Last week I wrote how God had given me an unusual calm, but as the week played out, I became fully aware of the gift He had given me. I want to write this post not to entertain or improve my writing skills but simply to remember.
I wish I could recount all the details; a part of me is afraid that the change won’t stick, and I want a formula to follow to produce the desired results. But I know better; faith is not a formula but a condition of the heart, a way to live.
Last Sunday night I came home from small group utterly dejected. I went to bed as I had done many Sunday nights previous, with a heaviness on my chest and a dread for Monday morning. Not only was I physically tired but mentally tired, too; as hard as I had tried, my attempts at observing a Sabbath never produced the rest of which I hoped.
Monday morning, I remember sitting up in bed and praying as I do most mornings. I don’t remember the words, but I think the prayer was simple. In fact, I think I said something to the effect of “God, I want to have a good day.” I can’t remember if I had thought these words Sunday night or if they were part of my Monday prayer, but I remember the cry of my heart to God was that I wanted my children to have good memories of their mother. I wanted my husband to like me and not grow to hate me over time.
As much as it pains me to admit, I had grown to thinking that my children would be better off if I went to work full-time, my husband if he married someone else. I didn’t feel happy, and while I put little stock in the fleeting feeling of happiness, I didn’t have contentment, either. My entire life I had been called a calm and patient person, but I had discovered my temper and the ease that frustration came to me after the birth of my third child.
The last two years were rough. I think most moms would find having three kids in three years challenging. Then add a husband whose work is far away and his hours away from home long, and the situation is tougher. And I resented the hours that I was home by myself. Even though I knew in my heart my husband was good and was providing the best way he knew how, I was tired. Waiting for him to come home until seven or later every night, eating dinner at nine after the kids were tucked away in bed, was taking it’s toll. And I didn’t think I could handle this routine that we had established any longer.
Last Monday morning I prayed, but I think even before I thought the prayer I felt different. As I already wrote, I had a calm. During a week which should have sucked, I felt a peace. I didn’t feel the weight on my chest, and I felt like I could love, be a good mom for my children, a supportive wife for my husband.
That day I wrote my blog post not looking for help because I honestly felt fine. However, that night a friend sent me a message that she was coming over to help make the light sabers for my son’s Star Wars party. The next day another friend called and said, “Oh, honey! I just read your blog–what can I do to help?” She went to the store for me since my kids were sick, and later that week, she brought her kids over to play with mine and watched them all while I cut out belts for the Jedi robes. A friend from small group brought my family a meal on Thursday, the day of Matt’s procedure and Caleb’s first baseball game, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about dinner. Another friend sent me messages of love and support on Facebook.
And I knew God was whispering, See? I will take care of you. When you focus your eyes on what’s important and not on all the other stuff that is a distraction, I will give you the help you need.
To some, the help of my friends would seem a coincidence or just what friends would do regardless. But I know better. I know how I felt Sunday, and I know how I felt all the Sundays before. And more importantly, I know how I felt Monday. God was confirming that He was in this change.
I didn’t do anything different. But there was peace. God lifted the darkness and depression that was crushing me, and as I shared last night with my small group, the same group whose prayers I coveted the week before, I broke down in tears. God had answered their prayers.
I don’t know why God answered our prayers on Monday. I had prayed many, many times before. In fact, during this past year as I have increased my writing and been more consistent with prayer and reading my Bible, I have felt closer to Him than ever before. But I struggled daily.
I wish I knew the formula, but I think God just wants me to have faith. He wants me to acknowledge that He is the source of all good and all miracles, and I don’t need to know the hows or the whys.
He is the One who parted the Red Sea, and He is the one who brought me peace. And that is enough for me to know.
“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, New International Version, 2010).
I’m linking up with Michelle today, and I know I’ve kind of cheated because I’m not sharing what I learned in a sermon or book that I’m reading, but I think learning something straight from the Source counts, too! 🙂
I’d love for you to join me on Friday, as well, and share what God has taught you. This week’s journey is on ‘gentleness.’
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23, New International Version, 2010).
Finally, I want to thank everyone for all of your thoughtful comments on my blog. I am severely behind in my replies! I love replying and/or visting your blogs, too, and I promise I will get there; it just might take me a little while.
9 thoughts on “Parting the Red Sea: Part Two”
How wonder He is! When life is hard it is hard to let go of the details and the hurt, yet when we give it to Him he surprises us with the love in ways we didn't anticipate.
your words are sitting with me … familiar. I'm so thankful I read them. He is God and I am undone by hearing your words. each of our stories being so unique and He is intricately involved with each one. nothing the same but Him.
A few weeks ago, I was praying and praying that I wouldn't have to work with a particular instructor. I got there in the morning, and lo and behold I was working with this person. And I'm thinking, "WHY God?! WHY?" My day with this person turned out to be wonderful and none of the awfulness that I'd had to deal with on prior occasions. It was sort of like God saying, "I may not answer it how you want it to be answered, but I'm still here and in charge".
wow… I am visiting from Michelle's and I have to say "THANK YOU" for this post. I caught up and read last week's as well… God is there and as I sit here after a weekend of feeling resentments towards a husband who works out of state all week and comes home on weekends, I realize I should have been more grateful for all he was doing to help me instead. And he did do a lot… like take over the 5 month old who gave up napping… I was tired and weary and having a pity party. God does send those people at those times and I am so glad that He did that for you!
I too spend a lot of time trying to figure out the whys and hows behind God. But sometimes it's enough, more than enough, simply to rest in his grace.
A lovely post, Jennifer — so honest and true! And thanks for linking up today…
Even though our third child turns 22 in a few months, I remember distinctly what a difference she made in my life. Suddenly I did not have enough hands for everyone to hold while crossing the parking lot or the ability to keep everyone occupied with the same activity. The Lord sent us two more children…but when someone asks, I always say that the third one took the most adjustments for me. Not bad adjustments, just sometimes hard ones.
Now, I long for the days they all five wanted to hold my hand at once!
The Lord also sent dear friends that helped me through those days…and I count any friend who volunteers to help out with a child's birthday party a modern day miracle! So, glad that you were able to see His provision and feel His love being poured out on you. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for this encouraging comment. It's always helpful to know that I am not alone in my feelings. And since Matt and I would like to have more children some day, I'm glad to know that adding more won't necessarily get harder as it did this time around!
Well this was raw, and honest. You are blessed to have wonderful, supportive friends that will do little things, like make meals and cut out Jedi ties.
Yes, I am. I've never really had friends go out of their way to help me like this before, and their offers brought tears to my eyes.