About a month ago, I sat staring at my bills and realized I couldn't fit christmas presents and birthday presents into my budget - 3 of my kiddos have christmas week birthdays and it always makes for a tight month, but, with my fluctuating work this past year our finances have been limping along and the piper was requiring payment! I did the math again and stared dismally at the numbers... then I felt the Spirit whisper, "...have you ASKED Me for help with this?"
"well, no.. Lord, christmas presents seems like such a superfluous thing to PRAY about -- we truly have everything we NEED and its not like we won't survive if we have a small christmas -- we are so blessed in many ways already..."
I shrugged and somewhat hesitantly sent a prayer request heavenward, wondering if this inner conversation was more my own making then the Spirit's leading... I mean, asking for christmas presents seemed almost selfish, I chuckled a bit as I muttered, "...it will be a true christmas miracle because I have nothing more in this budget!"
A week later I cried as I asked God to forgive my hardness and unbelief -- first one and then another precious friend reached out and together they covered not only my kids presents, but for me as well!
I told my friend, "...I feel kind of "schooled" by God..."
It wasn't about whether or not we deserved presents or needed them, my heavenly Father is just that -- my Father! He loves to bless his children, not because of what we DO, but, just because we are His kids!! I am so humbled and overwhelmed by His love for us!
So today is Christmas Eve and I am making a nigerian soup for the first time since Cj died... I don't know why now, except my kids have been asking for it, speaking of it nostalgically and I don't want them to lose that part of their dad... So, I am making it today... I think my subconscious knew it would be a difficult process - that's why its taken me over 2 yrs to attempt -- my sister knew, she said "oh, I didn't think you would do that -- I thought it would be too hard for you to make it..." I laughed it off and said "no, of course not..."
But, now as I'm staring into this simmering pot -- I'm fighting tears and my inner confusion continues... As I gather spices and ingredients I keep catching myself as I think, "...oh, Cj will like this... He will be thrilled to taste that..." and then being reminded AGAIN that this won't be for him -- and what if the kids don't care for it? Or what if they don't like it at all?? Ugh...
This mess of grief over cooking dinner is exacerbated by the fact that a friend AND a family member have recently notified me they are both moving -- moving FAR AWAY...
These people were part of the ones who carried me through the fire after CJ died -- we had a HUGE circle of precious people who joined hands and lifted us in the weeks and months after his death, but these precious women and their families were some of the "point people" - orchestrating, organizing and taking care of details that I didn't even know to think about, taking care of me and my family before I even knew we needed it... they were THERE, didn't have to be asked... didn't ask me a lot of questions -- didn't offer help IF I asked for it, they just showed up and DID whatever was needed... they got into my personal space, my ugly and dirty spaces - where I'm afraid to ask people to come - loved me through it and became the glue that held all my pieces together so I didn't lose my mind and family. I am blessed to have several people like this in my life and I do not count it as a small thing!!
And now... now they have both decided it is time for them to move on to other places - places they see God is leading their families... I admit, I am having a difficult time hearing God's voice and call -- But, that is because God is not calling me -- He is calling them
I wrestle with my anxiety, my fears of not knowing how I will be able to survive without these foundational support people that I don't have to "stress about" asking for help... I feel bile rising up in my throat and my heart does funny things as I start to look at what the near future looks like with these empty spaces, these chinks in my wall, weak spots in my armor...
A rush of anger followed the despair that welled up when my sister cleared her throat and said with a half-laugh, "...umm, are you ready for a hard conversation..."
::: "NO! No, I am NOT ready for a hard conversation... not again.... I've had enough "hard conversations" to last a lifetime!! God, how can You ask this of me again -- why does it have to get harder?! YES, I KNOW You will provide for our needs -- You promised that and I know I can hold you to Your word -- I will survive, we will survive -- because You've given me no other choice!!!":::
My God, I'm adrift in a sea of pain and I can't see the shore for the clouds and rain...
However, as God clears away the rubble and quiets me enough to see through my blinding emotions -- I know that God has other plans for me and my family and that THERE. IS. GOOD. for us - for all of us who are His children.
I know what it is that truly pierces my soul -- my rage of emotions is a protection of sorts as I try to deny the pain that is threatening to swallow me, "...not another loss, God, my heart is already broken... and now, again??"
I am sad -- through and through -- as I realize the "day to day closeness" of: dropping by, coming for dinner, picking up kids from school, partners in crime, companions for events, support through tough decisions, loud and crazy fun with a house/pool FULL of kids (13 kids between us!!), late night crazy card games, sharing of dreams & vision, resource/calming force when freaking out over miscellaneous things, loving on these beautiful and precious children and getting to watch them blossom and grow into amazing, spectacular persons... the ready smiles and hugs freely given, the easy camaraderie I share with these kids now and hoped to share as they matured, wanting to be a trusted source for these delightful urchins... this is all coming to an end and I can't stop the tears...
"Call unto me, Hannah, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know... you are mine, I have called you by name...see I have carved you on the palm of My hand, I will not forget you..."
"[I] responded, "I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true." Lk 1:38a
"Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him." Luke 1: 46b, 47,49-50
"I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart...I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears." Ps 34: 2,4
And then, as I sipped my coffee, blew my nose and turned the pages of my bible - this jumped out at me:
"Listen to me, [Hannah]... I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime... I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you... Do not forget this! Keep it in mind!... Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me... I have said what I would do, and I will do it..." Is 46
I sit here at my table, soup bubbling on the stove, happy chatter of kids playing in other rooms -- I don't know the future -- Isaiah 46:10 runs through my mind, "Only I can tell you the future before it happens...everything I plan will come to pass..."
IT. IS. WELL.