Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ask, Seek, Knock - pt 1

Since my last post, I felt like God wanted me to share something else... so here I am.

Most of us are familiar with the verse in Matthew, but I'll put it here just for a refresher:
  7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
   9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 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!
Ok so after my last post letting you all know the "big secret" - that I'm asking hard core for my husband - I've been pondering this verse.

For a long time I dont think I understood why Ask, Seek, & Knock were all in the same sentence. In my book, they just seemed like a reiteration of the same point.  However, recently, I have come to realize that maybe that isn't the case.

Lets go back to my previous BHAPS and how God worked them out: my car and my home.   They go hand in hand... and its kinda a long story... so  Maybe I'll split them up.

The Volvo:
In 2008 I was working a Commission only job and money came sporadically.  As a single parent, I was having a tough time keeping up with bills on this income and therefore the car that I was making payments on became too much to bear.  It was Repo'd.  I came outside one day and it just wasn't there. That was a bad day!  BUT God had better for me.  My BHAP was: God I need reliable transportation for cheap and SOON.

I opened up to my co leaders in a lifegroup pre meeting.  It was humbling, humiliating, embarassing.  I was failing at something and needed help, needed prayer.  Because I made my needs known quickly in community, my needs were met!  My co-leader at the time calls me the next day and says "My roommate has a Volvo that has just been sitting at our Apt.  He got a new car a while ago and doesn't need it. I think he will just give it to you."  Uh - WHAT? Who just GIVES AWAY cars?

My dad goes to check out the car & even though its been sitting for 6 mo or so- its in decent shape and we end up spending only $1000 to get the car running, inspected, etc.  The car was a 95, but it was great, safe, reliable, sturdy.  It even had leather seats and a moon roof.   BHAP answered.

The Accident:
The volvo was awesome... but then I was coming home from hanging out with friends one night and a guy backed into me in the parking lot of my apt complex.  That night I cried thinking God's great gift was destroyed and now I was at the end of my rope and was again car-less.  I remember feeling devastated and hopeless.  However, GOD works all things for Good!

It ended up being the other guys' fault.  The car was "totaled" according to his insurance and it was worth $4500.  I got a windfall of money from this FREE car and was able to pay for other things I needed.  I put over half in savings.  I hadn't had savings since my sales job depleted it.  The other bonus was that the car still ran! My dad is an amazing mechanic and fixed the car where I could drive it!

The Turn:
So the accident was in April 09, and I was able to drive the car all the time.  However, it had some body damage - something that didnt bother me a bit, but it did bother my apt complex.  It hadn't been a problem because I was gone all day every day at work and returned when the office was closed.  UNTIL... one random day in August when my son was home sick and I got a note on my car saying I had 20 days to get my car fixed or it would be towed anytime it was spotted on property.  Again- this was DEVASTATING!  I was mad.  I didn't know what I was going to do.  I went and talked to the management and they told me that after the 20 days passed, my car would be looked for... and if found on property at any time day, night, or weekend, it would be towed.  But, GOD works all things for Good.

Stay tuned for part 2....

Ask, Seek, Knock - pt 2

Ok so I'm in the middle of my story about BHAPS and cars/houses... go back to pt 1 if you missed it and read that first.  I'm splitting it up bc its long!

The Camry
So there I am at the apts not sure what the next 3 weeks would hold and how I could get a car.  I did now have savings and felt like the Lord told me I could spend $2000 on a car.  It didnt' make sense to spend that on the current car... so I started looking.  At first I was looking for a Honda, but then after taking one to a mechanic, I was told to look for a Camry bc of their reliability and their being easier/cheaper to work on when they break.  So I search auto mags, talk to friends, make my needs known, look at Craigslist, etc.  I found some cars that were 2500 and up that looked decent but honestly felt like the Lord only wanted me to spend $2000.  I wasn't sure how he was going to pull that off.  I was scared... because everything I found in the 2k range was kinda ghetto, run down, lots of miles, looked unreliable.

