“For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel,

‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land;

 the wilderness has shut them in.’”

— Exodus 14:3

 

Today while returning home from a dentist’s appointment, I had a chance to share some truth with my daughter that I would love to share with you too. It encouraged me while I was encouraging her. Today, if you are feeling a bit cornered in your current situation, I believe, you, too, will walk away encouraged. Here is what I said:

Did you know that the sheer absurdity of some of our situations is a clear sign that the Lord is doing something amazing in our lives? Our current crisis, especially the more illogical, is happening for one very good reason—it’s in order that He can build an awesome testimony. A testimony that He hopes we will share to encourage others, and more importantly, to help them know Him in a deeply personal relationship—a relationship that “begins” with their salvation.

Testimonies are wonderful to have, yet they are never easy to live through. The little crises that we get through easily are rarely good enough to excite most people into seeking the Lord for themselves. The little testimonies we can easily travel through certainly wouldn’t mesmerize any group of women I’ve met in Kenya, or Brazil. So that’s why the Lord saw fit to begin building some incredible testimonies for me to share—knowing I would be traveling someday—sooner than I ever expected.

Whether or not I go back around the world again, or whether or not you will soon venture into a new country you never even knew existed, the Lord is all about building almost unbelievable testimonies in the lives of His brides. Also, I can personally attest to the fact that without having a Husband to take my hand, and carry me over the rough spots, most of my trials I’d never have made it through—which is always the key focus of my testimony—Him, His love and how He carries us over the thresholds of new things too difficult for us.

Another reason our trials are so difficult is that in today’s world we also are competing with television shows and movies, viral posts. Television and YouTube videos claim to be “reality” but are in “reality” situations that are most often setup and staged, fictional, to capture its audience. That’s why the Lord is doing even greater feats of amazement in the life of His brides. A bride who is so in love with Him that she is willing to trust Him, allowing Him to foster a desire for other women (and men) to seek to find Him and His love.

So, is this what’s going on in your life dear bride? Does your life appear to be so incredibly, and horrendously fictional due to the crazy trials that you are being asked to go through?

That’s just what’s been going on in my life and in our family since the Lord chose to begin building a new testimony in my life: when my husband walked out on our restored marriage. There are many, many areas of my family’s life that we went through: tremendous crises, trials, attacks, and betrayals—honestly, the list is endless. It seemed that the “enemy” was coming against me in every area of my life: my relationships, my reputation, my ministry, my finances, and also coming against my children. Nevertheless, while writing this particular book I have tried to stay focused primarily on our financial crises and how He brought me through them.

Yet, questions tried to pound in my brain, not just from the enemy but from people who would ask: How could any man do what he did to his family? Stating, that by leaving me and our children he had to have known that it would cause mass destruction—since he’d already done it once before. How could he sleep at night?

So, my question to my Beloved was: Is my ex-husband a man of the worst kind, since the actions of these kinds of men are actually destroying their own children in pursuit of their personal gain? Or are we looking at this entirely wrong?

Didn’t the Bible tell us that it was God who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? And if He hardened Pharaoh’s heart, then does it really matter who is behind the crisis you and I are currently living through? And if it wasn’t God who hardened my ex-husband’s heart, or your bosses’ heart, or that friend you thought you could count on and trust, but instead it was their own selfishness, and self-centeredness, may I ask: Who besides me would have to confess that if it were not for the Lord and His love, now as His bride, you and I would act the very same way?

Now, getting back to the point, if God had not used a Pharaoh and his army to corner the Israelites, then would any of us have witnessed the parting of the Red Sea? And if we didn’t have the testimony of the Red Sea, how would we be able to believe God and His promises in our situation?

That’s what my daughter and I were just discussing today. It came up because we had just come from a consultation where her dentist told us that once we were through (in the matter of a few weeks), her treatment was going to cost thousands of dollars. And because of the guilt my daughter had, that I (as her mom and only provider) had to pay it, my daughter went to the bank, emptied her savings account, and put a stack of money in my hand to help pay for it.

We are all just like that with God, aren’t we? We are so indebted to Him, and feel too guilty to accept His free gift, so we feel that somehow, in some way, we need to do “something” to help. Yet, just like my daughter, our attempts to help are so feeble since our resources and abilities are limited while His are limitless. It is just so difficult to fathom the goodness of God, of His generosity, because we feel unworthy to accept it; don’t we?

At this moment, I am seeking the Lord about accepting her money since I don’t want to rob her of a blessing. Yet, even more importantly, I don’t want to encourage her to believe that she must help God when He puts her in a position of needing Him, and Him alone.

Currently as I’ve stated over and over—I am being backed into the Red Sea financially, and the deeper I get, the harder it has become, becoming nearly impossible, to hide it any longer from my children. My children and I have all come to know that basically—there is really no way out. Often, when I really think of how bad things are, or have to look at how horrible things are (when I pay a bill or look at my bank balance), my mind wants to do SOMETHING!! And each time the Lord poses the same question, “Michele, what can you do?” Truly my situation is so much more than anything I could ever do, so it’s simply foolish for me to even try. Therefore, I choose to simply trust Him.

