A Journey of Faith | The Lord’s Provision & Trusting God

This is a journey story–in a few parts!  It began a year and a half ago with my friend, Michelle.  Having reached the end of bankruptcy, Chris and I (Holly) felt that God was showing us that the time had come for us to walk with our heads up–no shame–for a new season was upon us.  And OH, the lessons we have learned about God’s provision!!  The stories would fill pages and pages.

Today Michelle Bentham shares part two of our story (You can Read Part 1 HERE).  Michelle is an inspired artist, and she has designed and painted a work of art to represent our journey (pictured below).  Here’s Michelle…

 

When we last left my story, I had just started a new position with my local church. I started this new position full of eager excitement. I rose early and allowed the work to roll around in my mind late. I LOVED my job. I even could be heard telling people how much I loved it. Then, just a few months after I began to work as an administrative assistant for the pastor I had volunteered with she called me in her office to deliver the news.


“I have something to tell you.” Angie sat across from me with an excited, animated expression.


I said, “Okay.”


“I met with Bob last week and turned in my resignation.” At first I felt like I had landed in a boxing video game where the electronic voice began to call out “Body Blow! Body Blow!” Questions raced through my head, like… What does this mean for me?


She smiled. “I know this must be a shock to you. It kind of was to me, too. But, I don’t want you to worry. We won’t know all the details until he hires the new pastor for my position, but don’t worry. You will have a job. Everyone here loves you and this doesn’t change anything for you.”


A year later I would revisit that conversation in my mind and think… Everything is so different than I expected or thought it would be. Ironically, my new oversight happened to be my second cousin. His grandfather and my mother are half-brother and sister. I also began to serve a second pastor. She had been so helpful in my healing journey and I absolutely loved her. Still the weight of the position and old life patterns began to reveal some deficiencies and I became overwhelmed, discouraged and pressed on every side.


Still, I knew my position in Pastoral Care would be a launching point for the next stage of my life. The life beyond the walls of the church in ministry and business. I had firmly heard the Lord say that I would be in a season of a preparation. It became a time of growing in my inner healing journey. I learned about the unique way I had been gifted and created to serve the body. I also became firmly rooted in my identity in Christ. And unshakable foundation needed to be laid before I could move forward into a destiny season. I found myself fully immersed in both a season of secure provision and a season of change. God wanted me to learn to trust Him completely before the season that found me painting this gift of the heart for Holly and Chris. And all of these things can be described in one word: Provision.


August 2011 found me taking my first paid vacation EVER. I anticipated the week long trip to the Vail Area of Colorado with eager desire. I knew the Lord had something for me there and I wanted to soak up every drop of it. One of the things had to do with fear. I overcame some fears to experience delightful joy in God’s nature. I also had to deal with some family stuff, and ultimately my cousin and I spent time being creative in a pottery tent in beautiful Beaver Creek Village. The little ski-village set into the side of the mountain we faced each morning over breakfast hosted a variety of artistic and scenic experiences to delight and inspire anyone with a creative notion. Beautiful bronze sculptures graced the cobblestone streets and little art galleries dotted the storefronts throughout the village.


My discontent in my position began to weigh on me as we returned home. My heart longed to jump head long into creative expression and do it full time. I sat in my kitchen, easel propped up on the table and felt a question forming in the recesses of my mind. With each brush stroke depicting the intricate beauties we’d experienced on our vacation I felt the urge grow stronger.


I finally walked to the living room where my husband sat watching television and uttered the words playing in my heart and my head. “Scott, what would it take for me to do this full time?”


He sat staring at me looking a little lost before I held up my paint brush and motioned toward the easel and canvas propped up on our kitchen table. The light of awareness narrowed his thoughts. “I don’t know.”


“This is the thing that brings life to me… And I feel it more and more, God doesn’t just want me to do things that bring life to other people, He wants me to do things that bring life to me.”


And that is where it started. In the early days of Fall a little more than a year ago, God began a stirring in my heart to the beauty of creation and the heart of creativity in His Kingdom. He launched me on my own personal renaissance. I began to paint all the time, and even sold a few. More than that I began to sow them. I gave away the works of art that stirred in my heart. I posted the paintings on Facebook and then Holly discovered my work.


She invited me into the heart of a journey she and her family walked out with God of provision and trust. I stood ready to make the commitment to the project. We agreed she would send payments as she was able. I began sketching the work and developing my ideas. All the while, I continued to paint and give away the paintings.


In February, God moved me to develop an exit plan for my job. He showed me that He wanted to birth something brand new. He also introduced me to the idea of becoming a radio show host. And, more than all of that – He wanted me to trust Him completely.


“The Lord’s Provision” is more than a work of art. It is a work of the heart. Birthed in Holly’s heart through a desire to see a representation of what the Lord had promised she and her family in their season of need. And expressed through my heart in the creative power and love of Jesus who in turn began to grow in me a deeper understanding of His provision for me, for my household and for all of His children.


Today, my financial future is no more certain than it happened to be a year ago. But, I know my Lord who is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who sees to my every need and is seen in the provision of all my needs.


The word elements of the painting include the following Scriptures:
Genesis 22:8 (NKJV)
And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. 

The first time I experienced this Scripture in light of God as Jehovah Jireh, I felt my heart would burst at the revelation. I prayed over and over that the Lord would provide for Himself through Holly & Chris all that was needed to bring glory to Himself.



Exodus 1:21 (NKJV)
And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them.
As I prepared to paint this I knew the Lord wanted it to be personalized. As I prayed these are the words that came to me for the painting: “And so it was, because the Smith’s feared God, that He provided…for them.”


Judges 18:10 (NKJV)
When you go, you will come to a secure people and a large land. For God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.

