamed. He is asking me to trust Him with the big things and the little things and to rely upon Him always. He has been showing me what a blessing it is to have to rely and depend on Him for each need, rather than taking things for granted. Oh, what a glorious adventure each day is when we live in a way that is dependent upon God for every need, both temporal and spiritual!

The following are excerpts from my journal from the spring of 2011. I feel it necessary to share so that whoever reads this blog of mine understands how the Lord was working and moving in my heart and life, long before I understood what He was doing. He has a beautiful plan for each of us and even when we don't see it, He's moving. Through these words, you will see how He prepared my heart for what was to come. All praise is His!

April 7, 2011
I feel like a page in my life is turning and You are beginning to write a new chapter. Oh, I am so excited!

April 8, 2011
Even though I've seen Your faithfulness evidenced in my life, why do I still find it difficult to trust? Come help my unbelief. Teach me surrender.

April 10, 2011
I read an amazing post on Jade's blog! What an encouraging story. It seems like I read it at the point in time I needed it most. It has challenged me afresh to surrender all to the Lord.

April 14, 2011
I see these beautiful ways you bless others, like Corrie ten Boom, and then I wonder why I don't see You in my life like that. And I begin to think you must love them more than me. And I must not be as special as they are to You. But, maybe I simply don't surrender. Maybe I don't even believe that You want to bless me beyond what I can imagine. Maybe I don't even ask and You want me to ask so that You can prove Your faithfulness to me. I want big faith. Put on my heart whatever it is You want me to ask for.

I never want finances to hold me back from living in total faith and dependence on You. I am surrendering my needs into Your hands and trusting that You will supernaturally supply. I have felt for so long that You want me to entrust this part of my life to you. I surrender my debts and my finances to You. I trust that You will provide in a more beautiful and supernatural way than I can even imagine right now. I trust You will work out all the details. I have never once gone hungry or needed something that You haven't provided...So I believe. I know I cannot afford to pay off this debt alone and pay for Ellerslie. Only You can get me there.

"O thou that hearest prayer." -Psalm 65:2

April 15, 2011
...I need Your guidance and direction in whether I should quit my job at the Italian restaurant where I work. Should I stick it out, and if so, for how long? I'm subjected to such worldly and ungodly things there and I despise being around it. I just feel like you must have so much more planned for me! If not, why did you plant such dreams in my heart? I cannot know that more exists if I must settle for less. I feel like You're asking me to quit, but how can I be sure? And even if I quit, what am I to do after that? I have no other job awaiting me and no idea what to do. I realize how far off my dreams feel and right now it seems I shall never get there. I know it will only be You that works the miracles. Keep my eyes fixed on You alone. Open up the doors You want me to walk in and close the doors You want closed. May nothing hold me back from Your dreams and purposes for my life. Open my eyes to see Your faithfulness. May I see the ways You work and move!

April 18, 2011
You are stirring my heart and asking me to go deeper and farther with You and to ask boldly and specifically. Come help my unbelief! Give me faith where I have none. I have been reading books in this season of my life that are challenging me to ask for more...

"Receive His healing for your bruises. Receive His riches for your rags. You cannot imagine all the plans He has for you, so take His hand and don't look back." -Leslie Ludy

I feel a change is coming...Reveal Yourself to me, God! May Your Kingdom come, Your will be done! I ask that You unfold Your beautiful plan for my life in Your perfect timing. Is it really going to be far better than I could ever imagine? Sometimes I'm afraid I will be left disappointed, but then other times I feel so eager and excited over what is to come and what You are going to do in my life and with my story. I know You can do all things and You are great, yet I am nothing. You whisper to me how in You, the weak are made strong. And I am one of Your weak ones. And I want to be used for Your glory.

"God wants to draw you out to what He's called you to!" -P.N.

April 28, 2011
I spoke on the phone with Jade tonight. She is such a beautiful encouragement to me! Read this post on her blog. So uplifting for me right now! Indeed, if this is a life wasted, then let mine be wasted all of my days...

May 4, 2011
God's doing something big, but I'm not sure what. He's cleansing me and purging me of everything not of Him. I felt Your gentle tug, pulling me away from that place. (the restaurant where I worked). But, then the fear would rise up in me and I would doubt whether or not I truly heard Your voice. One Friday night going into work, right before walking in the door, I got this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Like "I am not supposed to be here." Then, over a couple weeks, the Lord showed me that I don't have to put up with such crude behavior and He has far better for me. So, I quit. I still had doubt when I did. But, I followed where I truly thought the Lord was leading and believed He would provide! As soon as I quit, I was flooded with this peace that I had done the right thing. God, I know You've been asking me to trust You in this area of money. I know You can make a way for me to go to Ellerslie. Yet, I have no idea how. I still have this student loan hanging over me. You've been showing me for years it's okay to trust You with everything. And by everything, You mean everything. Even the things the world says You don't want to be bothered with, or you have no control over. Even those things...even money. I have never felt like You want me to ask others for money. Some people think I should ask for support to go to Ellerslie, but I have always felt You desire to supernaturally provide, without me getting involved. I desire everyone to see Your faithfulness in my life, to build their faith.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" -Matthew 7:9-11

May 5, 2011
May I not try to manipulate my life and my story, but faithfully allow You, the Author of all things lovely, pure, and true, to script each word, each sentence, each page, each chapter. May I dream the dreams You have for me. I surrender (yet again) my finances to You. I'm so scared to do this, but I know You're asking me to. I know quitting my job was the right thing to do...but, what next? In reality, I need money. You can't live in this world without it. But, I also know You control all the money in the world. Please take care of my needs. And may I never cease to praise You for providing! I have student loans that need paid off. I'm asking You, my Heavenly Father, as a faith-filled daughter, please take care of my needs. You know better than I that I cannot afford to pay back my college loans. So, I ask that You supernaturally provide. I don't know how You will do it, but I trust that You will! I'm asking that either in June or October, You will provide the way for me to go to Ellerslie and all will see how You provide! I know You don't want me to try this alone or to ask others for finances. Wipe out my debts! Help my unbelief.

