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Oct 7, 2009

WFTL Cards - When I Pray

I'm so excited today to be a part of something really special. Something that I believe can really touch the lives of people across the globe. Today's post is going to be a little wordy, so I'm just warning you now. :) I hope that you'll stick with me though, because I'm speaking from the heart.

I was approached a while ago from a friend that I've met through stamping, asking if I would be interested in helping spread the word about something that's very near and dear to her heart. Chelsea Cook is the sweetest, most genuine, most GIVING person ever... and she felt led to start a ministry through card making. Wait For the Lord (WFTL) Cards is all about sharing Jesus' love to others. You can read more about WFTL Cards by clicking HERE.

There are several girls participating in a blog hop today... and all of us have created a card that we would like to send to someone who could use a little lift! If you or someone you know could use some encouragement, just leave a comment on this post. One random commenter off of EACH blog post will be selected to receive a card. ALSO... one commenter selected from the combined posts will win a stamp set of their choice from the sponsor this week - Our Daily Bread!!!

I have a lot more to say below... but I wanted to let you know that when you're done reading my novel... I mean post... make sure to hop over to the next blogger --- Patter Cross!!! If you came to my post out of order, you can start your hop on the WFTL blog.

I've known for weeks that I wanted to focus my card today based on this verse:

"When I pray, you answer me! You encourage me by giving me the strength that I need" Psalm 138:3

If someone wrote a story about my life this past year, this verse could be the title! I've learned that sometimes the truth from God's Word is not an easy lesson to learn. Sometimes I could quote this verse out of wonder and amazement because God worked in amazing and wonderful ways. But... other times, I had to quote this verse out of faith because it felt like my prayers weren't going anywhere.

I've debated numerous times if I should talk about what's been going on lately with my family. I'm a pretty private person... and most people that I work side-by-side with every day have no idea what's been going on in my life. But... I've decided to share a little bit right now... and hopefully it will bring someone some encouragement in their own lives.

The story began about 9 months ago. To make a long story short, my husband lost his job. I wish I could say that it was an effect of our lousy economy... but it was much worse. My husband was a HS teacher/coach and cared about his 'kids' with all of his heart. About a year ago, one of my husband's students/players made a really poor decision and was expelled from school. We knew his family... and they were/are great people. It was devastating to them. Their son lost his college scholarship, didn't get to graduate, and was in legal trouble. So.. one evening, my husband decided to visit the family and try to offer some encouragement... and just wanted to let them know that he still cared about them and was there if they needed him. The leadership of the school found out and didn't like the fact that my husband was giving them any support.

A little while after that, my husband was called down to the office. He was presented with documentation and told he had two choices. He could sign it and post date a resignation and they would allow him to teach for the rest of the year... or he could fight it and lose his job/paycheck/benefits effective immediately. The document was basically a list of accusations against him. The #1 accusation was that my husband visited this student's home and had a 'drinking party' with students that night. The rest of the list was just as absurd and completely twisted. Anyone who knows me or my husband know that we don't drink. I think I've had a total of 3 drinks in my entire life... and he's had less. We were just raised very conservatively and it's just not something that we do.

When my husband came home and told me what had happened... I told him to please tell me he didn't resign. He said... at that moment, he felt like he had a gun to his head... all he could see was his family & he couldn't imagine telling me that we would lose everything in an instant. --- So he signed it. After that, he found out that he could contact union representation... and they tried to get the school to take back the resignation. Late that night, we were awakened to a telephone call from my husband's principle... telling him that he was no longer employed and would not be allowed to work the next day. I guess the pressure from the union upset them enough to submit his resignation immediately... instead of waiting for the end of the year as promised.

The administration spread terrible rumors about my family. That's not easy to deal with in any circumstance, but when you live in a small town... it's even more devastating.

So.... life has been a challenge --- financially, emotionally, and spiritually. I've come to rely on God in ways that I've never had to before. There have been long stretches of time where I've questioned whether or not my prayers have even been heard. I've wanted to scream and cry... and have a big fit (and sometimes I have). :) And... sometimes so much time passes and so many things keep going wrong that you just wonder where God is sometimes.

