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Here I raise my Ebenezer

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Praise God for what He has done and for what is yet to come!


As you all know, we’ve just moved…..totally relocated.  New house, new surroundings, new shopping spots, everything is new!  Our perspective is yet again, renewed.  I’ve just got to tell you what the Lord has done….

About a month ago, I got an idea into my head that through our move, the Lord was going to reveal Himself to us in a major way.  The more I sought after that thought, I began to think that He was going to show us a sign- a major sign- that directly related to Down Syndrome.  A sign that would be confirmation for us that we did the right thing in moving, as Seth’s education and care were of high priority with the relocation.

I like my new neighborhood!


Stop right there.  Give me a second to explain my faith.  I have never relied on “signs and wonders” from God in exchange for my belief in Him.  Yes, He does them- He performs miracles every day.  But He doesn’t owe me that.  That’s not real faith- real faith is saying, “Lord, whatever may come in life- good or bad- whatever you choose to do or not to do- I believe in you and I will love you.”‘ That has always been my heart, and all the more in the past year as I’ve leaned into Him for my daily bread.  God doesn’t owe me a “sign.”  His grace is sufficient for me, and that grace, I don’t even deserve.

Back to the story.  Nonetheless, I really felt an urging from the Holy Spirit that a sign was on it’s way.  A bit skeptical myself, I didn’t share this with anyone!  I didn’t tell Joel or even my mom for that matter.  I just kept it to myself and wondered.  I would wake up in the night and wonder what on earth it could be….I’d imagine either the buyer of our home or the seller of our new home having a child with Down Syndrome.  I imagined a neighbor having a child with DS.  ”Ok, God- that would be the ultimate!  A neighbor kid with DS.  What could be more obvious than that?”  My mind would go back and forth as to what it could be.  I finally resolved myself to just wait for it.

The week of the move arrived and I was getting excited…..about everything!  But I wanted to see what the Lord was going to do.  Closing day arrived and I started “fishing” in every conversation with every person at the title company.  Sure enough, in my conversation with our buyer and her agent, I found out that they were both full-time speech therapists.  Thanks to all of Seth’s therapies, we are now very familiar with the role speech therapy will have in his development, so we dove into conversation about it.  They knew by Seth’s pictures in our home that he had DS, they worked with DS kids every day!  

“Well, there you go!” I thought.  ”Thanks, Lord.  That was a sweet little tidbit.  Not EXACTLY what I was thinking or hoping for, but okay.  After all, what was I thinking- a sign???”

After three hours of signing my name in every form imaginable and talking about a bunch of stuff that I didn’t really understand, we’d sold and bought a house.  With grandmothers furiously packing and taking care of the babies at home, Joel and I asked for the best local seafood recommendation and found ourselves enjoying shrimp gumbo and key lime pie for lunch.  Before the meal was over, I looked across the restaurant and saw a mom and her daughter enjoying lunch.  

“Huh!  What do you know?  The daughter has DS!  That’s neat.  Ok, Lord.  That was a little more what I was thinking.  That’s just sweet of you, Lord.”

I started to cry.  After all, I was exhausted, stressed, emotional, you name it!  And then I had to explain it all to Joel.  I told him what had been on my heart for the past month and how I didn’t say anything to him about it because I didn’t want him or anyone else to think I was crazy.  I told him about how I could just see myself eating lunch with Seth when he’s all grown up, just like that mom and her daughter.  I laughed at how they’d ordered fancy drinks with umbrellas in them and how we’d surely spoil him to death once our other kids were grown and gone.  Then I told Joel that secretly, I was thinking and hoping that one of our neighbors would have a kid with DS….that’s the “sign” that I was looking for, but the conversation at the title company and the family at the restaurant were good enough.  He agreed- it was sweet of the Lord to give me those two little tidbits.  Just a little something I could carry with me through the day and coming weeks- it was good enough for me!  I called my mother to relay all of the details.  She thought it was pretty neat too….

Moving day arrived.  With the help of a lot of really good friends, we loaded the moving truck and our cars like jigsaw puzzles and headed to the new house!  After ordering enough pizza to keep the worker bees buzzing, I pulled into the driveway.  I took a deep breath- this was home!  Our first day of a new chapter.

As I stepped out of the car, I looked into the cul-de-sac and saw a little boy dart out of his garage, bouncing a basketball and talking to his dad and big sister.  My heart jumped into my throat and I locked in on him.  Time froze for a moment.  I wanted him so badly to have Down Syndrome.  But….he looked so normal.  He was playing basketball!  He was running around and laughing…..just being a kid.  I studied him.  And suddenly, his face turned toward me and my heart stopped.  His eyes.  His eyes were little rainbows.  His eyes looked just like Seth’s eyes!  Could it be??  YES!  HE HAS DOWN SYNDROME!  THE KID WHO LIVES TWO HOUSES DOWN FROM US HAS DOWN SYNDROME!!! 

I couldn’t catch my breath.  I started to sob and ran into the house yelling for Joel.  He was trying to install the washer and dryer- his buddies were working all through the house.  But what do I care?  Look at what the Lord has done!

