Monday, October 17, 2011

The Garage Sale Chronicles - Part 1


The title really should be "The GOD Sale Chronicles!"  We had an incredible garage sale on Saturday, and God showed up in a BIG way!  Even though I wasn't able to blog about this adventure as it was unfolding, I still have to share it with you!  And because God did soooo much through this sale, one blog post just wouldn't be enough.  So, I thought sharing it in parts would be best.  There are so many God stories I want you to hear.  What a mighty God we serve!

Several months ago, God impressed upon my heart to have a garage sale to raise money for our mission trip to Africa.  How do I know it was God?  Well, because I DETEST having garage sales!  They are a ton of work, and I find no pleasure in doing them

Some people love doing them.  I'm NOT one of those people. I've had 2 in my life and after each one I've said the same thing - "I will never do another garage sale again!"   

You would think by now, I would know better than to say "never!" 

It took me several weeks to even tell my husband that God was prompting me to have a garage sale.  I guess I was secretly hoping God would change His mind :)  Instead, God softened my heart, and actually got me a little excited.  More evidence that this was God and not me.

When I told Shawn about the garage sale, he said, "What are we going to sell?  We don't really have anything here to sell."  *We downsized 2 years ago and are limited on storage space now.*  I assured him we could find some stuff because the sale was God's idea, not mine.

When I sent out our support letter to family & friends telling them about our mission trip to Africa, God had me include that we were planning a HUGE garage sale.  With that in mind, I figured I'd better start finding stuff to sell.  So, right before school started, I cleaned out my kids' drawers & closets.  I started a garage sale stack in the upstairs hallway right with the clothes they had outgrown. 

Shortly after that, God began to make it clear that the sale would not be at our house.  I had no idea where we would have it though.  I asked Him to point me in the right direction.  So one morning while walking with my friend Cindy, I shared all of this with her.  She told me that her neighborhood was planning a community sale in October, and we could use her garage/yard.  I was so thankful!  The only problem was her neighborhood had not chosen a date yet, and Cindy was going to be in Ecuador 2 Saturdays in October.

Several weeks go by and still no definite date yet.  Then at the Global Impact Missions Conference at church in early September, my friend Sheri tells me that they accepted an offer on their house and were scheduled to close on October 20.  (We had lots of discussions about Sheri's house while in Jamaica.  We prayed for God's will to be done - GOD ANSWERED!!!)  Sheri then suggested we have our garage sale at her house on October 15 and make it a garage/moving sale.  YAY GOD!!!

I need to mention that Sheri's address is 2911 so it's known as the Jeremiah 29:11 house - "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."  And it has a history of VERY successful garage sales (all for good causes.)

I started to get a little more excited because God was making it very clear He was in control of this sale.  By the way, Cindy's neighborhood did end up having their community sale while she was in Ecuador.  I'm sure her husband Tim is thankful we didn't invade his garage while she was gone!  

Now that we had a garage sale date and location, all we needed was some stuff to sell. 

On Saturday morning, September 24, I got a call from my friend Rene.  Her neighbor Deanne was having a yard sale because she was moving.  Rene wanted to know if I was interested in picking up the items that didn't sell.  Absolutely.  Later that day after a few bouts with rain, I headed over.

My friend Rene is on the left and her neighbor Deanne is on the right.  As you can see, the sun was out by the time I got there and shining down on these two beautiful ladies.

I loaded up my van with our first donated items for the garage sale.  There was something in every seat!  THANKS DEANNE AND RENE!!!

 It was dark by the time I had a chance to unload my van.  I started to leave everything until the next day, but the clothes were wet and needed to be dried.  So, instead of just getting the clothes out, I decided to go through everything & organize it.

While I was outside, my neighbor Rob from across the street came home.  He saw me pulling stuff out of my van and came over to check on me.  Rob is a retired missionary pastor.  He and his family spent 25 years in Germany.  He & his wife are Godly people.  Every time he sees me, he prays a blessing over me. 

Rob and I started talking and I told him about our garage sale for Africa.  He had just been to a church conference where a missionary from Africa shared about God's work in Mozambique.  He told me her name was Heidi Baker and he asked me if I'd ever heard of her.  At first, I said no.  Then as he shared part of her story, I vaguely remembered someone telling me about her a few years ago.

But God did not stop there.  After Rob left, I went back to unpacking and organizing the garage sale items in my van.  The last bag of stuff was in the front passenger seat.  I almost took it inside without going through it, but decided at the last minute to unpack it too.  As I went through the stuff, I nearly fainted when I saw this book...

I was overcome with emotion!  I couldn't believe it!  Rob had just talked to me about Heidi Baker and 10 minutes later, I was standing in my driveway holding her book!!!  ONLY GOD!!!  It was almost more than I could take!  I ran over to Rob's and showed him the book.  A big grin immediately covered his face.  

We spent some more time talking and that is when Rob told me some of the things he had been praying for me and my family.  You see, Rob gets up early every day to pray.  When he looks out his window each morning, he sees the light on at our house because my husband gets up at 4:15 a.m.  So, Rob prays for us.  He's been asking God to burden our hearts for missions and for the lost all over the world.  And THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT GOD HAS BEEN DOING!!! 

"The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." James 5:16

Tears. Tears. And more tears.  Immediately, I wanted to blog about what happened.  I was about to burst!  I wanted to share what God had just done.  But God had me process everything with Him instead.  He even sent my husband to the Gamecock football game in Columbia that night at the very last minute so He and I could have time alone.  W.O.W.


There is one more thing I want to share.  When Shawn & I began to pray about raising support for our mission trip, God kept bringing to my mind a concept from these verses in 2 Samuel...

"On that day Gad went to David and said to him, “Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”

So David went up, as the LORD had commanded through Gad.

When Araunah looked and saw the king and his men coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground.

Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”
“To buy your threshing floor,” David answered, “so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped.”

Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take whatever pleases him and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood.

O king, Araunah gives all this to the king.” Araunah also said to him, “May the LORD your God accept you.”

But the king (David) replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped."  2 Samuel 24:18-25 

Basically, what God told me several months ago is that He is going to provide all of our financial needs for this trip (actual Visiting Orphans trip cost, vaccinations, ministry funds, travel money, etc.)  But, it will cost us something, a sacrifice (other than money out of our own pocket.) Does that make sense? 

Well, I got my first taste of this concept with the first load of donated items.  I had spent all day doing laundry.  I'm talking 6 or 7 loads.  I finished right before I went to Deanne's house to pick up her yard sale leftovers.  I mentioned before that it had rained a few times throughout the day.  Deanne was able to get most things covered, but the clothes were pretty wet.  By the time, I got everything home & unpacked, I felt like I should wash and dry the clothes because the garage sale was almost a month away.

Here's a few piles.  I ended up washing 4 full loads total but dried, folded, and repacked 5 loads.  The clothes were given to me for free, but they ended up costing me time, energy, and laundry supplies.  God obviously has some important lessons to teach me through all of this.  He is so faithful! 

And this is only the beginning of the garage sale stories!  Stay tuned for more!

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

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