Often we are asked how we manage to provide for our large family and the many needs. On paper, it clearly doesn’t make any sense. But God loves the orphan and when we commit to caring for one, He uses any means He wants to meet each need. Most often He uses others to be His hands and His feet.
Yesterday was a perfect example of our enormous God!! It’s the greatest thrill to watch Him cause when He does it, it is so crazy-out-of-the-box, we stand back giggling in amazement at all He has done and who He has used.
So as it turns out our Vernon’s needs are greater than we had imagined. We aren’t surprised, no not at all. Paperwork is always quite vague. When I met him in China, I knew we would need more specialized tools to help him function each day.
None of that is a big deal. We love and adore our son and are so thankful he is ours. As for his greater needs? We are his family and we are so thankful we get to be the ones to help him navigate life.
There is some major remodeling that will need to be done over the course of time and we are praying about how that will happen knowing the Lord is faithful and He always has an amazing plan!
And here’s a Memorial Box story fresh from yesterday!
Let me back up a bit…
If you remember I found an amazing wheelchair to take to China with Liberty and I. As it turns out, it was merely a travel wheelchair and didn’t handle China well and after 2 weeks of use,it was ready for the dumpster, and we still had a week to go before heading home! Aye-yi-yi. We were thankful for it, because it was light weight, but my gracious, we needed another chair!!
Now get this, as the Lord would have it, sweet friends, Jackie and Kevin messaged Dw and I while we were still in China and said, “Hey, we have a wheelchair, any chance you would want it?? We can bring it to the airport!” Well we hadn’t even told anyone that the travel wheelchair was falling apart already! But our God was one “roll” ahead of us.
Jackie and Kevin brought it to the airport and the travel one went in the dumpster!
And little did we know that He was actually way, way, way ahead of us!!
After meeting Vern I knew that he would ultimately need an electric wheelchair. Trying to figure that all out would just be too much for my little brain…but God was, again, rolling on ahead of our need!
About 3 weeks after arriving home, while using Jackie and Kevin’s chair, (Can you believe it? Not three years, not even three months!!) we spoke at our church’s Prescott campus sharing on the plight of the orphan and the work that our ministry International Voice of the Orphan does. Afterwards, a new friend named Jason came to Dw and asked, “Could you use an electric wheelchair for Vern?”
As it turns out he knew a woman who wanted to get rid of one. She had never used it, in fact no one had ever used it!! Seriously?? No one had ever even used it!! It was brand-spankin’ new.
This little lady had told Jason that she had tried to get rid of it, over and over and over. She could not find anyone who could use it. Obviously, God was saving it for our Vernon.
So yesterday, we brought Vernon outside telling him we had a surprise for him. The pictures tell the rest of the story.
Don’t you love Dw’s expression??
And a few of his fan club sibs were cheering him on from the sidelines:
This time, the Lord used Jason, who knew a tiny little lady who lives several hours from Phoenix to gift our precious son a brand new wheelchair which she told Jason she paid $25,000 for!! And to think because she was a little lady, it’s a smaller chair, which makes it even better-than-perfect for our son!In our Memorial Box we need a little wheelchair with a number “3” on it…for each of the wheelchairs that God has used…and we will still be using the one from Jackie and Kevin to travel with…
May this story serve as a reminder to all of us: He is always at work around us, rolling out His plan for us…
To God be the Glory, Great Things He has Done.
And for those new to Memorial Box Monday stories let me explain what a Memorial Box is….
It’s a box filled with very tangible items, each representing a time in our lives where God provided, protected and proved Himself strong. Here’s the Biblical understanding behind it…
In Joshua 4 God told the Israelites this:
When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.
These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the LORD had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day……….
On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over.
He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”
So for many, many years we have gathered items and put them in our Memorial Box. We lost our beloved Memorial Box when we lost our home to a fire a few years ago and, finally, after searching high and low found the one we have now.
One of the most significant times, personally, declaring the value our Memorial Box has goes back to 2009. We had just lost our home to the fire and were still reeling emotionally from that. Dw, who had just returned from Africa was very sick, yet he had insisted on driving with me the 1120 miles [one way] to Iowa City for Isaiah to have surgery for his Arthrogryposis.
As I drove farther from home, Dw got sicker and sicker and ended up being admitted to the hospital as well, which meant I had Dw on one end with Isaiah having surgery on the other end…and we were 1,000 miles from our home in an unknown city.
To top it off, the tests the hospital was running for Dw were alarming – clearly showing it was his liver. Fear began to take it’s ugly grip as I grappled with: Dw deathly ill, Isaiah having surgery, not knowing anyone, the kids 1,000+ miles away and uncertain what was exactly wrong with Dw’s liver. As panic overwhelmed me, suddenly, one by one, the trinkets from our Memorial Box zoomed by my mind’s eye in a steady stream.
And instantly I was overwhelmed with God’s peace as He whispered,
“What is in your Memorial Box?
Do you not remember?
I have healed, protected, restored and rescued in the past.
I will not leave you.
I have this one too.”
The thing was that when the Lord whispered that to my heart, not one thing had changed, but instantly I *knew* – He had been faithful all those other times, His faithfulness would continue even in this Iowa City, husband very sick, son having surgery season.
I encourage anyone I meet to begin a Memorial Box today. He is always faithful and we must always remember!! This is our Memorial Box!