I am so blessed and humbled and brought to my knees. I am so undeserving of what the Lord has done for me! Yet He does it anyways and I am so thankful. Oh, how sweet it is to see how things come together and to see how the Lord has been working and moving in my heart!

God has been asking me to entrust this area to Him, the area of finance. The area nobody thinks God wants to be a part of, yet He delights in every detail of our lives and caring for all our needs! I must choose to surrender this afresh each new day. The Lord has given me so many stories and testimonies of others that has been such a faith-builder for me and has challenged me to lay down all at the feet of my precious Jesus. I surrendered my debts and my dreams into the hands of my perfectly capable, faithful Father. I admitted how incapable I am to do anything apart from Christ (which has been a HUGE lesson in this). I am nothing, He is everything! I knew I couldn't afford my loan on my own, so I gave it to Him and asked Him to take care of it/me. So that when he did, I would know beyond anything, it was Him! And so I wouldn't take it for granted, but always be thankful and rejoice over what He has done! Oh, how my heart is overflowing with such joy!

God began working on my heart and showing me I was to quit my job at the Italian Restaurant where I was working. For weeks, I wrested over whether this was really God or just me. The way I was treated there was not the way a daughter of The King should be treated, and it was as if God whispered to me, "You are My girl, and my girls aren't to be treated this way." The last Friday night I worked there, right before I walked in the door, I was flooded with a sense of Oh my gosh, I am not supposed to be here. The logical side of me was like, well what am I supposed to do? Is this really God? Am I crazy? I don't even have another job lined up, so what am I to do. God made it very clear to me that He would sort everything out and I was simply to trust Him. I realized that nothing was going to get moving until I obeyed what God was asking me to do...I realized He was testing my faith and wasn't going to give me the satisfaction of seeing what He had next before I took that step of faith and quit my job. A few other things along the way happened and I was sure it was God leading me to do this. After I quit, I was flooded with a sense of peace that I had done what God had asked me to do and I trusted I was in the center of His perfect will.

I got into a minor car accident at the end of March (and by minor, I mean it happened in a parking lot and a guy backed up into me as I was slowly driving hardly classified as a car accident. Thankfully nobody got hurt!) and right from the beginning I saw how God was working it into a positive thing, by paying for all my chiropractor expenses. I took my car to get an estimate of how much it would cost to be fixed. (the accident wasn't my fault, so my insurance company wasn't paying for anything.) I almost didn't even take my car to get it looked at because it barely looked like anything had been done and I wasn't at all concerned about cosmetic damage...I just wanted to make sure the car was safe. A couple days later, a lady from the car shop called and said because of how many miles my car has on it (not because it couldn't be fixed) she was declaring it totaled. She said she was going to tell State Farm it was worth $2,800 and I would have to wait to hear back from them to hear the final decision. Immediately, I was like oh my gosh, God, are you using this money to provide another car for me? Ellerslie? My school loans? He made it clear to me that it was to be used to pay off my student loans. I was so thrilled that He was providing this money for me, but continued to pray and press into Him that everything would continue going smoothly and that His Hand would be in everything. I knew my Dad might try to give me some trouble over the money, since the car title is in his name. And I knew that things could change with the insurance company. Once the Lord showed me this money was to be used for my student loans, I began praying that He would somehow, someway, make the check cover my loans completely so I would be debt free.

"What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." -Mark 11:24

I had a conversation with a friend of mine last summer and her stories of God's faithfulness have been such a blessing to me. She shared how He provided for her school loans and that He wants to take care of ALL our debts, our spiritual debts from sin and our debts in the physical world. I have come to realize how important it is not to be in debt.

"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another." -Romans 13:8

The Lord showed me as my Heavenly Father, that I could trust Him implicitly and that I could know that He will always be faithful and when He asks me to do something, He will provide what I need to do it. He asked me to quit my job and He asked me to surrender my finances to Him.

"He can command us because He's going to be the One who sustains us to do it." -P.N.

I see the work the Lord began in me years ago in asking me to trust Him with money. He has used the stories and testimonies of so many to challenge me in this way. Then, He brought me to a point of realizing I couldn't pay off my loan myself. I had been making payments for 3 years and because of how much interest was accumulating, it was basically like I hadn't payed much of anything! This is a little excerpt of what I wrote in my journal after the accident, but oh, the Lord was already working, already moving. :) Even when I couldn't see it. And He did this work in my heart so that when I looked back at His faithfulness through the pages of my journal, I would be even more humbled and amazed and it would be a memorial to His faithfulness to me in everything:

"I never want finances to hold me back from living in total faith and dependence on You. I am surrendering my needs into Your hands and trusting that You will supernaturally supply. I have felt for so long that You want me to entrust this part of my life to you. I surrender my debts and my finances to You. I trust that You will provide in a more beautiful and supernatural way than I can even imagine right now. I trust You will work out all the details."

The Lord made it very clear to me that I was not to ask for money and to believe that He alone would provide the finances I need. But, when I didn't see the money coming in and only saw the dollars that I owed stacking up, it was tempting at times to believe what the world told me, that God doesn't care about matters such as money. My God was always there waiting to build me up, telling me to trust, even when I couldn't see how He was working.

I read these two quotes by Corrie ten Boom that encouraged me so much and I knew I heard the voice of my Lord:
"I would much rather be the trusting child of a rich Father than a beggar at the door of worldly men."

"God takes His prohibition of asking for money very seriously, just as He means it seriously when He says He will care for and protect us. However, if we seek to raise our own money, then God will let us do it-by ourselves. Many times we will be able to raise great amounts of money by human persuasion or downright perseverance in asking. But we will miss the greater blessing of letting Him supply all our needs according to his own riches. God has more for us than we would think of asking."