What could the Israelites do when the enemy had them cornered next to the Red Sea, shut in on every side?

In the same way, how can my daughter help? What she can do to help is much too little, and much too late. We all must face that our entire family is being buried in insurmountable debt with no way out. Funny thing is, I knew that we would be.

When I first began to watch our finances fading, the Lord told me to remember Lazarus, and immediately I thought: That guy was buried, right? But not before He died. So my question to the Lord then and something I ask often is, “Am I dead, or am I already dead and am I being buried?” I ask because I am looking beyond where I am to when His resurrection power arrives! I am waiting to hear Jesus calling out to me, like He did for Martha and Mary’s brother— “Lazarus, come out!” with that loud voice that I listen every day to hear.

The absurdity of my situation—no one would believe it if they knew the details—but it is the truth. That’s why I know that it has to be God. So when I began to weaken in my faith this past Sunday, He was so faithful to make sure I knew it was Him so I was spiritually solid to face the next day.

When I woke up Monday morning I had to rush my son over to urgent care, and as you might expect, we have no medical insurance. Two hours later I got home, only to run my daughter to the dentist who referred her to an endodontist for a root canal (and we all know how expensive that is). Then when I got home I got a call from our orthodontist to get an x-ray for my son’s wisdom teeth to be removed. And, yes, of course they need to come out. Within a matter of ten hours, I was being buried in even more debt than I or anyone could imagine.

That same day I found myself pleading with my daughter to NOT ask her dad to pay for her dental work. Even though she didn’t come right out and ask him, she gingerly let her step-mom know about what’s going on, and she found out that the news had reached her dad. Though it surprised my daughter that he didn’t offer to help, and that instead he indirectly boasted that he now had dental insurance and that his new bother-in-law is a dentist—it didn’t surprise me he didn’t offer to help. That’s because all of what’s happening is part of His plan, a plan to prosper us! If her dad helped (or if anyone else helped), wouldn’t it take away from what He is about to do?

Yet, later, I had to ask myself why I hadn’t just let her go ahead and plead with her dad to help? Didn’t we need the help? Didn’t he owe it to her—I mean, she’s his daughter too. But I know why. It’s because either my God will supply ALL our needs or He won’t. And if He won’t, what am I doing trusting Him for my salvation. I mean—that’s for eternity!!

Isn’t that the point? Either we can trust the Lord in all areas of our lives, or it’s ludicrous to trust Him for something as permanent as forever, right? We’re talking eternity! In addition, let’s talk about us helping God. Doesn’t “God help those who help themselves” or did He instead say that it is “not by works of righteousness (since they are filthy rags), but according to His mercy that He saved” and is continually saving us as we cry out to Him?

And if we do have to help Him, isn’t that works? Doesn’t that mean we, then, can boast? And if it is our works that are needed, then what about that sweet Mormon girl that I have been witnessing to—her “religion” is a pretty good one as religions go. Is the Good News message to simply trust the Lord initially, but then work like crazy to gain a higher place with Him, like keeping the Sabbath, don’t drink caffeine, etc., etc.?

How can I honestly tell this Mormon girl that trusting Him alone is enough, if my life proves that He can’t be trusted to provide all of our needs without a little help (or worrying) from me?

Maybe this all sounds too ludicrous for you, but it is making so much sense to me.

Yes, fear tries to grip me.

Reason tries to confuse me.

Doubt tries to invade that peace that I have grown so accustom to.

So I dig my fingers deeper into that spear-pierced side of His, and grab any part of His garment that I can find. If I don’t have Him, truly, who do I have? And when it comes down to it, what do I want or need besides Him anyway? This house, a ministry, my reputation?

Dear bride, whether you are under piles of debt, or shame, or fear, or ridicule, or emotional scars, or physical pain—you, my dear, are being cornered on purpose. He wasn’t worried when this all began, and He is not concerned now that it has taken a sudden turn for the worse. It is all part of the glorious plan that He foreknew and preplanned long before you were even born. And all of it, my love, is for a purpose. But the greatest purpose is so that you, whom He adores so much, can experience His immeasurable love for you, and unlimited patience, toward you.

Dear friend, if you are facing anything like I am, do what I plan to do—crawl deep into His mercy and His grace, then look up and peer intently into His face of glory that reflects the goodness that is about to happen.

My Seventh of Many Financial Testimonies

“Honeymoon Bliss, Continued”

In chapter 5, I shared with you how the Lord miraculously had gone before me and set up a honeymoon that was a dream for a young couple. And as I mentioned, the enemy is always out to steal our joy if he can’t first steal our miracle. He is able to steal it when we panic and agree with him when the blessing looks like it won’t happen.

The day I wrote the final paragraph of the honeymoon testimony, I was able to finally get the exact dates of the resort so that I could book the flight. Since I know how delay in anything brings in new obstacles, I was somewhat expecting something. Yet, this one crisis helped to stretch my faith and has since given me a new and exciting outlook that I had not been able to grasp had it not been for this test.

