Monday, November 15, 2010

the unexpected gift

Due to schedules, my husband and I can't enjoy much real conversation anymore.  We aren't your typical, dad-arrives-home-at-6:00 p.m. household. This morning in the ten minutes I had to talk with my him, I explained that I'd had an unexpected crying episode the previous night.  "Honey, I think I'm on the brink.  I need two hours to myself."

In the good ole' days, he might have ministered to me or asked me what was going on, and then found the extra time to watch the kids.  Now, since he's just as much "on the brink" as I am, he only looked at me seriously for a moment, and then mentally worked on carving out a couple hours.

He can usually study on Sunday night, but because of my little break today, he's still on the job at 11:00 p.m.,  the night before school.  I would feel guilty about that if it weren't for my being so sure I needed a break.  It did help.

Only God knows how long we'll be in our current situation.  When a man loses a job in his fifties, it's a very serious situation--one I wouldn't wish on anyone.  I know of a family who, in ten years, hasn't recovered, and they're exhausted.  It would make me feel better to know that someone out there is gleaning something from all this sharing.

May I please offer something?  If you're in your twenties, thirties, or forties, and you're regularly using credit cards (to replace broken items, for car repairs, for gifts or that much-needed weekend away, etc.) please remember this:  You can never take a job for granted, no matter what industry it's in.  God gives and he takes away.  Live under your means (less house, less car, less of everything), save, tithe, and give thanks for what you have.  Forget about how the Joneses live; they don't pay your bills.

God be my witness:  If we ever get out of this, I'll do everything I can to minister to the working poor, in practical ways, like offering to be a taxi, watch their kids, help with resume distribution, buy household supplies or socks and underwear (can't get those at thrift stores).  My mom bought the children some underclothes when she was here, thank the Lord.

The working poor live in a furiously busy, treading-water kind of way, always on the brink of exhaustion.  No, it's nothing like abject poverty, but it is maddening.  We're only surviving emotionally and spiritually because of God's grace.  As our circumstances become more and more humbling, He becomes more and more important to us--to our very survival.

The Lord has taught me to recognize my urgent need for Him as a blessing.  I'm thankful I can pass that knowledge on to my children, so they're not constantly wondering, "Why us, God?"  At seven and nearly-nine years old, my boys understand the upside-down nature of God's kingdom.  Praise God!

The friend who brought me to the Lord, Phyllis, suffered much in her life.  Unable to conceive children, she adopted two as infants.  Sixteen years later her husband committed suicide, causing painful rifts in the family.  Her children have been distant and nasty over the years.  Her daughter, now in her thirties and an alcoholic, just lost custody of her three children and may be facing a divorce, unless God delivers her from herself.

Phyllis' first grandchild, a baby boy, died of meningitis 12 years ago, which further alienated her son (the baby's father) from the Lord.  Losing his father so horribly, and then his first child, was more than David could bare.  He fell into drug use and got divorced.  Only now is he interested in a relationship with his mother--but not yet with God.  Her daughter, always angry at her mother, has no interest in the Lord, either.

As well, my friend does not have the gift of singleness, but the Lord has kept her single for some twenty years.  Right now she is a short-term missionary in Africa--that being a lifelong dream.  She worked two years in China just recently.  After her husband's death, she went back to school to get a teaching credential, and has been retired now three years.

But, and you guessed it, my friend has a relationship with the Lord that surpasses any I've seen.

As much as someone may try, it's difficult to walk closely with the Lord when all health is good, work is good, children are good, the house and cars are good, and the marriage is good.  Without desperation, we simply don't want much of God--at least not on a daily or hourly basis.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

Here is my handsome boy, displaying the finger Momma learned how to wrap. Praise God, the wound is flat again!  As I was taking off the bandaid this morning, Peter smiled sheepishly, saying, "This kind of thing always makes me queasy."  I could only give him a chuckle and a hug, telling him I'm the same way.  I'll be so glad when this thing is completely healed!

1 comment:

Laura said...

I had no idea your family was going through this. It sounds like God is really using this difficult time to draw you near. Wow. I will pray for you all. But...thank you for giving me this gift tonight--the encouragement that He finds a way to make Himself heard no matter what the circumstance.