Anyways, back to the story... :) I was secretly smiling to myself on the inside lol and believing that God was going to take care of my entire loan. The next day, State Farm Insurance called my dad and said they were declaring my car totaled, but we could keep it and they would give us a check for....$3,440...almost to the dollar amount what I owed on my student loan!!! Overnight, it went up over $600! If you saw my car, you wouldn't think it was worth $2,000! My dad was shocked, I was shaking and I felt so humbled and so blessed. My car is back on the road now and I believe it will keep going and going. I will never again look at my little tin can, that's what we call it, :) the same. It has no AC, a dented hood from hitting a deer, and two different spots from two separate accidents. To the world, it looks like a piece of junk. But, to me, it will always be a reminder of the faithfulness of my God. I joyfully ride around in 100 degree weather with no AC because I see how God used that little car to take care of all my needs. I see how He used something like a car accident that most people couldn't see any good in and He turned it into beauty. I almost drove my mom's car to work that day, but at the last second, I grabbed my own keys. I now see that was God. I now see He planned it to the exact second that I would get in the accident and He would provide in this way. And nobody was hurt badly and my car is still driveable. I had these debts hanging over my head for 3 I am freed of them.

Earlier in the week before I found out about the car, the Lord showed me He wants me to share with others when I pray boldly and specifically, so it will be a much more powerful testimony when He comes through. I didn't tell my dad and he was still really blown away by the story and thankfully let me use the money towards my loan, however I realize now how important it is to share with others when you are praying God prayers, asking big things most people wouldn't dare to ask, and trusting He will make a way, wow what a testimony that is!

Does this mean I will never struggle and doubt again?


But, I am changed. I see in my own life (not just from the stories and testimonies of others) how God deeply desires us to surrender all to Him. There are a couple things in my life right now that I don't know how I'm going to pay for them, but the Lord is my Shepherd and my Treasurer. He is very wealthy. He tries my faith, but when I am obedient, then the money always comes just in time.

thirty-four hundred dollar bills in my hand at once. right before I deposited it to fully pay of my student loan. :)

I can't tell you how incredible it was to get this letter in the mail, saying my loan had beenpaid in full! A gloriously wonderful tangible reminder of God's faithfulness! I now have it tucked away in my journal. :)

After paying off my student loan, the Lord began to lay it on my heart to apply to Ellerslie for the fall 2011 semester. My faith had been so strengthened after God supernaturally provided the $3,400 and I knew another few thousand is nothing for Him! I mean, come on, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills! (Psalm 50:10) I had exactly $50 left over after paying off the loan, which is how much the application fee to Ellerslie is. Not only did God provide for my loan, but He provided for the fee and as soon as I realized how much was left over, I knew He was asking me to step out in faith and take that step of applying.

The days and weeks after paying off my loan, I felt like a different person. It literally felt like a weight had been lifted off of me and I was lighter. Such joy and gratitude filled my heart! I would just smile and laugh and say over and over "I am debt free!" It was amazing to see the Lord work in my life in such a big way. He took away my doubts and assured me that I truly did hear when He speaks to me.

Clearly I could see the Lord's hand in each step. I knew that I wouldn't be able to apply to Ellerslie until I payed off my loan. And at the rate I was going, it would take years. So, God took me through this amazing season with Him, a season of surrendering all to Him, so when He came through and provided, I would know it was Him. It all happened so much faster than I thought it would. And the fact that it happened so fast, I realized God must want me to go to Ellerslie soon. Or else why did He make a way? Paying off the debt was the first step and He took care of that. Now, He was asking me to apply. Even though He had just provided in this huge way, I still had lingering doubt, wondering if He would do it again. I wrestled for weeks over whether or not I should apply. At first I thought I would and if I came up with the money I would go, but if not, I just wouldn't go. That was until I was doing some research and saw that from the date of acceptance, you have 30 days to pay the first $500 nonrefundable deposit and another 30 days to pay the next $500 nonrefundable deposit. This put some serious doubt and concern in my mind and I knew that if I was applying, it would be for real and I would be trusting God to supernaturally provide everything. I knew it would be a miracle for me to come up with the first $1,000 in that amount of time. Here I was, jobless, and yet applying to a place that would cost me several thousand dollars.

I had other expenses that were stressing me out (mainly dental work) and I wondered how I'd pay for this, let alone Ellerslie. These new expenses felt like a giant road block. I kept asking the Lord and pleading with Him to give me peace over whether or not I should apply. I slowly let doubt sneak into my life and it consumed me for a while. I was feeling really discouraged and didn't feel direction in my life. The thought and dream of Ellerslie wouldn't leave my mind. And the thought that October 2011 is when I'm meant to go remained.

May 20, 2011
Is this another test of my faith to see if I will obey and trust You wholeheartedly that You will provide every dollar I need for everything. I'm desperate for Your guidance and direction in this. Kala texted me last night when I asked her if she had any advice or wisdom about whether or not now is the time to apply to Ellerslie: "Trust Him to give you the answer and have faith He will provide you with one. You might not hear a clear answer which requires you to rely on faith in silence, which is faith of the strongest sort. If He doesn't want you to go, have faith He will stop you. Otherwise keep walking forward without stopping or questioning if you are going the right way. Also, if the road leads to Him, I don't know how it can be wrong. What is your gift? Faith. It is confirmed." Kala said several months ago how my gift is faith and then another friend just said it as well a couple days ago. I can truly believe that. The Lord is constantly building, strengthening, and stretching my faith. What a beautiful adventure this life with Him is! :) How thankful I am that God gave me such an encouraging and challenging friend in Kala. I specifically remember conversations with her in my times of extreme struggle and doubt, when the Lord used her words to uplift me and to speak truth into my life.

May 29, 2011
I feel stressed out about how I'm going to pay for everything I need to pay for. O God, You are my God.

