God Works on Both Sides of the Equation: Part II

Welcome to Part II of the story “God Works on Both Sides of the Equation.” (Click here, if you missed Part I.) 

When my pastor pronounced, “God works on both sides of the equation,” images of algebraic equations filled my mind. Normally, I enjoy the delicate balancing act of solving an equation and getting ‘x’ all by itself. However, the sudden shift caused the algebraic equation in our life off balance.  However, the  It aligns with my personality where balance, order, and control are essential.

When a health crisis in 2016 cascaded to a job loss, and the need to sell our home in 2017, I wondered if this equation was unsolvable.  But I held on to the truth I heard repeatedly, “God Works on Both Sides of the Equation.”

Months later, I sat on the deck and shaded my eyes from the afternoon sun. “Refuge is my word for 2017,” I shared with my friend Lauri. Over hazelnut liquid mercy (aka coffee), I shared with her the plan to rent our home on the Vacation Rental by Owner site, if our home did not sell by May 2017.

Lauri’s response was surprising, “How awesome April, God needs your house!”

Her response was unlike everyone else’s.  Most people nodded their head feeling the gravity of our situation.

“What?” I questioned.

“God needs your house! God is going to use your house as a place of refuge for someone else this summer,” she explained.

Our afternoon conversation continued, but her response lingered in my mind. Could it be true? Could the word ‘refuge’ have a wider scope than my heart? God can do anything, why would he want to use my house, I pondered?

The notion that God needed our home changed the trajectory of my prayers. Instead of praying, “Lord, sell our home.” I prayed, “Lord use this home as a refuge for others. Whoever enters through the doors, whether as a summer vacationer or as a prospective homebuyer, may this house be a place of quiet refuge and peace. Amen.”  

I walked through each room of our home praying for the future residents. I prayed for the restoration of family relationships, renewed faith, peace, and reconciliation. If someone else was going to sit in my red chair, I wanted him or her to feel the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Our home did not sell by May so we removed it from the market and listed our home on the VRBO.com website and within weeks, our home was booked for the entire summer! (Thank the Lord for my parents who offered for us to stay with them for the summer).

How could we know a family in Northern Virginia was interested in purchasing our home and they were in the process of getting things in order before making contact?  To their disappointment, the house was removed from the market in May. 

How were we to know that same Northern VA family was vacationing at Smith Mountain Lake in July? While on vacation the family spent a day house hunting. They asked the realtor to drive past our home. Later, Denise told me, “I wanted to see the house in person. Even if it was no longer for sale, I wanted closure.”

Denise continued, “April, you have no idea how many times I’ve stalked your home online. I had the entire house mapped out in my mind. I had prayed for God to open doors for us and close doors not intended for us. When your house went off the market I thought, ‘Ok, God that is a closed door.’  When the realtor drove us to your home and we saw that it was back on the market, I had to see it before we left. When my husband and I walked in, we knew this was the place.”

God works on both sides of the equation. Click To Tweet

Only God could allow our home to close without a hitch in record-breaking time. Chris and I had to opportunity to meet the homebuyers a couple of times. Once, when we stopped by to drop off paperwork, Denise invited us in to tell us a story.

“We have to tell you, the presence of the Lord is strong in this home, especially here,” pointing to an area surrounding my red chair.

The homebuyers also purchased most of our furniture including one of my red chairs. I shared with Denise, my blog, Red Chair Moments. “The area you’re pointing to is where I have spent hours reading God’s Word and in prayer. I can think of no greater compliment than to be told the presence of the Lord is felt in this place.”

I went on to explain my significance of the word ‘refuge’, how my friend said God needed this house, and how I prayed through every room. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears and she told me their family had a rough few years. “Restoration and refuge are what we need.”

Denise and I shared more stories of God’s faithfulness, while our husbands talked over home mechanics etc. There are many more stories of God’s amazing grace that she shared with me involving specific ways our home was a refuge for their family but will remain in confidence. Trust me when I say, God works on both sides of the equation.

Have you considered God wanting to use your crisis for a greater purpose? Consider changing the perspective and trajectory of your prayers. You might not see immediate answers, but know God works on both sides of the equation.

~April Dawn White

© 2018 All Rights Reserved.

God Works on Both Sides of the Equation

God Works on Both Sides of the Equation: Part I

 

From the pulpit, our pastor pronounced, “God works on both sides of the equation.” I scribbled down the phrase in my journal, pondering the significance. This eight-word statement befuddled and encouraged me.

 

Images of algebraic equations filled my mind. Solve for x. If 2x = 12, then x = 6. As a science major, math saturated my college years. Algebra was my favorite over Calculus and Physics, not because it was easier, but because it made sense. I enjoyed the delicate balancing act of solving an equation and getting ‘x’ all by itself. It aligns with my type-A personality where balance and order are essential.

