My last post I shared that we’ve been struggling, but I haven’t gone into detail just what those struggles are and what life looks like right now. It all started with Mark being laid off the beginning of September, but we had the hope that perhaps working with a friend would turn into full time work. What hope we had for this business soon came to reality as we realized business just wasn’t coming in like we had hoped and needed. This left us wondering what our next step is and honestly we still do not know what our next step is, we truly wish God would show us, and we are confident he will, when he is good and ready, and when we have learned all the lessons he has for us to learn. I am reminded of what my good friend Kirk use to say, “God is very rarely early, but never ever late”, this is definitely true of life right now.
We have had suggestions that Mark switch careers so we can continue to live in Minnesota, specifically the Albert Lea area, this would be ok for a time, except that would require we possible let go of the house we are trying to purchase. There are stipulations for us to be able to continue with the loan process once Mark is employed full time. The first is that Mark be employed in the same field he was when we started the loan process and second that he is making the same or more than he was when he got laid off. Plus, Mark desires to continue to stay in the web world, he truly enjoys his profession and the creativity it allows him. Then, there is the option to commute, which could work, except we don’t have a dependable car for Mark to go back and forth in without it breaking down. Plus, with me being seven months pregnant and with my history of fast labors, I’d prefer him to be close when it’s time for Timothy to come ino the world. We know that if commuting is what needs to happen, then God will some how supply a car for him to do so. None of our options are awesome and all require us to give up something, which we are ok doing, we just need confirmation that whatever God is asking us to give up, is really God asking and not us making something happen. We are praying through it and watching for God’s direction and guidance, we wait with great expectation at what God is going to do.
There are times in life when so much happens at one time it almost becomes funny and the obvious question forms, “Ok Lord, what do you want us to learn, what do you want to teach us”. I have also been asking the Lord to make sure we do not miss the lessons he’s teaching because I’d like to avoid coming back to this place. Mark and I do firmly believe we are in a teachable moment. We do believe that God is taking all our options, because he wants us to trust in him, he wants us to find our security, and our worth in Him. He wants us to give him the shame and embarrassment we feel and in return accept and receive his love and joy, to get who we are from Him alone and not by what we have or are able to do. Acknowledging that all we are able to do and all we are able to purchase are gifts from the Father above and no where else.
We have been encouraged by multiple people to apply for SNAP which is our food assistance program in Minnesota and I have been dragging my feet. This one step was the last shred of any dignity I felt I had left. I felt like I was handing anything I was worth over and in return receiving a card that would remind me every time I used it what a failure I was. But, then I began watching our cupboards become more and more empty, and for the sake of our kids, I finally applied for the SNAP program, but not before sobbing it out before the Lord. I have been letting Him fill me with the truth of our situation, I have been letting him fill me with hope and his joy. My joy, peace, and hope is not contingent on anything earthly, it’s not dependent on what people think of me, my joy and peace are ONLY found in Christ alone! So, with truth in my mind and peace in my heart I applied for SNAP last night. I want to share this because I don’t want anyone who needs this assistance to not get it because of shame, pride, or fear. I started thinking about what I would tell a friend if they told me they applied for it, I would be thankful there was such a program to help them at such a time as this. This is exactly what I need to tell myself, because it’s true for us too.
The Lord is taking us deeper, he’s asking us to depend on Him for everything, he’s asking us to give him our hearts desires, he asking us to find safety in the father’s house. He’s asking us to abide and we can either embrace him as the caring father or we can run away from him and cause ourselves more pain. This time I am not going to be as hard headed and stubborn as I usually am, one I am too tired, in all aspects, and two I’m done running. I’m done being the prodigal child, even if in attitude and heart. I want to be rescued, I want to be weak, it is too hard and too painful to do anything else. I am ready to be weak so that he can be strong and in turn give me strength. I am ready to admit I can’t do it all on my own and let God fulfill me with all he has to offer. There will be lots of tears, there will be bouts of anger, there will be times of praise, and this will go on in a cycle, because healing often looks like this for me. But, I’m ready, I’m ready for the tears to come, I’m ready to be honest and say I am not even close to having it all together. I am ready to acknowledge the wretch that I am and I’m ready to see myself as someone who will miss the mark and fail, but I’m also ready to go to God with those failures and I’m ready to cry my eyes out and let the pain out of my heart. I’m ready, it’s too hard to do anything else, I’m ready for the peace and the joy to rule in my heart regardless of what life looks like, regardless of what we have or don’t have, regardless of what people think of me or don’t think of me. I’m too tired to do anything else and isn’t it funny that it takes such drastic measures to get my attention so that Abba can begin his true work. Because when I’m too tired to fight is when God can and does amazing things in my heart and life, because I don’t fight him with my good ideas.
So, world, I don’t have it all together, honestly I never ever did, I never will, but God does and he will right my world. We are unemployed (though we are looking for work all day, everyday), we are applying for SNAP. I make mistakes and fail and I will do so the rest of my life, because I’m human, but Praise the Lord Jesus loves a wretch life me, Praise the Lord I can do all things through Christ, Praise the Lord that as I learn to truly abide everyday, all day I will each day look more and more like the God I love so much. I’m sure I will trip over my feet and put my foot in my mouth, but I’m getting there, I’m learning, and I’m so ready to do life with Christ. Whatever life looks like in the future, whatever happens now in the present, God is working on us and teaching us! We are watching with great expectation as God leads us through what feels like the valley of the shadow of death and watching for the provision God will bring and when he brings it we will dance and sing and joy will come in the morning!
Please be praying for us as God refines us, as we continue to be put back into the furnace and polished. It is painful to undergo the refining process, but I am so thankful God loves me enough to do it. Pray we will continue to hope, continue to wait and watch with great expectation, and as we continue to go even deeper yet to fully be able to live as the child of God we are.