My friend Lisa described me fairly accurately when she said that I am the kind of person who, when difficult things happen, can accept them, trusting that God has a greater purpose. I don't know why, but my faith has always been of a fairly unquestioning nature. Some would consider this a good thing, others not so much, but I'm pretty sure it's what's been getting me through this time. I have a difficult time being angry for a prolonged period, particularly at God. I can't be consistently mad at the only thing I know brings me peace. So, not a questioner, generally not angry, faith that God knows what He's doing.
The past couple days I've been angry. Not the yelling, fit pitching kind of angry but the deep, down in your soul kind. This is unsettling for a person who doesn't get angry. I dislike being mad at God (although I've been assured countless times that it's OK) and I don't like questioning God (mostly because I've done it before and turns out, it's kind of a waste of time for me). But these past couple days, as Christmas draws closer, I've been going through both of those things.
This is also compounded by the fact that people are constantly telling me the past couple of days how God is using this situation and how our lives are a testimony. Normally, I'm 100% on board with that statement, and thankful to have reminders of that truth. But these past couple of days, all I want to do is turn my face to the sky, dig my feet in the ground and scream, "CAN'T SOMEONE ELSE BE A TESTIMONY FOR YOU?" or "COULDN'T YOU JUST DO THIS ANOTHER WAY?" And then maybe there was some fist shaking...
I'm tired. I'm tired of being an example, I'm tired of having my baby be the one who is dying, I'm tired of bearing this weight to bring God glory in a horrible situation when really, I just want to curl up in a little ball and cry ALL DAY. And I woke up yesterday knowing these feelings would pass soon, because I can't stay in that place forever, but I really just wanted a couple days to feel sorry for myself. It doesn't seem like too much to ask for that.
But God, oh God, He didn't let me. I went to Bible study for the first time since the end of the school year last year. I went really hoping to hear something encouraging and not challenging, because HONESTLY?! I have had enough with the challenging. I hope at some point you all started laughing to yourselves, knowing what's coming...
Bible study was about learning the difference between following after Christ and walking with Him. Instead of walking behind Him, at some point, we must step into a place where we are walking side by side, in the same places with Him. The lesson turned to how, inevitably, this will bring us to difficult, painful places because Jesus had to walk through many difficult, painful places. These places seem hurtful and we often wonder how He could really be part of them. Erilynne (our teacher) went on to give examples of Hagar and Elijah. Both end up in difficult situations, both run away from said situations, and both are met by God. When they meet Him, He doesn't coddle them and promise to make the situation better. He tells them to return to their difficult situations so that His perfect plan can be worked through to completion.
I hate hearing things that I KNOW I need to hear when I really don't want to hear them. So, OK. Fine. I get the point.
But then, PEOPLE, you will not believe what happened the rest of the day.
An incredibly generous, anonymous, monetary gift was brought to our home couriered by my friend Lisa. We have no idea who it is from or what prompted such incredible generosity. My knees went weak and I sat on the kitchen floor and cried. Since I'm not really working, the fear of the financial is always in the back of our minds and yesterday, God took that fear completely away. I heard Him say, "Jen, believe Me. If you walk in My will, no matter how difficult the road may be, I will give you everything you need." And that right there would have been enough for me.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!
The boy's basketball team at Christian Heritage (the school where I used to work) decided earlier in the year that they wanted to dedicate their season to Lydia. They had warm-up t-shirts made that say "CHS 4 Lydia" on the front. We were able yesterday to take Lydia to a basketball game, so she could see these wonderful people who love her, even though they've never met her. Every time they did their "One, two, three, fill in the blank with a random basketball term" chant thing before going back to playing, they filled in the blank with Lydia's name. Their kindness and support of our family was overwhelming to me and has left a deep impression on my heart. Not only does He supply our needs, He surrounds us with people to love and encourage us, often in very unexpected places.
Thank you, kind people who chose to follow God's prompting and support us. Your gift means so much more to us than just money and I will always be thankful for you and pray God's rich blessing on your life because on a dark day, you reminded us of God's provision.
And thank you, CHS Boy's Varsity Basketball team for reminding us of how loved we are and for doing what might seem like a small thing to you that has been an incredible blessing to us.
On other bad days, I'll look back on this day and remember God's faithfulness and I hope this will inspire you to remember days and ways that God has been faithful to you.