Peace Forged Through Trials
By Julia Mateer
Standing next to the mailbox, my fingers slowly opened the dreaded letter from the bank. A fist of worry hit me in the stomach as I scanned the contents of the letter finding the word I had anticipated for several months. Foreclosure. Even though we were working with the bank so we could stay in our home, I knew there was the possibility we could lose it. Our family home was in foreclosure because of a series of unexpected events that had occurred over the past five years.
My husband had been a senior executive in the newspaper industry with a lucrative salary and a robust 401K. With the newspaper industry sinking in the internet ocean, Mark lost his job. Although he consulted for the next several years, jobs were sporadic and several clients failed to pay. Struggling to meet our bills I increased my work hours as a therapist for at-risk adolescent girls and cut back on expenses.
However, in spite of our efforts, our savings disappeared, and we could no longer make our mortgage payment. Now we were losing the last vestige of financial security, our home. Memories of birthday parties, anniversaries, holiday celebrations and childhood milestones filled every inch of our home and our hearts.
While the pain of losing our home was intense, surprisingly it did not compare with the underlying peace that reigned in our souls, a peace that surpasses all understanding, a peace that comes from knowing deep within that God would take care of us.
Philippians 4:6-7, says,
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (NLT).”
This peace was forged in our souls through trials experienced over the past five years. Holding the letter, I remembered one such trial; the heart wrenching day when Mark and I had to tell our daughter, Caroline, an Irish Dance champion, that we could no longer afford dance lessons. Guilt and shame welled up in our hearts as we held her while she cried with disappointment. Little did we know that God was going to replace dance lessons with something that Caroline loved even more; horseback riding.
As long as we could remember, Caroline had been passionate about horses. Posters of horses plastered her walls, horse statues sat on her shelves, and books about horses were at the top of her Christmas lists. The next school year brought a new friend, Mia, who was a seasoned rider and lived on a horse farm. She and Caroline became fast friends and spent hours at the horse farm mucking out stalls, grooming horses, and riding.
We experienced God’s provision yet again when we needed a new car. Not wanting a car payment, my husband and I prayed for God to provide a new car. A year later, we received a phone call from Mark’s elderly cousin offering to give us her 2001 Volvo S40 with only 62,000 miles on it, and in perfect condition!
By the time the foreclosure letter arrived, my response was peace. I felt convinced deep down that God would take care of us. Though it made no sense, I felt wealthier than when our bank account was full.
The next time you are facing a crisis, allow God to forge His peace in your soul; the peace that surpasses all understanding. Expect that God will take care of you in the most unexpected ways. God will surprise you with His provision.
As John 14: 27 says,
“I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (NLT).”
What He did for me He can do for you.
Copyright © 2012 Julia Mateer. Used by permission.
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Julia Mateer is a licensed mental health counselor, author of Life-Giving LeadHERship, women’s small group director, mother of three and wife to Mark Mateer. You can contact Julia via her website: www.juliamateer.com.
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