Friday, May 15, 2009

His refusals, again

Dennis starts a new job on Monday. It's the end of a very, very long round. It started last September when we got the call that our first contract was being canceled, and went downhill as fast as the stock market did in October with the loss of our investors.

I think I will call the last few months The Dark Years, Revisited. I know it's not always this way, but for us, self-employment in a rotten economy was not a good idea.

But that does not mean it was not a good thing.

We spent the first 23 years of our marriage thinking we could do it all. We might even have thought somehow we deserved it all.

This last year we realized we couldn't and we didn't.

But we also saw that God is there even when we don't get the contract (or when we have to work and don't really want to), when finances are incredibly tight, when we are forced to let go of some things we think are our security, and when we don't have anywhere else to turn but to our knees.

We realized again our faith in a God who loves to show up in less-than-ideal circumstances.

I wish I'd always had a good attitude during all this. My personal journal is full of lines like, "I HATE this!" and "Where ARE you, God?" (aren't you glad I spared you those as blog posts?). I wish I could say it was fun. I wish I could say our teenagers always took our dramatic change to a Total Austerity lifestyle with grace and thanksgiving. I wish I could say it wasn't humbling.

But maybe that's the place God had in mind for us for this crazy year in the first place. Maybe (could it be, yet again?) His refusals have been His mercies.

Our faith is stronger because we've actually been required to use it. More importantly, our faith is planted more firmly, and certainly more deeply, in God - the Blessed Controller of all things - as our Provider, not in our own strength or great ideas. We are making it through a very rough patch with our marriage intact, our family united, and our lives filled - not with happiness that comes from everything going our way - but with joy.

I wouldn't trade all of what the world calls "success" for that.

God is good.
Life is likely to continue to hold many forms of torture and dismay for that unhappy person and for all who refuse to receive with thanksgiving instead of complaint the place in life God has chosen for them. The torture is self-inflicted, for God has not rejected their prayers.

He knows better than any of us do what furthers our salvation. Our true happiness is to be realized precisely through his refusals, which are always mercies. His choice is flawlessly contrived to give the deepest kind of joy as soon as it is embraced.

-Elisabeth Eliott

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26, NIV


Mommahen said...

I so completely understand where you are coming from. I never thought I would look at those "Dark Years" and appreciate them, but now I do. I don't want to go through them EVER again, but I am grateful for all that came out of them.

I will pray that God will open doors of opportunity for Dennis that no man can close and that his skills will grow more valauable everyday making him an asset to his employer.

Good luck with your garage sale tomorrow. Those too were frequent in our dark days, but I was grateful for every onesie I sold. And you know are much better, and less cluttier.

emily said...

"My personal journal is full of lines like, "I HATE this!" and "Where ARE you, God?" (aren't you glad I spared you those as blog posts?). "

Oh, Katherine. Right before I got to that line I was thinking, hmm, isn't it funny how we really have no idea what's going on in people's lives beyond what they choose to post in their blogs! (Our blog friends, that is :-)).

So I wouldn't say I'm glad for US that you decided not to post those posts, but I'm glad for YOU, because at least in my online-experience, I find that generally the posts I choose not to write/make public are the conversations I need to be having with God and my closest, holding-me-accountable, love-tank-filling people. And that was probably more helpful for you, as well.

BUT I'm sorry that yall have been having a rough time, and i LOVE what God is doing in and through you in it. Thanks for sharing THAT, humbly and giving-glory-to-Him-ly (is that a word? can i make it one?) as you always do. It really reminds and challenges me to turn my heart to Him. He is so faithful!!

Love and prayers for you. You're AWESOME!!
Emily (who's going to Bolivia a month for tomorrow!! Yikes! Can I send you my emails?)

emily said...

I mean, a month FROM tomorrow. :-) And I can't waiiit to hear about A's Africa trip! Oh world travels... craziness.

Wifeof1Momof4 said...

You may not have written this for me, but it was for ME too.

This afternoon I got the call that may change my @ home status w/ my tods, but God IS faithful and He IS on the throne.

Thank you for the post, I could not have written it any better.

How appropriate, the word verification is "storm". :)

Susanne said...

Oh, Katherine, I think you wrote this just for me. Thank you for the encouragement that I needed right now.

Keri Ann said...

Thank you for this post. Like so many these days, we're living with the looming possibility of a lay-off, and it has definitely driven us to our knees and reminded us that it is God, and NOT my husband's employer, who is our Provider. We're already reaping spiritual blessings from this reminder, even before anything really "bad" has happened. I love it when God works that way.

If you ever feel inclined, I'd love to read a post in which you specifically describe the blessings that you and your family have experienced during The Dark Years, Revisited.

Annie said...

I think we all have time of varying degrees of "darkness" is so important while we are in them to really search out the blessings.

God may let us go through those time but He always carries us when we need it!!

Debbie said...

Katherine, you are in my prayers.

Andrea said...

What a wonderful post friend. I can relate so much to this--we were poised to take the self employment plunge last year and whoops!--His refusals. I often forgot to add the most important part, "are His mercies."
This journey has taught me that my hope is in Him, not our plans or ideas or whatever else. It is very hard to be in that place (we self sufficient sinful creatures) but it is a *good* place.

julie said...

Hi friend. I haven't been around much lately, life has taken over. You know how it goes. I just read over your last few posts to see what you are up to. I will be keeping you guys in my prayers. This last post was a great one.

God Bless,

Anonymous said...

"His refusals have been our mercies"....

That's been ringing in my head.

Thank you for your willingness to share so much of your life!

Katherine - I am praying for the seven of you.

Much, much love,
Chris in Canada