Today a true miracle came full circle. (Actually several.) (Forgive the million typos that are about to happen but I’m just going to free write and post so it’s totally raw.)
This is a long story but you guys have to hear it from beginning to end to appreciate the divine work at hand.
I’ve been reluctant to share any of this story as I didn’t want it to come off as self serving or to brag. But…I have to share. Know that my only intent is to glorify God’s work.
March of this year I was struggling and frustrated. My business wasn’t doing as well as I wanted it to. I was on my way home from a wonderful trip that Beachbody so kindly paid for and began to pray as I usually do when I’m flying. Love the lack of distractions.
I was in the middle of reading a book that was about to change my life forever. The Circle Maker. The book prompted me to pray circles around some of my big dreams that I knew I’d need God’s help with. I said a pray and offered my business to God and asked him to help me find 5 leaders in my business that I could mentor and help grow successful businesses of their own.
In that moment I heard a voice. I get chills and tears even to this day to even type this. The voice said, “5 is not enough to glorify my name. 15 for you.”
I had NEVER heard the voice of God before. I thought I was crazy at first. Then the voice said, “But you can’t go to Italy.”
Now…some of you may have seen my post a few days ago. I should have landed in Italy today for a friend wedding. A trip that we had saved for a full year. Our dream vacation.
In that moment I decided…well you’ve officially lost your mind Andrea because there is NO voice telling you that you’re not going to Italy. Italy is a DONE deal.
When I got home I told my husband this story expecting him to give me the “you’re crazy” look.
He said “well if you think we shouldn’t go, we wont.”
THAT ^^^ was miracle #1.
So…I declared that I wasn’t going to Italy. Fine…we’ll stay home. I’ll take that money and put it towards bills.
I put the book The Circle Maker down for about a month. One Sat night before bed I felt prompted to pick it up and read for a bit. So as I’m reading it talks about giving. Sometimes giving beyond your means even when you have nothing to give.
I felt prompted in my heart that I needed to give more than my normal 10%. So I prayed again. I asked God…how much? Where?
Then I went to bed.
The next morning i was crazy busy (what’s new?) and was considering not going to church. I felt a tug at my heart and decided…nope. I better go.
On the way to church as the kids chatter in the back seat I began to pray again. “OK God…how much do I need to give? $1000? Ok I can do that. I’ll take it out of the money I saved for Italy.”
Then I heard a voice. “All of it.”
Again…I am LOSING MY MIND! All of my money? Now I know I said I was willing to get uncomfortable but seriously…ALL OF IT?
“All of it.”
Now because we’ve been actively paying off our debt we didn’t have a HUGE savings but we had our money from Italy and then a small extra savings for emergencies.
So I got really real with God and said “Ok dude…if you want me to give away ALL of my money..you need to be REALLY blunt with me about where that money should go. I’m not going to give it just based off hunch.”
(PS I think we should all talk to God like a friend. He responds well when I’m more blunt with him.)
So…I get to church. That day we had a guest speaker. Someone I’ve never met before. He got up on stage to share what was going on in Africa. Christian persecution is a HUGE problem over there. He shared a story of a young girl named Shelby. She watched her father be shot in the head and killed and was orphaned because they accepted Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.
They were trying to find donations of clothing for these families that they were trying to get to a safe house. They’d leave in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes on their back.
Then they were also asking for donations to help Shelby get her visa and come back to the US.
“OK God. I hear you. Loud and clear. But YOUR going to have to tell my husband we’re doing this and I think we both know how that’s going to go. Good luck.”
I called my husband before I left church and told him about hearing God tell me we had to give all our money away. I paused waiting for him to tell me I was nuts.
He said, “Where in Africa is she? Make sure not to use our debit card and be careful that it’s a secure transaction.”
I’m sorry some of you don’t know my husband. We don’t share the same beliefs. He just doesn’t believe like I do. The fact that he didn’t even put up a fight was the reason this is miracle #2.
Find God..you’re 2 for 2.
That day we made a donation of $4,321.27 to the Tabitha Orphans Fund. It was ALL of our money. Savings, checking…ALL. Not a single penny left to our names. I walked in faith that God would provide.
6 months later…my business has almost quadrupled. Miracle #3.
The kids were so on board too. Each of them went to empty their piggy banks to give at Church the next Sunday. Everyone cleaned out their closets to help collect clothes for the families that would flee in the night to seek safety at a shelter.
Months later we received an update at church that Shelby’s visa had been denied. They weren’t going to let her into the US.
My heart was crushed. I prayed. Hard.
Well skip forward to this week. My friends are in Italy celebrating and even though I KNEW I’d made the right decision to give away the $ I was still sad to miss this special occasion. My heart was hurt to not be there. God knew exactly what I needed to make me feel better.
Again…I almost didn’t make it to church this morning. SO much to do. But a client needed to meet up with me and that was an easy location for her. SO I said I’ll just go to church and meet with her after.
At the end of service the gentleman that was working for the organization and making trips back and forth to Africa was there to provide an update. Then our campus pastor Josh said, “And Shelby, why don’t you come on down too.”
It was her.
A family that had NEVER been to our church before had showed up on another day that he was there providing an update and they had offered to sign an affidavit to help her get her visa. Another family helped her get a scholarship. this was the last two things they needed to reapply for her visa. < Miracle #4
I. Lost. It. I began bawling right there in my seat. God knew I had to be at church today. To see this girl. THAT’S why he told me I couldn’t go to Italy. Otherwise I would have landed in Italy this morning instead of be at service. I would have never met this beautiful miracle child wearing a princess dress. (And who wouldn’t…she had a LOT to celebrate!)
I walked up to her after church and congratulated her. I told the gentleman that I was putting their info on my website to help raise money for Tabitha’s Orphan Fund and asked if I could take a photo with them.
Neither of them know who I am or that it was our family that donated the money. That’s fine. I don’t care. But I needed this photo for me. To remind them that even when we can’t see God’s entire plan and even when he asks us to do things that make NO sense…we have to walk in faith and know that he has a bigger vision for our lives.
I still can’t even tell this entire story without tearing up. I’m so deeply honored that God trusted me enough to put this in my hands.
I will never forget this last year of my life. God speaks. His is loud and clear if you stop long enough to listen. Trust him. He’s got BIG plans for you life.
I can only imagine what kinds of plans he has for Shelby. He went through a lot of work to get her here. You better believe that I’ll be following her story to see what those plans are.
Can I get an Amen?
If you believe in miracles…share this post.
Good night all and God bless you.
P.S. GO PICK UP THE CIRCLE MAKER! Mark Batterson is my pastor and the author. It’s funny, inspiring and God speaks to you when you read it!