May 30, 2011
Oh, what peace floods in when I rest in You and trust in Your sovereignty over everything and every situation! I am trusting. Waiting. Believing. Hold my cares in Your hands, God."God has chosen the foolish ones and the weak ones has God chosen." -1 Corinthians 1:27

Several things happened in the month of June that discouraged me and took my mind and heart off where God was leading me. A young man I had gone to school with for years passed away in a tragic motorcycle accident on June 16. I was devastated and reminded of how fragile life is.

The Lord was faithful to deal with my heart and comfort me during this time. I was dreading telling my dad about this dream and that the Lord was calling me to Ellerslie. I knew I had to and that it was important to receive his blessing. I prayed that the Lord would prepare his heart for the news and give me the strength to tell him and that it would be in His perfect timing. On Father's Day, I ended up talking with my dad for a couple hours and shared with him my dreams and desires that I know God has given to me. I know God gave me the grace to do this because I never talk freely with him about these things. He didn't fully understand, but gave me his blessing. Thankful to have that. Mom has been supportive of this dream the whole time. Can't depend on my parents for financial support and don't want to. I trust my Heavenly Father to provide...He is all I need. Just another opportunity for the Lord to prove Himself faithful and show His supernatural provision in my life!

On July 1, during my time of seeking the Lord over whether or not I should apply to Ellerslie, he showed me that it was indeed His will for my life. He showed me that the motives of my heart in going were pure. I desire less of me, more of Him. This is about Him, not me.

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

On July 2 (my mom's birthday), I stepped out in faith and applied to Ellerslie. Still felt somewhat nervous about it, but peace flooded in.

Daily, I surrendered this dream to the Lord. Daily, He assured me I was in the center of His perfect will and that I could trust Him. I asked that He would stop me from applying if I wasn't meant to. After I stepped out and applied, I then asked if I wasn't meant to go, that I wouldn't be accepted.

Then I waited...

July 9, 2011
One step at a time. One step of obedience. One step of faith, of trust. "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." -Corrie ten Boom

Debt cleared. Apply to Ellerslie. Wait, wait, wait. Get accepted? God, please sustain me in this season of waiting! How easy it is to stress about the future. Oh Lord, may I stay so close to You that I am certain I'm in Your hands and You know what You're doing.

Still no word from Ellerslie. But, I truly believe I'm going in October. You've layed that date on my heart.

On July 11, I received an email about setting up a phone interview with Sandi, the Dean of Women at Ellerslie. The interview was set for the afternoon of July 14, 2011. I felt nervous about the interview, not knowing what to expect, yet certain I was in the Lord's hands.

When Sandi called, right away I felt peace and calm. She told me she already knew about my story through Bex, one of my dear friends, whose son was adopted by the Ludys. She said I had a truly sweet story and didn't really know where to go from there. Basically at that point, I had a feeling I was accepted.

These are the things she asked me:
What do your parents think about you going to Ellerslie?
Describe your prayer life and how/how often you read the Bible.
What Bible version do you use?
What sort of books do you like reading?

She then asked some more personal questions and we had a sweet time of fellowship via telephone. :) Then, she told me I was accepted, so I didn't need to be concerned about that! I told her my financial situation and that I don't have a clue how the Lord is going to supply the money needed for Ellerslie, but I trusted He would. She said if the Lord calls someone to go there, He will be faithful to supply! She shared a few encouraging testimonies of past Ellerslie students and how the Lord supernaturally provided for them to go. This greatly encouraged me! Sandi then said to do everything I can to show the Lord I'm serious about this and serious about trusting Him. Sell things, work hard, and save up. And trust Him to provide!

She informed me that by the time I come, I need to have payed the first $1,000. And even if I don't have all the money, if God provides the first $1,000, He'll be faithful to provide the rest. It would be a true miracle to come up with that much in the first place!

She said that she thought the Lord had already showed this to me, but He is going to use me and my story in a mighty way! Many girls will be able to relate to me and it's really powerful, so the Lord will use my testimony. She said going to Ellerslie will fortify me and strengthen me and build me up and prepare me for this life of ministry and leadership. She said at Ellerslie, the students are taught how to pray, not just mustering things up out of our own heart and mind, but praying God prayers and having His heart and carryingHisburdens. This is exactly why I desire to go to Ellerslie! To be built up in Him and know Him more, love Him more, learn how to pray, learn how to love, how to serve, and be strengthened and prepared for ministry!

We had a time of prayer over the phone. I was so incredibly blessed by our conversation and felt renewed and refreshed in the Lord.

The Lord has taught me daily, continual, wholehearted surrender in all of this. It's a choice that must be made not just one time. It's giving up my doubts, worries, and anxieties and saying Yes! I trust! I believe! Help my unbelief. It's realizing I have no strength apart from Him. I cannot trust Him, apart from Him giving me grace to do so!

On July 15, 2011, I received my letter of acceptance to Ellerslie Leadership Training!! Woohoo! :) Praying at this time that He will show me what I need to do during this season of preparation.

I purchased the book, "Rees Howells, Intercessor," by Norman Grubb last summer. It stayed on my shelf for several months until one day in July when I felt inclined to pick it up and read it. It's amazing that the Lord will even orchestrate getting books into your hands that will encourage, uplift, and inspire, and He will show you when He wants you to read it, at the exact right time. The Lord has used this book mightily in my life! I am awakened at a whole new level to the life the Lord is calling me to. Through the pages of this book, He has given me the victory of faith! I truly believe that I am going to Ellerslie this October and the Lord is going to supernaturally provide. He has replaced my doubt and confusion with certainty, trust, and joy!

"The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine." -Haggai 2:8

I mentioned before that the first $500 nonrefundable deposit to secure my spot in the Ellerslie program was due thirty days after the date of acceptance. After looking on the calendar to make sure I knew when exactly the payment was due, I discovered the date was August 12, my 22nd birthday! :) I knew this wasn't mere coincidence and that the Lord had planned it all out so it would fall on this date and be extra sweet when I called to make that first payment.

