Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Treating trials like challenges...

There isn't any doubt about it, life can be hard! Sometimes life throws us something really unexpected and scary, and we aren't sure why we're facing such trials, it seems unfair and insurmountable.  But in times like these, when life feels overwhelming and difficult, when it all seems uphill, what good does it do to fall to pieces and give up? Philippians 4:6-7 says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Luke 12:25-26 says "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"  In the face of struggle and hard times, instead of turning to worry and fear, the bible calls us to to trust God with our needs and our circumstances, and to let go of worry, since it doesn't actually benefit us, or eliminate the cause of our anxieties.  Easier said then done right?

Earlier today I posted about having to trust God more and how we were planning on taking on a more frugal lifestyle.  It seems no sooner did I post that, that God decided to test our dedication to that lifestyle.  We hit a finanical pot hole today, it was unexpected and scary, especially on the eve of purchasing a new home, especially because I'm off work now on maternity leave, especially because Elvis has injured his back and is working modified hours.  We didn't want this.  We certainly didn't ask for this, and God knows we didn't need this.  But, we've got it.  Our circumstances are what they are, worry won't get us out of it, neither will fear, or anger or sulkyness.  All those negative and worrisome attitudes get us is a gloomy household, a strained marriage and confused kids who start to worry themselves.  Worry doesn't do us any good at all.  But the circumstance calls for some form of action, because it won't go away on it's own either, I can't waste time worrying, but we can't afford to be idle either. 

God is using our trials to challenge us, to challange and inspire us to change our lives.  We've been careless with our money at times, and we have wanted too often for material things, which has led us to unneccessary spending.  We've got things, but now we've got debt too.  And we're being accountable for that, we did it, and now we need to work together as a team to undo it.  My husband and I are a team, and I don't want to place the burden of digging us out of this financial pot hole all on his shoulders.  I don't want to see him weighed down and stressed because of debt, I want to help him eliminate it.  God is challenging me to break out of my comfort zone, and to do what needs to be done even though I don't want to do it, but to do it because it's for the greater good of my family.  My husband and my children need me to do it. 1 Timothy 5:8 says "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."  I need to help provide for our family.  Even though I feel like I serve them best from home, I feel called to help financially as well.

Though I intended to take my one year of maternity leave, just like with my previous babies, this leave is not paid, and it's not easy.  Though I want nothing more then to stay home with my children, I know I have to go back to work eventually, and it seems like a year may be unrealistic given our current situation.  We want to give our children a certain standard of living, and we want to enjoy our new house, we want to feel unburdened, we want to delight in our blessings and our family, and in order to do that, I need to make some money, I need to go to work.  Thank goodness it doesn't have to be full time, thank God I can still be a mostly stay at home mom, but it's hard for me to suck it up, change my plans, and let go of my selfish desire to stay home.  I could stay home, I could take my whole year off, but to the detriment of my marriage and my family, and that would be no good, it would feel awful, and it wouldn't be satisfying in any way. 

Another layer to this challenge will be this, doing what needs to be done joyfully.  It will mean stepping up and helping my husband financially, because neither of us intended for this snag to happen, and it's not either of our faults, and doing it with a smile on my face, not grudgingly, not with a pout.  I want to have a good attitude, I want to continue to care for my family properly at home, I want to continue to be a good and supportive wife, I want to be a happy and loving mother, and I want to help remove the weight of debt from all our shoulders.  It's pretty clear to me that God is challenging me, and I know what needs to be done.  So I'm going to channel my inner Proverbs 31 woman, and I'm going to be brave and accountable and I'll do what needs to be done, joyfully.  I'm rising to the occasion, I'm up to the challenge!

I'm taking this trial, which if we weren't careful, could tear us down and pull us apart, and I'm going to see it as a challenge, a chance to grow and mature and build up. And I hope that God will help me to continue to see it this way tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and every day, because He knows it won't be easy.



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