It has been a year to the day since my husband lost his job. It was just downsizing, but into an economy unable to hold so many downsized in a short period of time. Many are like him, still searching for something, starting over, reinventing themselves instead of getting ready for that mid-life promotion. It has been a difficult year, and I’ve written about it often–not so much the lack of money, which has certainly played a part as we still face decisions about keeping/selling our house, cutting out lessons, hair cuts, other not-necessary-but-nice- still-the-same-items from our budget. That hasn’t been easy at all, but it’s stuff…just stuff.
It has been a year of challenges. Of stripping away any vestige of independence, pride or self-sufficiency I may have had. A year of watching the one I love most, wrestle with God as I stand by and pray and cry out to the Lord “Bless him!” Walking down the Jesus Way in humble amazement at the provision of the Lord and that He uses so many people to bless us, most we will never know. Monetary blessings, gift cards to the grocery store, but mainly prayers and conversations and gentle words of encouragement–reminders we are NOT alone on this road. God has given us riches beyond belief in the church family, friends and family that have been with us on this path.
It has been a year of searching for the wisdom of Lord, His still small voice that is sometimes drowned out by a cacophony of voices with advice and admonishments, however well meant. It has been a year of questioning why and what did we do wrong and why can’t this work. A year wondering why God gifts someone in such a way that has value in His Kingdom but isn’t valued in the marketplace. It has been a year of clinging to each other and the Lord while the Deceiver shrieks his lies of “You’re not good enough; you’ll never get a job; no one would want your skills; what on earth do you think you’re doing? just give up–God doesn’t really care.” We’ve stumbled down this road, sometimes in blind faith, because that’s all we had at the moment. Some moments were crystal clear, “Go this way.” Mostly not, though. Many times it is bewildering to live and choose what to do. It can be difficult when the path He has chosen for you is rocky and hard to see and the reasoning unclear; but instead of withdrawing from Him, we choose to say with Peter, “Where else would we go, Lord? You have the words that bring eternal life.”
It has been a year of changing perspective. A conversation with a dear brother in the Lord, brought up the change, like a kaleidoscope that reveals a whole new pattern of color and light. “What if instead of this being a bad thing, this is the best thing?” Huh? What if this is the blessing in disguise we just can’t see yet? The Ebenezer stone we will look back on, saying “that was when such and such started.” A “the Lord has been with us thus far” moment in time? What if, instead of this being the worst year, it’s been the best year?
I have posted this song by Rob Still more than once, but it still rings true to me. It truly is a choice and sometimes over this past year, I had to say “God is good all the time,” praying God would help me overcome my unbelief. This hasn’t been a tragedy by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s been hard. We all come up against situations and there are no easy answers. We all must make the choice between forgiveness and holding grudges, faith and hopelessness, love and bitterness, hope and despair, regardless of our circumstances–lost job, sick child, being betrayed and wounded by one we love–we all have a choice to make.
We are not home today. We are out in the woods with some of the many who have loved us so well this past year. Laughing, playing, stomping in creeks, biking, singing to a canjo around a camp fire, making smores and memories, climbing boulders and getting back to the world the Father made for us to delight in, as He delights in us. We are celebrating what we have been given–love, laughter, friends, faith, and hope–that we can no longer take for granted after such a year as this.