Sunday, August 09, 2009

God helps?

I experienced a crisis of faith this week. My job was only a year-long position, and the year has ended. For the past month I've been looking forward to it, as I'm planning to get our homeschool stuff finalized for this coming year and also have a little "staycation" time with the kiddos. But this week, as the end was imminent and no resolution to our financial difficulties has yet presented itself, I started to panic and become anxious. I'd been feeling okay, trusting that Heavenly Father had helped us this far along the way that surely he wouldn't drop us now. But sometimes you can tell yourself things and they don't sink all the way in, or maybe it's that we leave a window slightly ajar and Satan sends a doubt in. For me, doubts tend to multiply like rabbits, and soon they've overtaken my whole soul.

So, today was the worst of the past few days. I felt panicky and desperate and hopeless. I felt like just lying in bed and falling asleep for a few hours so I could forget about all my problems, at least for a while, even though I knew they'd still be around to greet me when I woke up. David came in and we talked for a few minutes, and I felt like I should pray, even though I didn't really want to and I didn't really feel like it would do any good. So I prayed. It was a random jumble of thoughts and tears and words, and I didn't even know what questions to ask. I just wanted help. I needed something concrete enough to grab on to in order to pull myself out of the pool of worry that was paralyzing my spirit. I was hopeful, but not confident, that I'd get some sort of answer. I don't often get anything while I'm actually on my knees, but that could be because I don't often stick around long enough to hear anything that might be said. Today, though, a line from my patriarchal blessing popped into my mind, and it was sudden enough and without forethought on my part that I feel pretty confident that it was from Him. The line was about my greatest joys and best experiences being those associated with my roles as wife and mother. The accompanying impression, though, was that I need to pour my heart and soul into these roles. David and the Lord will take care of David's roles, particularly that of provider.

The big thing with my job the past year was that it allowed me to not stress so much about David not having a steady income. Rather than worry, I poured all that energy into working 20-30 hours a week. And, lest you doubt, I assure you that I could have easily spent all those hours worrying and fretting. So at least this was "productive." Maybe if I'd not clung so tightly to the security of my job, we'd be at a different point right now. I don't know. Maybe the job was instrumental in me growing and having the paradigm shifts necessary. For the past few months, my heart really has longed to be with my kids. I've wanted to be a more engaged mother, and I no longer wanted to have a need to be so separate from them. Perhaps I never would have felt that longing without the hundreds of hours of work. Maybe the time wasn't right before for whatever David will be able to do, but maybe it's right now. I think that's what is so hard for me about this whole faith thing. The very nature of it makes it so hard to nail down the causality of anything. You can't say, "I did such and such and then the Lord did such and such, so see, Faith Works!" It's one of those things you can only see after the fact, never while you are in the middle of it. (This reality makes me think of the chain of events that resulted in David and I meeting/getting married, which I think is interesting and should blog about, but not right now....feel free to remind me.)

Anyways, to continue my ramblings. I was talking to David tonight and I realized that I don't have much faith in the "practical" (and by that I mean non-spiritual) realm of the Lord's promises. He makes all sorts of promises in the scriptures, such as Matthew 7:9, when the Lord says that what man would give his son a stone if he asked him for bread. We are asking for bread. Why do I find it so hard to believe that the Lord will give us bread and not a stone? I believe all that stuff He says about repentance and being born again and what not, but it's like I'm completely ignorant when it comes to matters of daily life. I don't often ask for help like I need it when it comes to parenting my kids, even though when I do ask, I know I often get help. My brain can't logically figure out how the Lord is going to help David provide for our family (even though this isn't my role, so I may not even have the ability to figure it out, but still I try) unless it is by "getting a job," so I worry and fret and try to find him a job. I have not been able to trust that together, David and the Lord can solve that problem. I have to have faith in this area. And I think the only way it is going to come is if I follow the promptings that I have received about fulfilling my own roles better. So this week, I've been planning to have a fun week with the kids, before we start school again next week. There are some homeschool related things I need to do, but other than that, I've been wanting to go do the fun things that I've NOT done all summer because of the constraints of working. Granted, these need to be free (or nearly so) fun things, but that's not impossible. But the way my heart felt this weekend, I was all ready to spend the week fretting and worrying, and not doing what I need to do.

