Friday, February 15, 2013

It's Been Hard...But Hope Endures

When my wife and I moved in August 2012, we had an enthusiasm unlike any I can remember us sharing before that time. We believed that the Lord had led us to make a huge change, and we were making it, together, hand-in-hand with great expectations. We arrived, and life was very good for a time. I was writing; my wife was adjusting. We were applying for work. I was seeing old friends, and I even met a few new ones. We were visiting with family, and we knew we were gonna make it here.

Seasons change. The sun sets. The honeymoon phase of a new life fades. My wife started working part-time while I continued to receive rejections. The harder realities of our situation became clearer, and the social dynamics of our new life became more complicated and difficult. And yet we were sure we were gonna make it.

We entered winter, both figuratively and literally. We thought we hit a major break. I was given two job offers but had no peace in regard to both, and I declined them with my wife's support. The holidays came, and for Christmas we were divided--she visited family; I stayed here. New Years' we spent together uneventfully. I ended the year jobless, while her work continued to prove constantly taxing upon her return. But we endured it, and we knew were gonna make it.

The mornings grew colder in the New Year. Our car began to have more problems. The pet peeves of this new social situation began to emerge more obviously, and finances became more pressing. The rejections continued; the realities of making a go at self-publishing became more demanding. My wife was asked to take on a full-time schedule, even as my latest job fell through the cracks. She accepted, and we hoped something would work out for me, because we knew we were gonna make it.

This week, I hit a wall. I was exhausted by mid-Monday, before I had barely put in time on writing. This week I applied for more jobs--one of which rejected me within 48-hours. I had a different potential gig, and I stayed up very late to put together samples for it. The caffeine rush from doing so even carried through the following day, so I could write and get stuff done on few hours of sleep. But by the middle of the week, I crashed. I overslept 4 hours, and I woke up depressed, exhausted, and listless. At one point, I was considering investing in a bunch of clearanced toy items that I knew I could flip online for fifty bucks or so just to feel I was contributing...but that's a story for another day. Other stuff happened, some interesting some not. Satan tried to his advantage while I was alone in the daytime but fortunately to no avail; I stood my ground, albeit drained and worn after the fact. And today I found myself sitting on a stool cutting up sticks for parents outside, wondering how we were gonna make it.

Cause I just don't know.

And at times, I'm forlorn and frustrated and discouraged. The truth is that I am all of those things far more often than I'd like. This week, I felt debilitated by them. We're both hurting more than we wish to admit. But despite the pain, I am so thankful in this: never once have either of us blamed God or doubted him, even as I've doubted myself. On the contrary, we have still felt peace when we should have had none, and we have given God praise and glory in all of it. That is just as true as the hardship itself, if not more so, that in it all I see God as more beautiful, more gracious, and more wonderful, because though so many of our desires, hopes, and expectations have gone unmet, our faith has remained untainted, and our hope in Christ has endured.

I feel like I'm becoming a bit of a broken record here on the blog. In a sense, I am glad that I am. I am glad that the hardship of the present is on record. Frankly, I write about these raw emotions in this post because it's necessary that I do so. I go here and share with all of you how hard it's really been because when it gets easier, we can look back and say, "We came to a point where we weren't sure how we would make it. We were there, and we just clung to Christ like a a life preserver in storming waters, and he delivered us".

I'm sorry. I know this is no fun to read--I know some of you reading this will hurt because we hurt. I don't mean to cause you stress or pain, but you have to know, now, as it's happening. If I am going to share the journey with you, I have bring you into the valleys as much as the peaks.  Because that day on the peak is coming, a day wherein I'll have work, maybe we'll be active in ministry, maybe we'll even have children; and I need to have weeks like this one on the record, so that when I speak to someone hurting and broken and unsure of how they are going to survive the next day, I can say to them, "See!  I was there. I know the pain. It's right there. I know it's real, and it tears at you like a beast trying to strip you of your very life, but God was still good and faithful and loving then--and he is still as good and faithful and loving now. So, cling to him. Hold fast to who he is. Hold fast to him for your life. He can deliver. He is deliverance. I know your heart is hurting, but God can revive it, breathe life into it anew, and lead you where he needs you to go. He can. We are proof of that."

That's what living life loving Christ is all about, our lives being a testimony to the world that the God they don't see is real, that he is alive and good and true. Oh how I want the world to see that in us. If at some point, the Holy Sprit uses this trial we're enduring to bring one more person--even one--to saving faith in Christ Jesus, it is all worth it. May it be more. Here's hoping.

Yeah. That's right. We are hoping. God bless you all, enjoy the weekend!

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