Randomly, I just fell on an ad that was for a Camry.  Its the car I now drive.  It was exactly $2000.  It had only one owner for the last 15 yrs.  It had every single receipt from every single tire, tune up, oil change.  It was kept in the garage most of its life.  It even had a brand new (3 week old) cd system installed with Aux input (that I could use w my ipod!)  This was DEFINITELY a step up!!  It was a GREAT car.  I bought it the day i saw it and was giddy with thankfulness!  God provided better than I could have imagined.  Better than I should have been able to afford (like models with same mileage/features were typically 1000-1500 more on EVERY search site).   And this happened in the 20 day time limit!  AND I got to sell the Volvo and made $900 to put back in savings.  EXTRA BLESSINGS!!  BHAP answered!

Stay tuned for pt 3 about the House.

Ask, Seek, Knock - pt 3

The House
Because of what happened w the Volvo and my apt, I was annoyed!  I joked about moving.  My dad said "I wish you would."  I was surprised.  It didn't seem like I'd really be able to afford moving.  I barely got by on my own at the apt and surely a house would be more expensive.  My pastor said "You know, it would be good for Nate to move to an area and stay there for longer than a year. It would provide more stability." And two different friends within two days of each other said "You should look into the area around Stonewall, I've heard great things about that school." It was (not so)  random comments like these that led me to where I am now.  It created another BHAP.

My BHAP for a house was this:  I want a safe place where Nate can play.  I want a backyard.  I want a home where I can entertain and host parties.  I want a small garage or storage of some sort so I can get my stuff from my parents.  And it'd be awesome if I could have an ice maker.

It was a HARD 4 months as I asked God for this new home.  It was faith building, but it was gut wrenching, it was discouraging, it was hopeless at times, it was tiring, it was scary... but in the end - it was so worth it.  

I told people what I was looking for. I talked to realtors.  I looked at places.  I prayed about roommates. I asked people.  I searched online.  I had a friend that went with me one day up and down every single street in the Stonewall school zone and we called every single house with a sign out front.  None of them were valid possibilities. 

Two years earlier before I got into the Apt, I had seen this adorable house at the end of a cul de sac - just down the street from my pastor. It had roses out front and a lamp post.  It had a porch and a back yard.  It was adorable.  I fell in love with it instantly.  BUT we called about it then and it was $1450/mo for a 2 br 1 bath.  WAY out of my price range. When I started searching again, I kept driving down by this house.  It was still for rent but it was 1350. Still too much.  The day we drove up and down the neighborhood, this was the only house we could look at as the key was in the mailbox.  I still loved it.   IT was PERFECT.  God can I PLEASE have this house?? PLEASE?   I hear: This will be your home.

The Process:
So I began the process of applying, packing, etc.  I turned in my notice at the Apt and my move out date was set.  By Jan 10, 2010, I had to be OUT of my apt - there was no going back!  However, there was a problem... we didn't "have" the new house yet.  IT took forever to get applications reviewed, talk with landlords, work out pricing, etc.  Christmas and New Years were in the midst of that time and just made things take longer.  Also, with my bad credit (from the years in commission and struggling to make ends meet), I wasn't the best looking renter.  But I was determined that was my house- the Lord said so.  We made plans like we were moving there even though we didn't get the "Ok" from the landlord yet.

On New Years I was recruiting friends & family to come move us.   "Where are you moving to?" they would ask... I'd just say "Not sure yet.. but I know I'm gonna have to go somewhere that day!"  I'm pretty sure they all thought I was crazy.  It was kinda funny to me.   In my heart I was still believing for this house- but it was also fully submitted to the Lord and I knew that he could say NO or Not right now, or do something different than I was expecting.  STill, I kept planning, packing, and recruiting.  I kept claiming his goodness and tried to keep the anxiousness and tears at a minimum.  I knew he initiated and orchestrated the whole thing (from the day at home where they put the note on my car about towing - all the way to Jan 10th - whatever it would entail!) I knew he would provide for me. 

The Move:
Jan 10 was a Saturday.  The Wednesday before that, I got an email from the landlord saying we were not approved for the house based on my credit and my offer for rent (I offered him 1050/mo and apparently their lowest number was 1125).  My heart sunk... but I still felt peace and like God was saying it was still my house.  It didn't make sense.  I kept packing, praying and planning to move.  

