We unexpectedly entered a season that's familiar to many others but new to us: unemployment. Unexpected dissolution of my husband's job last week came at a surprise. Thankfully I am employed - a huge blessing I do not want to overlook. But making plans on two incomes (like remodeling a kitchen) and an expected layoff getting thrown into the mix is difficult to find rejoicing about - at least within the first few days.
To add to this season of change, I'm mourning and missing one of my dearest friends who's out of the country for 30 days on a mission trip. So happy and excited for her, but I'd be lying if I didn't say a little sad for me. Plain and simple, I miss my friend.
Couple all of this with some strong-willed moments from our budding kindergartner and a few really big disappointments in other walks of life... yeah, it's been a rough one to say the least.
I've found myself in a bipolar prayer state. One minute I'm asking God to fix everything right now and make it better. In the next I'm working on accepting things as they are and trusting Him in this storm, praying the words to the Serenity Prayer sink in quickly.
It's like different parts of my personality cannot get along; struggle and strife bring out all sides of me.
Admittedly, a former version of myself would have rattled off a list of Bible verses reminding me of why I should persevere or find joy and rejoice in the struggle. But a newfound freedom I've stumbled into tells me something different - it says be honest with how much this really sucks.
So back and forth I go - striving to land in a good place. Humanity has its perks... and its downsides.
Where's the love?
Last night between the time I left the house to help with the youth group and the time I returned, nothing changed yet everything changed.
This "You Will Suffer" message by John Piper we showed the teens helped. Then, a church road sign reminded me that God is love. (Thank goodness it wasn't a political message - that wouldn't have helped one bit.) The roadside reminder was all I needed to turn things around.
The sharp sting of humility came like a knife cutting through my chest when I realized God's love was not enough for me through the crappy week. It's a feeling I hate but love all at the same time.
It's similar to how I feel each time a bag of Doritos appears. Except way more spiritual.
As I thought about the idea that God is love, I felt Him gently showing me that his love covers everything... including unemployment, mourning, confusion, disappointment and frustration - to name a few. It doesn't make strife disappear right away. But, it lessens the blow and nullifies it. In the shadow of God's love for me, many things don't really matter anymore. He truly is all I need.
The shift in perspective did me in, in a good way.
The moments of repentance that followed soon afterwards changed my heart and reminded me that while I'm not in control (yet volunteer for the role often), God's got me. He loves me. And that's all I need.
It's not a matter of asking Him to show up and fix this mess (although He's glad to listen to the requests). It's a matter of taking my eyes off what I can see and asking Him to show me the masterpiece hidden in things unseen. It's trusting Him because He loves me.
That's how I've managed to find God in a crappy week.