But... just at that point where I felt like I couldn't make it one more day... God stepped in and reminded me that He's always here... and never leaves my side.

About a month after the news of my husband's job... things went from bad to worse. In about a two week period, my car broke down and needed $1500 of repairs. Then... our basement flooded, destroying our furnace... and causing us to need to replace all of our exterior plumbing. It was the hottest day of the year, and we had no air conditioning. Then, a couple days later, my husbands car broke down. After that, our washing machine suddenly stopped working. I started to feel like Job from the Bible... and just waited for the boils to start growing on my skin. ;) I decided to take a bike ride to just vent a little... and discovered that my tire was flat. It was almost comical.

So... we prayed. It was one of those situations where you can't do anything else BUT pray. We had enough money from our tax return to pay most of the bill for my car (which was essential b/c I was the only one working at the time). My husband looked on Craig's list and found that someone in our tiny town had just listed a washing machine for sale... which we got for $25. He got online again and found someone in town who had just listed that they were looking to do auto repairs on the side... but didn't want to be paid. Instead, they wanted a laptop in exchange (I know... strange.) That day, my MIL called and mentioned that she just so happened to have a laptop at home that she had forgotten about & didn't need... and wondered if we could use it. So, my husband's $1K car repair was paid for with a 'free' computer. My brother came over and worked with my husband for 3 solid days... and they were able to replace over an acre of plumbing by themselves, saving us over $3-4K. My cousin, who hadn't been to my house in years, came over and was able to fix my air conditioning... free of charge!

"When I pray, you answer me! You encourage me by giving me the strength that I need"

I knew at that point that everything that had been done for us could only have happened through the work of God. And... even though we are still facing HUGE obstacles, I know that God is in control. Out of the billions of people on earth, God heard me pray and ask for a washing machine! LOL! And if He could provide me with a washing machine, He can provide for my family in the big things too.

I hope that my story gives you a little hope. There are a lot of people who are struggling in different areas in their lives. Maybe it's financial troubles... or health issues... or marital problems --- or maybe you just wonder deep inside if there really is a God out there -- and if He's there, does He even know what you're going through. I can speak through experience and say, Yes. Without a doubt, I KNOW that there's a God, and I know He cares about each and every one of us. And... even when it feels like all is silent and no one hears you in the middle of the night when you cry out... He hears. He really does. And, if you ask Him to prove it to you... watch out! --- because He will! :)

I hope to have a new message to send to you one day soon. Through all of the struggles we've gone through, I have to believe that there is a plan... and God is in control. I don't know why my husband was allowed to lose his job... and I don't know why my stinking bike tire had to go flat. ;) But... maybe one day I'll understand it all and can tell you all about the wonderful things God has done in our lives once again.

For those of you who made it this far... thanks for listening. I appreciate you guys! :)

Card Info:
paper & chipboard frame: Basic Grey's June Bug collection; computer generated sentiment; Zva Creative pearl flourish; Martha Stewart ribbon; the Paper Source cardstock; PTI white ink

76 comments :

  1. Such a gorgeous card. I love the beautiful frame! Really stands out! And the Lord will never leave your side. His plans are perfect, and He will be glorified through all things. And yes, He even provides for the little things like a washing maching. He is amazing, and may you continue to trust in Him through the harder times. Have a blessed day and week ahead!

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  2. Wow, thank you so much for sharing this with us! Isn't it awesome how the Lord takes care of us if we just let Him?! I am sending prayers right now for your family! God Bless!

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  3. Wow Julie, I had NO IDEA!! What an incredible story...I'll be praying for you guys as you continue to deal with this.
    But what an amazing testimony! I'm glad you had the courage to share :)

    Beautiful job on the card too :)

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  4. What an awesome testimony Julie! Thank you so much for letting us see into your life and learn from your life lessons. The situation seems outrageous to me but it will be exciting to see what God has planned for both of you. Love the verse and the encouragement. Hugs to you Julie!!!

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing. It is such an encouraging story of God providing. I will pray for you and your family that God continues to work wonders in your life.

    Beautiful card as well.

