Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reflection and Anticipation

I’m so excited to start 2011. This past year was very tough in many ways. But I honestly feel this is our year to pick ourselves back up.

It was over 4 years ago when we moved into our new home in our new town. This was a decision that we made after two years of praying to God about where we should move to escape our home that had become surrounded by gang activity and crimes. I remember begging God to give us an answer after a neighbor was shot and killed while out to dinner with his wife.

Then in 2006, we received that answer in a way that was undeniable to us. While visiting a model home in a nearby city, my husband heard the voice of God telling him to move here, that this is where God wanted us. Now I know to many, this may sound ridiculous, but to us it was as real as the sun in the sky. There was only one other time that my husband felt such strong direction from God.

Now the model home we were standing in had been under contract with 3 separate buyers, but all of them fell through at the last minute, making the home available again. I remember the saleswoman calling me in disbelief and telling me that this house was meant to be ours since it had fallen out of contract again.

After feeling God’s direction to buy the house, we gave the saleswoman a check and once in the car my husband said, “Now all we have to do is sell our home, but I’m not worried, God has it under control.”

The very next day, the city asked if they could purchase our home since they wanted to own it for easement rights on a city sewer project. They also offered to pay for all expenses involved. So we were on our way, to what was to be bigger and better things.

Then life happened.

My husband lost his job as the economy started to turn, we were now like so many others who were upside down on their home and couldn’t sell it if they wanted to. Even though we were blessed to get a new job, the pay was now reflecting the changing economy, while my own home business dropped to almost nothing. Then there was the start of my son’s illness, followed by a car accident and a list of other painful challenges. Through all of this my heart has ached like never before, I’ve cried a river of tears. My husband and I even joke about how much we’ve aged in these few short years.

But God provided for us and held us together. I won’t lie to you and say that I never questioned the decision to come here. There were times when I thought to myself... what if we never moved here, what if we had a different job in a different city or what if this house is cursed, bringing us our bad luck?

But I know that is foolish thinking. Instead, I accept our trials, I don’t think God put us here to suffer, but I do believe he has used our challenges to help us mature as Christians. I also believe that God knew what challenges lay ahead and placed us where our needs could be met. I can now look back and see how God has held us up through so much, how He has been faithful to us and how He has loved us.

He has surrounded us with family to support us, something we would’ve been without had we moved across the country and He has provided my husband with a great job. After 2 1/2 years of waiting, He has blessed us with a home modification so we can stay in our home. He has placed us in a local church that has a heart for families who have children with illnesses, giving us support and understanding that is hard to find. He has blessed us with medical insurance and access to great doctors. He has even blessed us with trained neighbors, one who is an EMT and the other a brain trauma nurse, that can be called upon whenever needed and have been more than once. All while giving us a safe place to raise our kids away from gang violence.

So when I think back to that day when we followed God’s direction to move here, I don’t feel regret, but victory that God has showed us His great love through the restoration of our life. That we’ve been dragged through the mud by life and stand here today with a spirit of hope a anticipation for the year ahead.

Ok 2011, let’s do this!

* * *

I know many of you reading this today may not be in a good place, in fact I’m sure my words may sting a bit, but I just want to encourage you and say, don’t give up hope.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jermemiah 29:11


5 comments:

  1. So beautifully said. It is so hard to see that God has a plan for you when you're in the midst of the pain. Thanks for always being such a positive voice in this daily living with BP. :)

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  2. You are truely an amazing woman of faith! I don't know how to find that measure of trust and tenacity to draw on the strength of God to get me through. I just don't know how. There was a time in my life when I had complete faith and trusted everything to God. I don't know what happened really. Now, I'm just angry I think.

    You are so inspiring!

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  3. Thank you Mel, but I have to admit that it's easy to feel such faith when things are going good and your life becomes restored, it's when you're in the thick of it that I think we're all challenged.

    I can honestly say that I was feeling angry at God too. When things are crashing down around you, it's hard to keep your focus on God, but I can say that during those terrible times, God was the only one that could lift me up and keep me going. If I didn't have God to lean on during those times, it would be dreadful to wake up each morning because I knew that I myself couldn't change my circumstances.

    I prayed a lot during those horrible times, but when things didn't get better fast enough, I would feel anger at times, or even worse, I felt like God didn't love me because things were so bad. Those aren't nice feelings to admit, but they were real.

    Now that I'm experiencing restoration in my life, I can see that God's timing is always perfect and I learned a lot from all the heartache I experienced.

    I'm glad that you can feel inspired by my story, but I have to say that my faith is not what you may think. Ask my husband, there were many times where my worries would get the best of me and he would have to remind me that God is taking care of us.

    I think having relationships with others who trust God is so helpful when you are feeling challenged. During some of my rough times I met with several moms from my church who were on the upside of their own challenges with God during their child's battle with cancer and bipolar disorder. Spending time with these moms and asking them how to get through the day gave me the encouragement and tools that I needed when I didn't have faith strong enough to do it on my own.

    I strongly believe that our faith can't be lived out alone, when we are weak we can seek strength from others and when we are strong we can lift others up.

    God Bless You Mel!

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