I have been reading lots of books all summer--trying to fill up my soul after a demanding year. One of the books I read was so encouraging to me in seeking to develop a deeper prayer life. (More on that later.)
So, of course, I have been seeking the Lord more diligently every day in worshipping Him, in seeking to see His hand in my life and thanking Him for all of His daily graces in my life. Of course my foundational prayer for many, many years, has been that my children, Clay and I, will love Him more every day, with all of our heart and serve Him faithfully until we see Him face to face. I have also been seeking Him and asking for blessing and a pouring out of His Spirit on our ministry, and on the women leading Bible studies and starting groups--and also on our leadership training coming up and my wonderful ministry team who helps in our ministry so much.
My heart has been greatly encouraged in this discipline as I really believe that it is the power of God in our lives, from being with Him, seeking Him and asking for His work in and through us that will manifest His work and ways in our lives. I am amazed that He would condescend to listen and respond and love and encourage us, as He is so holy and above us. But still, He loves to respond to us--personally, as a Father to His children--in the most minut details.
Soooo......., there was this matter of an oven. I have 54 women coming to my house in a couple of weeks for training in writing, speaking and ministry. But my small double oven is/was quite old and the top oven died a year ago. And the dilemma was that I was planning on feeding these 54 women for 3 days was looming large in my mind.
So, I read, "Pray about everything."
"You have not because you ask not."
"But when He comes back to the earth, will He find faith?"
"Ask in my name."
So, I humbly asked for a double oven with a convection top so we could prepare the meals and keep them warm.
Now, Clay and I had already decided that we couldn't afford the $2200 price of the oven from our local store. Something about having 3 older children who are still finding their way through school, and all have cars and insurance and medical issues and just life, with a new driver in the making! You know the issues.
"My God shall supply your needs according to His riches."
So, we prayed. And we asked our ministry team here in town to pray with us.
Out of the clear blue sky, one day, I found a check in a letter in the mail. A friend of our ministry, all the way across the United States, sent me a check for $300 and said, "I am not there to help you prepare for the intensive training coming up, so use this check for something in your house as you get ready for the women to come.I felt like I needed to send this to you."
Meanwhile, Clay began to look for an oven in Craig's list, because of a friend's advice who had been at the prayer dinner at our home, when we prayed for the leadership conference coming up. So under "appliances", nothing came up. But, under "garage sale", he found a less than two year old, 30 inch double oven, convection on top, oven on bottom. And less than ten minutes from our home. We called and went to the home of the man who had advertised.
A beloved friend, a board member, who just "happened" to be in the area (from North Carolina) went with us to look. Because He oversees construction for a major restaurant business all over the United States, he knows building and kitchens and ovens and such. He went with us to give us his expert advice on whether we could fit it in the space where our 26 inch oven had been.
Turns out, the man selling the oven was a believer and knew mutual friends of ours that we worked with in ministry. The oven was like new and seemed to be calling out, "Sally, take me. I'm yours!"
Clay inquired, "What price would you ask for the oven?"
"Well, since you all are in ministry, I think I would like to get $300 for it?" --the exact price I had received a check for in the mail. And when we asked him the specs of the oven, it would fit into the space in our kitchen within an eighth of an inch!
And so a week after we began praying, we have our miracle oven right in my kitchen--a picture of God's sweet provision and grace.
And, by the way, when the installer came to our home, who had been recommended by a friend who builds cabinets, he just happened to be a young man, who had 3 very small children and whose wife had just begun to homeschool--who needed some advice and encouragement and support group.
So God linked us with a believer with an oven and an installer who just happened to need help that we were so blessed to be able to give. So fun to see His hand at work.
If He would care that I have an oven to cook in for my leadership conference, what else might He be willing to answer as I pray for Him to bring about His power in and amongst us in our Kingdom work amongst families, mothers and children? Hmmmm...... I just can't wait to see what is ahead!