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  6. Oh my goodness, Julie!! You certainly been given the awesome, incredible opportunity to trust God in everything!! He loves you so much and wants your life to be a testimony of His great love to others and His wonderful provision in the midst of the storms. To God be all the glory!
    btw... gorgeous card!! thanks for sharing your heart with all your readers!

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  7. It's my first time here and I was really blessed by your story. I needed to hear that today; if you only knew how much. Thank you.

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  8. thanks for sharing,its amazing how many blessings we have in our lives, the verse on your card is wonderful~

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  9. Your post made me cry! I am so sorry you and your family are having to go through all this. I will be praying for you.

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  10. Julie, everytime i check out your blog your crafts always seem to inspire me and think wow.. i love that, i want to try it!
    Reading your story has inspired me to believe even more that God does have a plan and a purpose for everyone. Those who judge and slandered your family will be reminded of that one day... possible judgment day.
    Your a strong inspiring woman with a big heart and sweet spirit.
    Have a great day. God bless.
    Natalie

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  11. Wow, what an AMAZING testimony to God's great power!! Your card is beautiful and the verse so completely true!! Our God is an AWESOME GOD!!

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  12. OOh My, I am sitting here in tears. Your post was absolutely moving and I'm so proud of you both for where you are now in spite of such hardship and turmoil and your never ending faith pulling you through. I happened on your blog today, but I am a firm believer that there is a reason and there are no "accidents", only life lessons for us, and I'm so glad I am here! Your testimony (post) is a beautiful way to witness. Thank you for that :) now, your card! WOW! It's dazzling with it's rich and bold colors and lovely verse - thanks so much for sharing your lovely post with us :) Blessings!

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  13. Julie, I've been a follower of your blog for quite some time. I always read but I don't think I've ever commented. I truly admire your work. I wanted to comment today after reading this.

    I am crying after reading your post. You have been such a blessing to me today after telling your story of perseverance through faith. Thank you for sharing your story. I have also been going through some things in my life and I know that God will answer me if I pray, but more importantly, if I trust in him. Again, thank you for having the courage to share this. You have touched my heart.

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  14. Oh boy! Not sure if the comment I left just now was sent ..... so just in case, thank you (again!) for sharing your beautiful post!

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  15. wow julie i can hardly believe you kept that all in and did not share until now. I am sending huge hugs and prays your way that it all turns around for you. I love your quoute and i think it should definatley be made into a stamp. Submit it to paper make up, odb or even unity cause i love it. have a great day and remember we all love you.

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  16. Julie, I don't even know what to say--you are a rock, a rockstar, and I thank you for sharing this message today. Whether or problems seem big, small or otherwise, God IS always there. It took so much for you to share your story, and it's such a wonderful, wonderful, heartfelt testimonial to His love and daily bread to us all.

    A big hug to you, my friend!
    Amy

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  17. My life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6. Having lived several years past the "events" that have since grown my faith it is easier to say WE are the lucky ones Julie - yes there are huge challenges but when you recognize and acknowlege God in those answers and TRUST in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowldge HIM He WILL direct your path!!! I will pray for your family to allow God to lead you every difficult step after every difficult step!! Thank you for sharing your story - I am positive that you will be a blessing to others in your courage.

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  18. Such an elegant card. I pray that your family's testimony of God's work in your lives will draw others to Him. I am praying for you.

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  19. What a treasure you are! I am in tears... Thank you for sharing your heart. You have touched mine!

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  20. Just knowing that God is behind you and will take careof you and your family is half the battle. I am a firm believer that God will take care of you if you just let him. There is nothing more on your part you need to do but stay strong and believe. Everything will work out, and work out for the better. Take care and don't forget to "smile".

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  21. The work on your card is beautiful. Your testimony of God's provision and answer to prayer what even more precious. Worth all the time to read and more. May God continue to work as personally as HE has for you.

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  22. Wow, I'm so sorry that your family's been through so much lately. I'm glad that you have your faith to stand on to get you through it together.

    Your card is wonderful and such a blessing...

