I know I have been absent from my blog lately and I apologize. My life went crazy a few weeks ago. Not just a little crazy. A lot crazy. I’ve been reluctant to write because I’m struggling and I don’t want my posts to always be about struggling and pain. Also, I just didn’t have any words. I would sit at the computer and stare at the screen thinking, “I should write about what’s going on,” but no words would come.
On July 10th, we got notice from our landlords that we have to leave in 60 days. They’ve been trying to get us to leave for quite some time. They just finally decided to stop trying to make us want to leave and just kick us out. With a 60 day notice there doesn’t have to be any particular reason and there is no real recourse. We just have to leave.
Initially, I handled the news well. I was even feeling a little excited because I’ve been wanting to move out of this place for so long. It’s too small for us, it’s old and it is falling apart. This is the time for God to step in and provide a new, better place to live. He has to, right?
Now I’m 21 days into the search for a new place, though, and the excitement has given way to fear. We live in the Bay Area of California and the cost of living is one of the highest in the country. The truth is, we don’t have enough income to meet the expense of renting even a 3 bedroom apartment here.
For the past few years, I’ve been praying for a house with a yard for my kids to play in and enough bedrooms that my daughter (who will be starting puberty soon) will not have to share with her brother and her grandmother anymore. I haven’t been asking for a mansion, just a modest three or four bedroom house with a little backyard and room for the kids to play and grow. I’d been trying to dream big and believe that God wants to bless me and give me good gifts. Now, though, I’m wondering if I was wrong to believe that God would do such a thing for me. Now, I’m wondering if I should stop expecting for the best from him and start looking for anything from him.
I want to believe that God is going to use this to bring us a wonderful blessing, but the money just isn’t there to afford a monthly payment for what we need. The way things have been going, I’m afraid that we are going to end up in a smaller place or in a bad neighborhood, or worse yet, living in a cheap motel.
I know that “All things work together…” blah, blah, blah. That doesn’t help me right now. At this moment, I need tangible answers to prayer. I need to see that God has something in the works to take care of this problem because it really is starting to look like he has left us hanging out here all on our own to figure this out.
I’m not supposed to be afraid though. “Faith and fear can’t take up the same space.” I’ve been hearing that a lot lately. I know it’s true, but right now fear has chased my faith away, because I don’t really know that God is going to come through with a great place for us to live. I know we will be taken care of and that all our needs will be met, but I don’t know that God isn’t going to let things get worse before they get better.
I know I’ve talked about this before, but I haven’t figured it out yet, so it keeps coming up. I’ve been taught that in order for God to answer our prayers we have to believe and not doubt.
“Believe. Don’t doubt.”
“God answers our prayers when we believe.”
If God is a god who is going to not answer my prayers or bless my life because I am struggling and I’m scared and confused and angry and feeling desperate, then maybe I don’t want him. I don’t know that I want to serve a god who is limited by my faith at any given moment, because, to be honest, I’m a basket case. My emotions and faith fluctuate all the time. From day to day, from hour to hour, the way I am feeling and how much I am trusting God varies enormously. So, is God up there constantly monitoring the level of my faith in order to see if he can work in my life? Is he going to say, “Oh, you were almost there. I could have answered your prayer, but you had a bad day today and stopped believing that I was going to come through, so we have to start all over again. Better luck next time.”
That doesn’t seem like the character of the loving God that would send his son to die for the sins of people who hadn’t even been born yet so that they could one day be with him. I just can’t believe that it really works that way. I just wish that I could figure out which way it does work.
This situation has revealed to me how many wonderful friends we have and how many people are supporting us and praying for us. It’s really been an amazing blessing. What has been really hard for me, though, is how often I have had to talk about money. As in how much we have (or don’t have). I really don’t like letting people in on what really is going on in our bank account. It’s not a pretty picture and it’s one I’d rather that my friends don’t see. However, I have to tell them what we can afford to pay every month if they are going to be any help in finding something for us.
Every time I do, though, I feel ashamed. Every time I say it out loud, I feel that I am admitting to my failure to provide well for my family, because it reveals once again how hopeless and impossible the situation looks. I know that the amount of money that I have bears no relation to my worth as a person, but it is really hard not to connect the two in this culture, in this time in history. I should not be in this situation. I should be able to do better. Admitting that I can’t is embarrassing and humiliating.
People are worried about us and I don’t want them to be. I don’t want the people I care about to feel sorry for me. I see it in their eye and hear it in their voice, though. They try to encourage me and tell me that everything is going to work out, and I agree with them. I tell them that I know that God is going to take care of us and we’ll find something, and sometimes I believe that, but sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I say the bold faith-filled statements because I’m trying to make them feel better. I don’t want them to know how scared I really am. I want my friends to think that I am strong and I don't want them to know that sometimes I’m barely holding it together.
So, there it is. That’s what’s been going on and why I haven’t written, for anyone who noticed. Please don’t feel sorry for us. Just pray for us. Please pray that God will provide a good place for us to live. Pray that I can have the faith to trust him in the midst of the turmoil. Pray that we can see clearly where he has an open door for us and that we have the strength to walk through to wherever he’s trying to lead us.
In spite of it all. . . In spite of all the doubt and the fear and the insecurity, I want to go where he’s leading. I want to stay in his will because I believe that is the safest place for us to be.