I get the distinct feeling that God is trying to either teach me something big or prepare me for something I can't imagine right now. So many things have happened in our lives in the past three months that have tested our faith, our patience, our love, our relationship, and our endurance. Through it all, I've tried to maintain a good attitude. I've tried to find the silver lining in the clouds. I've tried to remind myself that everything happens for a reason and that some lessons are not apparent to us right now. We aren't always privy to the "whys" of the challenges we are faced with. But tonight was the final straw for my battered spirit.
To recap the past few weeks... our home was burglarized. That was the first blow. We remained positive, knowing that our home owner's insurance would cover things. Then we found out that without our knowledge or approval (of which we discovered neither is required), our deductible on our policy had QUADRUPLED. We fought and fought to no avail. We felt used and taken and that was the second blow. Again, we held our heads up, upset as we were, and took it in stride. (Yes, we were depressed about it for a bit, but we got over that and moved on. What else can you do really?) We took comfort in the knowledge that we could use part of our tax return to pay for some things. Imagine our horror when we did our taxes tonight and discovered that for the first time in 11 years, we owe money to the I.R.S. We normally get at least a couple thousand dollars back but for varying reasons this year, we actually owe money. (Thankfully, it's not very much.) This was the final blow for me. I was okay for about an hour and then I spiraled.
I left the room and just had myself a really good and cleansing cry. Why? Why is this happening to us? This isn't fair. Let me reiterate that this is NOT about the "stuff". I don't care about any of it anymore. I've said goodbye to it all and I know it's never coming back. It's just the combination of it all. Mike put it quite eloquently tonight when he said, "I feel like we got robbed three times." It feels violating. You feel helpless and used. After I wallowed in self pity for awhile, Mike and I sat down and talked through it all (and I cried some more). And truthfully I do feel better about things. And once I allowed myself to feel sorry for myself a bit and have a good cry (or two), I was able to clear my head and be open to the Spirit about things.
I am reminded of the following scripture found in Matthew 11:28-30:
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
I am once again able to remind myself that everything happens for a reason. I have always had a profound belief in that concept and this is no different. At first I wasn't able to see what that reason was. But as time goes on, I think I am catching a glimpse of what it might mean. (Of course there may be multiple lessons here, but this is just one that I'm extracting from these recent escapades.)
Mike verbalized it when he said, "We needed to have the reset button pushed." Yes. That's it I believe. Aside from the home invasion woes, Mike and I have also been working on our own marriage relationship and through ALL of this, I do believe that God is trying to tell us that we need to have the reset button pushed. What we've been doing (in our relationship, in our family, in our daily lives) is rote. It has become rote and unthinking and in more ways than one, it is not working. We needed a loud wake-up call because if He's been sending us soft ones, they've fallen on deaf ears. We needed something big to wake us up, make us think, and get us out of a rut.
There are so many facets of our lives that need changing and need resetting. I think this is simply the wakeup call that we need to get our ourselves in gear and start making some serious changes. We're slowly revamping our diets and between that and having our (stolen) video game consoles gone, we have already noticed positive behavior changes in our children. That alone is priceless. We have a long way to go and I know these things won't happen overnight, nor will they happen painlessly, but we must put one foot in front of the other and know that God has a plan for us and although He never promised it would be easy, He did promise that it would be worth it.
I am also reminded of one of my very favorite church stories. I learned this story from my seminary teacher many years ago. Sister Hallstrom was an AMAZING seminary teacher. She put her whole heart and soul into that program and while I know I didn't appreciate it the way I should have THEN, I am beyond grateful for her time and sacrifice today. She taught me SO many things that I use in my life today. One of the stories she shared is a well known one in the church. It's called The Currant Bush, by Hugh B. Brown. Whenever I am particularly down on life, I reread this story and it always makes me feel better. I won't write out the text of it here, but you can click the link if you want to read it. There are profound lessons to be learned in that story.
I guess overall this is helping me to redouble my faith. (In my patriarchal blessing, I'm told to redouble my faith in times of adversity.) Moreover, I am being reminded that I cannot and should not go through any trials without seeking guidance and assistance from the Lord. We are not supposed to carry these burdens alone.
My outlook on all of this has changed and I can say without any uncertainty that I am turning this over to the Lord. He sees the whole picture. He knows what is best for me. I will have faith that these experiences will mold me into something better and will make me more humble and teachable.