I struggle with what to name this post. But, God has been doing a work in me that I wanted to share. I want to share it because He alone gets the glory in it. He alone is the one who deserves all the credit. Not me. Not us.
Brian and I have experienced a really great week(s). I have found this particularly interesting as our outward circumstances would indicate that we should be really stressed. But instead, not only have our bonds been tighter, our overall countenance and attitudes have been good. We are listening to one another more, spending lots of quality time together and it seems truly enjoying one another's company. And although we should be burdened, it seems our loads are light. I havent been able to put my finger on what is different.
You see it all started with a "promotion".....For those of you who dont know, Brian is in Management and recently got the contract of seven more stores. He oversees a program in all of these major retailers across the State. (12 total) But with the exciting news, came a catch. He learned that once he got the additional stores, his commission would be eliminated and thus his pay would be cut in half. Sure there was potential to make six figures but that would take time, lots of time...
To go back a little further, when I stepped down from my part time job to stay at home in August, we were trusting for God to provide. We prayed and talked about this decision for six months before making it. I of course still write for the church (only 8 hrs a month) and work for Toasty Baby from home 10 hrs a week. This money helps with groceries and little things but Brian's income is our main source.
Once all of this happened with his job, we had a few responses. Fear, wanting to run, questioning ourselves, our calling, etc. And although, we are at a place where we could be questioning God, his providence, his faithfulness, it appears we have actually grown up a little bit. Instead, right now, we are content and trusting. Maybe the year of 2007 has something to do with this. Perhaps we have learned a thing or two since then.
Recently participaring in advent readings with our small group, we took part in an experiential exercise. There were a series of questions that if you answered yes to, you took a step forward. Things like, do you feel loved? Do you feel valued at work? Is there food in your refrigerator? etc. Once we all took several steps forward, Brian continued with the reading and told us that Jesus chose to walk the other way. As we are always striving for love, importance, wealth, validation, Jesus chose to walk away from what this world has to offer. He chose to come as a helpless baby, to be born in a smelly stable, with only a few people in attendance. He would be perceived as nothing, be betrayed by all of his closest friends. He would innocently die on a cross when he had all the rights to be King.
I was really touched by that. Over the last six months, God has been answering my questions of suffering and I think I understand for the first time this elementary teaching. "If we are to share in His glory, we must also share in His suffering." I finally get "IT" that we should expect suffering not run from it. And not only expect it, but consider it joy because with trials come perseverance and the working out of our faith. How can you have faith if it is never worked out?
We wonder what will happen...Will the position produce enough income in the right time frame? Will the position be eliminated with a new company coming onto the scene? Should he apply somewhere else? Will we lose our home?
But in the end, we know that God is in control. That He loves us and that we are his children. And just like Chase doesnt question our care for Him, we dont have to question God's for us. We can peacefully lie our heads down at night in complete trust.
Singing at church this morning, I put my finger on it. On what was different. I realized it was the JOY of the Lord. Joy isnt happiness based on circumstances....its the peace of God in your hearts...a contentedness. Joy is ruling in our hearts despite our outward circumstances. I know there are several people praying for us and for that I am so glad. But, I also sense that God has grown us, changed our hearts, released faith in us....that we are being sanctified.
We dont know what will happen in the next few months; but for right now, we have each other, our family, our awesome friends ..and most importantly we have God- the creator of the Universe -dwelling inside of us! And that alone, is ALL we need.