This is part 23
Start from the beginning HERE
September 11, 2014
One day at a time, one step at a time....
I am not sure even where to start this post, but I know writing is cathartic for me so I want to get something down.
Right now, this day, this moment, for all the moments and seasons we have walked through and so many of them being hard in their own way, I would venture to say this one is hardest.
The simple truth is that I know life is hard for everyone. I think I tend to want to compare to this friend or that friend as if we are somehow on the same playing field and I am getting an unfair go at life while they sail through untouched. Even those people, no, even if it looks that way, its not really that way, because life is hard for us all. Mostly because, this is not our home.
When I was younger, in my teens, I told the Lord I wanted to live on the edge. I wanted to have a life where I always needed Him. In my mind that looked like being a missionary, living in a foreign country, raising support, something like that. My mom told me I didn't know what I was praying for, she was right. How can you know when you are a teenager what adult life can carry. But here I am, in this constant need of the Lord, not in anyway I would have pictured, but isn't that just the way the Lord works, never how we might have imagined.
Every single day either I tell Daniel, or he tells me, "one day at a time". I will have a good strong day or he will, many days I can tell we just both want to escape but we have these two life filled, joy filled, energy filled boys to bring us back to the moment and remind us how much we are needed.
Here it is, the simple facts of our life right now. Daniel's dad has stage 4 colon cancer that has moved to his liver, the truth is he may have very little time left. This is so overwhelming and hard all on it's own. I don't think I need to explain or describe this because anyone who reads this has lost someone they love or can imagine how gut wrenchingly painful it would be to anticipate the death of a parent. I know he is not my dad, I haven't spent the years with him like Daniel has, but when you are married and are one, you carry their grief, pain, fear, anxiety, hope, and all that in you as well. Even though death is a part of life, it is still so hard to watch and walk through.
Daniel and I have been married for almost 6 years and I don't know his dad super well, but I can say he is a character. I have no doubt my boys will have some of his characteristics. Every time you see him he would have on his stop watch and whistle, he was a coach, always a coach. He liked to lay in front of the fireplace at their house to keep warm and Daniel would give him a hard time about wearing sweatpants under his jeans. He could talk non-stop to Daniel on the phone about football, he just loves to talk.
We were able to go visit him a few weeks back and it was a great time, a special time. I realized how much I am like him. Being understood is important to him, like it is to me, and he likes to say what he is thinking and feeling and it touches him and he's emotional. He can be cantankerous, but I think that comes from the deep way of feeling and all that.
He said meaningful and important things to us, sometimes it was if the Lord was speaking to us through him and he didn't even know it. About abiding in the Lord, and that was the only way to get through days, moments, in the pain. About the importance of reading God's word and being connected to Him. Some of the things he has said in these last few weeks are immensely profound and all I know is that going to be with the Lord, watching this process from a distance, feels more beautiful than I have ever seen. How he says he understands now what real love is, what is important and what is a waist, about the power of God and how intimately He speaks to him in comfort and love.
A week before we went out to California, we were suddenly blindsided by Daniel losing his job, fired. If you know my husband at all it really seems like an impossibility. He would never miss a day of work unless I really needed him to for me, a hard worker, steady, all of that. I thought he was joking at first because I just couldn't believe it. Yet, at the same time back in March we were fasting, fasting for new opportunities and change and for God to show us which direction we should go next.
We always think we know what that means, what we think God will do, but He reminds me often "Umm, excuse me, but the last time I checked it was you who do my will and not me who does yours." And so here we sit with no job and no money and no idea what is next and yet somewhere deep in my gut I know this is His answer to our prayers. Daniel didn't like where he worked, it was horrible for our family life and time, it was slowly killing his soul, and this is an answer. Not a comfortable answer, but I do believe it is one.
So here I sit on this September morning, nearly half way through the month already. We have given our notice on our condo because we won't be able to afford the rent here on our unemployment. We have no idea where we are moving to or what job he will get. He has probably close to 100 resume's out and we have only heard back on maybe 2. We need a steady base income because although he has experience in sales, he is not salesman, so all commission job won't work for us.
It's scary because his old company hasn't gotten back to the unemployment office and so we don't know when we are going to get "paid" again and things need to be paid and bought. He has a couple possible leads on jobs but who knows when we will know?
On top of this October is my worst time of year for my depression. Every year, since we have moved to Denver, I have had an "episode". I am not anticipating one, but it makes me nervous, why now? Why this time of year? My medication costs a lot, and now we don't even have insurance.