While booking the flight online, it finally occurred to me that the dollar amount that was on the screen was above and in addition to the 80,000 flying miles I had. What threw me off was that the second two options had a higher dollar amount; so I assumed that the amount posted simply meant the “cost of the flights” if a person were paying for them, not that it was adding additional money I had to pay!

That’s the moment the enemy held a party in my honor. The enemy mocked me, reminding me how I had been so excited to tell everyone how good God is, and what a joke my testimony was that I had just written. Now, here I was, once again, the biggest of fools. He reminded me over and over again that I was going to have to pay hundreds of dollars that I did not have. “Now what are you going to do ‘foolish woman of God’”?!?!

What else could I do? All I could do was to tune into the still small voice of the Lord. Except, when fear takes hold, it deafens you to hearing from Him. I wonder if this is how Eve felt? When the enemy lied to her, did her heart sink to the point that she was made deaf to what she already knew about the goodness of God? I think that maybe for the first time I am finding compassion and understanding with the first woman and mother of mankind.

Though it seemed like an eternity, I believe the miracle happened within about 24 hours of trusting Him with this crisis. It took my digging deep into my faith to choose to move ahead. I told myself, “Okay, so what? If I have to pay, I will pay it. Never mind about the testimony that is now not as good as it was. I, at least, got it down on paper, right? If I don’t share it again, that’s okay. Or if I do, of course I would explain the “little P.S.” at the end. P.S.  I had to pay several hundred dollars. For a honeymoon in Hawaii it’s still a great deal, right?”

Right before I was getting online to book it, I decided I need to build my faith, so I began going over all that the Lord had miraculously done in my life. Even the most recent things He’s done, when you stop to ponder them, will build your faith in His ability to “work all things out for good” and do the impossible! It was during this period of complete bombardment in my mind that I realized that I needed to be sure to write and post each and everything the Lord did for me, then print it off and keep it in a single document so I can search for as much encouragement as I will need the next time I’m going through crisis. Something to hold onto and read during times like these. And along with these testimonies of my own, I also plan to gather ones from our the RMI website of faithful brides, like you, also any I can write down that my friends have shared with me. I must continually build enough faith so that no crisis can ever come against to topple me, not ever! But, first, let me finish my testimony.

Just before I logged onto the site, I found myself asking the Lord to “reduce” the additional cost. The first thought I had was to ask Him to “eliminate” it, but my faith could only truly believe for a “reduction.” So that is what I asked Him for.

When I opened the page, instead of three options, there suddenly appeared a fourth that was not there the other four times I had logged on!!! And it was the lowest cost that was listed first! Rather than hundreds of dollars, which I didn’t have, suddenly the additional cost was just $61.00. Remember, I asked for a “reduction” —so the Lord gave me just what I had asked for!!

Elated, I shared it with all my children who were just in the next room. However, booking it was still proving to be a brick wall, which leads me to another principle: To gain your blessing it often takes pressing through. No matter how often I tried, the site wouldn’t take my information and ultimately I had to seek God for wisdom. He told me to call, which did mean I was starting all over. Which leads to another principle:

The enemy not only loves to steal our promise, and our joy, but when that won’t work, he loves to wear us out. “He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law” (Daniel 7:25).

What’s also important to note is that my son and soon to be new daughter were watching the entire scene take place. So, while sharing the details with them, I am always quick to boast about my weakness of not being able to believe and ask for the additional fee to be eliminated—but only reduced. But this has proved to be a blessing since God always, and will forever cause all things to work out for good! And may I say, I am determined to not be in this place again!

As I said earlier, I really need to create one document in order for me to easily search through, and I’d like to encourage you to do the same thing. All of us need to equip ourselves and arm ourselves with testimonies that are at our fingertips when the enemy strikes out against our faith. Sometimes the Lord is moving so quickly in my life, I barely have time to sit down and write down what has happened in one day! However, I will simply trust the Lord to help me get these testimonies written down, then I hope to also sow them into the lives of others and submit all of them to the RMI website.

What about you? How will you fare during a crisis? Every day, or at least once a week, be sure to gather the testimonies from the RMI website, then make sure they are easily found and searchable. Also be certain you have your own testimonies to share—begin to expect trials, look forward to them, and flourish because of them! I promise that if you sow what you have into the lives of others, encouragement—you will see your own faith and also your blessings grow!!

If the testimonies in this book have helped build your faith, then copy the parts you want to save. Consider having different sections, such as your personal or favorite financial testimonies to read yourself and share with others. Soon you’ll be submitting more praises of how the Lord has blessed you financially like He’s done for me. And whether you’re limited to a reduction or elimination, be sure you always are equally excited to boast about your weaknesses. Keep it real so others can relate.

Lastly, be sure you do the same thing by posting your relationship testimonies, and maybe even another section with the testimonies for a physical healing! Together, as encouraging women, we will WOW the world with what God can do—the impossible!! And how having Him as a Husband means being carried over the threshold of difficulties!!!

Journal