Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It doesn't always make sense....

There is nothing like cleaning out your closet and coming across old journals. The experience of being brought back in time is incredible. It's so neat to reflect on where I once was and what God has done since. I came upon one from Fall of 2008. It's crazy to look back at it now, 4 years later, and think about what God was up to. At the time Justin and I knew we would be leaving our church within the next year. It was an upcoming discussion that was going to happen. We were trying to have a baby, but had been unsuccessful for 6 months. I was confused, hurt, and questioning God; but at the same time still trying to trust Him. Kind of the cycle of my whole life; I asked God why a lot then too.

One thing that caught my heart was this entry on September 8th, 2008....
"I know you have the perfect plan and timing but I just can't see it right now. You know my desires and I feel so far away from my dream and I'm just discouraged. I don't understand your plan and why. Help me to have peace and patience in your perfect will. I know one day it will make sense, so in this time help me to trust you and lean on you as I hurt and am confused. I know you want great things for us."

And wow did it one day ever make sense! I know that's not true in every case. I don't think I can ever make sense of why my mother was murdered, why had to go through postpartum depression, or why Aiden is Autistic. In those situations I think we have a choice to make something good of it; allow God to make us better people out of the pain. But to think those kind of things might make sense is far off; at least for me.

The waiting and timeline of it all didn't make sense until Spring of 2010. When my mind was free from the depression I was able to see why. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. We left the church June 29th, 2009 and Ryan was born August 4th. At that time Aiden was almost too much for me to handle. He was receiving services with Easter Seals that were due to end on his third birthday, August 19th. He desperately needed therapy that I wasn't qualified to give. He started school just 8 days later (God knew with that birthday too). Justin didn't have a job for 4 months and as crazy as this sounds it was necessary. Dealing with the unknown depression, lack of sleep, the exhaustion when I went back to work when Ryan was 6 weeks old, it was a huge blessing he was home. As much as I didn't want to be patient while trying to conceive or be pregnant through the summer, the timing of everything is so beautiful now. I'm not overjoyed at the fact I went through the depression and that we dealt with little money and the temporary jobs Justin had, but the person I became after going through all of that is not someone I would have been without it. It is my story. So for that I would have to say I'm thankful.

The perfect job for Justin came 17 months after leaving our church. I definitely didn't understand the timing of that either, until the job came. The months of searching seemed unending and we wondered why it was taking so long. But where he is now is exactly where he needs and wants to be. So the fact that it took the time it did to bring him where he is, I'd say it was worth it.

Not everything will one day make sense. But some things will. And when there are questions I can always say to God, "I know you know what you are doing and I believe it will make sense one day." Even if it never does I will still choose to trust and praise Him anyway and let beauty come out of the ugliness life will bring.

When it doesn't make sense...I go to the word. It's the only thing that helps make sense of life, love, and God.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and He will make your paths straight.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

What is it for you? Are you waiting for the perfect spouse? Are you trying to have children? Are you searching for a job? I believe we should do what we can and trust Him with the rest. He’s all knowing and loves us more than we can imagine. He truly wants the best for us. Trust Him.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Loaves and Fish

Growing up in church I’m sure I heard this story at least a hundred times. You know in Mark, when Jesus feeds the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish? So I’m not sure what made hearing it again this Sunday so different. I listened to the sermon, took notes, and kind of forgot about it.
Three days go by. It was 3:30 am and I was wide awake. I decided it would be crazy to get myself out of bed and do something productive. So I tried to go back to sleep. It took awhile; like two hours. I’m convinced in that time, if my mind could have put words down on a page, I could have written a whole book. Okay so maybe I should have dragged my butt out of bed, but I didn’t. So later this morning I had this story on my mind again and I headed to the computer as my mind raced.
Sometimes when I read the bible I have a hard time connecting with the stories of the miracles Jesus performed. I mean it’s hard to believe 5 loaves and 2 fish fed 5,000 people right? But when I started really examining the things God has done in my life I was amazed. He has literally multiplied when we were in need. For about a year and a half we were short anywhere from $500-$800 a month for basic needs. But we made it every time. On paper it was impossible, and we should have been completely broke. I’m blown away that it’s been 3 years since the start of that rough season and I’m just understanding how real this is. I mean, I knew God had provided it, but I wasn’t seeing the connection to His word. Like His followers over 2,000 years ago, I still find myself doubting when I can’t see the next step in front of me. He has not failed me once, but I still get scared and wonder how He will perform His next miracle.
Writing down and remembering those loaves and fish moments are a good start. Connecting with the things He has done for me in my life and remembering He sees a much bigger picture than I do. And although I don’t always understand why the plan isn’t going my way, He knows and wants the best for me. My job is to trust Him and take the next step. He has promised help along the way.
If it’s not money, it’s something. There are definitely things that I’m currently struggling with and scared to hand over to God. As if I could make these things happen on my own, but I still struggle with trusting that He can perform a miracle. Miracles that I’ve seen him do before. I have to make a daily effort to remember that He does want the best for me, He knows all things, and to be thankful for the grace He offers when I am having trouble trusting Him. My prayer has often been the same of the father in Mark 9:24, "I believe, but help me overcome my unbelief." Seriously I have uttered that more times than I can count.
So what is your next step? What is that miracle you feel is so far off or impossible? We often pray, “God if you can....”, but in Mark 9:23 Jesus says, “Anything is possible if you believe.” Anything! We forget that God is still doing miracles. Maybe you have had Him do some for you but not taken notice or really connected with the truth of it. Reflect on what He has done, trust that He will continue to do more, and take the next step.