I guess all of this would make anyone want to curl up in the corner and ask to be woken up when it's all over. I don't understand why God is doing this, why all at once, why these trials feel so frequent in our life. I asked him if we could have a drama free year pretty soon? I mean some drama is expected but these HUGE life altering dramas, man, they really rock your core.
I just want to stand, and trust and you know, that only can happen one day at a time. I want to know how it all ends, I want to know how it all works out, and the stay at home mom in me, wants to know where I will be putting up my fall decorations and where Ashton will be starting Kindergarten next year.
If you want to follow Jesus, those roads, they might not be the ones you skip down among the daisies. Learning to trust Him, I don't think it happens when life is easy. It's these moments when I literally feel like I am walking in the dark and it really hurts, and one step at a time you hold His hand and you take the next step and you don't know where you are going. You don't know how it's going to turn out, you don't know how you are going to deal with or handle the pain as you go, but the only thing you do know is that the hand you are holding is trustworthy. That He loves you with this immense large love, that He wants what is best for you even when it feels and looks like the worst, and there is only one way to learn how to walk in this faith and trust and that is in the darkest dark, that He is going to get us to the other side where light is waiting to shine on us again, even if only to the next trust walk.
There is a Nichole Nordeman song that I love that says
"It may be miles and miles before the journey's clear, there may be rivers, may be oceans of tears, but the very one who shields your eyes from understanding is the hand that will be holding you for miles."
How much more Lord? How much more are you going to ask us to walk through? We feel as though we have nothing left and yet you ask us for more. One day and one tear wiped from our faces at a time. One fight and frustration over the stress and pain of no money and great loss.
As we walked through this dark time I saw my husband now struggling immensely. Losing his job and his father, our independence and any ounce of pride we had left as we moved in with my parents. One kid sleeping on the couch, the baby in the closet. Hundreds or resume's sent out for jobs, maybe one or two interviews or calls back if we were lucky. Our marriage was so fragile in this place. We felt like we were under a never ending succession of crashing waves. The feeling of frantic panic, wanting to catch a breath. Nothing.
Then one dark day Daniel got the call early in the morning, his dad was gone. I don't remember much of that day. My parents were out of town, we were mostly quiet, but I remember it rained and poured all day long. I felt like God was allowing the sky to cry for Daniel, for such a great loss. These moments, these days, these seasons where there are not words or ways of explaining, just a knowing of the weight of loss. When you are simply knocked on your back and there is no room for performing or pretending, it's just you and God, in your frail humanity and saying again, "Save me, help me". The greatness of the awareness of ones own frailty and what love and trust look like right in the middle of that.
We made our way out to California again for his funeral, and I kept struggling with my brokenness and with my own pain and depression, but all of that was insignificant in the grand scheme of all that was happening. All that Daniel now had on his plate
. What were we going to do? How much more Lord?
We decided to reach out to one of the pastors at our church and he was so encouraging, but one thing that He said during that time we met with him was "enjoy it", enjoy this season of not knowing, of waiting. Of course anyone's response would be "say what?" He just said that instead of worrying just be, wait on God's provision. It didn't feel responsible not to be freaking out about it. But the Lord does tell us not to worry. And as we have looked back on that time since and what that pastor told us we now see that God actually allowed Daniel to not have to work while his dad was passing. He didn't have to answer to those employers who were constantly on his back, he didn't have anywhere to be, or have to be away from us, He was on a God ordained bereavement. We were able to go out to visit his dad when he knew he wasn't doing well with no time restraints and we were able to turn around and go right back out for the funeral to be with the family.
We had a place to live rent free and our unemployment money. Even though it was one of the hardest things we ever had to walk through, we see now how gracious and loving God was being even in the middle of it. This idea once again that there are so many moments and times in life that make absolutely no sense to us, all we know is that we hurt so bad. We scream "make it better Lord, make it better" and He asks us to trust that even when He doesn't make it immediately better, that He is giving us something even greater, Himself. Little do we realize that He is in fact everything we need.
When He asks you to walk through fire and He brings you through, you realize that the whole time He was there. He was using it to refine you, take a little more doubt, a little more anger, a little more self reliance and pride. We made it, and you look back and realize He was there all along.
"Knock with caution at the door", they said "beware of what you're praying for". So I'll stand with my whole desire, in the middle of this forest fire, until there's nothing left to show and new life begins to grow."
To be continued...
, by Ashley Jackson