I made it to step aerobics class last night for the first time in a week and a half. Let me tell you, taking a week off of exercise shows… especially when you stop for the sake of sickness. I felt exhausted twenty minutes into the routine.
About the time I was considering how unrecovered my body was, I started to actually hear the music that was providing the beat for our foot work.
Blessed be the name of the Lord,
Blessed be your name,
Blessed be the name of the Lord,
blessed be your glorious name
You give and take away,
You give and take away,
My heart will choose to say,
Blessed be your name
Fitting. Very fitting.
Yesterday I bopped into work with food for the week and my computer in tow. I had no more laid down my bags than my supervisor said we needed to have a meeting with the VP of HR. All I had to do was look at her face and I knew what was coming.
I sat in the office for a few moments, knowing full well what was coming. The VP of HR didn’t beat around the bush, which I was very thankful for… she was very complimentary, which I also appreciated. It is nice to know that even though ultimately your position had to be eliminated, no one wanted you to go.
I left the office, feeling remarkably fine. I called my mom and left to go take care of some of the details about insurance and whatnot. I checked myself a few hours later… ?? yep, still fine.
You know the proof is in the pudding, folks. And getting the kind of news I got Tuesday morning in the face of lots of bills and monetary needs, for me to live out yesterday without a fear or a fret or a doubt in my heart is nothing short of a miracle.
Just before I fell asleep last night at 8:45, it occurred to me how interesting it was that I posted this on Sunday and then lost my job on Tuesday. The thought was with me a mere second and then I drifted peacefully off to sleep and slept like a baby. I woke up to the kisses of the most adorable two year old on the planet. And I even found myself humming this morning at the office. (Actually, I didn’t notice it, my coworker said “you are humming” as if it was the strangest thing she had ever heard.) And you know what I was humming?
Yep- you guessed it :“you give and take away..”
You know, I usually get more than one big thing falling in on me at once. A couple of years ago it was refinancing a house we could barely afford, Cohen being born too early, moving across the country with said tiny newborn, and separating from my husband… all within the span of a few months. This time around it is being a month from finishing a house assuming I have the money to do so, losing my job and insurance, entering into the season when you are most likely to need the insurance, and then a few other things which I will get around to explaining another time.
Two seasons of unexpected loss… and can I tell you something? This time is not comparable to the last time. Last time, I almost lost my faith… not my belief in God, but my faith… what’s the difference? Well, even the devil believes, right? But faith is believing God to the point of obedience. The last time the bottom fell out from underneath me, I could barely get out of bed. I was eaten up with guilt and fear and anxiety. Most days, I wanted to throw up my hands in anger or I wanted to throw my own pit party. And don’t think I am patting myself on the back now, either… because I know me. I know how my natural person, my flesh reacts…just read the above description.
Two years ago, I read the book of Job over and over because it was the only thing depressing enough in the Bible for me to connect with. I marveled at Job’s heart to not be angry with God. I marveled at his ability to make the statements Matt Redman’s song borrows from.
I never could have imagined echoing them.
Yesterday after I had taken care of paperwork and started to make preparations for medical needs etc, I went to the church. Someone else was reading, so I sat quietly and read. When she had left, I found the lights and turned them off and put in a couple of cds that move my heart. I had a yearning to just be with God. I tried to pray about my circumstances, but found that wasn’t really what I was yearning for… I just wanted to be with God. As the music played, I sang along to songs to the songs out loud in the sanctuary all by myself. I was there much longer than I realized because I just got caught up in the worship.
I say that because its the proof that God has done a work in me. GOD has done the work. I could barely get myself out of bed two years ago. And now in the face of a measure of uncertainty, I found myself, hands lifted thanking the Lord. Not in a rote, going through the motions kind of way, either. My heart was full and satisfied in ways that I have never experienced before in unsure circumstances. Those of you who know me, know what a miracle that is!
Today, I am thankful for the almost-eleven months I have had at Adriel. I am thankful for a supervisor, Debbie, who worked hard to help me get a schedule that didn’t deplete my time with Cohen. I am thankful for the many laughs and therapeutic vent sessions over lunch with my coworkers, Debbie and Hollie. I am thankful for all of the wonderful foster parents I was able to meet, listen to, and hopefully teach something.
You know, I wasn’t even looking for a job when I applied at Adriel. I saw the listing the newspaper and just thought ‘why not?’ At the time I had no idea it would become full time a few months later. I am so thankful for months of insurance I didn’t have to pay for and a steady paycheck I could count on.
I don’t know if I have ever said this before, but when they hired me, I was terrified. I used to get this absolute dread in the pit of my stomach right before I ran a road or cross country race. It was so strong a feeling at times I just wanted to quit before I even began! I had that same feeling the first foster parent class I taught. I am a good teacher, but I have always struggled with smaller groups. Put me up in front of 200 people and I am cool as cucumber. Give me a handful of people to teach and I am a nervous wreck. In college I led a girls Bible study and while I knew the material I prepared was good and I was able to build relationships, I often second guessed myself about how I balanced the hour or so a week we spent together actually having the study. This job was trial by fire as I taught several times a week to those kind of small numbers and had to learn how to balance questions and stay on target… this morning I am thankful for the invaluable experience I have gained here… and I am excited to see what God has planned to build on it.
I am thankful for the opportunity to tithe this coming Sunday on my last paycheck from Adriel. It hasn’t been hard for me to tithe since my job became full time and I knew I had it in the bank. I can’t say it required much faith. But this Sunday when I drop in that pink envelope, it will be a true exercise of my faith in God as a provider. I won’t be putting that envelope in with tears, but with expentant anticipation.
I am thankful for my church and my Pastor… how invaluable are the lessons I have learned by being apart of a body who obeys God and who gives! I am thankful to be pastored by a man who doesn’t flinch at the truth and who speaks it in love.
I feel thankful for so much right now, but most of all, I feel thankful for the healing touch of God to my heart which had been so beat up. I am thankful that rather than condemning me or being disappointed in me, that God pursued me to the point of transformation. I am thankful God has done a work in me I was completely powerless to do on my own. I am thankful for the gift of faith… the measure apportioned to me that I could believe the promises of God are true for me even now. And they are!
All things work together for good to those who love God… ALL. Go ahead and capitalize that in your heart…ALL means ALL. The thing I am finding is that sometimes we just don’t know what is good. From our perspective, it can be hard to tell.
I know times are hard for a lot of us now…especially when we start measuring ‘hard’ by the economy or our checkbook or the state of our home loan. But this morning I just wanted to remind you that God is not watching from a distance (sorry, bette) or broke or unconcerned. The lillies of the valley don’t dress themselves and neither do the birds worry about their next meal– and aren’t we more than that to God our father? And if we give good gifts to our children, how much more will God pour out His good in our lives?
I want to leave you with a passage from Psalms that’s running circles in my heart this morning,
“Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a level path
because of my foes.
Do not deliver me over to the desire
of my adversaries,
for false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have despaired unless I had
believed I would see the goodness of
the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:12-14
Keep in mind, your adversary isn’t a person or a situation… its the Enemy who longs to rob us of our faith. So cling to your faith this morning and know that behind the curtain of what we see in our natural minds, God is at work.