IntroductionNow to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen Ephesians 3:20-21
I am just an ordinary middle-aged woman who loves the Lord Jesus Christ and is striving to live my life for His purpose and His glory. One day I realized how perfectly my name fits me – Eileen “I lean on the Lord cuz I’m a messed up” Mestas! I am Jerry’s wife and mama to eight beautiful and amazing children – Melissa, Jonathan, Ellie, James, Jeremiah, Josiah, Keren, and Keziah. I am also grandma to Vaden, Cana, and Callum, and mother-in-law to Randy. I am a sister, daughter, and friend. But most importantly, I am a sinner saved by grace and a child of the King.
This year, Jerry and I celebrated thirty-three years of marriage, and it has been one wild ride! Scattered among seasons of incredible blessings have been extremely difficult times, including struggles with infertility, alcohol abuse, infidelity, financial crisis, anger, resentment, and unforgiveness. At the beginning of our marriage, we were guided by our sinful flesh and not by God’s blueprint, and the consequence of our selfishness was that in 1988, after nine years together, we were separated and headed for divorce. Praise God that He had other plans for us! By the Lord’s mercy and divine intervention, we were able to reconcile and turn our lives over to Him. We learned a lot through that time about trusting God and leaning on Him in times of trouble.
After dedicating our lives to Jesus Christ and renewing our commitment to one another, Jerry and I were blessed with three children and were living a comfortable, middle class life in Southern California. In 1994, Jerry retired from the Los Angeles Police Department after twenty years of service, and we decided to make a fresh start and move our family to North Carolina. Jerry took a job as an insurance investigator and we settled down to the business of raising children, serving in the church, and enjoying the laid-back charm of small-town Southern living. Life was good! Little did we know that the Lord was about to turn our lives upside down and inside out! First, in 1995 He called us to homeschool our children. I hadn’t planned on this. Me? Homeschool? What about socialization? How will they get into college? I had all the typical worries and concerns about my qualifications for this new venture, but the Lord was whispering, “Trust Me.”
Then, in 2003 God convicted us that we were to trust Him for the size of our family and begin a journey to adoption. Again, doubts filled my mind. Could I really love an adopted child as much as I loved my three biological children? Could we provide financially for a bigger family the way that we wanted? The Lord spoke a little louder, “Trust Me.” In 2004, we suddenly found ourselves unemployed. Jerry found temporary employment here and there, but he ended up working only three of the next seven years. We had added two new babies to the family and my aging parents had recently moved into our home as well. Our savings account was quickly wiped out and I found myself lying wide awake in bed at night, arguing with God. “Where are you? Why would you do this to us? What if we lose our house?” Over and over again, I felt the Lord’s presence and heard his reassuring voice saying, “Trust Me.” Unbelievably, in the midst of this time, the Lord seemed to be calling us to grow our family AGAIN, this time through international adoption. Now, this didn’t make any sense at all! I was 48 years old and Jerry was pushing 55! We were too old! Besides, international adoption is very expensive, and we had NO MONEY! We already had five children, Jerry had only just recently started a new job, and we had no savings! What in the world? Were we insane? I’m sure some people thought so (and probably still do!). But once again, the Lord spoke to our hearts with these words, “Trust Me.”
There is a saying that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Well, I know that isn’t true! God says he will not let us be tempted more than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13) but it does not say we will be able to handle everything that happens in life on our own. The Lord has definitely given me way more than I can handle – on my own. The truth is that I would be a basket-case were it not for the One who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13) It is the power of the Holy Spirit and His word that give me the ability to handle everything on my plate. My loving, heavenly Father arms me with strength (2 Samuel 22:33) to accomplish His will on a minute by minute basis. His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
The Bible is full of stories about people who were called to do things they couldn’t handle. Moses was called to ask mighty Pharaoh to grant freedom to all his Israelite slaves, but he begged God to find someone else because he didn’t feel equal to the task. Joshua was called to defeat the great walled city of Jericho by marching his army in circles around it while the people standing on the walls laughed. Gideon was called to lead the Israelites against the much bigger and stronger Midianite army, and he threw out a fleece, not once but twice, to be sure that he wasn’t hearing God incorrectly. Jesus’s disciples were instructed to feed a hungry crowd of 5000 people with a measly two loaves of bread and seven fish and they tried to convince him to send the people elsewhere. But in each case, God’s plan was greater than what man could see from his limited perspective. It is when God calls us to do things that we know we cannot handle that He has the opportunity to show us his incredible love, mercy, grace, and mighty power. And in those times, we have the opportunity to grow in faith and we fall even deeper in love with Him. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
The Lord has given me a story to tell about the miraculous signs, wonders, and provision our family experienced when we began to listen, trust, and obey His voice, even when it didn’t make sense. I am blessed with more than I deserve; more children, more joy, more love, more happiness, and more faith. I pray that tHIS story will encourage you to be faithful to listen, trust, and obey whatever God is calling you to do in your life. There is a saying – God doesn’t call the equipped, but He equips those He calls – and I do believe that! It is only by His will that I write this book of testimony for His purpose and His glory. I have come to understand that my life is not my own. It is not about me! It is truly more than “I” can handle which is why I have bowed my knee and surrendered my life to the Almighty God who never gives me more than HE can handle!