For many years, Luke and Ingrid’s journey took them through desert places where they didn’t seem to have “enough.” Enough support, enough guidance, enough money, enough faith. But over and over, God graciously met them at their points of need, and provided for them. Whether the road in front of them was smooth or fraught with difficulty, Jesus Christ was enough – for all of it. Read their story to see how the Lord provided for Luke and Ingrid – time and time again.
Luke & Ingrid Ellsbury
Neither Luke nor Ingrid grew up in homes where the Gospel was proclaimed or faith was central.
Ingrid: During my freshman year of high school, my mom left my dad. A year later, she remarried, and her new husband was emotionally abusive. I would sit at the kitchen table for hours on end and he would tell me what a worthless human being I was, that I would never amount to anything, that I was fat. Just awful things.
And at that same time, I was estranged from my dad. So, really, I just didn’t have a lot of encouragement or guidance during that time.
But God provided. While Ingrid was searching and hurting, without any spiritual direction, God was drawing Luke to Himself. And, then, He used Luke to draw Ingrid.
Luke: During my teen years, my aunt, who was a strong believer, started taking me to church. I really didn’t know what to think of it at first. But at church with my aunt, a seed was planted. I started to believe that there was a God out there. I ended up hanging out with some Christian friends, and I trusted in Christ, and then I got baptized.
I still dabbled in drinking and smoking and this outside world. I kind of bounced back and forth between having this life in Christ and having this life in the world, too. I was never really able to fully devote myself to Christ. I had a genuine faith, but I didn’t fully trust that Christ was enough.
I: I met Luke my sophomore year of high school. During my senior year, I started going to church with him. That was really where I started getting an idea of what Christianity even was and realizing that I wanted to have a relationship with Christ.
God provided Himself – the Good Father – to meet Ingrid’s need for a loving father. During a time when she had very little support or guidance, God reached out and gathered her into His eternal family.
I: We got married not long after high school, and then we got pregnant. We were in a Bible Study group. Luke baptized me when I was four-months-pregnant with Isaac, with our Bible Study friends.
L: For me, that really started a period of my life where I was on fire for God. My wife had gotten baptized when she was pregnant with our first child, and we were just walking in faith.
I: Those were years when a lot of reconciliation and growth happened. We were growing in our faith. We were going to a strong church here in Cody. We were doing Bible study, and really diving into the Word. I learned to rely on Christ. We didn’t make much money. We had one kid, and then another kid, and then a third kid after that, all in a row. And I depended on God for everything, because I had to. We were making literally zero dollars, sometimes. And I was good at just trusting God and leaving it up to Him. Sometimes a gallon of milk would just show up on our front porch. God just continually provided for us.
But, at the same time, there were things I hadn’t dealt with, things I held back. Because of the hurts in my past, I had become a people-pleaser. That affected our marriage, because I was so afraid of making Luke angry or having him leave me.
While Ingrid was able to depend on God for their family’s physical needs, it was harder to truly surrender herself, to let God’s love be “enough” to heal old hurts or build new patterns of trust. For Luke, it was a challenge to really trust in God’s provision, and following God whole-heartedly proved to be a long-term struggle. There was a tug-of-war within Luke, and he grappled with his faith.
"But in our new sense of security, we found ourselves moving away from God. We were following this idea that we could do life on our own."
L: I don’t know exactly what happened… how I went from on-fire to being far from God, except that we really were poor during those years, and I didn’t really put my whole trust in God that He could get us through it, even though right before my very eyes He was getting us through it. I was seeing Him provide for us, and I was seeing my wife depend on Him, but I still struggled with this back and forth when it came to being really devoted to Christ.
When their kids were preschool age, new job and education opportunities opened up for Luke through the Game and Fish Department.
L: What happened was that all of a sudden, we came out of school and moved back to Cody, and we were making a little money. And I think we both felt a sigh of relief. We could do life on our own now. We weren’t dependent on handouts. But in our new sense of security, we found ourselves moving away from God. We were following this idea that we could do life on our own.
Luke and Ingrid had literally eaten the bread of God’s provision during the lean years of their early marriage. But once they attained a measure of financial security, it was easy to forget God and rely on their own hard work. When they didn’t need God for their daily sustenance, they stopped depending on Him for everything else. The foundation of their faith began to crumble.
Luke found that living with plentiful provision still didn’t supply him with the security his heart longed for.
Then, Ingrid experienced fresh hurt and rejection that reopened her old wounds of abandonment and exposed the relational struggles she had tried to ignore during the early years of her faith journey.
I: My group of girlfriends had a big falling out about that time. They had started out as friends who encouraged me in the Word, but then we all kind of stopped keeping our eyes on Christ. That friend group dissolved and I was isolated. And with that isolation, I just built another wall. I had never dealt with the hurts from my past; I just built walls. And when that friend group dissolved, it was the last brick in the wall. I shut everybody out, including Luke.
Through the challenging seasons that followed – including marriage difficulties, work stresses, and increased drinking for Luke – God continued to faithfully pursue their hearts. He showed them that His grace was enough for all of it. Just as He had sustained them physically, He also wanted to sustain their hearts. If they truly turned their lives over to Him, He would lovingly unravel the old hurts, habits and hang-ups that had kept them from flourishing.
I: We got to a place where had no choice but to turn back to Christ. And in the middle of everything crashing down, we just felt Him pulling us back to Him in so many ways.
L: We allowed Christ to build us back up. We rebuilt our life on Christ alone – our firm foundation. I found that when I finally put my trust in Christ, it was really freeing. I knew it was going to be okay, no matter what.
I: We realized that God wants more for us than just to meet our basic needs. He wants our hearts. We finally started looking to God as the Provider of not just things, but of grace, and abundant life, and love.
L: We realized that all we really had – all we really needed – was Christ.
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19