This blog came during a very deep time of testing for my family. It’s nice to revisit those times to look at the work of God and build an altar to His goodness.
I’ve been trying to write this blog since the end of last year. I don’t know if it will be long or short. It may just be an incoherent bundle of babbling, blithering, and bothersome chit chat. Or it might make sense to someone. I’m hoping that it is the latter.
I don’t know when it happened, or how it happened, but at some point I started to believe that when we told God yes, He responded immediately with all of the good things that He had to withhold while one was still saying no to His will for life. Even after reading the Bible for my whole life, and knowing the stories about some of the people that we admire, somehow my thinking was skewed into thinking that my yes equaled God’s response. And by respoinse, I mean all of the good things, no negative feelings, no hurts, etc. How did I become so misguided? I have no idea, because there is definitely a test that comes after every yes that we give to God. I’ve written here about my callings. God has called me to Pastor and to be a teacher. I’ve also written here about the journey that we have been on over the last year and a half. But maybe, I can be more specific about the test in my own yes.
When I left my job in Human Resources to go back to school, things had become apparent that God no longer wanted me in that field. My jobs over the past 3 years had all followed a similar pattern, and when my hard head finally gave in, the the writing was all over the wall. I thought that because I had said yes to teaching, God would immediately provide a job for me. There is no way that God would allow my family to struggle, because I was following Him, right? Hahahaha! I was sooo misguided. Our first 6months were just dandy. We were so excited. We even purchased a new vehicle, one that was badly needed. By the end of that year, I didn’t have a teaching job, but had a pretty good part time job, and I was still hopeful. No hope dashed. The new year came, and along with it, struggles. Now, when I say struggles, I mean struggles of every kind. Crises of confidence, questioning of my “manhood”, because I was no longer able to support my family financially. I felt like a housewife, and while there is nothing wrong with a housewife or house husband, that was not my role. It’s the antithesis of who I am. Alongside the personal struggles, financial struggles appeared posthaste. Last year was the absolute worse year finances wise that we have ever had. Everything that we touched turned to ashes. And all of the while, I’m asking God what is going on. Instead of roses and sunshine, our lives had degraded to dead plants and scorched earth. The end of the year was no better. It was just a really hard year. There were times where I retreated inside of myself, times when I just couldn’t pray or read my Bible. My relationship with God suffered, and I’m just being real here. In some fashion, I blamed God, but I blamed myself even more for failing to take care of us after I told HIM that I would do His will. Well, last year personally was a microcosm of my life since I accepted God’s call to preach too. In that area, there was really no movement either. When you get to the point that you begin to question your usefulness to God, then you are in a seriously bad place. That was me.
The struggles have continued. Car repossession, down to one vehicle, every month is a struggle to know how we will pay for rent to keep a roof over our heads. Yes, it’s a test. But, isn’t that what we see in the Bible? It’s amazing to me how we can become jaded to the truth of the Gospel, because we only choose to focus on one or two aspects of God, not His entirety. It can happen easily if we do not guard our hearts.
And I can see it now. Even as I look back, I see God working in us. The last year had so many highlights. God blessed us with one of the most beautiful babies ever! He blessed us with a vehicle, so that we at least have one now. The kindness of people has continually amazed us, even while we face rejection from business after business. So when I get on here and blog about the goodness of God, please believe me that I am experiencing that goodness, even during these tests. God has spoken to us clearly, revealing vague plans for our futures, but enough to restore the hope that we do serve a purpose in His body.
I guess I write all of this to say that we read the Bible, and we know the scriptures. But how do we know when we really “know” the Scriptures? Is it when we can recite them robotically on cue in every circumstance? Or is it more when we know the scripture because we have LIVED the scripture? Is it when we can turn to specific verses in the Bible and then expound upon them with great and lavish language and theological expertise? Or is it when we can read a Scripture and feel the love of God behind it? Perhaps one of the great results of this testing in our lives is that there are times when I read my Bible, and I can say to myself ,”I have SEEN this for myself. I KNOW it’s true!” When I praise God through my heaviness and despair, I feel God putting a new garment on me. So I don’t have to rely on a theoretical and theological knowledge. I have personal knowledge that God provides at His whim. The hard times continue. The struggles continue. But God is right here with us. I see it clearly. I’m living His words when He says that He will never forsake us.
There is a test that comes along with telling God yes. For some of you reading this, the test hasn’t been extreme. for some of you, it’s been way worse than my own. The overriding factor here is that even in the midst of the test, God has not rejected you because you told Him yes. He is preparing you to be of optimal use to Him in the will that He has for your life. The test is a preparation before the release. So, wherever you find yourself, trust Him. Even when it’s hard to even say His name, trust Him. Even when your tears burn hotly against your cheek as shame and regret run wild in your head, trust Him. He IS God, and He IS good. That will never change.
Maybe you think I’m just a loser. If me being a loser causes God to prepare me even more, then I welcome the title. But I would rather think of myself as a work in progress. God has a plan for my life and yours too. I think I’d like to pray now
We don’t always understand what you are doing. We don’t always understand why things get worse in our lives before they get better. All we can see with our limited human eyes is the suffering that we feel, and how much it hurts us just to live some days. But God, I pray right now that as we cry because of the pain, hold our hands. When we question you because our faith is almost gone, help our unbelief. Help us to know you apart from book knowledge, and become real to us. Become the most real aspect of our lives. God, the test hurts. It really, really hurts, but it is necessary. So God, test us until you deem us ready to walk in the purpose that we have told you “yes” to. We submit and surrender completely to you, and believe that you are here with us. We love You, Lord, and we worship Your majesty.
Be encouraged, and be blessed.