Not having a job, I had no idea how I was going to come up with that amount of money in thirty days, let alone the remaining tuition. I knew that it would be by God's grace alone. I was praying He would provide and that He'd guide me in what to do.

On July 18, no money had yet come in, yet I was in a place of total trust and dependence and was waiting upon the Lord. Kala and I were talking about how I could step out in faith and tangibly show that I trust God will provide what I need to go. The Lord challenged me to live and act as if I had all the money needed in my hands already. If I had the money right now for Ellerslie, I'd be making all preparations to be ready to go come October. I'd be booking my flight, getting books and supplies, making a list of what to bring, packing, and turning down opportunities and invitations during the time I'll be at Ellerslie. What better step of faith to take than to buy my plane ticket!!

"The promises of God are equal to current coin. Therefore, I must act on the promises as I would if I actually had the cash." -Rees Howells

Just as Corrie ten Boom's father asked her when he gives her the ticket to get on the train. 'Right before we get on,' she replied. So our Heavenly Father gives us what we need, right when we need it, not a day before, not an hour before. Whether it's strength, grace, and peace we need...or money. I have never gone hungry or needed something He hasn't provided. I don't need the money this day, or He would had provided it.

This word came to Rees Howells when he needed funds: "Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah are everlasting resources!"

So, I began looking up plane tickets, expecting to find them for around $300. I prayed that I would find one really cheap and found one for much less than that! I wanted to purchase my ticket as soon as possible, even before having any money towards tuition or living expenses while in Colorado. I felt this was an ultimate sign of dependence and trust in God's provision. That afternoon, when I told Kala that I had found some cheap tickets, she said she had planned on giving me a sum of money for my birthday, but wanted to give it to me now. She wanted it to specifically go towards my plane ticket. I felt totally humbled and didn't want to take that money from her. Then she replied, "God provides for us in different ways." To think that God would use my friend to provide for me and that she'd be open to be used! Totally incredible!

July 19, 2011
A couple months ago, I asked that the Lord would take away my desire to go to Ellerslie if it wasn't His will. No, He didn't take it away. He increased it. He gave me the faith to apply and now I've been accepted. He gave me the specific date-October and then payed off all my debts to get me there. Now, here I am in a season of preparation. I have much to be thankful for!! Last night, on a walk, I was gazing at the beautiful sunset, listening to worship music and God spoke this to my heart: "There is a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Right now, you are in the exact season I've called you to. The exact place I want you. I am giving you a hunger and a heart for me and a complete distaste for all that this world has to offer. I am saying, 'Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away with me.' I am preparing your heart for Ellerslie so you will be prepared come October. Ellerslie will be a special, precious time of your life that you will forever treasure. But, don't wait until you get there to grow and live. I have lessons for you now. Don't wait. This is only the beginning."

This is...a time of waiting, discipline, surrender, building faith, trust, preparation, growing...

Booked my flight on July 21, 2011. This is really happening. :)

In times of doubt, I became very tempted to take an easy way of deliverance, by asking different people to help support me in going to Ellerslie. But, oh the joy I would miss by not going on this glorious adventure of trust and absolute faith!

"Living faith is above circumstances; no delays can discourage it, no loss of friends or depression in trade can touch it." -Rees Howells

I felt quite strengthened and encouraged by how the Lord had already provided for my student loans. He has confirmed yet again to trust in Him alone.

"I would much rather be the trusting child of a rich Father than a beggar at the door of worldly men." -Corrie ten Boom

"God takes His prohibition of asking for money very seriously, just as He means it seriously when He says He will care for and protect us. However, if we seek to raise our own money, then God will let us do it-by ourselves. Many times we will be able to raise great amounts of money by human persuasion or downright perseverance in asking. But we will miss the greater blessing of letting Him supply all our needs according to his own riches. God has more for us than we would think of asking." -Corrie ten Boom

"During this period the Lord has allowed us to be tested beyond our strength; often 'pressed out of measure, above strength...that we should not trust in ourselves.' Our faith has grown with the work, and we have proved over and over again that all the testings have been for the purpose of strengthening it." -Rees Howells

Praying at this time that patience may have her perfect work in me! (James 1:4)

What power there is in "praising before the victory! I am in the run of believing great things!-Rees Howells

Before I booked my flight, there was much doubt in my heart that I didn't even recognize was there until one day I found myself saying to someone "IF" I go to Ellerslie. I realized the Lord was dealing with my heart and wanted me to surrender that doubt, even if it was just a small trace. I truly began living, saying, and believing "WHEN" I go to Ellerslie, rather than "IF"! Oh what sweet victory He's given me! :)

"The Lord always shows you all the difficulties when He is going to do anything through you." -Rees Howells

He has shown me many obstacles that stand in my way of going. This has caused much doubt. But, He has replaced that doubt with trust and shown me that it is only by Him alone that I will be going. Not by anything man can do. And man can do nothing to stop Him and His will! He is bigger than any circumstance! He delights in impossibilities!

July 22, 2011
Choosing to praise Him here and now. I still haven't the slightest idea where all the money for Ellerslie is going to come from. But, I know I can trust Him! I know He's already set it into motion.

July 23, 2011

God has revealed something new to me.

"Deliverance is always found on 'the mount'; living faith must first prove to God that it has taken His word and promise for victory." -Rees Howells

This quote reminds me of my prayers of doubt and unbelief. For weeks, I continued to ask the Lord over and over to provide financially for Ellerslie. (which I believe is important to continue pressing in until the deliverance comes through.) However, the Lord has shown me that these have been prayers of doubt! Instead of only asking Him to provide, I need to be asking daily for the trust and faith that He will and daily surrender it at His feet. The heart behind my prayers is changed! Isn't it incredible to watch as the Lord changes parts of you that you didn't even know were there? :)

"Unless we are really trusting Him, where does the praise come in? This peace the Savior gives is not an artificial one. It is so deep that even the devil can't disturb it. You can't hear things in the Spirit while you have any turmoil or fear in you. You can't take a shade of fear into the presence of God." -Rees Howells

July 24, 2011

Feeling discouraged today...what ups and downs are in this life of faith.

