I have spent many days wondering how far can I be stretched before I break. How many difficult circumstances can I face before throwing in the towel? How many challenges will I chose to face with prayer and faithfulness? I say I believe God's grace is sufficient for me, but do I REALLY believe it? Could I have everything striped away and still believe that He is enough?
After all of the thinking (that continues) and all of the circumstances, my only answer is I don't know.
The past three weeks have been a journey out of the oasis and into the desert. I have been forcefully moved from a place of rest to a place of uncertainty, along with my husband. The oasis experience came to a crescendo with the birth of my beautiful nephew Braxton followed by a few days of celebrating life, health, and blessings. Since that time my mother has had emergency eye surgery for a detached retina that has been less than complication free. My father has been laid off from his job, which affects the medical coverage my aging parents must keep. My sister has discovered a shorter maternity leave than expected, which poses a huge financial burden on she and Chris. My grandfather's terminal illness continues to affect his body, mind, and actions which weighs heavy on all of our hearts. One of my uncle's long time faithful employees was killed in a wreck leaving behind a wife and 12 year old daughter. As a result, my uncle has discovered further health issues of his own. And during the midst of these events Sam was laid off from his job along with 6 of his co-workers. As I wonder through the desert sometimes I pray, sometimes I cry, sometimes I laugh, sometimes I bow, sometimes I rebel, most times I grumble, and sometimes I rejoice.
I pray that God continues to provide for our needs. I pray that God would reach down and place His healing hand on those I love. I pray I would depend on Him more and grumble less. I pray that my family would be encouraged.
I cry tears of sadness for friendships that have been broken due to job loss. I cry tears of loneliness as I say good bye to my grandfather who has been a pillar of strength for me for 29 years. I cry tears of frustration concerning financial struggles that face my family. I cry tears of concern for my mother and uncle. I cry tears of pain as I aggressively wrestle with God trying to keep Him from refining me beyond what my prideful self desires.
I laugh at the truth that lies behind the saying 'when it rains it pours.' I laugh at my emotions and how similar they are to a roller coaster ride, except rarely that brief. I laugh at how different Sam and I deal with challenges. I laugh, because Sam and I still enjoy life, despite our circumstances.
I bow to praise God for all of the blessings He has poured into my life. I bow to worship my Lord and Savior. I bow to thank God for bringing periods of rest after the storm. I bow to say I am sorry for being so prideful.
I rebel against change. I rebel against rules that are legalistic. I rebel against those who have hurt my family. I rebel against the reality that people age and health fails. I rebel against our society that says we must live the American dream. I rebel against God.
I grumble-enough said!!!!!!
I rejoice that God has shown His faithfulness to me throughout every phase of my life. I rejoice that Sam and I have such a strong relationship and through challenging times it will only grow stronger. I rejoice that no matter what happens God will not let go of me. I rejoice that my grandfather knows Jesus. I rejoice that God has blessed Sam and I with an education that is needed and valued around the world. I rejoice that Braxton and my sister are healthy. I rejoice that my mother is beginning to see yellow and red shades of color out of her eye. I rejoice that God provides. I rejoice.............I rejoice........................I rejoice.........................I rejoice...............
At this point in my journey singer/songwriter Jeremy Camp puts into words what my heart is trying to say, "I try to hold on to this world with everything I have. But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab. The many trials that seem to never end, His word declares this truth, that we will enter in this rest with wonders anew.
But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering
There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears. There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face. But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always."