    - April

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  23. Julie thank you for sharing your story. Yes, I know God has a plan for you and your husband. Remember that when God puts us through trials, it's because he's preparing us and testing us for something! I pray that God reveals them to you and continues to provide comfort and blessings to you and your family. BTW, I love your card!! :)

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  24. Beautiful project.. loved your testimony. The Scripture is perfect. I think I'm going to stand on that verse for a while. Love you, girlie...

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  25. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It really encourages me! What a great verse to hold on to!

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  26. Thank you for sharing your story! I had shills while reading it! :) God only allowed Job to go through thoses trails, because He knew he could handle it, just like He knows your family can handle it too! I will be praying for your family and for a door to open up for your husband a job! :) Great card and what a great scripture! :) God Bless!

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  27. Wow! I'm so glad I found your blog today!!! Your card is beautiful... and I'm so glad to see this verse ministering to so many... but I especially want to thank your for sharing your testimony! As Christians, we sometimes expect that life is going to be a bed of roses...but that's now what God has promised us! What He has promised is that His Grace is sufficient for us! Sounds like God has allowed you to go through much so He can use you much! Like Paul said... when I am weak... then I am strong for his strength is made perfect in (my) weakness! God bless your family as you go forward from here! Keep your eyes on Jesus... knowing that what He has started, HE will complete! Thank you for your willingness to share!!! Hugs!

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  28. Its so true one never knows what is on anothers plate. Your testimony is so timely. Thanks for being real. May God continue to bless you, and your family! Your card is beautiful.

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  29. God is good...all the time.
    A job is on the way, all in God's time.

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  30. What a great color combination and a perfect choice of verse. Thank you for sharing your story. Isn't it awesome the way He's always providing?!

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  31. my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I know He will give you strength! :) Beautiful card

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  32. Julie thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so wonderful to be reminded that God does answer prayers, even when we don't think he does. It is even more remarkable that your prayers were answered in such miraculous ways. I will be praying for your husband and family that God will show himself once again in your life by clearing your husband's name and giving him employment once again. You are truly blessed and loved. BTW my maiden name was Campbell, which made your testimony more touching to me.
    Your card is fabulous, I really love it............

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  33. Great verse! Love your card & design!

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  34. Tears are falling as I'm writing this comment. Your testimony touched me more than I can say. I too lately look up and wonder if God is listening or what did I do Lord to deserve all this. But God is in contiol and I know at the end of this trial I'm in I will have a testimony to help someone else. Thank You so much for sharing!!!!!

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  35. Hi Julie,
    Here you are under these hardships and painful circumstances, encouraging others, putting yourself out there and giving your time and talents. Your faith and strength from the Lord is clearly shown. My heart and prayers are with you and your lovely family. Big mountains are hard to climb, but know that you're in good company, as I'm climbing my own. I'm proud to be your Christian sister!

    With Christ's Love,

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  36. God bless you real good!!
    A sister in Christ

    allaboutstampin@msn.com

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  37. THanks for sharing your story, Julie. You've touched many, I am sure! Sometimes we never know why we go through what we go through, especially when it is as extensive as you've shared. But the why doesn't really matter (and that's the hard part for me since I think I must understand in order to move forward.) It's the "what are we going to do with this" that matters. And God asks us to just trust Him and... wait on Him. Fun fun card, BTW. Love the verse!

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  38. Thank you for the wonderful inspiration! This card would definately go to my hubby :o)

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  39. Julie,
    I love this verse, and the colors you used. So very 'Octobery'. =0))

    Blessings
    barbara jean

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  40. Sweet Julie, first... BIG hugs to you. Thank you for sharing in hopes to show light to someone else who reads this. I know you will touch many by your story of faith and trusting in the Lord. Thank you so much for participating in the hop with me. Gorgeous card you made... I know someone will be greatly blessed to receive it. Praying for you and your family.
    ~Chelsea

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  41. Thank you for sharing your story. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer. The Lord knows what we can handle and we just have to have faith and trust in him. Your card is beautiful! Love the scripture.

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  42. I was so moved by your story. No matter what comes our way, God is faithful. I love how He answered your prayers and met your needs so creatively. You blessed my heart and I will remember to pray for your family. Blessings to you!

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  43. Wonderful card! Thank you for sharing your story with us! Wonderful verse choice to!