God Works on Both Sides of the Equation Click To Tweet

Like my kid’s rock collection that crashed and fell in the rock tumbler for months, this phrase continuously tumbled in my mind. Unlike the simpler algebraic equations in life that I could solve, life had abruptly changed. A domino effect beginning with a health crisis in 2016 cascaded to a job loss and the need to sell our home in 2017. The sudden shift caused the algebraic equation of our life off balance. Worse yet, I wondered if it was unsolvable.

 

No longer was our life simple, clearly defined, and controllable. Our life was much more complicated and beyond my control. The simple equation of 2x = 12, then x = 6 was gone, replaced by a much more complicated equation that I could not solve on my own. 

But God continued to whisper our pastor’s phrase, “God works on both sides of the equation.”

One of the first steps in solving an algebraic equation is to get ‘x’ by itself.  During this period of abrupt change and insurmountable challenges, God reminded me to get alone with Him and to seek His face. When life is beyond our ability to comprehend, we need to get ‘x’ by itself—and get alone with God.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  (Psalm 91:1)

Alone with God, we can surrender our overwhelming circumstances. Alone with God, we can surrender our doubt.  

God invites us to trade our sorrows for joy, ashes for beauty, our weakness for His strength, and trust for control. (Isaiah 61:3, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Is there a complicated circumstance in your life?

Knowing God works on both sides of the equation, what would happen if you got alone with God and surrendered to the One who can solve any equation. 

I don’t have all the answers, but I know can solve any complicated circumstance for our good and for His glory, because “God works on both sides of the equation,”

“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” (Romans 8:28, AMP)

Please join me next week for Part II of this story. I will share how God worked on both sides of the equation for our family and our homebuyers.

~April Dawn White

© 2018 All Rights Reserved.

Unpacking God’s Faithfulness

We moved into our new home seven weeks ago. As I unpack our possessions, I also unpack evidence of God’s faithfulness to our family.

Carefully removing the bubble wrap, I lifted the print from the box and fell back on my haunches. Tears pricked my eyes as I remembered the symbolism behind the cow print. Ebbie the cow, represents God’s faithfulness, provision, answered prayers and promised kept.

Meet Ebbie

Ebbie is my nickname for this cow. It is short for Ebenezer.  At the time of purchase in 2014, I had recently read the book, The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. The author’s fervent prayer life influenced my own prayer life. Batterson prayer walk circled around a crack house in Washington D.C. During one of his walks, God whispered the idea to purchase the property and renovate it from a dilapidated crack house into a coffee shop.

Years and miracles later, God abundantly answered that prayer. The Ebenezers Coffeehouse is named after the marker of the Lord, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12, NKJV).

In January 2014, one substantial expense after another rapidly depleted our savings account. During this time, I read, “I own the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10, NLT).

Taking God at his word, I fasted and prayed a bold prayer shared in The Circle Maker, “Lord would you sell some cattle for us?”

I am convinced God loves bold prayers, especially ones centered on His Word. I also believe that according to Matthew 17:21, some situations are only resolved through prayer and fasting. This simple yet bold prayer during fasting recognized my total dependence on God. It also acknowledged God as Creator, Sustainer, Provider, and His Sovereign.

God answered my simple prayer, “Lord would you sell some cattle for us?” God answered more than five times. The finances arrived in a variety of unexpected ways, each time I stopped and said, “Thank you Lord for selling your cattle for us!”

My goal is to unpack one box a day. More important than unloading a box, I need daily reminders of Gods’ faithfulness. Our recent move was bittersweet. This move, my sudden illness and a new assignment in life was not part of my plan. However, we enjoy the conveniences of suburban life, including high-speed internet, curbside trash pick-up, and pizza delivery, but we miss our lakefront view.

It is important to look back on our lives and realize God’s faithful fingerprints were holding us together.

What memories can you unpack and recognize God’s faithfulness?

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” (Psalm 77:11)

 ~April Dawn White

© 2017 All Rights Reserved

Ask, Unless You Never Want to Know

Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, my son asked, “Mom, did you draw this card?”

“No,” I replied, setting down the syrup next to his stack of fourteen pancakes.

Examining the card, Andrew asked, “So you stamped and colored this card.”

“Yes.”

“How did you know I’d want a blue truck,” asked the birthday boy.

Smiling, I said, “Because I’m your mom and I know what your favorite color is.”

The stack of fourteen silver dollar pancakes (one cake per year of birth) disappear and the birthday boy exhales, “Mom and Dad, thank you for the best birthday ever. Thank you for letting me invite a few friends to the trampoline park and spending a night. Mom I can’t believe you bought all the junk food I wrote on the list!”

