Erica's Exceedingly Abundantly Story
It’s such a joy to share Erica’s “Exceedingly Abundantly” story with y’all. I’ve seen her living this out in the past few months as she and her family cling to God’s word through unexpected suffering in the form of major flood damage from Hurricane Harvey.
"Like most mommas, mine had a few catch phrases that she would often repeat. Her two favorites, as they seemed to apply almost daily, were, “Hurting people hurt people” & “You can’t out-give God.” She would comfort us with the first phrase and declare God’s abundance with the second. My 3 girls have now heard me saying those same words on repeat, and in this season, the latter has been our daily mantra. For the last several years, we searched for a new home. My husband’s commute was almost an hour and a half each way, and we wanted to buy back that time for our family. It wasn’t every day that we looked, but we would go in spurts every few months, visiting a few homes on a weekend. One of us would love it and the other would find something wrong. We could never settle upon a decision, so we stayed where we were and tried to make the best of our situation. But, it finally happened. Early in July we came across a house that seemed perfect for our family. Rooms for each of our girls, a newly remodeled kitchen, and a gorgeous pool in the back yard. It would need some updates that could wait for a year or two, but we thought we could make it work for the season. It would shave off an hour of my husband’s daily commute! However, the more we pondered it that afternoon, we decided to keep looking and see if we could find a home that would not need any updates. 7 years ago, we purchased a foreclosure and spent months remodeling. I also grew up as the daughter of a remodeling contractor and lived in a home that was often under renovation. This was not something I desired to do again in this season of life. It was just a few minutes after making the decision to keep looking that we found the home of our dreams. No remodeling required! It was almost as if God wanted to teach us not to settle. That He cared about all the details. There were gorgeous hardwood floors, a stunning front door, an updated kitchen, secret spaces, and much to the girls’ delight, a beautiful swimming pool. We had been praying and saving and waiting years for this home! We spent the next month filling boxes with our treasures, and getting rid of what we were ready to part with. I filled my Pinterest board with an array of ideas for our new sacred space. Things lined up perfectly for renters to move into our current home just 2 weeks after we were to move out. We saw God’s hand through it all. Friends confirmed that it was the answer to years of prayers. We closed on our new home early, and I spent the following week tirelessly unpacking boxes, every nook and cranny detailed with delightful treasures. My girls do an online school from home, and I wanted everything in place for them to start school on August 28. August 28. 9 days in our home, and the rain waters of Harvey threatened to take over. We prayed, knowing the Lord could stop the rain. We moved everything we could upstairs, but in my heart, I thought it was all just precautionary. Never did I think we would really face water in our home. The neighborhood had NEVER even held water in the streets! But, in His sovereignty, our family would be walking through this literal storm. The entire first floor of our home was destroyed. The new floors, the freshly painted walls, the rugs, the couches, the dishwasher…even the refrigerator we purchased just 2 weeks prior.
Our dear friends insisted we come stay with them. They cleared out drawers and closets, prepared beds, and made sure we knew their home was now ours as well. Meals began showing up immediately, as speechless friends wanted to show their support. Care packages for the girls filled with coloring books, stuffed animals, and treats started pouring in. Going to the mailbox became our daily joy. It was there that the Lord showered us with abundant provision. Gift cards, checks, and “sunshine boxes” became our daily manna. They just kept coming. For 54 days straight, we have not ceased to receive evidence of God’s provision. Every single day another gift arrives!
Our family has always lived by the motto, “We are blessed to be a blessing.” Giving to others is our delight, and many times we have organized fundraisers for various ministries, adoptions, and families. Well, like my momma says, “You can’t out-give God.” More than 100 friends came to demo our home. Some were strangers that became friends! One came without knowing who we were, saw the hope we had in Jesus, and is now coming to church with us! When we were asked to be the recipient of 1 fundraiser and then another, it was quite humbling. Our family was adopted by a small group. We have lived off gift cards for almost 2 months! An award-winning designer has donated her time and furniture to create the living room of our dreams. My friends went together to purchase the couch I have had my eye on for years. And, I do not take for granted that my dad has been a remodeling contractor for 40 years! This is his specialty. He did joke that he had never measured a kitchen in standing water, as he took a boat in to assess the damages, or had to push his tools in by wheelbarrow. My parents have helped me not feel the weight of all the repairs as this is “what they do.” Our materials have shown up well in advance of those around us. Our precious friend, Jerry, is working right alongside my dad, and his skills as a master carpenter have been a huge blessing. Brian’s parents have welcomed us into their home for the duration of this rebuild. What is even more evident of the Lord’s abundance and perfect timing is that each gift we received has met a very specific need, whether that be a meal, an outfit or something bigger like tile, doors, or sheetrock! I ordered 150 thank you notes, and quickly had to order 100 more. Today, I placed an order for another 50 cards!! He truly provides exceedingly and abundantly more! You simply cannot out-give God! I have said that the Lord just wanted to show off the creativity of His provision by allowing our family to walk through this season. It has blown my mind with the variety in which He has poured out His abundance on us. I have used this opportunity to SHOUT His goodness to others. On the day of the storm, one friend posted, “Our home is dry. God is good!” Well, I want you to know that even if your home isn’t dry, or you must face a storm you never imagined you would walk though, God is still good! He can be trusted. He is exceedingly, abundantly more.” Erica Stidham is a Senior Executive with Mary & Martha who helps women create community through meaningful gathering experiences. She helps fill hearts and homes with truth filled treasures and believes the messages in our homes matter, as home is the launchpad for who we are and what we become. She knows that truth must replace the lies the world tries to feed us, and she loves to speak life into women from the youngest to the most seasoned.. Erica and her family have used their resources to build a medical facility in Liberia to aid children with Malaria, and they are passionate about their partnerships with many local and world-wide ministries. Erica has been the top performer in her company in all areas for the last 3 years in a row, breaking her own sales, sponsoring, and group records time and again. A published author, mom of 3 beautiful girls, and wife to Brian, her faith provides the strength to live full out the calling God has placed on her life. Erica holds a Bachelors Degree in Science from Texas A & M University, where she graduated with honors. To learn more, please check out www.ericastidham.com