Just recently, we have experienced several true blessings. We were blessed with a better vehicle that we shouldn't have to worry about breaking down all the time = big praise! Jeremy also has been able to make a change in his job which is such a relief and a weight lifted off his shoulders = BIGGER praise! And, God saw us through the first stage of our adoption. HUGE PRAISE! We are now onto an even bigger stage, but it still feels good to have phase one behind us. These good things all happened within a week, and all of a sudden, I could see God allowing so many details of our life to fall into place.
But, have you ever felt like you were going through a phase in life that just seemed to get harder and harder? Did it seem like it would never end? You prayed and prayed about the situation, but it felt like your prayers just hit the ceiling?
For a couple of years, that was us. When we married in 2006, it seemed like we had 3-4 years where things were pretty nice, pretty easy. We were feeling pretty blessed. Then, it just seemed like my husband and I both started feeling unsettled with life. We spent a loong time (like a year) trying to figure out this feeling. Through prayer and study, many conversations, and counsel from trusted friends, we started to feel led by God to pursue work in Christian missions. The last two years have been a picture of us fleshing out that calling. And it hasn't been easy...
Things have just seemed to get harder and harder. We are more stressed, more overwhelmed, busier, and the budget is definitely tighter these days. It has sometimes felt like we are running in mud and not getting anywhere. Then, we decided to adopt, and life became even more crazy!
I would love to say that we have endured this difficult phase in our lives with great humility and joy. I'd love to say that our faith has not wavered and our confidence in Christ has remained strong. But, I can't. We have whined. We have complained. We have questioned God and asked "why us, God?" We have doubted God and even gotten a little angry at God. *Gasp* Then, we have a week like this week in which SO many great things have happened for us and I think, "Man, God, why us? We really don't deserve all this."
One of the best things I have learned this semester in seminary is that God's grace has always been around. Some folks think of the Old Testament the as laws and rules of a harsh God; in contrast, they think of the New Testament as the grace and forgiveness of a loving God. I have learned that this simply is not true! Our God is unchanging and He has always been a holy God of grace. It was by grace that God chose the Israelites as His chosen people. It certainly wasn't because of anything they did. They were a complaining, whining, hard-headed, and disobedient people (kinda like me). Still, in spite of their behavior, God continually remembered them, returned to them, disciplined them, and loved them. He eventually used them to bring a man named Jesus into this world to redeem it! This is all an act of amazing grace.
I feel a connection this week with the Israelites. Like them, God has chosen to bless us in several different ways, and it is definitely not because of anything we have done that is good. Like I said, a lot of times, we have been a whining, complaining, impatient couple of people. Still, by God's beautiful grace and His goodness, He has chosen to bless.
"He gives and takes away! My heart will choose to say, 'Blessed be the name of the Lord!'"