Our lives lately have been an interesting parallel of chaos and peace, trials and refreshment, stress and trust, questions and faith. Never before, I don’t think, have I had so many faith-testing circumstances been occurring simultaneously with so many faith-strengthening circumstances. It’s overwhelming at times how un-overwhelmed I have been with all the chaos. Instead, God has just splashed His goodness over me in a way that refuses to be ignored, or set aside so that I can worry over the trials or unanswered questions. Read for yourself and see if God is not indeed there when life hits hard.
We have had more huge expenses thrown our way in the past couple weeks (a couple that were more than $1000) than we ever would have been able to handle, except that we got a tax refund that was much larger than we anticipated right at the same time that these expenses showed up. Coincidence? I think not.
Our growing family was busting out the seams, about to grow even more, refused a mortgage, thought things were grim, and then just happened to be able to move into the very house people have been wishing we could have gotten in the first place, which is absolutely perfect for us, for only $100 more a month than we were paying for the tiny house. Random? Of course not.
Clay and I have both been blessed to attend 2 conferences each over the past month and a half or so, which added to the hectic-ness of our lives as we each played single parent for the other, but which also refreshed and restored our souls to the point that, in the craziness of our circumstances, we have, by God’s grace, remained steadfast. Why did these conferences just happen to be timed right when our lives were going crazy? Because God is Sovereign.
While all these things have been going on, Clay has had added pressures in his ministry as well. A little controversy, a little drama, a lot of frustration all around. Much ado about an issue that should be secondary, but took center stage instead. In the ministry this happens often, and has the potential to drain the passion and joy right out of the minister. But at the same time, we’re seeing God work in the lives of our students in a way we’ve never seen before at any church in our past. We’ve also seen deacons and other leaders in the church step up and lead over the past couple months in a way that is very new at this church, and very exciting to watch. So has the controversy and drama been victorious in draining the joy out of my hubby? By the grace of God, he’s been able to keep his focus on changed lives and saved souls, on the revival spirit that’s going on at Salem Baptist Church parallel to the temporary drama. God is so good to allow these to happen at the same time.
Finally, I spent last weekend learning that a True Woman will remain steadfast under trials, cultivate a quiet and gentle spirit in the midst of circumstances, and set the tone for a peaceful, Godly atmosphere in the home, while the whole time, the sore throat that had been lingering for a full month despite two rounds of antibiotics steadily grew worse and worse. I came home from that teaching with a heart filled with passion to fulfill that calling and a body that, as was confirmed today, is fighting off a sequel round of mono and, because of my pregnancy, cannot be treated with any symptom-comforting meds and will be fighting this virus for longer than most who get it. How can I be the True Woman I so long to be when all I want to do is sleep? How can I face the unknown length of time in front of me that I will be managing my home while fighting this virus with any kind of hope and cheer at all? What is God doing with this crazy timing? Showing me that His strength is made perfect in my weakness, and giving me the opportunity to trust Him and obey Him even when circumstances are not perfect. I admit to feeling overwhelmed at this diagnosis and lack of treatment, but honestly, mostly I just feel a quickening in my heart, an anticipation to see how God is going to provide the strength for me to fight through this. Would I be facing this with faith and trust had all of the above paragraphs not been true over the past few weeks? I can say based on my knowledge of myself in the past–absolutely not. God’s timing is perfect. He most definitely is present in this trial.
Life hits. Sometimes life hits very hard. It has hit us hard in the past and we didn’t have all these parallel blessings, at least not at the very same time or not to this extent. Sometimes our questions weren’t answered immediately like they have been recently. But that doesn’t mean that God wasn’t there. We can see fruit from our time here in Salem from seeds that were planted during what we thought was a drought in our lives. God may not always be clearly visible, but He is always there. The irritations and questions and trials of the last two months would have come close to crushing me, just because they’ve all happened at the same time, but He has been faithful to not let me be tempted beyond what I can bear. He will do the same for you, even if it’s not in such a visible way. Don’t despair when life hits hard. God is there.