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Watch This!!!

He just kept bringing me there, in my quiet times with Him.

Every time I sat down to listen to Him, the verse would flash through my mind. Hands would flip to it.  Eyes would once again gaze upon the words. Heart would ask questions about it. “Yes, Lord, I already know that…”

“The Lord is my Shepherd.  I shall not be in want.”

It was as if He was taking my head in His hands, directing my eyes to the promise, and saying, “Do you really? Do you really believe that I am your Shepherd? Do you really believe that you will never be in want? Just in case there was ever a doubt in your mind about My ability to keep my promises, big or small…

“Watch This!!”

For I was about to find myself in a situation in which I desperately needed a Shepherd. And I desperately needed to know that HE is the provider of my needs.

After two weeks of a daily mental reminder that

“The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not be in want.”

He was about to give me a heart reminder.

News of the toxic black mold in our former home, a desperate searching through the internet as to what it all meant, a mind-reeling discover of the stuff was on my children’s mattresses, our couches, our dressers and a puzzling over what to do next, all led to a heart cry, “Lord, I don’t know what to do now! Please just guide us, one step at a time as to how we are to deal with all this!”

And He did, for

the Lord is my Shepherd.

~The very evening after that heart cry for guidance went up, we sat around the dinner table with old family friends, come to visit us in our new home, and we shared the news with them.

“Mold?”, He said. “Oh, I know a great guy who works with mold situations. I’ll get you his number.”

Well, that man has been THE most helpful lifeline in all my questions about this.  A vibrant Christian man, who loves Jesus and loves people (especially those who are walking through mold situations) came out to the house (even though it was out of his district) and gave me an indepth education about mold, how it spreads, what do do with things infected by it. My Shepherd had guided me to him. And now I have a human to call (almost every day with new questions) instead of a thousand conflicted responses to the googled, “What to do when you have toxic black mold?”

~Our second week in town after we moved here we needed help transporting our neighbors back from a church event and one woman volunteered. I rode with her and we talked of the Chinese medicine practice that she worked for and the principles of holistic healing.  Back then, two months ago, I was telling her I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Benjamin, and was asking advice. I lost contact with her, but when the source of all Benjamin’s issues were uncovered, I hunted her down on the internet. I wanted holistic healing for my family, not a bandaid, like traditional doctors give. Upon hearing our story, she and the doctor (a Christian Korean man who trusts in the Lord to be the ultimate Healer) worked things out for us to come in at a greatly reduced rate so that we could work towards restoring Benjamin’s body. The Shepherd had put me in that stranger’s car that one evening, because He knew her boss would heal my son.

~The Lord guided us to this place, this church, this school, even though my stubborn heart wanted to go elsewhere.  This place where the body of Christ has utterly and completely rallied around us and SHOWERED us with love and support. I can’t help but think of what it would be like emptying our home of all our earthly possession and being in need, in the midst of Newark, where everyone around us was in the same exact boat… due to other reasons-bed bug infestations, evictions, being desperate to find a bed for their kid, something to sit on in a living room, or a meal to feed their family . Yes, my Shepherd, knew of the mold those three long years and He was guiding us into a place where we could start over and bring our family back to health.

~The Shepherd even put my children into the exact classes they need to be in.  Trinity in a class with a teacher who is a kindred spirit. Daniel Josiah in a class with an incredible room mom who has just stepped into the role of being our personal “mold remediation coordinator”, setting up meal schedules, coordinating donations of replacement furniture and items, recruiting child-care needs while I work on cleaning our house out. This mold thing erupted in my face the very first week of school, and immediately everyone has come around us, despite the fact they didn’t even know us.

I shall not be in want.

~I shall not be in want of prayer support….people all over the school and church have been praying for us.!  We have been able to rejoice in the Lord, and give thanks in these circumstances, and see the good, Kingdom-advancing things that are happening because of it. We feel so privileged to experience losing nearly every earthly possession, for it shows us so clearly that the physical can pass in a blink of an eye but the eternal lasts forever. A new resolve to store up our treasures in heaven is burning in our hearts. Also, it would be very easy to be a beastly parent during the strain, busyness, and exhaustion of this ordeal, but the Lord is giving us grace and patience for our five little ones who still need to eat three times a day and need clean clothes in the morning and need hugs and discipline and refereeing.

~I shall not be in want of moral support. The FLOOD of emails, texts, and phone calls I’ve gotten from new acquaintances and complete strangers all asking what they can do to help, words of encouragement, and promises to pray has been so uplifting, and has assured us that we are not walking through this alone.

~I shall not be in want of a place to stay while our home is emptied and worked on. Three different people offered their homes to a family of seven, five of which are under the age of eight. Now, thats brave, folks. The home where we ended up is a child’s paradise…trampoline, play house, pool, hot tub and basketball hoop, tons of toys, and an incredibly gracious and loving family (with kids!) to befriend.

~I shall not be in want of meals. Immediately, Daniel Josiah’s room mom put together a  meal plan and people I don’t even know have been bringing us dinner every other night. What a relief it has been to be able to focus on the “Mold Remediation Plan” and also know that the kids will have something (other than cereal) for dinner that night.

~I shall not be in want of child care.  So many already-busy-moms have signed up to watch my kids while I clean out our house, take Benjamin to the doctors, spray chemicals over everything, and fulfill school responsibilities. These women are making huge sacrifices to free me up to do what I need to do.  Would have had a nervous breakdown trying to do this with five kids under toe.

~I shall not be in want of hands to help.  The Lord had provided the childcare so I could  run back to the house during school to work on things but it was slooow going as I labored over, “Is there mold on this?” “Can I salvage this?” “Should I toss this?” about every.single.item in the house.  I started asking the Lord for hands and wise minds to make quick decision for me.  Two days later SIX women were working with me in my home systematically going through each room in the house and helping me make tough decisions. I don’t know WHAT I would have done without them!

~I shall not be in want of clothing, replacement furniture, new bedsheets, pillows, towels, stuffed animals, mattresses (Thanks to Ken, and The Mattress Firm), luggage, and so much more. A whole google doc has been set up with all the stuff we had to get rid of and people are signing up left and right to give us items from their homes that they don’t need any more.

~I shall not be in want of gift cards to Target, Walmart, Amazon, etc. Complete strangers sending us them!!

~I shall not be in want of the funds needed to pay for all the medical visits. People have been giving so generously to us to help cover the costs of the frequent doctor visits for Benjamin and the rest of us.

So, here I am, watching God keep his promises far above and beyond what I could even ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:23).  And He’s preparing me, prepping me for the calling He’s placed on my life to serve “the least of these”. And He’s given me an example of what will happen as I make mighty risks for the Kingdom, or give away time, money, and resources to the point of being foolish in the world’s eyes, for I know the path God has put us on, and the people He has called us to serve, there will be times that I will need to remember back to this point in our lives….this point where

the Lord directed my gaze, put His faithfulness and goodness on display, and said