The Toilet Paper Story

We were living in Gaziantep, Turkey at the time, near the Syrian border, and this was during the time of the Syrian refugee crisis. Our city took in more refugees than any other place in the world. Our little city absorbed 500,000 refugees. We lived in a low-income area, so it strained relations. Rents soared. Refugees were given jobs. (Though people grew angry at the refugees, the real issue was the greed of the landlords raising rents with the higher demand and of the bosses hiring refugees because they could pay them less than minimum wage.) It grew tense in our area.

Our area was also hot. It could be 110 degrees and it never rained a drop all summer. I was still nursing our youngest, which just adds to the hot and sweaty. I asked the Lord to take us out of the city in August. I didn’t want to be there for another August. I told Dave about my prayer and told him the only way I would do it was if someone offered us their home. I wasn’t going to plan a vacation and I wasn’t going to ask someone if we could use their vacation home. I wasn’t going to answer my own prayer.

Well, some of our family traveled to Istanbul to hear a speaker and were welcomed in by a family at the church where the event was held. After dinner with the couple, I went on a walk around the outside of the apartment building with the wife. She was talking about their home in Finland. She told me how they always spent every July there, and then she turned to me and said, “You could go in August.”

Normally, we wouldn’t have considered such a thing because the Lord had trained us in our use of money and we didn’t spend it on things like vacations, but it was a direct answer to prayer. We took it to prayer and the Lord ended up providing extra money that month so that we could buy plane tickets without using any savings. And we got to spend two weeks in beautiful Finland, in the middle of the woods, on a lake, just beautiful.

We heard from friends while we were there that it was good we were gone. There was rioting in our neighborhood. Cars were being smashed in and such. The Lord arranged, however He does things like that, for us to be away during that time. It was a protection.

But also while we were there, myself and two or three of the older kids got a stomach bug. It was the only time in my whole life that I had diarrhea (but think of the blessing that the little kids didn’t get it!) I went to go to bed and realized that we were out of toilet paper. We had used it up. The store in the area was twenty minutes away and closed anyway that late at night. I put out napkins and went to bed grumbling about how the Lord had answered this prayer about vacation and then this, not my idea of a perfect vacation. I should have instead thanked Him for His perfect gift and remembered that when we ask for bread, our good Father doesn’t give us a stone.

In the morning when I went to the bathroom, there was a roll of toilet paper sitting on the back of the toilet in each bathroom. (I checked even and it was a different brand than what we had used before and a brand that wasn’t sold at the store there.)

My good Father not only provided (without me asking), but He also was protecting my heart. We need to keep our hearts thankful, which we can do. All we have to do is know Him. Because if we know Him, we know He’s always good, always loving, always faithful, always trustworthy.