What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An "In Everything" Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has come and gone and this year, I needed it more than ever.

I've been in a weird place these last few weeks. I wish I could say it was just these last few lingering boxes I am walking around that are getting to me or the busyness of trying to catch up on schooling or even the adjusting to a smaller home with much different challenges to get used to but unfortunately, it is a whole lot bigger than that. These things are just the small snowballs at the top of the avalanche that will only bury me more fully. But the snow is already on its way, and it can do the most damage~ with or without the snowballs.

The biggest ball of snow is this:

A few weeks ago, despite an earlier leap of faith in starting a home business, Matt began working for his old employer again. When he made the decision I felt (and still feel) like a part of me...of us.... had died. The hopes I had for this family gone; the death of a dream. I still can't bear to talk about it, probably because even now I know only the sting of remorse. I can't understand it. His business was a success. The five months we were self-employed could not have gone any better. The Lord provided abundantly for us through his business and opened up several new avenues for me to make money. We dipped into our set-aside-for-his-business fund only ONCE to pay bills. God blessed us abundantly in our efforts, both financially, spiritually, and relationally. So I am still trying to wrap my head and heart around the whys.

What I do understand, however, is that Matt based his decision upon his love for us. He views this as a temporary arrangement~ a means to an end. We both hate debt and since our new home comes with a lovely new mortgage, he didn't feel confident that his business could support us in the way we needed. He didn't want us to be buried in mortgage debt for 20 years and he didn't want us to be scraping by. He worried that business would slow this winter. He fretted, he feared. This fear stemmed from his great desire to provide for us, and for that I love him all the more.

I also know that through this, God is teaching me a whole lot about submission and one big thing about submission is that being in agreement isn't the same as being submissive. You aren't actually being submissive if you were just going to do it that way anyway. The true colors of submission shine when you DISAGREE with your husband. So God is using this for good in my life too.

Because of all this baggage, I have been struggling with some real resentment with this house. I would have much rather had MATT than any house and since this mortgage was what concerned him enough to go back to work in the first place, it only seems fitting to place the blame squarely on the eaves and trusses of this place..... This is the big picture.

All the little aggravations only further my bitterness and fan my flame of resentment. When I take off my shirt and my hands hit the ceiling because they are so low, I curse this house. When I stub my toe on a box that is *still* not unpacked, I curse this house. When I wait outside the bathroom, knees crossed and hopping up and down because the only bathroom in this house is only ever occupied when I need it, I curse this house. When I flick the porch light off and on as Matt drives off to work in the morning, an I-love-you flick, I curse this house. It has never been about the ceilings or the single bathroom or the boxes and it never will be. But they are mighty nice fuel for a hurting heart.

This is where I have been. This is why my mouth turns dry and my fingers hang limp when I begin to think about writing the thoughts out of my head and heart and forming them into strings of words. This is why the capturing of frozen moments with my little black box has held no sway for me. This is why, this Thanksgiving, I was having a hard time heaping second helpings of thanksgiving into my soul.

I know I am so blessed beyond measure and that I have truly not known grief as many have known it. I also know my husband working away from home is not the end of the world. Yet, I grieve.

There you have it. Don't ever say I only share the good stuff on this blog, because this is a major blow to THAT theory. I've laid my imperfections out; exposed my true colors, as it were. And I am not proud. That is where I am right now~ burying my dream (for a time) and feeling my way around this unknown territory, this unplanned terrain all while trying to crawl out of this hole of bitterness.

It helped when a few weeks ago, a message came.

Our Pastor asked us one day in church "Have you ever found yourself walking alone in the woods and shouting PRAISE GOD at the goodness of it all?" And when he asked, he shouted "PRAISE GOD!" so that the room quaked with feeling.

And I smiled. Yes. I have harmonized with trees as our limbs stretch heavenward and we, the trees and I, declare the glory of the Lord. It has come in a whisper in a quiet morning in the kitchen, riding on heavy breathe for only my soul and He to hear. And it has come as a song in the night, dream lullabies for listening children to count instead of sheep.

It rolls so naturally off of ones lips in the abundant times; it astounds so often in the quiet times. Gratitude comes so freely........when all is well and wonderful.

But it occurred to me then and has challenged me since~

How many times have I shouted PRAISE GOD in the trying times? In the dark times, the confusing times? During those moments of disappointment and floundering? When life just isn't going as (I had) planned?

Is He not worthy of praise in ALL times? Always? And again?

Hasn't He orchestrated these times for His good and ultimately, because He promises, ours as well?

It has happened already, this death of a dream, so I know it was in His plan for my life because nothing that happens is out of the scope of His predestined plan. To be thankful at all times, in everything means we must be thankful even in those things we can not change, can not understand, and wish were not our portion.

Being grateful for the hard, lowly and sad times in our lives is proclaiming that God can redeem those lowly, ugly, hard times~that He can bathe them in blood and make them new; that these tribulations in our lives can worketh patience, character, and HOPE in us?

The vessels of our marred lives, can He not wrought them until they be pleasing once again?

I am but clay, make me new.

I needed the reminder. I need it. Over and over again, I need it.

