Ebenezer Collective | TRUST AND PROVISION
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Stefanie Spencer

In January of 2016, the Holy Spirit laid the word “trust” on my heart. I don’t say this lightly, as I am a skeptic when I hear people say, “the Lord spoke to me,” or, “God laid it on my heart.” I mean, big eye roll (maybe internally because I wouldn’t want to offend you) and lots of questions swirl in my mind.

However, the verse Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths,” was on repeat in my head. I just couldn’t stop it from playing over and over in the back of my mind. I knew God wanted this verse to mean something to me. And I was annoyed. I thought, “Ugh, why this verse? It is so overused and cliché in the Christian community, God. I want something different!” Over and over, I said “no” and searched for something else in Scripture, and over and over God pointed me to Proverbs 3:5-6.  “Trust me,” He whispered. I finally conceded. I remember sitting in my backyard while my children napped confessing to a couple of girlfriends who were doing a bible study with me about my reluctance to obey God’s leading. This was the first time I experienced God speaking to me this heavily. It felt strange; surreal. I had no idea God was about to show me that He is in every detail of my life. He was calling me to a front row seat where I would see His goodness and faithfulness through provision after provision over the next year.

Psalm 100:3 “Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

On March 31st, I held a positive pregnancy test in my hand for our third child. My husband, Nate, and I were joyful, yet nervous. We had a 3 and 1 year old, and let’s just say it hadn’t been easy. Our first daughter cried for about the first 9 months of her life, my husband had a very demanding job, I suffered from postpartum depression after our second daughter, and we were intentionally working to improve our marriage. Could we really do this? Then I heard it. Trust me…

A week later, April 7th, I received a message from Nate that he had just been laid off that morning. I thought he was joking – seriously, that was my response. This was a complete shock to both of us. We knew his company was about to have a mass layoff, but we were confident that his job was secure. The night before, we had prayed for those that would be laid off the next day and discussed how hard it would be to receive that news. The very next evening, we stared at one another in disbelief, while being filled with so many worries. The questions started churning in my mind. “What would we do? How long would it take to have income again? What about health insurance? We had a new baby on the way!” This was out of my control. I could see the weight of providing for our family on my husband’s shoulders. The whisper came. Trust me…

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your request to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

I started to see the Lord lead our path immediately. A trusted friend stepped in to encourage my husband with truth and helped fill his days with purpose as he began to sort out the next steps of his career. Then just as I was starting to feel comfortable with our plan, Nate told me he wanted to start his own company. Bam! Fear, anger, worry, control….the thoughts just wouldn’t stop. Nate’s dedication to his career and his desire to work for himself had long been a source of contention in our marriage. Starting his own company felt overwhelming, especially now with another baby on the way. But, I knew this was something he needed to pursue because it had been on his heart for such a long time. I also knew I needed to fully support him. My head screamed no, but my heart heard those words…Trust me.

“Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17

May 4th,  Nate received an offer for contract work that would provide up to 40 hours of work a week with the flexibility and support to pursue his own venture. What was only supposed to last 90 days, turned into 7 months. It was exactly what our family needed. Provision.

May 12th, at ten weeks pregnant, I felt a gush of fluid and saw blood. I thought we lost our baby. I rushed to the doctor, sobbing uncontrollably and begging the Lord for this baby’s life. One of my dearest friends dropped everything to be with me at the appointment. We heard the heartbeat. Provision.

Over the next 8 weeks, as my body continued to bleed, I fought to trust God and “lean not on my own understanding.” Every morning in prayer, I would acknowledge that this baby belonged to God and that no matter what happened, God was good. This was not in my control. I fought fear of losing the baby, anxiety over more complications for the baby or myself and lies that I was being punished for having doubts on how I would be able to handle 3 under 4 or that I didn’t deserve another child. And every day I heard, Trust me…

Then the bleeding stopped and every sonogram was good news. Provision.

In July, while serving in our church’s pre-married class, Nate overheard a prominent and successful business leader tell his story about starting his own venture, and immediately reached out to this person for advice and was greeted with an invitation to talk. The result of this conversation was not what Nate was hoping to hear – this person wisely advised Nate that starting a business at this moment would not be in the best interest of our marriage. The truth, which was difficult to hear, was Provision…even though Nate didn’t see it that way at the time.

In August of that year, we faced a big decision on whether to leave our community group. We had only been with the group we were in for six months – was this the wisest decision? But both of us kept hearing those words. Trust me…

Through the change we have experienced great joy and growth by moving to a different group. I saw a transformation in Nate’s leadership of our family, as well as in his walk with God.  Provision.

In September, our air conditioner died. A large cost that we weren’t expecting. Trust me. That same week, we received a financial gift that would cover the cost of replacing our unit. Provision.

December 5th, our sweet baby boy was born. Provision.

At this time, Nate’s contract work was wrapping up and his venture wasn’t quite where he wanted it to be. We both felt peace about continuing into the next year without income, but then God showed up in an incredible way. Out of the blue, Nate received a phone call from a company that had offered him a position two years prior. The same position (one that he was very interested in) was open again, and they wanted him for the job. Two years prior, we didn’t NEED the job and he turned it down because we had a newborn and toddler and it required a move across country and travel among other things. Here we were again with the same offer, but now we had a newborn, a toddler, and a preschooler and no income. We prayed and sought counsel. The obvious answer was to take the position, but it still didn’t seem right. After seeking input from our community and mentors, we determined what our counter offer would be. We weren’t sure that it would be seen as viable, but we were content that these were the terms we would need to make it work for us – think of it as our perfect scenario for this position. To our surprise, they accepted!!! This new job was an answer to prayers for our family that I had been praying for years. Provision.

I wish I could list all the small situations where God whispered “trust me” to my heart and then immediately offered provision, because there are so many more. My journal is full of entries where I struggled to trust the Lord and not lean on my own understanding during this season, but every time I acknowledged Him, my path was made straight and He poured out abundant kindness to me. I don’t believe that provision from God is always in the form of a yes, as I have experienced answers in different forms, but He sought my heart in the year 2016 in a way that my eyes were opened to His love for me.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

Amanda Buccola
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