So many times we find ourselves in a position of really needing a Word from the Lord. You know the kind I mean. The kind of word that if we don't get it our spirit aches and groans. The kind of word that can only come from God Himself. We hear from friends and family that "everything will be ok", "it will all work out", "God is working", but that is no longer enough. It is usually when we are at our wits end, don't feel like we can take it anymore, and don't feel that God is answering. It usually comes on the heals of what seems like an extended silence in our lives. And usually at a point when you begin to question whether God even exists and if he does then does he even care. Well, that is where I have been.
Yesterday, I sat down to add up all the bills that will be paid on Friday and the numbers did not add up. We are not talking car payments or credit cards, we are just talking the basic necessities of life. It became aware to me that my plan is going to have to change. Rather that use all the money that I am making to go towards debt, we are going to have to use some of it for now to just live. This struck me hard because that is NOT my plan. I want to get out of debt NOW. No, make that YESTERDAY. I don't want to be in debt anymore. And it's not just so that I can have more money to spend, but it is also so that we can have a plan for our future (ie retirement, college, weddings, vacations). So, needless to say, I was upset. In my mind, this is not going well at all. And all I could think was, I must not be doing something right. Or I have done something terribly wrong that God isn't going to answer my prayers. Will Michael ever have a job again that will be "enough" for our family or did we ruin that chance because of our lack of good stewardship? I began questioning everything I am doing. Is it enough? What more can I do? We don't have a car payment, our kids are not in sports or lessons of any sort, they don't go to private school, we don't travel or buy anniversary gifts, we don't spend money on toys except for birthdays or holidays, and we don't eat out . I clip coupons, bargain shop, and don't spend money on new clothes for myself or the kids. We don't own the latest technology or nice furniture. (Please don't get me wrong, I want to do all of those things, except have a car payment, but right now, we can't. And I do look so forward to the day when we can have more of that in our family. So, yesterday when this revelation came the question in my mind was, "What more do you want from us? From me? How much more do you want us to give up? Should we turn off our TV all together? Get rid of our cell phones? Sell everything we own? Should I try to babysit MORE kids? Get a different night and weekend job? WHAT???" When I didn't hear anything then my question became "Are you there? Do you care? Is all of this for nothing? We are working our butts off and for what?"
I spoke to Michael about our situation and my frustration mounted with the "lack" of his concern. You know how it is? When you are upset you want others to go there with you. Misery loves company, as it is said. Well, Michael was the strong one and just said, "we knew it would be like this for a while." And that was it!!! Not the response I was hoping for, although I must admit that I don't really know what response I was wanting. Anyway, it didn't help.
So, last night we had to go to church because the kids had AWANA. I was NOT in the mood and if it had not been for the leadership meeting that we had after service was over I would not have gone. I was angry and stressed and hard. Definitely not in a mental state to be a blessing to my Lord and Savior. To top it all off, last night we started our Wednesday House of Prayer, where instead of having a Wednesday night service, we will spend that time each week singing and praying for different things. Each week will be different and last night was the kick-off. This was even worse because I was in NO MOOD to pray AT ALL. (I know, I am terrible!).
So, we sat in the back (which I never do). I had my arms crossed, a posture of total closure, and that is exactly how I felt. I couldn't find it in my heart to sing because when I sing I am praising God and at the time I was not "right" to do that. But, what I did do was meditate on the words of the songs. About 20 minutes into the service, I said a little prayer that went something like this, "Lord, tenderize me." That was it, that was all I said. Well, in less than 5 minutes God broke through. Pastor Les got up and started to talk. He proceeded to say that although this wasn't what he was planning on saying but he felt the Holy Spirit leading him to say something and then he said, "I know that there are people here that have been praying for something and God is not answering. And you are jaded and cynical and you are wondering if God is working or if he is even there because he is not answering your prayers the way you want him to. But, I want you to know that He is working even though you can't see it right now." And at that, my heart broke. It was exactly what I needed to hear and even though it wasn't God himself, it was through our pastor that the Lord spoke. From that moment on I wept. It didn't make everything better immediately but it gave me hope again.
Then last night right before I went to sleep, I decided to open my Bible and just read a Psalm. It didn't matter which one. I was just going to pick one and read. I just wanted to spend 5 minutes with my God. When I opened the Psalms this is the one that was right there. I didn't pick it, it picked me. I pray that if you are going through something right now that this will bless you the way it blessed me. These are the words of the Lord... (emphasis mine)
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."
AMEN! AND AMEN!