This Thanksgiving and since, I have been consumed with choosing the praise over the pain, turning bitterness to thanksgiving and finding joy in this journey I wouldn't have chosen for myself but that God, for His glory, chose for me.

I fail, I struggle, but I am forgiven and I am given new chances with each dawning of each new day, with each renewal of each week, yes~even with each new moment I am given breath. Again and again.

With each moment, I will keep trying. Because that is my chief end.

If anyone in their own part of the world, for their own reasons are struggling as I am~ I wanted to share these two incredibly poignant reads. Both by Ann Voskamp, writer/poet extraordinaire, I hope that they will move you and help you, as they have me.

Why Every Day Begs to be Thanksgiving


The Real First Thanksgiving

photos : a few from Thanksgiving


Bonnie said...

You wrote it well, Love. God doesn't say we will like His leading, only to trust in it. He will see you through, He will be your strength when you are weak, and your joy when you want to mourn. He will be your peace that passes understanding, and your cloak that shelters you from the storm. Your rock in the hard places, and your mercy new every morning.

Mr. G's Mrs. G said...

Thank you, dear Rebecca! I needed this just now. Thank you for writing it all out and posting it when you did. God knew that I needed to read it too. Now I'm crying.

Mary said...

I love this post and your brutal honesty. You're not alone in your situation and your feelings. Every dream comes with a cost and you do have Matt. This too shall pass. God bless you Rebecca.

...they call me mommy... said...

Ack. I understand more than you know! This end of pregnancy has pushed me to the end of my strength...which has been so good for ME personally.

Bonnie said it so well! God IS our Source!!! Praying for you!!!!!!!

Mat. Emily said...

I understand, Rebecca. We bought our first house two years ago and we are leaving it in a about a week. My husband is the priest at a church that is just about to purchase property and the only way that it will work financially for them is for us to live there. My husband is over the moon and I am not. The house is lovely, but it will be ATTACHED to the church and fellowship hall.

I'll be praying for you!

Terri said...

I totally get it. I'm dealing with an autistic son who is down and depressed about his life. So I understand where you are coming from and believe me, I don't think anyone thinks less of you for sharing your struggles. You were honest and yet, you are trying to glorify God in the midst of your disappointment. That is the real encouragement!

Mar said...

I believe we all have times like these, but most of us aren't willing to state them so brutally honestly to the public. Let God hold you and help you and bless you and trust that this is His way and all will be done in His time.

I admire the sacrifice that Matt is making to ensure that the mortgage debt doesn't burden you. Pay it off as fast as you can and he can start up the business again.

Michelle said...

Oh, do I understand this ache, Rebecca. Perhaps not for the same reasons, but the ache of fumbling to trust and praise God when all is not going well I fully get. He hears your cries. You are not alone. ((hugs))

Anonymous said...

your honesty is flawless and to be admired. you're in my heart and prayers, beautiful rebecca.

lydia.purple said...

Thank you for sharing this. May God bless you and lift you up!

Full of Grace said...

I'm sure it has been a struggle for you..Hope as the days go by you see God's hand in it more and more..

Terry@quilt-nut said...

I applaud you for your honesty. I know that God has a plan and we don't always understand. It is hard to stand and accept that fact but when we do he rewards us. There are blessings coming your way. I just know there are. You are a very strong woman and I admire the way you share yourself with us. Thanks for the reminder to always put God first and give Him thanks in ALL situations.

Nicole said...

Thank you for posting this- I needed this today. We live in a house that was built in 1875 and wasn't taken care of for 130 or so years. We have been here for 6 years, and it's been quite a process, as hubby has to gut each room to the studs and floor joists and rebuild. He works as a general contractor, and took over his dad's business when his dad passed away a few years ago....right when the economy tanked. Between the slooooooooow progress on the house, the stresses of having him run the business, a 6-year-old, a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, a giant garden, and some chickens, it's been a struggle. And, like you, I find myself cursing the house a lot, like last night when the roof was leaking all over my head as I did the dishes. I have to remember that living here and having DH make repairs allows me to be home with my babies during the day, rather then living somewhere with a bigger mortgage which would necessitate me having to work outside the home full-time. So thank you, thank you for your post. You posts usually leave me laughing, smiling and nodding because they sound a lot like my life. &: ) I hope you're having a good day today!

Anonymous said...

Your honesty stirs me... may you be blessed to continue to pray and praise in faith.
No wonder you have been so heavy on my heart!
I will continue to pray for you. May you begin to praise as your hands touch the celing when you get dressed for He gave you a good man to provide, dreams to hold on to and children to raise up in the examples you give!

I have never been in your situation, but have encountered different challenges of my own. Gods strength is made perfect in our weakness!

blessings to you and yours!
Challenges are opportunities.
-Bobbi : )

abigail said...

...that He may exalt you in due time.

He has, He is, and He will!

Thank God for the hope we have in the middle of the bog.

I pray that God continues to lift you out of the mire and into the light.

Catie said...

Really appreciate your honesty in this post. :) It's refreshing. Thanks for sharing your heart and your struggles. God bless you!