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  44. Julie, I have tears in my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I know it's not easy, but it helps. You and your family are in my prayers. What a testimony you have to how God works in our lives. I know one day soon all of this will make sense and great blessings will come out of this time of trials.

    I absolutley adore your card and know it will lift the heart of someone in need.

    HUGS!

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  45. What a terrific card and verse and a wonderful testimony to God's work in your life through this verse. Extra prayers heading your way!

    Big Hugs,
    Ruth C
    Angelartistok

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  46. Thank you for sharing your testimony with all of us. I know how hard that had to be. But God is Good!!

    I am sending prayers your way!!

    Your card is beautiful!!! I have been a follower of your for awhile. I love all your gorgeous cards!!

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  47. Julie, thank you for sharing your story. God is always faithful if we have true faith in him. I have prayed and will continue to pray for you and your family. God will prevail.

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  48. Julie,

    Thank you for sharing your heart and God's answer to prayer. God is definitely interested in every part of our lives, even our dirty laundry...I will keep you and your husband in prayer. Your card is beautiful, as usual.

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  49. Oh hon - why didn't you share earlier so we could be standing with your family in prayer. Never forget that we are family and love you dearly. I know God will do something outstanding in your life - just stand strong and know we're with you.
    blessings
    Elaine Moore - mtn.moven.faith@comcast.net

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  50. What a beautiful card!! The colors are so striking.

    Thanks for your transparency in sharing what going on in your lives. It's hard to know why the Lord allows things to come into our lives at times but He sees the master plan that we can't see. It's wonderful to "see" you praising the Lord even during the tough times.

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  51. Sending lots of prayers your way sweet Julie! I am glad that you could let some of the weight off your shoulders. Your testimony is amazing. Gorgeous card too.

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  52. This is my first time on your blog and it was so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your testimony - hearing it touched my heart and re-enforced something that has been on my heart and mind. Thank you. The card is beautiful and would be a wonderful encouragment for anyone who receives it.

    Rhiannon

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  53. GOD is GOOD--oh so GOOD:) Thanks for sharing and love love love your work! I am putting your web on my FAV's list!!!
    Thanks:)

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  54. A beautiful card and I believe you are quite generous to share your story of the past year. May the tide keep turning for the better.

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  55. Wow, what an amazing story. God is so good and answers our prayers in so many ways if we just trust in him. Thank you for sharing this, I'll be praying for you and your family.

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  56. What an awesome ministry to be apart of and thank you for sharing how God has revealed himself in a greater measure to you and your family and I will praying with you.

    My mom could use a little pick me up. She is going through similar emotional circumstances
    that your family has been dealing with. Different circumstances....but the emotions are the same. She is trusting in God and learning to fully depend on him and over all like yourselves is doing a great job.

    Thanks again for this beautiful ministry.

    Many Blessings,

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  57. Julie, Only Trust Him..as I know from reading your blog that you do! God has a plan for your lives..for all of our lives. I will be praying for you and your family! It's such a blessing and encouragement to see God working in our lives..even the smallest details..He loves us! Keep pursuing Him..even so Lord Jesus ..Come Quickly! Love your card & your blog.

    Heather

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  58. Dear Julie,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. You are not alone and stories such as these serve as testimony to others of how God cares for us and provides for us our basic needs. I always turn to your blog for inspiration as your work is beautiful, creative and a breathe of fresh air. The cards I make are almost always to encourage someone going through a difficult time or a new chapter in their life and I always try to encourage them to turn to God for help. I have six on my list of to-do’s this week alone! Your story today encouraged me and confirmed something I too believe strongly – that God is always there to provide for us (Mt 6:33) and that we must always confide in Him (Prov 3:5, 6).

    Thank you!
    Nery
    ps.i.luv.u@comcast.net

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  59. Julie..What an incredible story..& we have such an INCREDIBLE & AWESOME GOD...I know He will see you through these trials. Our GOD is faithful! Only trust Him!

    Love your card & your blog! I will be praying for you & your sweet little family!

    Heather

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  60. wow!!! thank u very much for all this information. Keep on supplying such useful information. It really is interesting.

