November 13, 2011

Quiet House, Stormy Thoughts

I sit in a silent house with nothing but the hum of the refrigerator and the crackle of the fire.  I hold vigil over my sleeping child, whose body is fighting off the attacks of a migraine.  At first the silence is deafening.
Even though a quiet moment is a gift, I have been trained to the static noise of life.  As I allow myself to bask in the silence, thoughts begin to tumble.  Thoughts I've held at bay because I am a stuffer.

The past 36 hours have left me spent, feeling swallowed by the highs and lows.  I've shared our financial journey here and here.  You would think by now I'd be over myself.

This is when I feel like I need to give you permission to slip out the back door quietly, shaking your head because you thought you were attending a "You Can Do It" seminar.  Not today.  Today I am just going to be me.  Just the real me.  The me that has highs and lows.  The me who has more questions than answers right now.

We received our medical bill yesterday.  A bill that includes an ER visit, CT scan, xrays and lab work.  Even with medical insurance, it's overwhelming.  I suddenly feel like an idiot who just squandered her children's Christmas away in the name of some bruised ribs.

2 steps forward, 3 steps back

The all too familiar churning of my insides begin to assail.
How will we ever get ahead?
My husband sees the fear behind my lying eyes.  Eyes that try to be brave.
He whispers assurances, but my heart is too weary to readily agree.

I am broken.
Then I am angry at the injustice.
Mad at myself.
Frustrated with the impossible mountain we can't seem to conquer.
Questioning my decisions.  At what point do I determine that our financial upheavals may be the end of living my dream as a stay-at-home-mom?  My dream?  His calling?  The lines are blurred.

Tonight, as I sit in the silence I stumble onto this post.  A post that quite possibly will change my life.  The pictures are gorgeous, but the story causes me to tremble.
We have so much.  Yes, I feel like we are drowning, but suddenly my personal storm turns to an afternoon shower compared to Jonathan's lonely existence.
But he chooses to sing praise.

I move on to this story and I am brought to my knees.
Lydia has waited for 3 years.  Three years of waiting for God to provide. She waited as I yapped about pumpkin butter and peppermint mochas.

When I was a child my parents faced a financial crisis.  My dad's answer was, "we need to give more."  It doesn't make sense on paper...  or a napkin, or on anything else you try to write the math. But God's ways are not our ways.

So on an evening that I thought would be perfect for a little commiseration, I find myself turned upside down.  My heart burns for a child who is waiting on the Lord.  Waiting for me to make a difference.  Though we often wonder how we are going to afford dental care for our own three, surely we can find a way to provide $38.  After all, it's an eternal investment.


Northwest Texas said...

Your blog is such an encouragement to me. Thank you so much.

Thoughts for the day said...

I love thoughts from the heart, thank you for sharing. In in our sharing when we become real to those who will listen.

truth in weakness said...

oh gretchen, i am so sorry for this journey of financial faith that you're walking. i'm sorry for this new financial strain being piled right up on top of the existing one. i can relate all too well, friend. every. nuance.
so THANK YOU for the gift of your transparency, friend.

after i read this last night, God brought a quote to mind that has been a source of comfort to me throughout the past couple years:

"Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in—but you can be certain that He WILL come."
(Oswald Chambers, TZ Caps)

it's from my utmost's 4/29 passage, w/ is such a great (short) read about uncertainty. (i can send you the link, if you'd like.)

the part that always strikes me the most in that quote is "gloriously & graciously uncertain" . . .
uncertainty indeed has glory & grace written all over it. it doesn't feel that way, but it's true. i think about the chinese word for crisis, which is composed of two characters. one char. represents danger. and the other char. rep. opportunity.
with the Lord, crises are always opportunities for Him to make Himself known to us.

He WILL come in, friend!

Mom said...

I read on about Ecuador... do you realize this could be one of the churches YOU helped build?!...
about 23 yrs. ago? The red cheeks of the children (always sunburned because they live at the equator), the hats, the hillsides... all brought back such memories!

O Mom said...

oh thank you. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your Dad's wisdom. feel like this was an answer to prayer, as we are constantly fighting this same battle, just when it looks like we may be taking 1 step forward, something happens...but now I'm hearing God's wisdom not my own..."Give more"
Blessings to you

AAJ said...

