Back in 2008 I found myself divorced and raising two children basically on my own. My ex-husband was always struggling financially so I figured forcing him to pay child support would only make everyones situation worse. For years after our divorce I struggled financially to make ends meet. I really wasn't able to buy my kids they things they wanted but they did have everything they needed. Going shopping for new clothes rarely ever happened and when it did I always found myself worried about how I would pay off another credit card bill. Thankfully I have been blessed with wonderful parents who could help me when I was in dire need, but I didn't like the idea of them paying my bills. I worked hard at a full time job and we survived, we always had a roof over our heads and food to eat.
In 2011 I started dating a wonderful man that I now get to call my husband. He's a saint! He cares for us the way a father and a husband should care for his family and I count myself blessed to have him in our lives.
Today I took my oldest son shopping for some new jeans. He's growing like crazy and only has a few pair that fit him. I was driving home and reflecting on how much my life has changed in a matter of 8 years. Those years of struggle and wondering how I was going pay the house payment or the electric bill were fundamental years of my life, they were fundamental to my faith. If I had not have faced these struggles, I probably would not be able to recognize Gods grace and mercy nearly as well. There's a song sang by the Gaithers called "Go Ask", my favorite part of the song says:
"Go ask the the one who's fears have fled, whose churning heart was quieted, when someone whispered peace to all her strife"
Through my husband, God did calm many of my fears and he quieted my worried heart. We are not extravagant people, by no means rich. I drive a tired, 10 year old minivan but it gets us where we need to go. We live in an old house that could use new siding and windows, but it's home and I can't imagine living anywhere else with anyone else. When I married my husband it was as though a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. As If God had picked it up and I was able to breath again. Not just a financial weight but the fear of my children growing up without a stable father figure.
Sometimes the world weighs on us and it's so very important that through these trials and tough times we trust in God. It's the most difficult time to put our faith in Him because often, during these times, there doesn't seem to be a way out. Like its never going to end, but God has a way of using those desperate times for His good, His grace always pulls us through. It's like winter, if you don't go through a cold a dreary winter I don't think you can appreciate the beauty of a spring day as much. (If you live in Wisconsin you can relate to this!) I think we all have our own weights, and when old ones are lifted new ones come. It's important to take these to God and try our best to leave them with him. Even though His grace has been displayed to me in undeniable ways, I still struggle to leave my cares with Him (I'm human) but the key is to recognize our fears, our trials, our struggles, and do our best to lay them at His feet. This in itself will build our relationship with Him, to trust Him more and more every day.
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."1Pet 4:12-13 (NIV)
we have walked a bit of this together. Eight years, it hardly feels like it. God has done so much and my gratitude still feels brand new.
How perfectly you have put this into words.
I live next door in MN so I can relate to your analogy of winter. I think few people in the world appreciate spring quite like those of us in the Upper Midwest or other places in the world where it is not the least bit unusual to spend much of your winter down in the deep freeze.
"Even though His grace has been displayed to me in undeniable ways, I still struggle to leave my cares with Him (I'm human) but the key is to recognize our fears, our trials, our struggles, and that we do our best to lay them at His feet. This in itself will build our relationship with Him, to trust Him more and more every day."
Wonderful story rich with trust in God and grace from Him and you. Thank you for exemplifying courage I so often lack and need through God. Your blog and life truly bless beyond borders of WI!