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
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