I’ve been feeling discouraged recently about where we are in life. I thought we should have accomplished so much more by now. We’ve been married almost 4 years and I expected we would be living overseas by now, have a few kids (got that part!), traveling and visiting new countries, maybe bought a house, and definitely paid off all our debt and having surplus to give and help others.
So, at the beginning we gave up some of our dreams and buckled down to pay off our debt. We budgeted; we saved; we lived simply. We kept hoping a better job would come by that would help us pay it off quicker. We kept praying, searching, and applying. Days have turned into years and each year it seems as if our dreams are still so out of reach. I thought I might at least be able to touch them with my fingertips by now.
Don’t get me wrong. We were never without. But we dreamed of doing so much more and making a difference in this world. Then, we found a little opening, a possible way to do what has been on our hearts with a timeframe in sight. We had renewed vision and renewed hope. Right then, amidst the hope, my husband lost his job. I was crushed. It is true he hated his job but now without it, all our plans are on hold and instead of moving forward, we seem to be taking steps backwards. Despite all our tears and prayers, it seemed as if things were falling apart. We were lost. Defeated. We started arguing about past failures and regrets and we were stressing out about what steps we should take next. We applied to jobs. We prayed. We waited. Nothing.
Why God have you forgotten us? Where are you in our times of trouble? Why do you not hear our prayers when we cry out to you? Our hearts long to rejoice. Our hearts are weary and downtrodden. We look to the skies and seek your help.
I know I must be patient. I know I must be content. I know I must rejoice in all things. I grew even more in despair because I could not be those things.
On Sunday, I heard a message on contentment, on dwelling on the positives. Our pastor spoke about Rethinking Marriage and guarding our marriage relationship and focusing on the good, uplifting each other. He talked about Nick Vujicic, the man without limbs, and how he focused on what he DID HAVE. Sure, I had heard it all before but that day in the pew, it struck a chord within me. What are the good things that I have? What things about my husband do I love? What have we gained in our 4 years together? What good has come of our seemingly unfortunate situation?
There are many things that the world says you need to have in order to be considered successful. How many of those things are really a true measure of success? When I look at my life, it may seem like we have accomplished little. We don’t have a job, a house, or a retirement fund. We haven’t traveled the world together or started schools for orphans or translated the Bible. But we have grown in many ways…
We have learned how small financial decisions now can make a big impact on our future.
We have learned humility in accepting help and sensitivity to help those in need.
We have learned to live simply and learned to give sacrificially.
We have cultivated many friendships.
We have learned to value our families.
We have learned to be parents and to place our needs below another’s.
We have learned to love each other despite the circumstance.
And now, I want to learn to look at the positives and see the good in every situation that we are in. In this current state of unemployment, we have had time to reflect and to realign ourselves to discern where our calling lies and most importantly, to have a deeper trust in the Lord because he holds our future. I want to spend time dwelling on what we do have and on what we have gained! We have so much to be thankful for and I know it sounds cliche but it’s true! I will not fear! I will have hope and I pray that you will too!
I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you– the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. ~Psalms 121
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~Jeremiah 29:11 (Memory verse from my daughter’s Sunday School class!)