My life as a stay at home mother has been an endless discovery of God’s character. When I first became a Christian, the very first bible study I attended was about “The names of God”. Though He is known by many names, there are some names (7 name in particular) that are emphasized throughout scripture. These describe a fundamental nature of God, and have served as the building blocks of my faith in Him. Now as a wife and mother, God revealed himself again thorough these names. It is only fitting as I share of my motherhood experiences as He has led me through it.
Jehovah-jireh: The Lord will provide
The first mention of His name as the Lord who provides is in Genesis 22:14, when God provides Abraham a ram for the sacrifice instead of his son, Isaac. But it was not the first time Abraham knew God as his provider. He had already experienced his providence and was certain that in this particular task, God will come through as well (Gen 22:8). So what was special about this incidence that Abraham had to build an altar? The answer for me was simple. It was because the task involved his son. His legacy. The stakes were too high. The need was too great. It always amazes me how God can work on you through your children.
When God asked Abraham for his son as a sacrifice, despite the promise He gave to him, it took special courage and faith to obey. Abraham was a father who loved his son. It must have broken him. But Abraham feared God, and trusted that God knew what He was doing. He also trusted God with the outcome (Gen 22:8). He could have taken a sacrificial lamb with him when he took Isaac up that mountain. It would have been the logical back up plan. After all Isaac is the promised heir. God would not surely take him? But if he did take that extra lamb with him, Abraham would not have showed true faith in God’s providence, or reverence to God’s command. He may have failed the test, and perhaps lost his son in the process. Thank God, we would never know. When God came through, and provided Abraham the ram for the sacrifice, he truly knew deep in his heart that God is his provider. He trusted God unquestioningly, uncritically. He built an altar, so that he and generations that come after will remember that God is the Lord who provides. To remember that God’s providence always comes at the right time, in His own way. Especially when He brings you in to a season that involves your children and providence is all you can think about.
The Stroller Testimony
When my husband and I moved to Europe we used whatever money we had left to furnish our apartment. After that we had no savings to buy anything for the baby. So we prayed. God in his mercy answered with this “That is my child. I will provide”. I have faithfully held Him to that promise for the past 4 years. Like Jacob wrestling with God for his blessing, I have not yet moved until He has provided for my family.
We knew we needed a really good, durable stroller. We did not have a car, and we needed something that would be sturdy on uneven ground. My husband did some research and selected a stroller that fit our criteria. When we checked the price online, we lost a few heartbeats. It was over a €1000. Now as much as we wanted a new one for our baby, we had to be realistic. We adjusted our expectations according to our means, and looked for second hand options. It is truly God’s mercy that we live in Europe where you can get almost anything second- hand, and it all looks brand new. Hallelujah!
However my husband managed to find the exact stroller he wanted on ebay. It was barely used and in great condition, but it was being sold at €600. We did not have that in our bank account. We were visiting my parents at the time in Asia, so I decided to ask my father for the money. It seemed like the most logical thing to do, and I knew my father would have been more than happy to help. But for some reason, my husband and I had no peace about the decision. So we prayed. We asked God, what he thought of the stroller for His child that he trusted us with. We asked him if it was durable and in good condition. We prayed that if He liked this stroller as much as we did, He would provide us the money to buy it, in His own way. After praying, my husband and I decided not to ask my father for the money, but instead wait on the Lord. We let the matter slide. Pun intended
The next morning, my father knocked on my bedroom door and when I opened handed me an envelope and told me that it was for the baby. When I opened, it contained exactly €600! The exact amount we needed for the stroller. My father did not know about the stroller or of our finances. This was my “altar” moment. It was not as nearly as intense or great as Abraham’s but it was MY moment. The moment I KNEW that God is my Provider. He has given me this baby, brought me to in this season, He himself would provide in His own way, in His own time. I need only to trust in Him, and wait upon Him and His plan to unravel.
Over the years I have experienced countless ways God has provided for my family. He has provided for us in miraculous ways but also in subtle practical ways. Every time a need has come up in our family, we do what we did that day. We pray and ask God of His thoughts about what we need, if we really need it, and if we should have it. If the answer is yes, then we have learned to wait for God’s own way of providence, and the correct timing. I truly believe that it has taught us how to manage our finances, to live within our means, and to identify a “need” from a “want”. It is so tempting to take matters into your own hands, and rely on your own thinking and means to provide for the needs of your family.
Sometimes desperation can drive us to ungodly means of providence that may lead us in to debt rather than abundance. God has also used times of need to test my motives; whether our needs come from the right motives. God’s providence is always good, trustworthy and sufficient. He alone knows our true needs and motives. He provides accordingly. Abraham’s faith in the Lord’s providence was not blind, but was built on continuously trusting the Lord and His promises.
As a wife and a mother I have learnt to bring every need no matter how insignificant it may seem, to the Lord, and wait on Him to sort through my needs and provide accordingly. The wait is never easy, but it does build spiritual stamina. The Lord knows that you need that stamina to thrive as a mother. Waiting, and the manner in which you wait is an opportunity to for you to test your own faith in the Lord. It has carried me through much and little, and at the end of day, God always came through and we knew no lack.
A surprising wonder of God’s providence is that it multiplies. My “altar” stroller now carries my second son. It is still as good as new, sturdy and keeps my baby warm as I walk about doing mom-life.
He knows. He provides.
His way. His Time.
He is who He says He is: My Provider.
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” (Psalm 37:23-25 NIV)