Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thriving - Ecclesiastes 6:1-9

"How are ya'll surviving?"

This is the question most frequently asked in our world these days.  You see, my husband lost his job several months ago.  November 8th, to be exact.  Since then, well, the question has been, how are you surviving?

We're never quite sure how to respond to that question, and, when we do, people don't quite understand.  They don't understand when we respond with calm, peaceful, if somewhat vague answers.  They expect heartache, hardship, panic.  (Don't worry, we've had those moments as well, most definitely, but, the peaceful places have far outweighed the fearful ones.)

I'm returning to the blog world today because I want to share what's been going on.  I want to testify to God's goodness and provision.  I want to give Him the glory, for all to hear, because He, ultimately, is the source of every good gift we have received over these last three months.

And what have those gifts been?  How - practically - have we lived during the last ninety+ days? 

It's been a mish-mosh, really.  A little here, a little there.  There most definitely has not been a plan, a budget, any semblance of control.  This process has been 100% about learning how to have faith.  True faith.  The kind that takes a step when you only see air beneath your feet. 

I have never known poverty like I have in the last three months.  I have never known fear like that.  I have never known humility, not really.

I have also never known riches, security, joy and freedom.  Not really.

But the moments God has given us, the memories I will never forget, the gifts...these things have changed me, changed us.

Like the time I told a neighbor I couldn't afford toothpaste and she showed up at my door with an SUV full of organic, gluten-free groceries hours later.

Like the time I told a friend I couldn't afford the supplements I absolutely have to take to stay healthy and she wrote me a check on the spot, covering the full amount.

Like the time a check showed up in the mail from some friends who lived out of state.  "We know it's not enough," the note said, "but we want you to know that we're with you."  (You never know how God will use what you give - that check bought my husband's epilepsy medicine for the next three months.)

Like the time I asked my priest if we were eligible to take food from the church's food pantry, and she told me three parishioners had come forward that very same morning asking to financially donate to a family in need within our own church.  Because of their generosity, we made our mortgage payment that month, something I had thought impossible only moments before.

And then there were the gifts from family members.  The no-questions-asked checks written and given with nothing but love and support.  No judgment, no disappointment, no condescension, just belief in us and hope for our future.  True hope, the kind that is sure and willing to wait for fruition, for God's timing.

There was work on our part as well.  I took as many hours as I could get at my part-time job.  Justin and I scoured our belongings and sold anything of value that we didn't need (I can't tell you how good it felt to unload ourselves of things that, only weeks before, we thought we couldn't live without!).  Justin diligently searched for jobs and filed for unemployment benefits, something denied to him until he won his appeal yesterday.  We prayed, we cried, we sought the Lord.

But we also waited.  And trusted.  And believed, more and more with each gift that came our way, that God would not abandon us, does not abandon His children.  That even though we had no idea how we were going to feed our own children, He did, and He would not leave us.

We experienced the truth of Psalm 37:25:

"I was young, and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor their children begging bread."

We're coming out of the season of utter desperation that we have been in.  The process is not over, the story is not written (in other words, yes, Justin is still looking for a job), but things are different. 

I am not afraid.  I have a peace that passes understanding.  I know that I know that I know: God has provided, is providing, and will provide.

To all of you who have helped during this season, this testimony is one way we want to say thank you.  You have loved us so well, whether you gave financially or supported us with calls, prayers, texts, and that has reflected God, the Source of all Love, back to us time and time again.  On this Valentine's Day of all days, we want to say thank you for your love.

Linking up with the wonderful ladies at Soli Deo Gloria, who spent many hours praying for us.  Love you ladies!  God bless!