There is security in the promises of God and all that He provides. It is indeed a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.


1 Kings 4:27 (NKJV)
And these governors, each man in his month, provided food for King Solomon and for all who came to King Solomon’s table. There was no lack in their supply. 

The beauty in this testimony of God’s faithfulness falls fresh on me every single time I read it. The Lord provides in such a way that produces a position where there is no lack in our supply. This Scripture has been a key one I have prayed over my business since I left my position at the church in June. Can I say that Holly’s commission is one source of this provision. Gifts from family and friends is another area. And, then there is the sweet friend from social media who inquired if I owned an iPad. The answer at the time, NO. And I found myself reluctant to entertain any discussion regarding her desire to provide me one. Late one night as I anticipated the moment when we would speak by phone and she would tell me indeed she wanted to provide an iPad for my business, I inquired of the Lord. “Is this really You providing for me?”


I sensed this response in a sweet voice through my spirit. “If you are really going to do this… You better get used to it.”
I received.



Psalm 65:9 (NKJV)
You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, For so You have prepared it.
There is an abundance and satisfaction in God’s provision that surpasses anything that man can make, manufacture, earn or imagine. The Lord loves us so much, He provides everything needed for life and godliness if only we will submit ourselves to receive. Receiving requires humility and a willingness to see God in the provision, to entrust back to Him what He requires of us. Receiving sometimes means being willing to ask. Ask and you will receive… I prayed this for Chris and Holly as they were contemplating financial decisions recently and within 48 hours the circumstances had changed significantly. The Lord is so faithful.


Proverbs 31:11 (NKJV)
The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.
I really felt this Scripture accurately describes the relationship Chris and Holly have. I have never met Chris and have only had limited relationship with Holly through social media. I have nothing but the impression of the Lord to base the decision to include this Scripture in the painting. She is a godly woman, fully trusting God and being trustworthy with her husband. I believe that with my whole heart. It is core to this family that Holly is who God says she is… She models this well.


Acts 20:34 (NKJV)
Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me.
This Scriptures graces the breast of the paler under-tunic just above the hands. It seemed so beautifully appropriate to acknowledge that “These Hands, the Lord’s Hands, have provided for my necessities and for those who were with me.”


Hebrews 11:40 (NKJV)
God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.


There is provision in the waiting. The Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 accounts to us the stories of God’s faithful servants who pursued His promises but never fully received them. And, in this concluding verse of that grand chapter He promises us something as well… They will not be made complete, will not receive the promise in full without us. Glory, come quickly Lord Jesus!


And then Holly’s passage from which all else has been inspired:
Philippians 4:19 (AMP)
And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.


And it is our testimony that our God does do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ask think or imagine.


The final elements of the painting are the name of God Jehovah Jireh written both in Hebrew and English and a traditional Jewish Blessing that welcomes new seasons. I wanted a meal blessing for the painting, but found this and knew it would be the blessing for Chris and Holly, as they receive this painting into their home.

Blessed are You, O Lord, Our God, King of the Universe, Who has kept us in this life, And preserved us to reach this season. 



Indeed we are blessed to serve the One True God who is blessed that we may also blessed. One translation for the word Greek and Hebrew words for blessed is happy. I think of that as I invite you to join us in this journey of faith.


A few months ago I met a woman who shared with me that when I paint a painting inspired by the Lord, that the anointing on me at the time of the painting and in the atmosphere is also in the representation (photos or prints) of the painting. The anointing for this painting is the transition that occurs in our lives when we embrace who God is as Jehovah Jireh. When we recognize He has the ability to provide for us both naturally and supernaturally if we will only trust Him for our daily needs – all of them. If you need this revelation in your life, I encourage you to visit my gallery at FINE ART AMERICA and purchase a print.


In my 2008 study of this name of God I shared the following which speaks to me so of the heart of this painting and journey I have endeavored and pursued with Chris and Holly this last year.

I also want to make the point that in the Hebrew translations that I consulted, the term yireh is specifically related to the fact that God is seen by Abraham. It is the seeing that is important, the perception of God that Abraham came away with. I evaluated copies of the Pentateuch and the entire translation of the Hebrew text for the Old Testament in two different translations found that the translation was the same, the terms Yireh or Jireh indicates that the Lord is seen, not an emphasis on the provision but the Lord who is seen through it. That is why Abraham called that mountain – On the mountain of the Lord, He will be seen. (loose paraphrase) (From Hebrew Names of God Study at michellebentham.org 



If you have a testimony of the Lord’s provision and glory revealed in your own life. Please leave the story in a comment to this post.

MichelleMichelle is a wife and mother who has experienced the healing power of God in so many ways. Most significantly in her own grief after the death of her son in 2005. As a gifted artist, radio show host and communicator Michelle remains passionate about helping others, especially women of all ages, connect with God’s heart through creative expression.

You can find more information about Michelle and her gifts here:

Twitter: @michellebentham
Facebook Pages:
Michelle Bentham | Inspired Artist and Communicator
Blooming Inspiration Online
Websites:
www.michellebenthamcreates.org
www.bloominginspirationradio.com

Visit http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-michelle-bentham.html

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About Holly

Holly loves her job as wife to Chris and mom to Noah, Kylie, Tabor and Sydney. God has gifted Holly with a love of all things creative ~ from painting and wall papering to scrapbooking and design work. In addition to co-founding and managing A Martha Heart, she designs web pages (www.crownlaiddowndesigns.com) and marketing pieces. She also authored a devotional blog, now closed, called Crown Laid Down. Holly and her family make their home within site of year 'round snow-capped mountains in Colorado. She can be reached by emailing Holly (AT) a martha heart (DOT) com or connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HollyGorinSmith

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