Unknowns, Uncertainties, Un-Fun

The waiting continues, it seems to become this sad, pitiful song of, "Nope, nothing new here. Still waiting." It is like being stuck in an elevator and the music doesn't end, the same sappy music plays on and on and on, never seems to end and it seems like we are not really going anywhere. I don't like the unknown, the uncertainties, the "Un-Fun". Yeah, I know it isn't a word but I am making it up anyway. I was reminded today in my quiet time of the purpose of prayer and how we should approach God in our conversations with Him. How do the words that come out of my mouth reflect the true intent of my prayers? Do they reflect trust and obedience, or are they "a demonstration of a lack of trust, a revealing of misunderstanding His sovereign nature and limitless ability"? Here is scripture I was given today to help jolt our focus back into place:
Ephesians 3:20 "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us."

Immeasurable, limitless, how many ways can we truly describe God? Do we believe it? Is that reflected in how we talk to Him? I know He wants to hear it all, my doubt, my fear, my anxiety, my frustration, my hopes, my dreams, everything that is flooding my heart and mind right now. But what I try to keep in mind, every time I talk to Him is this realization that as much as I am feeling and experiencing right now, He is able to overcome it all, and He will take care of me. He has a plan and purpose, even if I cannot see it or understand it right now, He knows exactly what He is doing and His timing is perfect!

It is painful and so incredibly frustrating for me to watch Ryan go through what he is going through right now. I want to take this all away, I want to wave a magic wand and instantly make something amazing happen right now for him. But I can't. None of us can. But God will do what He intends to do....when the time is right. When my heart and mind reach the edge of comprehension, God comes in and provides a peace that passes all of my own understanding. I can't explain it, but God is still here with us in every moment and He will not fail us or forget us. I have to believe it, I want to believe it, my faith and my resolve to know God more pushes me to hang on just a little bit longer.

The waiting is hard, but your prayers, your encouragement, your support, your willingless to stand beside us and help us get through this makes all the difference. Thank you, thank you, thank you to our friends, our family, and quite possibly people we have never even met. God is good, He is still on His throne, and yes, we believe He is working.

I may be weary, but I will worship You!

It has been a week, mercy, what a week. As we are walking through this "wilderness" we are overwhelmed daily by the pressure, the stress, the almost tangible weight of our situation. The day to day living expenses are difficult to meet when very little income is coming in. I am mentally and physically exhausted, and my spiritual state is, well, on the brink. I can think of many people in the Bible who were in much more difficult situations than we are, and yet I can identify with their words. At one point this week there was a day when I managed to contain my emotions for the duration of my work day and as soon as I was in the car and on my way home, I found myself broken. It was a wonder I didn't have to pull over, I was so upset. I didn't even turn on the radio, but instead as I drove home I began crying out to God. This isn't the first time, I find myself in this place quite often these past months. I suppose the difference in this moment was the depth of desperation, helplessness, weariness, I just don't know how else to describe it, it was so tangible and such a sick, sick feeling. I poured it out as I drove, I just said, "God what...why...how...please, please do something!" I managed a hand full of words and then it came to me. All I knew to do was praise Him, even in that state, all I could think was I can still praise You, Lord. How crazy is that?! Today I found this scripture and need to share it:

God—you're my God! I can't get enough of you!
I've worked up such hunger and thirst for God,
traveling across dry and weary deserts.

So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
drinking in your strength and glory.
In your generous love I am really living at last!
My lips brim praises like fountains.
I bless you every time I take a breath;
My arms wave like banners of praise to you. Psalm 63:1-3

My eyes were open (which is very important when you are driving!), my heart was broken, my thirst, my hunger for Him was so overwhelming that at the end of myself all I could think to do was praise Him. What an amazing God! How does He do that? How do we find the ability to do that in what seems to be our most desperate hour? Isn't He good? Isn't He amazing? Isn't that what He wants from us? Truly authentic and raw, nothing held back unending praise of Who He is and What He can do!

While this has been a most difficult week, it has ended with a glimmer of hope. God is giving us signs of hope and that He is at work. We are looking forward to the next couple weeks to see what He is going to reveal as we walk, follow His leading. Please continue to pray for us and know what a blessing you are to us throughout this season.

Weary, just so darn weary

I am having a day. Oh, I suppose a week. I am just not dealing with some stuff well and haven't been for days now. The job situation has not changed and today we found out the grocery Ryan's started at doesn't pay well, let's just say, enough. Neither does the other temp job he's had that he hasn't been getting hours for for weeks now, if he's lucky one shift out of four. Oh me. I am just weary, Lord, do You hear me? Do You get how stickin' tired we are of this?! Is it too much to ask for a ray of light? A sign? A hint of some kind that You do have something better? Why does this have to be so hard?! Can I get an amen, anybody?! Life is just plain difficult and God is good, but I am really frustrated and tired of waiting. How do we get through this? How will we ever get through this? I want it to end, I want it to change today, I want it to be better for Ryan, for me, for our children, I am so ready to move on so why, why, why can't it begin sooner rather than later? I have no tears, I have no emotion really, I am literally in this place of extreme mental clarity, questions bubbling over and the mind whirring with extreme contemplation as to how to get through this with a shred of sanity left in me. I know God is my Supply, my Refuge, my Strength, my Peace, my Hope, but God, God, God, what is going on???? We are seeking, we are crying out to You now more than ever and there are days when it feels as if we can't take one step without it feeling like that step doesn't move us in the direction of progress.

