There are days that I despair of ever again having a sane moment. Days when I wake up to dog poop on the living room floor, a stack of dirty dishes and two missing gym uniforms. These are inevitably also the days I am late on paperwork for my actual paying job, running late for every activity and very cranky with those nearest and dearest to me.
I was falling into a rut of great despair a few weeks ago. My husband’s unemployment has hit the six month mark, and the savings have been depleted. Now, the bills are stacking up, birthdays are looming and the kids keep growing out of shoes! My heart was heavy and I wondered if I could really keep my faith strong in God’s Divine Plan. I know we are lucky that I have a moderately good paying job, which keeps the electric on and food on the table, but the scrounging for money to cover sports sign ups, prescriptions, the ever climbing fuel costs, and plan a seven year old’s birthday party brought my husband and I to a very ugly place. Before all was said and done our relationship was shaken to the core. We were suddenly confronted with our own insignificance, and it scared us. It was no small miracle when we went to church the next day and the first song was “Be Not Afraid”.
For those not familiar with the song, it essentially tells the listener that no matter what raging river, barren desert or fires of Hell you face, God is with you. I thought dismally, I could face the fires of Hell with full faith. I’ve endured catastrophic events wrapped in the comfort of God’s love…. it’s the mortgage company and the unexpected company for dinner that throw me off. AND THEN IT HIT ME… The evil of the small details that I sweat, the craziness of everyday life that I despair aren’t a punishment or test for me. These are the very blessing God has given me. I’ve got to stop worrying and let God work it out.
Yes, life has changed so much over the past year! I have gained 25 of the 70 pounds I worked so hard to lose, we’ve gone pretty deep into debt, and alienated some very selfish family members who don’t understand why we have chosen this path in life. But we have so much more.
We were so blessed for many years in our small family. We went out to dinner often, were generous with our time and our money to the community and we rarely felt the pinch of true economic strain. Now we are feeling it, and we are blessed by the friends and loved ones who have not let us get bogged down in the daily crisis of life.
My husband and I have both gained many new friends in the community by putting the grandkids into activities. Because of our very nature, my husband and I are active in the groups too. I have been humbled on many occasions from the generosity of scout masters, sports clubs and members of our church as they help us keep the kids involved despite economic hardship. These gifts are simple yet profound. We once offered them without concern, and never expected payment in return. This gift God has given us is to see what impact we have made on those around us with simple gestures, to know that the community we have worked so hard to make better has truly become a wonderful support system as we stand before the fire of Hell. St. Paul said it best in his letter to the Philippians… “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” … it doesn’t have to be a catastrophe in my life… I can offer up my prayers when cleaning dishes, doing laundry, or even cleaning up dog poop, because I have power in my faith, and I have a wonderful loving community to surround me.