I've been casually speaking about some very private and heart-wrenching experiences with select individuals and decided to boldly make a post about it. Maybe no one will read it. Who knows…
Most of our country is experiencing tough economic times, so me standing up and saying, "Hey, me too!" is not really a big deal. But that's not what this post is about. Instead, I want to share how I've come close to letting go of faith and instead, ended up discovering God's truth in the middle of all this crazy mess.
For two years now, my incredibly amazing husband has been in and out of work--but mostly out. Forgive me for taking this paragraph to brag on my husband before I go any further. First and foremost, he is the most incredible man God could have made for me. I like to tell people that we are the perfect match. We don't have a lot in common except our red hot tempers, we can sometimes rival world wars in the heat of our arguments, we are stubborn, foolhardy (in a good way), passionate, day dreamers, hard-as-nails determined, jokesters, adventures, and completely laid out bare before God as nothing but the messed up creatures who He covered in grace at the cross. Thank God for that last part! But all that said...seriously, my husband blows my mind. I freak out and worry and he finds a way to take care of everything. He balanced me. He works hard, is a US war veteran, and has a college degree under his belt. Yet, somehow, at the moment, the economy is just not liking him too much.
Like most people, we paddled along in this mess, frantically keeping our head above water…and then, completely exhausting all resources, we sunk. We are not the first ones. We will not be the last ones…
I will be painfully honest when I tell you that I started to get really confused about my faith when my world seemed to be crashing down around me. Wasn't God supposed to be my provider? Wasn't He supposed to make sure my needs were met? Why wasn't He coming through for me? What had I done? Did I get something wrong? Did we mess something up? Were we not spiritual enough? Were we not loving Him the way that He wanted us to? This had to be some kind of test. That's what it was. God was testing us to see if we would give up on Him or not. I was sure of it. And didn't God know that I was not strong enough for this? Didn't He know that when He decided to put this "test" into place, that I would certainly fail? It wasn't fair. I was set up!
I was wrong. But I didn't know it, yet. God was not, and never has, tested me.
One afternoon, I was cooking my children their lunch. I had a load of clothes in the washer and one in the dryer. The TV was on somewhere in the house and I was doing the usual motherly/wifely things. The kids were sitting at a window laughing over a squirrel when all of a sudden, my daughter turns and says, "Hey, mommy…there's a man outside." As I start over to investigate, everything in the house turns off. It was a man with the electric company who was sent to disconnect our service. This was the second time this had happened. This was the second time we had pinched and scraped…and thought, "We can get it together by such-and-such a date. It will be okay." But it wasn't.
At that moment, something in me snapped. After endless months of worrying and trying so hard; after endless months of trying to pretend that things were going to be okay, I snapped. I took a few steps back, sunk to my knees, balled up my fists, and shouted at the ceiling, "This is all your fault! You did this! You could help us, but you won't!"
I was shaking and crying--shamefully scaring my kids who balked and teared up themselves. My son whimpered and ran to me, stopping just short of jumping into my lap, reached out a hand and placed it over the tears coursing down my cheek. In that terrible, dark moment, I felt as if the Lord whispered, "I just want you to learn to love me when I'm not there for you."
I cried. Honestly, I did not want to learn to do such a thing. The thought of is hurt too much, made me angry…made me feel hopeless. God should always be there for me! That was His job!
That was a while ago. Things aren't any better right now. They are even scarier, believe it or not. However, our lights are on. :) And that's something to thank God for. But since then, I have struggled with what the Lord told me that day. Learn to love Him when He isn't there for me?
I know, I know. You're thinking, "God is always there for us" right? But I picture this scenario with the Lord appearing quite similar to how I am with my children. When I physically am not there to tend to Lucy and Teddy's every need, they still know that I love them. They never doubt my love--even when I discipline them. They get angry, certainly, but they believe in my love. If I cannot learn to love God, trust in Him, continue to stand for Him when my lights are turned off or the threat of losing everything is a very real possibility, how will I be able to love Him if someone I love--myself included--were to get sick? How will I be able to love Him and not blame Him when my first true experience with death comes? And to me, those things are worse than unpaid bills.
But even if it is not the case that there is a lesson to learn here to prepare for something that lays ahead, then His name will end up glorified by this season of our lives. I'm not sure how, yet, but it will. If nothing else, maybe simply because it drove me to write this post...and somewhere out there, it held the message of truth that someone else needed. I have no idea, but I do know He is allowing it to happen for a reason. That reason is NOT because He does not love us, or because Roger and are failing in our walk with Christ, or because we are missing something.
And these are reasons I can still believe in His love:
1. My husband, through all of this, has not turned his back on the Lord or his family and high tailed it to safer waters.
2. I have a family that, though I sometimes fear they are ashamed of us, are not ashamed of us and love us...helping our wherever they can.
3. My beautiful children are able to bring a smile to my face more than once a day.
That's all I need. I have no idea what will happen next, but I do know that God will be blessed the most by the love that I give Him in my darkest hour.
"As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" 3Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world."