When Everything Goes Wrong...
You know those days where nothing seems to go right? This month has been filled with those. Five weeks ago I came to the Dominican Republic to employ some beautiful ladies to fill a large order we have. It seemed simple enough, we had a fantastic partnership with a wonderful organization active here in the DR, and they were able to have women waiting for me when I arrived. They also provided sewing machines and a place to work so we did not have to pay rent. All I really needed to do was purchase fabric….little did I know then how difficult that would be.
I searched and searched and searched for fabric, up back roads, down little allies, into big warehouses and tiny stores. Thankfully, I didn't need a specific fabric, it just needed to be heavy weight and a gender neutral color. My amazing friend Itzel drove me to store after store, but each time we left empty handed. If we found fabric that was the correct weight it was too expensive. We found fabric that was within our budget it was too light weight. Recently we found something that was both the correct weight and price, but it would take a month to get the amount I needed.
I expanded the search to include Haiti and nearly doubled our original budget. I called friends, acquaintances and strangers, spent hours searching for options online and emailed every company on the Island that worked with fabric in some shape or form. A few wonderful friends joined me in praying hours on end that the Lord would provide. And then I waited...and waited...and waited. Searching, praying, waiting, searching, praying waiting.
The apartment that I currently live in has a door to the roof, allowing residents and maintenance to go up there if they so desire. Standing on it allows you to look out over the city. I've spent hours pacing back and forth, staring at the city, or sitting in the shade of the mango tree on especially hot days, talking to Jesus about this fabric.
I fully trusted the Lord was going to provide, and when He did it would be far more wonderful than anything I could have come up with on my own. I was also okay with Him not providing if that was His will. If He wanted to call me all the way to the Dominican Republic and provide abundantly up until this point, but ultimately not provide fabric and force me to cancel the order and refund the money, then I trusted that it was far better for the order not to be filled.
I learned awhile ago to leave everything regarding Wonderfully Made at Jesus' feet and to hold it all with very open hands. Wonderfully Made exists to bring God glory, to make disciples and to lead other people to the foot of the cross, that is our end goal, not clothing. The clothing is simply a way to do that.
I made peace with the possibility of not filling the order, but nevertheless I waited and prayed expectantly for fabric. Perhaps the reason it was taking so long to find something was because there was one person in particular out there that I was supposed to purchase the fabric from so that they could hear about Jesus; maybe God wanted to use WM to provide financially for one of his children; maybe He was revealing to me a new part of his character, I thought to myself. I didn't know exactly what it was, but I trusted in the Lord's sovereignty.
Everything on Heaven, Earth and under the Earth belongs to the Lord. Although 350 yards of fabric seems like a lot to me, it was just a grain of sand in the Lord's eyes. In His timing, all He needed to do was speak it and I would have what I needed.
Eventually I found fabric that would work, but the owner of the store said he could only give me 250 yards for my price. I resigned to looking at one last store, and if I walked out empty handed from there, I would purchase the 250 yards and trust God to multiply it much like He did the 2 fish and 5 loaves a few thousand years ago.
The last store had fabric that would work regarding weight, texture and color, but it was still over our budget. It was the cheapest option we had found in four weeks, however, so I decided to purchase it. The store had 100 yards on hand and would bring the remaining 250 yards from the capital, so we agreed to return the following day to pick it all up. Although I was excited to finally have fabric, I was also disappointed. I had prayed for four weeks, expecting something grand to happen and here I was, purchasing fabric that was still over my budget without the chance to share Jesus with the owner (he was already a believer).
That night I received an email informing me that some random, beautiful stranger had donated a large sum of money to Wonderfully Made. Jesus didn't provide fabric within our budget, but He gave us more money to purchase it and still have a lot left over. I was ecstatic and walked around on cloud nine that day. Finally! Things were starting to look up.
The following day I visited the bank to take out money. The ATM wasn't working, so I needed to go use the teller to withdraw the cash. After waiting in line for 30 minutes, the teller informed me that I need my passport. Unfortunately, my passport was at the house of a friend for safe keeping, and that friend would be out of town until Monday.
As frustrating as it was, I had waited this long, one more weekend wouldn't kill me. So I bought the fabric and thread that I could with the money I currently had. I wanted to make a backpack over the weekend so my employees would have a sample to go off of.
However, six stores later, I still was unable to find black thread. Not a random color like sarcoline, just plain black. Eventually Itzel and I exhausted our options and I decided to make the sample using the red and green thread I had on hand. That night I made and cut the pattern, anxious about starting (after only four weeks!). Then the machine broke. I had to sit there and laugh, with everything that had gone wrong I wasn't exactly surprised at this. I remember telling Jesus that this was good, surely we were nearing the end of things that could possibly go wrong and from here on out things would go smoothly. Little did I know...
Today, with my passport in hand I returned to the bank with Fernando (the only one that owns a truck we can use to transport all the fabric). After waiting for another 3o minutes, Fernando gets a call that he needs to return to the office. An employee of the organization we partnered with (who Fernando also works with) fell down the stairs and needed to go to the hospital in the truck. Right after he hangs up, the bank teller explains to me that my debit card expired yesterday and I can no longer use it to take out money.
Today I laugh, once again, so that I don't cry.
Again I retreat to the roof to seek the face of my Father. O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. (Isaiah 25:1)
I rejoice because God is near. He is sovereign. He is good. I continue "by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to present my requests to God" (Phil. 4:6). Would you consider joining me?