As an answer to my prayer that the first $500 deposit would be provided for by my birthday, the Lord began opening up many doors!

August 5, 2011

A dear friend was visiting Raleigh this weekend. The Lord inclined her heart to bless me with $20 towards the Ellerslie fund. It's amazing to see all the different ways God is providing my temporal needs. So blessed by beautiful friends that are willing to be used by the Lord! :)

August 8, 2011

So here I am, waiting again. This whole process is so long and all of it so unsure that God is using it to strengthen my faith. Praise Him for that! Asking the Lord's hand to be over the entire situation. May He direct each step.

By this point, I had quit my waitressing job three-four months before. It wasn't that I was against getting another job and even applied a couple places, but the Lord didn't have that as part of His plan for me to get another job where I could depend on the money. He wanted me to depend entirely on Him! He gave me opportunities for work as He saw fit and in ways that were honoring and glorifying to Him. He blessed me with jobs that I truly enjoy and I didn't have to be around the worldliness and ungodliness that I was at the restaurant where I had worked.

I prayed that the Lord would open up doors for me to babysit and I began getting several jobs, quite a few nights a week! On one specific night, I got three requests! When you pray for something, believe that He will answer! What a joy to spend time with precious little ones! I see my Jesus in their innocence and sweetness. When the families I've babysat for asked me how much I charge, the Lord led me to tell them I trusted they'd be fair. I prayed that He would give me how much He wanted to give me through them and I didn't want to put limits on that. This allowed Him to bless me above and beyond what I could have asked for!

I had the opportunity to photograph a couple weddings in July (another passion and joy in my life) and made a bit of money with that. Also had several other photography sessions.

September 7, 2011

Over the last couple months, the Lord has shown me that so many things I have, I do not need. He has led me to sell things on craigslist and ebay. I have already sold more than $200 worth of stuff and am still listing things. It's amazing that through this whole process of preparing for Ellerslie, He is teaching me so much in each step. It's not all about Ellerslie, but how much He can teach me in the waiting and the preparing. He's shown me that material things do not matter at all and I cling to them too much.

The Lord has also shown me that He is a God of order, not chaos. I spent several days organizing and cleaning my room and belongings and deciding what to sell, give away, and throw away.

The week that the first $500 was due, I had around $250 and started wondering if I'd get all the money in time, but just really felt like I needed to trust and believe I'd have it. That week, a good friend of mine asked me to babysit and blessed me with much more money than I would have asked for! How precious it is to see God provide through others when they don't even realize how they are being used!

Because of my obedience when the Lord showed me He wanted me to have a clean and orderly environment, I found $30 in change! On my birthday, I was up to $360 and wondered how God would give me the rest I needed on that day. After checking the mail and not getting any money that I thought I might receive, I was telling my mom and Kala that I would pay $350 that day. I was confused because I had felt sure that the Lord would provide $500, yet here I was with only a few hours left to my birthday and still $140 short. My mom said she would give me $40 to make it a solid $400 and I was so blessed and excited about this! I was in the drive-through line at the bank, ready to deposit the money so I could call and make my first payment. Kala was with me. I said to her, "$400 isn't bad, right?" And she turned to me and said she needed me to withdraw some money from her account before depositing the money into mine. She gave me the rest of the money I needed! Before we even drove away, of course I started crying. The Lord had told her to give and she willinglygave. I am so humbled and amazed that the Lord would bless me through those I love. And what makes it all the more amazing is that Kala at this point didn't have a job and had no job prospects. Yet, she was open to being used by the Lord. How amazing that He builds and stretches both our faith at the same time! He sees how she trusts in His provision and He will certainly bless it. What an exciting time for the both of us! :)

I called Ellerslie that day and made the first $500 nonrefundable deposit, on my 22nd birthday. What sweetness.

As if this wasn't enough, the very next day, my brother handed me a $100 bill and said it was for my "Ellerslie fund." I used this money to purchase necessary books for class, paid my shuttle fee to get from the Denver airport to campus, among other necessary things.

Seriously, how awesome is God! And how special to see Him use those closest to me to bless me! :)

It was amazing to see how He pulled it all together at the exact moment I needed it. What an adventure this is to trust in the Lord and what a joy it will be to see how the story continues to unfold and how He provides all I need. :)

September 8, 2011

I leave for Ellerslie Leadership Training in one month from today!! The days are just flying by and the time that I will be in Colorado is quickly approaching. Ahh, doesn't that sound just wonderful? Colorado and me and Ellerslie all in the same sentence. :)

Thus far, I have paid $500 towards my Ellerslie tuition. I still have no idea how God is going to provide the rest of the money needed. I am doing what I can, but I know that will not be enough. Please pray for His supernatural provision in my life and that He gives me the victory of faith! And that it will be a testimony to everyone when they see God's faithfulness.

I got my wisdom teeth pulled today and that is an unexpected expense that has given me some anxiety.

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever." -Hebrews 13:8

I meditate on His unchangeable love, power, and wisdom while I pray about my present spiritual and temporal circumstances. Jesus in His love and power has supplied me with what I have needed, exactly when it is needed. In the same unchangeable love and power, He will provide me with what I need for the future. He wouldn't call me somewhere or to do something without providing the means to do so.

Ellerslie doesn't seem like a distant dream anymore...something that is rather far off and I can plan for it later. I am doing a little bit a day to prepare so that I'm not overwhelmed and stressed out when it comes time to leave.