I want to find the promises of the Lord for temporal blessings that are recorded in the scriptures and make a study of them. I need to bolster my faith in this area.

I don't know if I told you that Sprout's middle name is Ezra because Ezra means "God helps." I felt really strongly that Ezra should be part of his name, but it didn't fit as a first name for him. During his birth, I felt strongly an influx of strength in answer to prayer, and we received many blessings during the time I was pregnant with him. I wanted his name to remind me of those blessings and the experiences. I think it's become a bit of a mantra for me..."God helps. God helps." But obviously, even with that, I still need reminders. I'm not done learning and growing. (Apparently, you don't have everything figured out by age 30. Whodathunk?)

Anyways, this is probably about 12 times longer than any rational person would want to read, but as it's mostly for my own benefit, I don't suppose it matters much. I'd love to hear any thoughts you might have, though.


3in3mom said...

Life has a way of handing us the challenges that make us truly dig into our deepest strength.
I know that you are doing the right things in turning to the Lord. He does help us. My parents were out of a job for nearly 10 years and struggled much--then decided to serve a mission in Belgium. With faith and sadness, they left me pregnant with my third baby and one of my brothers at the brink of his wedding day. They missed some special milestones, but they had the most precious times of their lives serving. I know that takes none of the challenges off your plate, but do remember that even in the deepest struggles can be the dearest joys. You have three darling children and a devoted and capable husband who will provide for you. . . and your family.

Hang in there! Thinking of you!

Katie said...

I always forget to pray about the every day things even when they are encompassing my every thought. When I finally do I am AGAIN reminded that the Lord wants to be in the details of my life. I am glad you are going to take some time to play.

Blue said...

this was my favorite post you've ever written. and it is timely for me has been like a sound wave lately, and i've been trying to hold onto it by the tail. i wish things were easier most of the time, but figure it's all a matter of consuming dross and refining gold. i must have a lot of dross to consume.

life has it's challenges. i admire you for being able to write about yours...but even more for being able to pray about them. ♥

Mary said...

I started writing my thoughts, and my comment was almost as long as the original post! So here's the short version.

I truly can empathize with you. I'm happy to share tips for dealing with creditors and collection companies whenever you want to talk. My three main thoughts are...

1. Be grateful that you have a husband who is trying. Another friend of mine is in the middle of financial woes and her husband has given up trying to make ends meet. He is relying on her to finish schooling and get a career to sustain their family, and she absolutely would rather be home with her kids.

2. God will let you have some of your wants that you can't afford. If you are humble and ask without manipulation, He may provide a window for your office or landscape rocks, or whatever it is you talk to Him about. He can provide things without giving you money to buy them.

3. Paying tithing and a generous fast offering are key to having peace about finances. For me, that is an act of faith that shows I am truly putting things in the Lord's hands. I KNOW things will work out if I obey those commandments.

See? My comment is still too long! I'm always happy to talk, though, as you discovered, talking with Heavenly Father about these things is usually more productive.

Debra said...

I can't add much to what's already been said except to say that I love you and learn from you. My friend posted this C.S. Lewis quote (apparently he has a quote for just about every situation) recently and it rang true:

"We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."

mindy said...

Thank you to each of you who shared your thoughts. I am grateful for each one of you. I think that it is easy to forget how important it is, both personally and in the grand scheme of things, to bear one another's burdens. It means a lot to me to have friends who are willing to help me bear mine. I hope that I can help you, too.

Mary, I always like long comments. Maybe you could send it via email, or share your thoughts over cookies or something... ;o)

Debra, he does indeed seem to have a quote for every occasion. That is a great one, thank you for sharing.

Blue, thanks for your kind words. It was a mini act of faith in itself to opt to write this on my blog instead of just in my journal.

Katie, that is so true. I know I think that the details are so tedious, how could He want to hear what I'm too bored to say? ;o)

Chalice, wise words. It is so important to remember to find the joy in the midst of adversity. It's there, but it is too easy to push it aside.