Thankful for His promise to me

Jeremiah 32:40-41 The Message
I’ll make a covenant with them that will last forever, a covenant to stick with them no matter what, and work for their good. I’ll fill their hearts with a deep respect for me so they’ll not even think of turning away from me.

Oh how I’ll rejoice in them! Oh how I’ll delight in doing good things for them! Heart and soul, I’ll plant them in this country and keep them here!

If you are familiar with this passage, and I admit I had to read through this carefully to absorb again what took place, but this was a time when God allowed His people to lose everything in order to teach them how to appreciate what they had and honor the Lord their God. They weren't honoring Him, they weren't serving Him and devoted to Him as was expected of God's people, and so He allowed things to go very, very badly for them. Ultimately He finished His message to His people by acknowledging that His covenant with them would stand and He would restore them. Painful and promising all in a few paragraphs and so much had to happen for His people to learn their lesson. You know, we have to admit we are still learning that lesson today. I try to face each day with confidence that it will be a day I can look back on and say, "Hey, I did something good today!" but all too often, I hit my pillow thinking, "Good grief, what a day. I didn't get nearly half of what I needed to done. And I have to get up and do it all over again tomorrow." Anyone relate? Well, here's the hard reality: this is life. Life on this earth is never going to be perfect, no matter how we attempt to package it. Something, or several something's are likely to occur and send you spinning with stress, doubt, frustration, confusion...shall I go on? Life is full of surprises, so what to do? Face it with as much hope and joy as you can muster, and if your tank is low, then dig deep into His Word, sink it into your heart and mind, and go out into the world ready to be the best you possible! It sounds corny, but it is the way I try to approach each day. I find myself these days trying harder to let go of my thinking in terms of what I think God is going to do, and instead just realize He is going to do what He does without any help from me.

Ryan and I are nearly a year into a season of restoration, and it has been very hard but absolutely necessary. We are trying to throw our hands up at God more out of release than exasperation. Does that make sense? It seems like for too long we were losing our hope, that we felt life was beating us up to the point we were ready to throw in the towel. We felt like God didn't see or hear us, and we just wondered when, when is the break we have been praying for going to come. If you've been in a place of desperation, then you know, any ounce of patience and understanding you once had is pretty well fizzled out. When you don't know how you're going to meet the basic needs you are faced with, and it seems every avenue you have pursued is exhausted or the answer has come back as no-sorry we can't help you, well, the only thing left to do after you've had your pity party and hit rock bottom...is to throw those hands up to the Lord our God! Desperate times have made me do some really stupid things and some really brilliant things too. I am thankful, no matter what I do, stupid or brilliant, God still loves me and is still there for me. I don't deserve it, and I certainly can't earn it, but thank goodness for it!

As we approach the end of April, we have some good things to report. God is good, all the time!

*Ryan has accepted a part-time worship pastor position with a store-front church, Altar of Praise Family Church in Springfield. It will be an interim position for the first 60 days which is wonderful because we can truly "test the waters" and if it is something we feel like God is calling us to sink our feet into and the leadership feels the same, we'll move forward. If not, we can come away from it with the freedom to pursue other avenues.

*We have been approved to purchase a home. We have a couple of options, and we are gathering all the information we can to see what is going to be the best option for us. Option #1 is for an FHA loan which includes the necessity for us to put 3.5% down. Less than a year into new jobs and rebuilding our finances, you can imagine how much of a challenge it will be for us to come up with $4,000-$5,000 for a down payment. Option #2 is for a USDA loan which is a 100% financing program. Credit score requirements are higher but we don't have to come up with a big down payment. Early May we will work with our bank to see how our scores come out, and if it goes in our favor we can move forward with the USDA loan option.
Option #3 is for us to search for a rental home. The rental market here is great, but we will inevitably have to pay $400-$500 more a month in rent to find the space we really need. Time is ticking away, we have to give 60 days notice at our apartment complex which is June 8, so please keep us in your prayers as we head into the next month and see where God leads us to live. We are excited, stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted...need I go on?

Every day, throughout my day I take time to pray and think about the needs around us, what is going on in your lives, the needs we are all facing. Life is not getting any easier, and it is getting less and less predictable so all the more reason we need to cling to our God, embrace His Word and be a support to one another. I am amazed how God brings people into my life at just the right time, and for the opportunities He has laid before me in this season of restoration. I am excited to see some new and interesting opportunities take shape as we walk into the days ahead.
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