Breathless, I pieced it out as best as I could, “Joel!  Joel!  Joel!  He has DS!  The boy- (pointing) there’s a boy- in the cul-de-sac- he lives next to us- he has Down Syndrome Joel!  I’m sure of it!  He looked right at me!  His eyes are like Seth’s!!!!  I TOLD you Joel!  I TOLD you yesterday this was going to happen!  Didn’t I tell you!  Look what the Lord has done!  This is AMAZING!”

Joel was worn out.  But he couldn’t believe it.  ”Yeah, you did tell me that yesterday.  Unbelievable!  Are you sure?  This is crazy!?”

What a moment.  Never in my life have I ever felt more like I was dead center in God’s will for my life.  Bull’s eye.  I am still in awe and it still moves me to tears to think of what He did for us- for me- in all of this.  

He’s the same God.  The same God that created the world.  The same God that spoke to Moses in a burning bush.  The same God that blew down the walls of Jericho with the sound of horns and shouts.  The same God that came to earth in the form of a man.  The same God that spoke a word and the oceans and winds obeyed.  The same God that at a word or a touch healed thousands.  The same God that died on a cross and rose from the dead- Hallelujah!  The same God of the Bible is REAL.  He is Emmanuel- still God with us!  He still speaks, He still works, He still moves.
For us, this is an Ebenezer- a stake in the ground.  A marker of our faithful journey with the Lord.  And I assure you, I would still have served Him and loved Him if He’d given me no sign at all.  Isn’t it incredible that He would give us that?  Praise God that He chose to speak to my soul and work in my heart to reveal Himself- His power- to me in that way.
I have reflected on it over and over.  And I will continue to go back to it for days, weeks, months and years to come.  That little boy?  He’s precious and so is his family.  I wiped off my tears and ran to meet them as quickly as I could.  They’ve been so generous to help us in any way- what a resource they will be to us- what support.  It’s overwhelming.  The Lord hand-picked this house for us- he picked our neighbors.  He allowed our home to be robbed last fall to set the entire move into motion.  I clearly see His purpose in that now.  He works all things for the good.
I don’t know your situation.  I’m sure it’s far different from mine.  I don’t know your hurt or your struggle, but everyone has something, and if you don’t, it’s just a matter of time.  Let me encourage you in saying that I know the Lord has master planned your life, just as He has mine.  He knows where the hurt started and He knows when it will end.  He knows the next chapter in your life.  He’s already got it figured out.  You just have to walk through it.  Walk every day clinging to Him for your daily bread, your strength.  Prayerfully consider your decisions and faithfully walk through the doors He’s opened for you.  He may never speak to you in the way that He did me….He may never speak to me in that way again either, and that’s okay.  I assure you that He’s interested in you.  He wants to be that involved in your life…..He wants you to recognize that every detail He’s orchestrated for His glory.  And if you don’t know Him personally, drop us a note so we can have the privilege of leading you to Him.
Life comes down to one thing:  Love God.  He loves you more than you can imagine.
-Emily
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13 Responses to “Here I raise my Ebenezer”

  1. Aunt Em January 24, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    AMEN SISTER!!!!!!

  2. Amanda January 24, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    That is AWESOME! Go God!

  3. Aunt Mandy January 24, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    I rejoice with you in the Lord’d perfect plan! I had goosebumps and tears, LOVE YOU! Still praying as you get settled and familiar with your new mission field.

  4. gina January 24, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

    I will never forget reading this!! How tender of God, how tender your heart – and they collided. Amazing!!

  5. Amanda K. January 25, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

    Oh my gracious…goosebumps all over me. God is soooo good!! How wonderful and exciting!
    Love you guys-

  6. Christie January 26, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

    (I know Jamie and Kristin!) What a precious story! I really needed to read your last paragraph! Thank you for sharing and reminding me that God is faithful and cares for us all!

  7. Kristin Baxter January 27, 2009 at 9:31 am #

    Love, love, LOVE it when God blesses us with those special moments! I’m so happy I stumbled across your blog–thanks for sharing that story!

  8. Stephanie (Emily Woods' friend) January 27, 2009 at 10:07 am #

    I’ve never met you, but know about you through Emily Woods. :) I am amazed by your story. I read your blog sometimes & boy, did I get MAJOR chills & tears in my eyes with this story. I absolutely LOVE stories like this one. Thanks for taking time to type it all out! ;o) Love in Christ, Steph

  9. Elizabeth January 27, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    What a wonderful reminder that He cares about all the details of our lives! Thanks for sharing your heart…let the redeemed of the Lord say so!

  10. Tammie Head January 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm #

    I LOVED reading this testimony! God is so incredibly amazing how He cares for His own!
    I know we don’t know one another very well, but I hear such precious things about you and your family.
    Much love in Christ,
    tammie

  11. Lauren Benesh January 27, 2009 at 8:51 pm #

    Hey Emily! What a great story! Our God is so great. It is really encouraging to read what you wrote, to hear how he is working in your life.
    “Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
    Here by Thy great help I’ve come.”
    Amen!

  12. Laura February 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    My eyes are stinging. I am so grateful Sarah and Ryan have you and your family in their lives. Right now my heart hurts. You in your sharing have given hope! I am glad you are there for them right now.
    Sarah’s Mom

    • Emily February 4, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      When our hope is in Him we won’t be disappointed.

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