I've wrestled on and off with whether or not I should even do a post today. It's not that I don't have any cutesy stories or photos to share (on the contrary, you're in for a treat with Abby's Night at the Ballet and Jack's First Trip to the Dentist). It's just that I'm not feeling very bubbly today, and it's never quite as fun to type out a Story of Struggles.
The two options I was originally wavering between were: a) go ahead with the fun stuff (I mean, who doesn't like a good flossing photo?!?) or b) keep silent on the blog today. But after a day of what seemed like continual prayer, I clearly opted for choice c: be honest.
The thing with honesty, though, is that it can really come back to bite you. There are some who are touched by witnessing vulnerability. They're moved by the raw. Unfortunately, there are others who use it as an opportunity to stand up a little taller and prove that they've got a corner on the market known as Togetherness. They're even so bold as to toss in an "I-Told-You-So" every once in a while.
I'm taking the risk, though, and running with the truth.
Our family isn't facing any major life-changing difficulties right now, but regardless, this has been a rough few days. Strained relationships, doubt, difficult conversations, and financial burdens are all feeling very weighty today. The issues involving others aren't mine to share--there are others involved--so I'll deal now with the pressures of our finances.
We've kept a really close eye on our outflow, but you know what they say about a watched pot. A watched pot never boils, right? Well, we turned our heads for an instant, and the Money-Sucking Pot simply exploded! In a matter of two weeks, we bought a car (a very used--but perfect for us--car), we submitted the payment that's required to send our dossier to Ethiopia (which was right at 4.5 times the price of the car), Josh enrolled and paid for Seminary (and bought all the required books for his classes), we gathered the last of Abby's curriculum for her kindergarten year, our car tags came due, and our refrigerator decided it would be happier in life if it were a space heater.
Now I can hear the naysayers out there (or maybe that's the voices of opposition I've heard in the past) saying that, in many ways, we've chosen this path. And while yes, we have deliberately taken these steps (and we would gladly do it again), that simplified view gravely diminishes the work that God has done in our hearts. I treasure the opportunity to teach our children and to grow with them daily as we walk toward Christ. I could simply pop with giddiness knowing that after a decade of feeling a pull at his heart, my husband submitted himself to God's will for his life. And my heart aches with longing for the baby that will soon be as much a part of our family as I am.
There are no words for the joy I feel in knowing that God's plan for our family is at the heart of our decisions.
But I'm still human.
I can feel a peace so serene that not even extreme trials can shake it...but in the next minute, I can feel a burden so heavy that only God Himself can lift me out of the pit.
And the pit is where I found myself earlier today. Knowing Josh was at work and wouldn't be able to talk, I vomited my anxiety out in an e-mail to him that went something like this: "I'm kind of freaking out. Have we made some mistakes? How are we going to do all of this?"
A little later, I believe God spoke to Josh to encourage him (since my e-mail did nothing of the sort), and Josh passed His wisdom along to me. He wrote:
We knew this was coming -- we knew there would be a point in this process where things got a little hairy. I don't want us to be like the Israelites who, after God delivered them from Pharaoh, looked at the impossible situation of the Red Sea and wished that God had left them for dead. I want to "go boldly" and be a family who expects God to show up when it is tough. I was praying earlier and pleading with God to make a way -- not so we can be comfortable, but so we can continue to do these things that we feel He wants us to do. I wish it were a little easier, but then we wouldn't have to rely on God so much...and maybe that's the point. We can do this, and we will do this (Phil 4:13). He will never leave us or forsake us. Pray for wisdom and provision...He will respond.
He's a good one, that guy.
A wise woman I know once wrote about Trust and Doubt. (OK, she's not really that wise. Actually, she's pretty average. Enough already...that woman was me.) Although those writings were typed by the hands of an imperfect sinner, they originated from the heart of a perfect God. And His heart is what we're after.
So despite our fears and the recognition of our complete and utter inadequacies, we're resting in God, and we're putting one foot in front of the other to continue on in the direction of His path for our life.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30