January 15, 2009

Finding it....

This week has been crazy, it has been busy, and hasn't slowed down. But, this week has also been the most encouraging week I have had since I lost my job in October. In the last few weeks and months since then, I will not lie... they have been the hardest days I have faced in a while. They have tested my strength, will, belief in myself, my patience, our finances, our will, and my relationship with God. It has added stress and tested my life, my marriage, and my relationships with others have changed in more ways than one. I have asked myself and God more questions in just a few short weeks than I have my whole life. It has brought me it tears, and to my knees more than a few times. I have been angry, sad, confused, lied to, felt betrayed, and abandoned all at the same time.
In all of this I have tried to cling to the simple truth, that God has always been faithful to me, and that doesn't stop or change now. And, I know that is not easy. It's times like this when our faith is tested, and our relationship with Christ is most important to get us through. In times like these your mind, the Devil, they all play tricks on you. You can beat yourself up more than a few times, trying to make sense of it all, and you will still never find the answers, or make yourself feel better. It has been rough.
But, this week I found it, I broke through what seemed so hopeless and impossible. I started being real with myself, my feelings and real with God. I prayed like I don't know if I ever have before, I was more honest with God than I have in a long time. Sometimes in life we put things on auto pilot and just coast. Before I lost my job, life was good, life was wonderful. God had been faithful to us, he'd been providing for us like we'd prayed. Life was amazing. But, at the same time looking back on it now... I was coasting. Doing everything right, but still coasting. And, now as I sit back and reflect over these last few weeks wondering what does God want to teach me in all this? How can he use this unfortunate situation in my life for good? Or to show me something I otherwise may not have seen?
For the first time in weeks, I am ready. I am in that place. I know that I wasn't before, I was hurt and angry. And while it does not change what has happened, it does change me. In life, we have a couple of options: we can either choose to be bitter, and not grow. Or we can choose to use everything that happens to us good or bad and give it to God and let him make something great out of it, let him change us. I am now, in that place where I want to grow, I want to learn from this. While I may be able to forgive, I will not forget. And I realized that for my sake I have to let go of the hurt, and the people who have hurt me through this mess in order for me to be a complete, whole person the way God wants me to be.
I have been so encouraged this week in my prayer time, so encouraged by God and what he has for me despite all that has happened. I am finally forgiving myself, and looking on. Finally finding some peace that I have so much wanted and needed. God is stretching our finances in a way that I never thought possible. Food is lasting longer, gas in our car is stretching, our bills are getting paid, unexpected bonuses are coming out nowhere, and photography jobs are coming. God is in this. He is changing my attitude and my perspective. I am seeing things in a whole new light. He has put people around me that truly care about Orion and I and have encouraged us. I am so grateful, and thankful. I am thankful and blessed to know that I still serve a God that cares, and even though I didn't see it right away he never left, and he was always there.
I was sitting in the car a few days after I lost my job and this song came on the radio. A song I've heard many times before, but this day I sat pulled my car over, listened, and cried to the words of this song. Since then, this song has been an anthem for me, and outlet for me, and I have prayed these words over and over again;

The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why you brought me here
But just because you love me the way that you do
I'm gonna walk through the valley If you want me to
Cause I'm not who I was When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials
Bring me closer to you Then I will go through fire if you want me to
It may not be the way I would have chosen
when you lead me through a world that's not my home
but you never said it would be easy you only said
I'd never go alone yeah oooh oh.
so when the whole world turns against me and I'm all by myself
and I can't hear you answer my cries for help
I'll remember the sufferin' your love put you through
And I will go through the valley If you want me to.
Tonight, I get to sleep easy knowing that God is always there no matter what, he's always faithful to me, and to us. And when I am walking through the valley, I want to remember exactly how I feel, in this exact moment, and know exactly how much God loves me.

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