Beautiful post. And yes, we all can give more. Thanks for the reminder. Off to write a letter to our compassion child, Jennifer, who has so little.

Surf Momma said...

I'm sorry for the low days, I understand them. I was reminded of something Sunday, our Pastor was talking of taking daily life back to the simplicity of the Lord's Prayer - "give us this day our daily bred." He will not give you more than you can handle. God may only give you what you need for that day, but it is there. The grace and supply for each day is there. I hope your spirits are looking upward again.

So many of Ann's post bring me to my knees and remind me of my priorities!

The Corbett Family said...

I appreciate your honesty, your openness in times of weakness, and love how you turn your eyes from your needs to others. My family stands in awe even today, a date (Nov 15th) we had specifically prayed for God to answer a major decision and HE did. We prayed in confidence knowing the needs that lay ahead and even though they aren't what we had planned out, we know He's on His throne leading us every step of the way. This verse in Hebrews is a great reminder to come to Him expectantly and with confidence. Heb 4:15-16 - For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Melissa Pelton said...

Coming from a divorced family, my Mother and I lived a modest lifestyle. I grew up on a dirt road in a trailor with no a/c. Hand-Me down clothes from friends were the best, I remember being so excited to get them. Felt like Christmas to me... Spam, a pot of beans with cornbread and Cheerios were staples in our cabinets.

The worst thing was crying myself to sleep wondering when my Daddy was going to come back and my Mommy wiping my tears. And because of his absence I have had many emotional and deep hurts. Some I am still trying to work through. I share this because your children have the best thing God could offer, two parents that love the Lord and love them dearly. You are an awesome mother!!

I too, struggle with not being able to provide my kids with camp, the latest gadgets and feeling jealous of others. I know though they will turn out fine...I am living proof that "not having it all" as a child doesn't determine the outcome of happines.

The love of Jesus was revealed to me as a young girl. Jesus is my strength, my shield and the "Father" I never had... My Grannie prayed for me and my Mother tried her best to raise me on her own, she was not perfect...I have worked through baggage for many years, had no idea forgiveness would be so hard!! Slowly and surely, and by the grace of God I am starting to see a silver lining. This past year, God has brought me full circle and I have experienced healing in my life. And I thank my sweet Saviour for healing me!!! And when I doubt Him, his reply is "Trust Me"
from the heart, Melissa

the bennetts said...

gretchen, i feel so similar in so many ways. financial crisis and burdens sometimes seem impossible. and when it rains it pours.

the Lord will take care of you. remember, He promises that all things will be for His glory and your good, because you love Him. keep holding onto the anchor that doesn't move. He is not surprised by your financial hardships. He is not worried. He is ready to hold your hand and give you wisdom on how to handle it.

also, i wanted to mention: you can always go to the financial office at the hospital you went to (or wherever you went) and ask them to review your finances (they may ask for your w-2s and most recent banking statement) and ask if there is any way they can cover all or a portion of your bills. hospitals have to write off and cover a certain amount of bills every year. even if they only cover 10% that's 10% you don't have to pay. and worst case scenario: they say they can't. but you at least tried, and you just have to pay what you already knew you had to pay. it's worth a shot!!!

Bo said...

Grethchen dear,
I hope you know your soul is beautiful. I hope you know your sharing is appreciated. Your post held feelings familiar to me.

We've had a Christmas or two when I burned to buy lovely things for my lovely kids, but all the funds were obligated. I just want to promise you that it will be ok. We got through it by celebrating the season in all the inexpensive ways we could. Our bouyant kids remained happy. I remember taking 3 little boys to the dollar store individually so they could pick out gifts for each other. It was actually a sweet experience.

I so wish you didn't have to face these struggles. But I do want to give you a shout from someone who has been through a storm or two...Keep smiling, keep trying...brighter days are ahead. I promise.

Kellie said...

Coming from someone who has been in your shoes... and had a drive-thru surgery that cost an extreme amount... I completely understand. God worked ours out in a way I never thought when I got the bills. God will do the same for you, too. This is life. Life hurts sometimes... a lot. Thank you for sharing YOU.