Ever get in the middle of something and start to wonder "What have I done?" Well, there were moments like this along our journey. However, God never failed to remind us of what he had done before. Here are a few stories where we know He provided in our past:
1. I was 16, out doing some work in the summer for my dad. I was driving around town, pre cell phone days (yes those exist) and putting up signs for an auction. Needless to say, at that age, a young man can feel HUNGRY. Now when I say HUNGRY, I mean to the point of thinking you are in starving mode. My problem was I was about 45 minutes from home and I had $0 in my pocket. I can remember specifically thinking about nothing but food. With no money and no way of calling anyone, I simply prayed, "God, I would love something to eat. Can You provide me a meal?" I stopped by the family office in Gallatin figuring at the least I could find some bread and some chips to snack on before going home. As I walked in, the fresh smell of fast food hit my nose and my stomach gave a loud growl. I walked back to the conference room where everyone was eating to say hello. As I walked in, my uncle turned to me and said, "Hey Ray, you want a burger, for some reason they gave us an extra one in our order." God Provided!
2. My oldest was just 6-8 months old, still working on her words. Katie went to a much need moms night out and I was home to care for the baby. About midway through, my beautiful red head started screaming and was unconsolable. I tried everything I knew with no luck. I tried to reach Katie, but I was stuck and my emotions were fried. I wanted to "fix" whatever was wrong, but I could not figure out what to do. I noticed her ear was extremely red and hot to the touch. Ear ache I presumed. I remember begging God, please help her, but she screamed on. My prayers increased, still no answer. As I was begging for the tenth time, I remember God saying, "Stop begging me and tell me what you want!" So I kneeled and prayed. "God, I command in the name of Jesus that her ear be healed and healed immediately! Amen." When I finished praying, Hailey stopped crying and went right to sleep. Her ear was no longer red nor hot. Whatever was bothering her had been healed! God provided!
3. It is January 2009. The recession of 2008 was in full swing and many realtors were looking for things to do and people to serve, as was I. I had not closed anything in a awhile and had no real prospects. Money was tight, as typically is during the winter, and I was beginning to be anxious. Days ticked by and finally I was at the "end of the rope." There was less than a couple of hundred dollars in the bank and food was short in the house. I had $5,000 worth of bills due in less than 10 days and wondered how was God going to pull me out of this one. I had read a book recently and adopted a motto from it when thinking regarding finances. It went like this, "My bills are paid through midnight," which was based off the promise in Scripture that od provides for our daily needs. As I prayed, I got an email from an old college friend who was referring one of his friends to me from FL. This friend decided to come up to TN and look for a retreat place. I agreed to show him around, knowing doing so would basically take all I had to run fuel for my truck. We met on a Friday in Feb and looked at several farms. NOTHING was to his liking. As the day ended, I told he and his family I had one more location close to my house to show him. We met on Saturday morning and they fell in love. As all wise clients do, they decided to take the night to think it over. On Sunday I waited to hear word. NOTHING. As the evening set in, I could stand it no more and I called him. He was in Chattanooga (which to me meant he was heading home.) I asked what he thought about the place and he made a verbal offer over the phone. It was considerably less than asking price, so I reluctantly called it in. I have to be honest, when I called I just figured I would get laughed at. However, God had other plans. Within an hour a deal was struck, and then the shock came. The buyer asked if we could close it in the morning so he could get back to FL. I was blown away! I told him I needed at least a day for the title work to be done. All my bills were due on Wed. On Tuesday, we closed the farm, my commission was $7500, which covered all the bills and put food on the table and some extra blessings. From that moment on, as TN went through two years of difficult Real Estate markets, I had the best two years of my career, and they still stand to date! God Provided!
4. It is now January 2012. Again, we are at a very low financial point and winter is upon us. To add to the pressure, our dog had given birth to pups, then immediately died, leaving Katie and I raising 5 pups by hand. AND, Katie was due any day to have our 4th child. On the evening of January 27th, Katie went into labor and had decided upon a home birth at the midwife's house for our child. At noon, January 28th, Toby Knox Carman was born. As with any birth, we were so excited to see our healthy young boy. By 5pm, we were back at our house and everyone settled in. What no one but God, myself, and Katie knew was there was $50 in the bank and only enough food for that night and in the morning. I awoke on the 29th, fixed breakfast for everyone, and knew that was it. Whenever lunch rolled around, we would have nothing. About 10:30 a friend called and asked it he and his wife could come out and bring us some food. Being we just had a baby, this was not an unusual thing, so I said sure. At 11:30, they showed up and proceeded to unload a van full of food. By the time they were finished, our refrigerator, freezer, extra freezer, and pantry were stuffed and running over. He had no idea, however, God had put on their heart to call a church and raid their pantry and come see us. God provided!
And these are only a few of the stories! What God wanted me to do while I was preparing for what was ahead, was to remember Him and what he had done. Not some stories of old from the Bible, although those are great reminders, what He wanted me to remember was what he had done for me and our family. This is Gods way as He works in the life of each of his children INDIVIDUALLY!
I cannot express how grateful I was to be reminded of what He had done, for it gave me encouragement of what He will do!