Kala and I went to GoodWill a couple days ago to shop for my "Ellerslie wardrobe." I already have some feminine, lovely, and modest clothing to wear, but I live in the south, so I am not adequately prepared for Colorado weather in October through December. I am trusting and believing the Lord will provide for this as well. I found six pieces of clothing for $20 at the local GoodWill! The best finds are always at second-hand stores I've found. My grandmother is one of the founders of a second-hand store called The Green Olive Tree in my hometown of Crozet, Virginia. I have been so blessed by all the wonderful things I've found there through the years. Just last month, I found a couple pairs of really nice dress pants and a couple dressy shirts at the Green Olive Tree. (clothes that will be perfect for class at Ellerslie!) I know this is the Lord's provision and am so thankful for it! I want my style to be frugal and simple, yet elegant and refined. Instead of having a huge selection of clothes to choose from, I want to make the most of a few items, by mixing and matching and accessorizing with inexpensive pieces. One can be classy without being materialistic. :)

September 12, 2011
"Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends." -George Mueller

Some unexpected car payments came up and I literally had no money. I was crying out to God, telling Him the situation that of course He already knew. But, He wanted me to surrender it.

This afternoon, I walked to the mailbox to see what was inside, hoping a book I was still waiting on had arrived for Ellerslie. Right away, I saw a package and I looked and saw my name on it and was excited to know it was indeed said book. As I was looking through the rest of the mail, my eye caught a glimpse of a bank envelope, with no address and simply these words on it:

To: Hannah Rose Allen

My heart caught in my throat and I began shaking. Someone had put this little envelope into the mailbox, totally unbeknownst to me. I slipped the package over the envelope, as to not let anyone see it until I saw what it was, and rushed inside. I found a place to myself and with trembling hands opened the envelope. 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 140, 160, 180, 200...$200 I counted quietly. Thoughts began swirling in my head about who this could be that did this. But, the fact is, it doesn't matter who did this. The fact is, my God used them to bless me, in the very moment I needed it.

The Lord had set this into motion before I had a clue what was happening.This very day, I pleaded and begged with God and asked Him to give me the finances that I am in need of. Finances I need today. I asked Him to give me the faith that He would. And He told me to wait until He came through. He told me to rest assured that He would. And oh He a more marvelous way than I could have imagined! :)

So, if it was you, whoever you are, that gave me that anonymous little envelope, and if you happen to come across this blog of mine...I want to say thank you. Thank you for letting the Lord bless me through you. Thank you for strengthening my faith today and giving me a fresh peace and assurance in the provision of the Lord. Know that your blessing was more sweet than you could imagine and came at the moment I needed it. Know that we are both in His hands and He is always working beyond what we can see. And thank you for staying anonymous. For this is about God and not man and I so appreciate you humbly giving, not expecting any praise

in return. Even though I don't see it was you, He sees, and it will not go unnoticed. May all the glory be His alone and may our eyes stay gazing upon His beautiful face!

September 13, 2011

The Lord is romancing me so on this beautiful journey with Him. Step by step, He remains faithful. And step by step, I love Him more. May I never cease to be amazed and humbled by all He has done for me and continues to do! I am so unworthy of all this, yet He gives so abundantly nonetheless!

This morning, I am still blown away how He provided that money yesterday. woooow!

I know the Lord wants to stretch my faith through this journey. None of it has been easy, but I would never choose the easier road and miss the greater blessing of having to depend on Him for everything and then having the joy of seeing His faithfulness and provision and knowing it's only Him. I look back now and see how quickly I sold several items, worth over $250 on craigslist and ebay in a matter of a week or so. That was only the Lord's provision because I have listed several items since then and haven't sold a thing...trusting He knows what He's doing!

I'm finding such joy in sharing my journey, my testimonies with you, even though I really have no idea who all even reads these words of mine, though that doesn't matter. Whoever the Lord wants to read my blog and be encouraged and uplifted by it, He will send them here. Even if one person is blessed, it will be worth all the sharing. I so desperately want you to see how He desires us to surrender all to Him. My calling right now is to share His faithfulness, His mercy, His love that He has poured out on me. And this is no small calling. I have a great responsibility to testify to His might and provision and strength, yet find the greatest delight in doing so!

September 30, 2011
I had a lovely time with my mom, sister, and family friend, Grace, at the beach. There is something so very special about the beach...when I'm there, I feel the presence of God surrounding me completely, covering me, wrapping me in His love. The sound of the waves crashing, the sky and sea going on endlessly, almost as if they are one, the soft sand under my toes, the cool breezes...

On Tuesday evening(September 27), I took a walk along the shore and had such a sweet time with the Lord. He painted the most splendid sunset just for me! And as I sung out and worshiped Him, He took me to a new place of trust and surrender about my Ellerslie tuition...He refreshed my soul and reminded me, yet again, that I can trust Him implicitly, with my entire heart, my entire being. At this point, I was leaving in eleven days for Ellerslie and still had no idea how God was going to provide the rest of the deposit on my tuition.

The next day(September 28), I got this email from someone working in the office at Ellerslie...

"Good Morning, Hannah Rose!
I hope this finds you resting in the grace of our precious Savior, Jesus.

I am emailing to let you know that someone kindly donated $200 towards your tuition..."

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to whoever did this. He inclined your heart to give at the moment that it would bless me most and strengthen my faith in His provision!

This grand adventure with Him is so much more beautiful than I could ever have imagined...and so often, I think I've figured out how or when He's going to do something...and then I wake up and am romanced by the mystery I've found in Him. How He takes great joy in delighting me and surprising me. Ahh, what a wonderful God we serve!

Eight days until I'm Colorado bound...this journey with so many surprises and twists in turns has got me asking Him with a smile on my face, "what next, my Lord?...what do You have planned next?" I believe the next eight days are going to be wonderful!

The next several days were filled with packing and preparations. God flooded me with supernatural peace and trust in Him, that it was out of my control and in His hands.

