Friday, March 9, 2012

God's Faithfulness

 Confession: an open acknowledgement of feelings; something admitted or disclosed.

Today, I was looking back through some of my journaling over the last 5 years. I notice that I go for long  periods not writing anything, and often my writings are when I am feeling especially “down” or depressed about things. But there was a theme which ran through it all, even the evident despair….and that theme was trust in God.

Back at the beginning, God drew me to Isaiah 54: “…..For your husband is your Maker – His name is Yahweh of Hosts – and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer…..” (Is 54: 4-8)
I have claimed that scripture often;  I have also cried out to God that He was not honoring those Words at a particular juncture. What is most important, however, is that He has been faithful to me. He has provided for my needs, sometimes at the last minute, but He has not allowed me to linger in the pit of despair. 

When T**’s illness first began, I was sure we had to sell the house, I was worried about finances, I had not worked myself in 5 years…so I began looking for a cheaper home to buy. I remember going to lunch with some friends after church to calypso caf√©, and I ordered the very cheapest thing on the menu, a salad for $1.50 and water.  I had been very involved in Ukraine for the past 8 years and could see it passing out of my life.

Because we had always “tithed”…[for anyone who might read this and not be familiar with that term, it means 10%  given to Christian work, in the church or in another area of Christian ministry],  I continued to give 10% of our gross income (before tax) to Christian work.  I never did find the perfect place, even though I put our home on the market for a few months, and we are still in our home, and it is paid for. I have continued to tithe our income (and more). I have continued with Ukraine ministry until now when leaving Tom is probably not possible.

Back to 2005, I threw out my pitiful resume on the internet, and lo and behold, I received a call from an American Healthways recruiter about a job. I almost laughed….i don’t think I was serious about a job, but I followed through and made an application and interviewed.  They offered me a job! I didn’t want it and turned it down. I needed more time and asked to be contacted if another class started.  Too much was happening too fast.  So, quite soon actually, I got another call that a class was starting June 20. Now all this began at the end of March  - T**’s symptoms, I mean.  So this time, I accepted the offer.  I am still in this job after almost 7 years. I admit I cried every day on the way to work for a while….6 wks of training, and I did not want to be there at all.  However, my God was, in His mercy, providing for me.  

When this began, we were a part of a church fellowship.  That fell away after a while as well, when we could no longer be involved as before.  But I have learned that my relationship with Jesus and Father God are not dependent on the church or other people; it is between me and God/Jesus….and actually, it has become stronger during these years.  When it comes down to the nitty gritty, and it is only you and Holy God….is it enough? My answer is this:   YES!! It is purer without the church to dilute it. I am not against church at all. I miss being part of a local fellowship and all the things that go with that participation, and in my 65 years, this is the first time I have not been part of such a fellowship.  But, God is not confined to the church, and His Spirit is available at all times to the brokenhearted and poor in spirit ….really to anyone of His children….so that I trust Him, not others, for my needs. 

Here is what I have concluded….our culture, and maybe most cultures, are wired to “rescue” and offer immediate support.  If someone dies, is in an accident, has a serious diagnosis….think of it, everyone rushes in…with food, prayers, cards, offers to help, etc.,….we can minister to our fellow-christians in the “short-term” or the sprint…..but the marathon… a very different matter entirely.  I say we “expect people to die or get well” so we can move on with our lives and not be needed for the long-term. HOWEVER, there are those of us who, not by our own choice, find ourselves involved in and running a MARATHON!  We don’t know if we are at mile 4 or mile 24……we just keep running, and running, and running,……and there is no one to cheer us on or be there to run with us. They drop out early….our culture, Christian and non-christian, is wired to run the sprint with others, not the marathon.  

I remember a lovely gentleman in our previous church, Hobson Byars, whose wife had Alzheimer’s.  I would see them at church and never ever have any idea of what he might have gone through to get her there.  I never offered to help, I had no idea that I should do anything or that he had needs I could possibly meet.

With this diagnosis being so prevalent now, the Church needs to begin to look at how it can minister effectively to people with this diagnosis and who are caring for loved-ones with this kind of illness. We cannot  “go ahead and die or get well”….we just keep running….and panting…and needing a cool drink of water…..or a small rest…..and we keep running….and praying to God that we don’t run out of steam before the end.
God has been faithful; He is everything to me. He is mother, father, friend, husband……I trust Him much more than when I had an easy life. He is good, He is love, He is my strength day by day, even when I am so weak I can barely lift my feet to touch the floor….His mercies are new every morning. 

this is rambling, and may need re-addressing at some point. ...i don't know!

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