Thursday we emailed back asking if we could do 1125 and pay 6 mo up front to lessen their risk since I did have bad credit.  He FINALLY said ok.  We were going to have to borrow the other 5 mo rent from a friend so that was a whole other ordeal.  Thursday was a SUPER stressful day.  We got the house, but it wasn't all that joyful because of all the crazy details. Friday we keep packing and getting everything ready.  Saturday morning we were set to move in.  My family & friends showed up, I told them where we were headed and we got to work loading.  My roommate and another friend went to the house to clean, etc.  We still hadn't even seen the lease or gotten the keys, but the landlord said it was fine. 

Saturday mid- morning he calls me.  As he's fixing our paperwork, he asks "Are you sure you want to pay the 6 mo up front?" I quickly say ... "well... no... but don't we have to because of credit?" He says "no, I think its fine.  Just give me the deposit and first month today and we'll go from there. 

I was so excited I cried!!  We got our house and we didn't have to borrow any money and it was OURS!!  My God never fails me.  The ICING on the cake was when I got there to unload the first load and checked out the kitchen... THERE WAS AN ICE MAKER!!!!!!!  Oh how my Jesus loves me!  :) 

This house has been a place of safety, its been a place to host parties, its been a place to develop community and friendships among neighbors, a place for Monday afternoon play dates with 4 other kids Nate's exact age.. and I have room for my stuff from storage! And I even have an ice maker! BHAP answered!  

The Moral:
He is teaching me how to trust Him.  He is showing me that he WANTS to provide for me.  He is showing me that he wants to meet my concrete needs as well as my needs for community, for security, for a HOME.  He even wants to give me the silly stuff that I don't need- like a cool CD player in the Camry and an Ice Maker in the car.  (and even my camera that he gave me - see the post titled Good Gifts for that story)

So after stories like this that are mine... not even someone else's story that I overheard... but a story I LIVED...WHY do I still have a hard time trusting that he has GOOD for me or that he will REALLY answer my BHAP?  Its really silly!  I have more proof in FAVOR of an answered BHAP than NOT in favor of it.  The odds are on my side!  :)

Stay tuned for part 4... 

Ask, Seek, Knock - pt 4

Disclaimer: this post won't make sense if you didn't read the last 3 - unless you walked with me through the last couple of years!  You might want to skim them before reading this one!

Ok so what does all these stories have to do with the verse I posted on Pt 1 - Matthew 7:7-11?

The Lord used these examples last week to remind me that he didn't just GIVE me what I asked for on each of these examples.

Actually- now that I think of it, these are a perfect example of the verse:

The Volvo- all I did was present a need - or ASK, and the car basically fell in my lap.  I didn't even have time (or a need) to look for a solution.
Ask and it will be given to you;

The Camrythis was an example of searching for a solution - or SEEK.  I had to put some effort into finding the right car this time.  God gave me clues (like the mechanic who recommended a Camry, the $2000 limit, etc) and ultimately he had me in the right place at the right time to find this car on craigslist and get it just in time. 
Seek and you will find;

The House - this was a little tougher than just presenting a need or looking online. I really had to fight to get the house I felt like He was giving me.  I had to be persistent.  I had to be creative.  I had to be SURE he was calling me to THIS place because all signs were pointing to NO just days before I moved in!  It wasn't just a matter of being in the right place at the right time... it was about not taking no for an answer and almost exhaustedly knocking down the door till I was able to call my house "home" and claim my promise!
Knock and the door will be opened to you.

And the promise to ALL of us if we will abide by these 3 principles is this: everyone who asks receives; 
the one who seeks finds; 
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Praise GOD!

So this is why I have faith that asking for my spouse is a good, holy thing.  And so far, I believe I've asked him, and I have tried to seek who He would have for me by dating when he has said date, and by going online if/when he says that. So it looks like its about time to start knocking (banging anyone??) on the door of heaven to see promises fulfilled!  I'm claiming a spouse by the end of 2011!  And I really hope he's excited to see just how much he's been contended for when we are both led to each other at the perfect time!

What are you KNOCKING for??  Do you trust that He is good? I'd love to hear and be praying for you too!  Feel free to email me privately at