This past week scriptures, email devotionals and even a sermon have all talked about "Double Portions". I struggled with this concept as I wrote in my last post, but today realized that we have experienced this often in our lives. I just have not described it as such! I really felt the need to write my Memorial Box Mondays about a time we received a huge number of double portions from God.
Nearly three and a half years ago my husband Joel accepted a call to a congregation in a church 54 miles east of here. In July 2007 he began working as Senior Pastor of a larger congregation in a small town. We were excited about the move, but worried about finding a house that would be "safe" for me due to my chemicals sensitivities and allergies. After 3 months of Joel commuting to work and hours spent looking for a house, we found a small ranch and bought it 2 hours later. Long story short, we put a lot of money into this house, taking out a loan to do so because we were so sure this house had been provided by God. We had downsized in space and price, and knew we would have enough money to cover things once our home sold. After all, we had sold our other home early on, and although that sale fell through, we believed another buyer was on the way. We went ahead and fixed this new house for me. Then the bottom fell out of our plan, when a hidden chemical spill in the basement of the house was discovered. Just one month after we moved over to the new home, we packed up a few essentials and tearfully headed back to our other home. Three months later we realized we could not fix the other home, and for the next 15 months we spent more money than we had trying to stay afloat as we paid two mortgages, two utility bills, etc. every month. In the middle of all of this I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and I began treatments for that. Our insurance denied more than a month' s coverage and our medical expenses began to pile up. Joel ended up having emergency eye laser surgery, we were in a car accident and took or first ride to the hospital in an ambulance, and during all this Joel continued to commute the 108 miles a day~ keeping us apart much of the time. Joel spent all 3 years, minus one month, commuting and fighting his own undiagnosed illness. I don't think there was a time in our life where we were more challenged, beat up or confused by this turn of events.
During those three years , we experienced a number of double portions that were showered upon us. We know now, that buying that home was a mistake on our part. AND God also knew it ~ that is why the sale of our other home, the one we came back to live in 3 years ago, did not go through. That is why it did not sell in the 9 months it was on the market. God knew we would need a safe place to come back to.
The car accident? It was not our fault ~ the driver was following too close to us and when we had to break for a family of skunks he hit us from behind going 55mph! Joel had a still neck for several months, but due to the fact the doctor had me on a muscle relaxer, I had NO serious problems. An amazing thing since I live in constant pain and with several chronic illnesses. Our dog came out okay too.... The double portion? The driver's insurance company called US and said, we want to pay you $10,000 (so we would not sue them). We had no intention of suing, and did not know if we should accept the money, but after getting legal guidance we accepted the "settlement" they offered. This money helped pay off our debt from the other home.
The medical bills? A member of the congregation gave us a check to cover the costs of my medical bills! We said no at first, but they felt led by God to do so...we graciously accepted and paid off that debt. Now to add to this double portion, the National ELCA synod gave Joel a gift of money to help with medical and other expenses, due to the "hardships" we had endured. We were doubly blessed even when some of our financial debt was of our own making. God is gracious and forgiving.
Oh, and Joel's eye? It is doing much better than before the surgery!
We felt overwhelmed with gratitude for all the gifts God showered upon us during that time. It gave us the strength and hope to cope with being apart....and speaking of that? When Joel had to resign due to his diagnosis of Lyme and need to be on disability...God worked that out for good too ~ but that is another story.
I think I need to put an index card with the scriptures on "double portions" in my Memorial Box to remind me that God loves His children so much he blesses us doubly...over and over again!
Feel free to link up with Linny at: aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com and read other stories of God's faithfulness or write your own.