Chuckling, I answered, “Well, you asked.”

Hours later, the sight of Andrew’s birthday card on the kitchen table reminded me of our earlier conversation. Our son was surprised that we would know exactly how to make his fourteenth birthday a blast. God reminded me that even more than I know my son, my Heavenly Father knows me. He knows the details of my heart’s needs and desires.

“Your [heavenly] Father knows what you need before you ask.” (Matthew 6:8)

“Your Father in heaven gives good gifts to those who ask him.” (Matthew 7:11)

A few days before his birthday celebration, Andrew left a grocery list of food items for his sleepover. He was hopeful, but not demanding. To his surprise, we purchased everything on the list.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

I ponder; I am simply guilty of not asking. God’s desire is to give good gifts to his children. I am guilty of praying about the big areas of my life, but leave the smaller issues for myself as if I don’t want to exasperate God. That line of thinking is wrong. Paul, the author of Philippians, encourages us to ask with thanks by prayer and petition.

Taking out a new sheet of paper, I dated the top and listed all my requests.  As God answers each or changes the situation, I will write the date alongside each request.

Moral of Andrew’s fourteenth birthday, just ask.

Ask, unless you never what to know how God will answer. Click To Tweet

Consider:

  • What do you desire that you haven’t bothered asking God for?
  • Consider creating your own list of prayer and petition before God.

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Author & Pixabay. Stamp, “Loads of Love courtesy of Stampin Up.

*Scripture is NIV from BibleGateway.com unless otherwise noted.

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Would You Like Garlic Bread? Learning to Serve While Waiting on God

butler waiter server Pixabay“For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:27,NIV)

Recently I shared about having Faith While Waiting for Answers. A friend reminded me that in restaurant industry waiters are also called servers. She commented that we should be seeking ways to serve while we wait.

This notion of serving while waiting presented itself to me in a unique way this week. Our church youth group participated in a progressive dinner. When I learned the theme for the evening was Italian, I dropped off our son and left. I love pasta and bread, but unfortunately, this food combination will trigger an attack of Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis.pasta Italian Pixabay

Driving home a gnawing feeling rose in the pit of my stomach. What Lord? I prayed. Is this really how you’ve been taught, if you can’t get benefit from an activity than you leave? Go to the preacher’s house. These words downloaded into my brain. I did not hear them audibly but the Holy Spirit was speaking directly to me. I answered back, Okay I’ll go to the preacher’s house (the third stop on the progressive dinner), but Lord if it is okay with you, I’m going to grab a bite to eat at home first.

Beating the youth group bus, I knocked on the front window and waved at the pastor’s wife Sandy, standing in the kitchen. Wiping her hands on a kitchen towel she said, “What are you doing here?” I explained the situation and she grinned. pasta Italian 2 PixabayLess than an hour earlier, she prayed, “Lord, how am I going to serve forty people spaghetti and bread by myself?”

We worked swiftly in the kitchen stirring noodles and sauce and sharing life. It did not matter that I could not eat the meal I was serving or that I lacked the strength to participate in the entire progressive dinner. What mattered was that I responded when I felt the Lord’s prompting.

God will test our obedience in small areas before he will give us grander opportunities Click To Tweet

God will test our obedience in small areas before he will give us grander opportunities. In Amy Carroll’s book, Breaking Up with Perfect, she describes “God’s love language is obedience.” This is a lesson I often remind my middle school children, but this week, it was a lesson God taught me himself.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” (Luke 16:10, NLT)

What unexpected blessing has God given you, while responding in obedience, when called to serve in your season of waiting?

~April Dawn White

*Scripture is NIV or NLT from Bible Gateway. *Images courtesy of Pixabay. © 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Eat Cake: Remembering & Celebrating Answered Prayers

Celebrate “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” (Psalm 77:11)

Cheerful sunflowers in decorated Mason jars serve as the centerpiece for today’s anniversary dinner.  A chocolate cake with homemade peanut butter frosting begs my attention.  I scrape the side of the baking dish, and savor the flavor.

Four years ago, I prayed a big audacious impossible prayer. Four year ago today, God answered that prayer.  Today is my day to celebrate this monumental occasion with my God, a special day just between him and me.

I am anxiously awaiting my family to return home from school and soccer practice so we can dive into dinner and this cake!

 “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24, KJV)Celebrate Eat Cake

As Christ followers, we celebrate the obvious holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Do we remember to celebrate the personal days of answered prayers? August 23rd is my own personal day of celebration. Today is a day to celebrate! Today is a day to eat cake!

How do you celebrate the anniversaries of answered prayers? Do you have a special date that you celebrate? If so please share.

~April Dawn White

* All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway unless otherwise noted. *Images courtesy of author.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

 

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