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  61. thanks for sharing that Julie. God is great. he does provide. i know that you have just touched and inspired many people to keep moving through their struggles and hardships, no matter what they may be. you are brave to share your story and put it all out there. i admire that. HUGS!

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  62. Oh my gosh, Julie....oh my. I JUST read this post and feel like I've only just gotten to know even a TEENY bit about you through the couple of emails we've exchanged and just reading your blog that I LOOOOVE...and yet this just brought tears to my eyes and i just want to give you a great big hug! Thank you for being so BRAVE to share such a story with us. I am SO sorry for the false conviction that your family went through but am lifting you up in prayer and am so glad you shared your story so that we can pray together for you. I am also so happy to hear that your prayers are being answered, even little by little, to get your family through this. You are strong and brave to share this with us and I'll be thinking of you!!!

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  63. Gorgeous card! I didn't know these things, and I am glad things worked out. My husband lost his job due to the economy and our washer quit! I believe you have to remain positive and give it to God or you will go nuts! xoxo

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  64. This is a great card - but I'm even more encouraged by what you've shared. God never promises that life will be shiny and happy, simply that He will give us what we need to make it through. Isaiah 40:31 is so often quoted, mainly in talking about "soaring like eagles," but I find it so encouraging to think that when I barely have the strength to put one foot in front of the other, he'll keep me upright (not fainting).

    And you can be sure that that He will be glorified - some way, some how - through it all!!

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  65. Thank you so much for sharing your very personal, private life stories. Just know that if one person is lifted up by reading your story, then it is worth it! God has a purpose for us--ALWAYS!!!!

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  66. I constantly read your blog...I get email updates. This post has brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this. You have inspired me on so many levels. Lots of love!

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  67. Julie,
    Your post was AMAZING!!! You were so transparent.... and, you gave the glory to God (where it belongs!) I, too, have been going through "things". You have given me the courage to be transparent!!! Only because it will point others to God. I love, love, love following your blog. It was your blog's title that intrigued me.... You are an amazing woman of God!!!
    Tassie

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  68. Your story is really a touching one. Just heard a message recently entitled "Suffering is not our enemy". It certainly appears that God has strengthened your faith and provided miracles for you and your family through your time of suffering. May lots of good things be right around the corner for you all!

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  69. OK, I come to these sites to see all the beautiful cards but never take time to read----then something (or Someone) drew me to read yours!! THANK YOU!! I SO needed that today!!! You never know who you will touch !!!

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  70. {{{{{{{Julie}}}}}}}} I've been thinking about you.

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  71. Julie, thank you for sharing this. It brought tears to my eyes, for you and in gratitude to a God who does hear and answer our prayers! When we, as Christians, are honest and transparent with others about what we are going through, we have no idea how that will impact them for His Kingdom. Less mask wearing == more glory. Thanks!

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  72. {{{{{Julie}}}} I'm so sorry for all your family has gone through in the past year. I've been through seasons like this. Thanks for sharing your story and your faith. May God bless you through this trial. I'll be praying for you all.

    Hugs, Julia

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  73. Somehow I missed your original post! I'm so glad you referenced it today - you are amazing, and yes, God is good!! many hugs and much love!
    Elaine

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  74. Awww... Jules. Love you so much, girlfriend. I've been privy to much of what you've shared in the post, but to see it all lined up together... ooftie. What a hard year. And yet you are so faithful and true and talented, a good friend, a wonderful wife and mommy, and I'm sure an awesome nurse. You're definitely a hero of mine in many ways. Hang in there, chica. Keep praying, and like I always sing to my boys when they feel down, "The sun'll come out tomorrow..." Of course, after all these years, they shout "Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I hate you! Tomorrow!" when I get to the chorus but you get my drift... ;) Anyway, lots of hugs and good thoughts coming your way from OK!

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  75. hihi julie ... i came across your blog only today and fell in love with it immediately ... love the cards u made ... and when i reached this article ... i felt so touched ... yes, He does wonders and we need to have faith in him ...

    hang on tight and all will be well and sunny again soon :) ... my thots and prayers are with u ... :)

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