It has been a while since God has called me to speak openly of the trials in life here. More precisely, it has been a while since I have listened to His call. It’s not that I have not been writing, I have. It is instead that I forgot the lesson learned in the beginning of the God Talk series the last time: it is not simply sharing the wonder of God, it is sharing the trials He carries us through. For me, last time that meant being fully honest in front of the whole world, or at least my little piece of it. It meant sharing the brokenness, not just after the brokenness had passed, but in the midst of the pain and uncertainty. Somewhere over these last two years, I stopped doing that.
I didn’t stop experiencing the painful things in life. Instead a form of pride crept back to keep me silent on the tears, to only share the surface pain and move right through to joyful tidings. I have been getting messages of humility for months now, and it truly never occurred to me that was part of why I have been struggling with writing, until the week before last. I was riding in the car with my son, coming back from the first session of a bible study he is co-leading with our pastor. The conversation has rolled around in the back of my head since that night, crying to get out, yet I could not bring myself to write it. Yesterday at church broke down my pride and reminded me that when God calls me to write it is to bring Him glory, and sometimes that has a cost.
Our church is doing an Angel Tree this year for children in our community. A dear friend of ours is in charge of the applications, and mentioned to me yesterday that I could fill one out for me as well if I wanted. So much pent-up emotion cut loose all at once, it brought me to tears. I thanked her, and told her I considered filling one out for the kids, but in the end decided there were others in our community that needed gifts far more than they did. We are blessed with a wonderful extended family so they always have a few gifts on Christmas morning, and we have focused more and more these last several years on time with one another rather than presents, even before money got tight. However, it brought that conversation back to mind.
You see my son, this young man not quite 16 years of age, told me simply that he wished we’d have the money for six months worth of bills. My heart could be heavy over the truth that we are struggling financially. It isn’t. I could be distressed that he worries, but he doesn’t really. This wish does not come from fear, because he has watched God’s provision demonstrated repeatedly in our lives these past few years. Instead, my heart swelled with joy at the realization that this child, who could wish for toys and treasure, instead just wishes to make the lives of those he loves easier. This boy who is growing so swiftly into manhood seeks not to satisfy his own desires, but chasing after Christ, seeks to demonstrate His love.
It’s been nearly two weeks, and I could not share that joy, because I could not admit to the world we are struggling. While I walk in the assurance that God will provide all our needs, I am hesitant to speak of where we are now. Corey is building back his clothing business, but it is a slow process, and takes time. My job ended in September, and I have been looking for something. Many folks have pointed me in various directions, and I’m grateful. Yet, God is calling me to write again. I am building a client base for that through several sites, and seeking other jobs. But, I am often stopped in the process of looking when I stray from focusing on writing for Him. Building a client base for freelance writing is no quick fix for the lack of a paycheck.
I have been terrified in some deep part of myself to talk about this because those who love me might be disappointed in that decision. They might condemn me for not doing something else that would provide a faster solution to the money issue. Yet even before this realization, God has called me to write these last weeks about seeking His will for our lives in our jobs. Those pieces of writing are the only ones that have come without struggle.
I do not know God’s plan for provision to answer my son’s wish. I do know this though; He has used this time of trial to teach my children lessons prosperity never would have shown them. He has shown them how to be reliant on Him in all things. He has demonstrated the difference between need and want. He has given them a heart that places others’ needs above their own. And He has given me the most amazing gift, the knowledge that my life has pointed them to Him.
What is God calling you to do tonight? Who is He using to speak to your struggles? Open your hearts and share your stories, if not here, then somewhere, that all may see the promise of Christ this Christmas season. Be blessed and be a blessing.