Okay so, does anyone relate? This is my state of being at this very moment. I want so much more for us than what life has handed us today. I want so badly to have the power to snap my fingers and suddenly we are in it, we are doing it, we are there. I have a greater appreciation for those of you who are going through some of the same stuff we are. It has to be said that at no other point in my life have I ever felt this helpless, not hopeless, but extremely helpless. The crazy thing is, I have this feeling in the deepest part of me that it is exactly where God intends for me to be. When it comes down to it, God knows exactly what I can and cannot handle regardless of how I feel about it. My measurement of progress is nothing compared to and cannot be compared to God's. So is this progress? I am going to have to get back to you on that. God has something to say to me, and I need to spend some time mulling this over with Him some more. He has just reminded me in my contemplative state of a great, great verse in Hebrews. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen". Does that verse blow your mind, because I gotta be honest I will for all of my days continue to be baffled by it! There is so much I have read and studied in my Christian walk, God has spoken so much in to my heart and mind and I think I've absorbed and understood a good portion, but this, this I continue to struggle with. Oh sure, I have brief moments of clarity but I spend so much of my time going, "God, teach me, help me get this because I just can't wrap my mind around it, I just don't get it! I really want to, but I don't." Is that the point? To always be teachable? I think that is a huge part of it. I believe God wants us to not only be willing to serve, but in that, always be teachable. That's hard, because a lot of us sure do enjoy thinking we know it all. Especially Christians. Ouch. That hurt, didn't it? As I lay down to sleep tonight, and Lord I am praying sleep will come, I am praying to be open, to be teachable, to be in a heart and soul state of willingness to take in all that God has for me. Even if that means more days like today when I am going out of my mind trying to figure out what the heck is going on. I will not give up, I will not give in to this weariness, because ultimately I know, and we all need to grasp this thing: God gets us, even though we don't get Him. He knows us, and we think we know Him but we need to see the necessity to know Him more every single day because the reality is we probably don't know Him as well as we think we do. He loves us, even though life tells us He doesn't and He is ignoring us while we are struggling. He is God, there is none like Him. He will not fail us. He will provide for us. He is. Thank you Lord. Man, what a journey.

What does that mean?

What does that mean, Lord? How am I supposed to process that? Why do I have to do this now? Really?! Where do I go from here?

Some of many, many questions Ryan and I wrestle with day in and day out. Why Lord, are we at this point in time and for what purpose? This is the most striking question we are asking today. I shared in my last entry how we are back home in Brazil and feeling more unsettled than ever before. If we are truly living life as God intends, then we are to be unsettled. We are not to settle for life being okay, to be comfortable in what the world provides. I heard it today from a friend of ours at church, "Our employer is not the provider, God is the Provider of ALL things!" No matter how much is in our bank account at this moment, He is still on His throne and He is capable of providing and will provide everything we need. How easy it is for any one of us in times of great struggle to doubt that. I am reminded of this scripture:

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

We cannot accomplish one good thing in this life without Christ. Sure, in terms of what the world measures as good we can do a lot, but when it really matters, when it has a lasting and eternal impact it can't happen without God's good guidance and wisdom. I can look back on my life so far and see where there were specific points when He left His mark on my life and used me to leave a lasting and eternal mark for Him on others. I want the path I walk from this moment on to continue to be so, to leave an impact on this world that says I made a difference for Christ, I held my ground and stood the foundation He provided through every obstacle, every triumph, every day of this life. So as Ryan and I are asking the question today, "Lord, what does that mean?" Who knows what it means, except that to be still, to know Him, to rest in the knowledge that He is in control, He has a plan and He will provide is enough.

Unsettled

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 8:10-11

Unsettled. It is a great word to describe where we are today. We came home last night from a great visit with our families over the holiday weekend and as we approached home, Ryan would share with me later how the disappointment grew in him. The job situation for him has not improved, with the exception that he started at the local grocery store today which will provide more stability in terms of hours adn a paycheck. It won't be much, but it will be more consistent than what he's had in the last month or so. It is frustrating, and yet we are trying to focus on how God continue to provide. It may not be in ways we expected or wanted, but He does continue to provide and for that our hearts are full.

We know this is not our home, it is temporary and that our focus should be on the eternal things. That is what drives us especially now. That is what makes it all the more unsettling for us to return to our earthly home in Brazil, Indiana. We know God is not finished with us yet, He has a work to do in our lives for the sake of His kingdom. We are so ready, and yet for whatever reason, God is giving us a season to rest and wait. I was reminded by a very dear friend this weekend how important it is to rest in Him right now, to truly be still and know our God. It is hard when we aren't able to serve in the capacity with which we are so accustomed, what we are gifted for. It is hard to rest, isn't it? I believe God does that to save us from ourselves though. Burn out is a terrible thing, and I would not want us to get to that point in ministry. So, our approach in this season needs to be highly expectant but restful. As we rest in Him, I trust, I believe and I will embrace the truth that God has a great purpose for us.

my Ebenezer...

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