I knew that I would know how the Lord provided by the time I was on my flight to Colorado. On that Friday afternoon, October 7, the day before leaving for Ellerslie, I was resting in my Beloved and just waiting for His perfect provision. I payed a little bit more towards my tuition, though I didn't have much. Nothing came in the mailbox and the hours kept passing...that evening, at the moment I needed it, I got an email from Miss Sandi at Ellerslie:
"I just want to let you know that you received a $1,000 gift from an anonymous donor put toward your tuition! :)"

My God had done it. I knew He would. But here He was giving my eyes the evidence of His faithfulness yet again. As I took off into the sky that October early morning, my heart was overflowing with gratitude and joy. I had been so concerned about how I'd raise $1,000 in three months before Ellerslie and then the last day that I can pay it comes and God supernaturally provides it all the moment I need it! It was as if He was saying to Me. I have everything under control.
On October 17, I received another email from the Ellerslie office:

"I just wanted to let you know that someone has graciously donated $500 towards your being here at Ellerslie. Isn't it amazing how He takes care of us?"

Yes, it truly is amazing. And I truly am unworthy. Yet He offers all of Himself to me, in exchange for all I am. He has chosen me. And I choose to follow Him, to love Him. Yet in light of all He is and all He's done, how could I choose any other way?

During my time at Ellerslie, I had hardly any spending money. At one point, I was getting really low on funds. My roommate took my debit card to the store to get me some medicine. I had no idea how expensive the medicine would be. When she came back, I was concerned that I had overcharged on my account and that I'd have a fee worth money that I didn't have! I called my bank and found out I had $0.59 left! It was amazing that His hand was protecting that. I had almost gotten a drink the weekend before, but got water instead at a restaurant and my roomie had almost gotten the bigger size of medicine, but opted for the smaller one. He was protecting my bank account! The world looking in would say to fret over having such little money, but strangely, I had a big smile on my face and was so excited to see how the Lord would provide! I kept saying I needed to check the mail and my roommate would ask if I was expecting something and I said, "well, not really...but I'm waiting on the Lord's provision." We got some giggles out of this :)

After a few days, the Lord used one of my Ellerslie sisters to give me a sum of money that held me over for several weeks! Most of the meals are provided for at Ellerslie, except for Saturday and Sunday nights. I didn't know how I'd pay for those meals, but every time a mealtime came around, I was invited to a birthday party, invited over for pizza, among other things. God provided my meals for me as well! A few lovely ladies even treated me out to coffee!

With a couple weeks left on campus, a few needs were arising. One evening, I got an envelope in my mailbox that had my name and "Because He loves you!" on it, with twenty dollars inside! The next day, I got a little box with my name and "He cares!" on it with nearly twenty dollars in change. Sometimes the little things are the most special. And to know that God would incline someone's heart to give to me and that they'd be willing to! Thank you!

I got home from Ellerslie on Tuesday, December 13, having no idea how I was to pay off the final $1,500 due on my tuition. God took me through a process of surrendering it afresh to Him each day while I was at Ellerslie. I knew that when and how He wanted it payed off would be the way it was supposed to be, even if it took me a few months working. So, first thing on my mind was getting a job to start making some money. I was honestly a little confused as to why the Lord hadn't already provided, but knew His ways and timing are far above my own. I had seen my own faith grow in ways I never dreamed. I opened my hands, letting go of the way I wanted things to go.

Then on Thursday, December 15, I got an email from someone that works in the Ellerslie office:

"I am happy to inform you that once again someone has donated money toward your tuition and it is paid in full. Isn't that wonderful? It is so beautiful to witness God's faithful leading and provision."

I am debt free! I sit here today, totally humbled and amazed at my God. I am so thankful for this journey He has me on. I will be posting much more about what God has done in me during my time at Ellerslie, but simply the journey to get there has strengthened and stretched my faith so much. I trust my God. My family and friends who hear how God has provided are being challenged. It is especially amazing for my dad to see the Lord's supernatural provision, when he doesn't believe God is involved in areas such as money. But there is no explaining away what God has done in my life.

What peace there is in knowing you are in the center of His perfect will. Trusting that He can give you ears to hear His voice, His beckoning, His call. He can sustain you, strengthen you to obey, and give you all you need to follow His leading. So many times I felt like I was silly, nuts, or just expecting too much out of a God who doesn't care about things like money. The enemy certainly tried to dampen my spirits and hinder me from following my Jesus. But, there was always something Greater...He was calling me away, drawing me closer, asking me to trust Him with everything. So many people thought I was crazy to trust God with this area of my life, but I'm so thankful the Lord didn't leave me there and that He kept pressing me further into Him! And I pray that the Lord will use this testimony to give others eyes of faith!

I was reminiscing over the past several months and could hardly believe we are about to embark upon 2012.

My God is so much more beautiful than I ever could have imagined and His plans for my life are far better than my own. I realize I am just getting a glimpse of His beauty and His plan for me and this is only the beginning. In the spring of this year, I never could have dreamed that before the end of the year, I'd be debt free and an Ellerslie graduate! He led me to quit my job and without a job or anyone else knowing my needs, the Lord provided over $8,000! God alone knew of my needs and He alone supplied them, supernaturally.Beautifully. And I am so thankful to Him and to whomever He used that was willing to be used. Willing to let Him receive all the glory and no man. God has shown me different aspects to Who He is to me...He truly is my All in All. He has shown me this year that He is faithful, He is my Heavenly Father and cares about my every need, big and small. I can trust Him. When you step out in faith and obedience unto Him, you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will guide your steps and supply all you need, the moment you need it!

The Lord has done exceedingly and abundantly beyond all I could have asked or thought during the precious time at Ellerslie. I look forward to sharing some of it with you, dear reader...

This is just the beginning of the story He's writing for me...this chapter is ending but it marks the beginning of what He holds for me next. All the glory goes to God and God alone! I may not know the way I go, but oh I know my Guide!


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