Sometimes life stinks. And there's really no way around it and no words to take that feeling away. Does that make me faithless? Maybe. I really hope not. But I am being honest and have never been able to mask my emotions or feelings well. I've never been able to decide if that is a blessing or a curse!
Two days after the great Scottish Disappointment, we received another blow. A "kick a man while he's down" kind of blow. And we're reeling a bit, trying to pull ourselves together. Trying to muster up enough hope to believe all of encouraging "just wait and trust and hope" words that people are offering to us out of love.
But honestly, it's really hard sometimes, after multiple knock-downs to get back up again. We are getting back up. We're limping a little, patching up our bumps and bruises and blindly pushing forward but it's really hard some days. We are in a place where pretty much every door has been closed and we have no idea where to go or what to do. It would be the perfect time for a miracle.
Some might have the first impulse to tell us to buck up and get over this and let it go. We will let this go and move on but we also need a period to grieve and quite frankly, we really do need a miracle to happen for our future.
This week on facebook, I saw that a girl I knew growing up, who is somewhat older than me, is battling cancer. Most of the comments were very encouraging, filled with prayers and hope for a victory. But there was one woman, who is a family member, who responded with, "Maybe this wasn't in your plan but it was definitely in God's plan for you this year! Prayers!"
Really?? Is that comforting? Because I don't think that this world was supposed to be full of brokenness and cancer and constant disappointment and discouragement. Maybe I took a bit of offense because of what we are going through this week. I just think if more people were honest about their struggles (or if others let them be honest) they would probably not grin and bear it and say, "Oh well! Cancer smancer! Must've been God's will for me! Yea!" I think most people probably say, "Why God? Why is this good for me? This hurts. This stinks. I'm having trouble trusting You right now. Please help me to lean on You in this time." Right?
The analogy that keeps coming to mind to describe what we are going through is a couple hoping for a baby. They try and try to have a baby and every month there is disappointment. Or maybe they just lost a baby. Would you say to them, "Oh, well, that was just God's will. There was probably something wrong with the baby and it is better off now. At least you know you can have children! Or God must have a different plan for you!"
Some people do say that and probably mean it in all ignorant sincerity and love. But I have heard mothers and fathers respond with, "But we wanted that baby. We are grieving the loss of that child that we longed to hold in our arms. That child was the one that we were already dreaming about and planning for." And maybe after many losses or many disappointments, they start to wonder if it will ever happen. If their dream will ever be fulfilled.
That's exactly what this feels like. No, we didn't lose a child. We lost a dream. We lost a hope. For the fourth time. And it was probably the one we hoped for the most.
I feel like I am in a battle every 5 minutes. First, the disappointment of what is not to be hits me or the discouragement of the unknown and I feel really down and all sorts of other emotions and then I push myself, with a sigh, to think of things to be thankful for. Because there always is something to be thankful for.
I'm going to write them out because maybe if they are in front of me, it will help me to think of more.
1. I am (mostly) thankful that Ben got the interview at St Andrews because it really pushed him back into work mode and showed him that he isn't supposed to walk away from academia yet. (What that looks like, we have no idea!) And it was a really good experience for him.
2. Ben has a job for a couple more months. Every day is a day to be thankful for and I will try really hard to focus on that and not on the negative part.
3. We were surrounded by love and prayers of SO many people last weekend/early this week. There are a lot of people who do want good things for us and who sometimes have faith for our future when we cannot.
4. Our children are healthy and strong. I pray the uncertainty of our life won't affect them too much and that through this we can set an example of faith and trust. Or at least continuously and honestly seeking God and asking for more faith and the ability to trust.
5. I am forever thankful to some very personal answers to prayer in the past year, that are more important than a job. When I focus on those, it puts things into better perspective.
It really helps me to write out and process through all that we are feeling. As I always say, there is a lot of good in our life. People that we are incredibly blessed to know and love. Our own little family. We're just going through one of those times that we know we will probably look back on a few years from now and say "Oh, that's why we went through that (or maybe we'll never know.)" Or we will be able to see how it all worked out. Maybe we'll get our miracle or at least some answers to prayer.
I know my posts this week carry heaviness and heaviness is something most of us like to avoid, including me! We are working through this, pushing forward and continuing to ask for prayers for peace, for us to trust and for God to open up something for us. Soon. Sometimes faith isn't all roses and plastic grins on our faces. Sometimes it looks like putting one foot in front of the other and making the choice to believe, even in the moments you don't feel it. Sometimes it's hanging on because there is no other option and you know deep down, under the hurt, that God will not let you go and His new mercies are waiting around the corner. New every morning.
And to end on a lighter note and to show that we are continuing with normal life while we deal with this: while Ben is making up hours at work today from his trip this week, I am spending the day at home with my munchkins, putting them to work! So far we have tackled the basement, which was in quite an embarrassing state, and now they are attempting to clean their room. Eliana just walks around with a bag putting random things in it to "put away." She gets sidetracked with putting Baby Anna to bed or serenading us with screeches on an old recorder she found, or getting dressed in the most mismatched craziest, three year old outfits you ever saw.
Last night, Ben worked late and after dinner, the kiddos and I all snuggled in our bed with jammies on and the space heater running to fight off the cold and we read books for half an hour; one story for each of them:)
It's these moments that bring us peace and comfort. We know deep down, whatever hourly struggles we have, that we will be okay. God hasn't left us in the darkness and forgotten about us. He is God and He is love and mercy and peace.