In the Broken
by, 11-20-2013 at 07:16 PM (3011 Views)
We waited all night in the emergency room to find out if she would live or die.
Psalm 34: verses 4 and 18
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
I had intended to write about the “maybe” next – but life has a way of happening and changing our plans, you know?
My husband and I have been on a journey since he resigned the church we were at in July. It has included all the ups and downs and uncertainties of him being unemployed for the first time in over 30 years. All the questioning of “did we do the right thing? Did we really hear God’s voice telling us to take this step? What is next? What if we are through with active ministry?” We are now at a crossroads and it is looking like we will probably become the pastor at a very small rural church. We will likely know for sure next week. That is why I planned to write about “in the maybe” next. I had thought I’d write this piece after that. But as I said, life has a way of changing. The broken I was going to write about looked something like this:
In 30 years we have amassed a lot. A lot of stuff, a lot of experience, a lot of all the pieces that make up a life. And it appears God is taking us back to a sort of beginning. If we accept this new position, we are kind of going back to square one. It is a very small church – about 25-30 people are currently attending. It is in a very poor, rural community. Though there is a parsonage there, and it is not exactly the Taj Mahal. It is a 1972 double wide manufactured home. In reality, it is a trailer. We have been living in a fairly nice 4 bedroom, 3 bath split level home we purchased in 2008, on about a half acre of nicely landscaped land. The house isn’t terribly fancy, but it is more than comfortable and is in a nice neighborhood overlooking a local lake. We have been trying to sell it since mid June in preparation for what we knew was coming. But today’s market has made that impossible and so now we are faced with either losing the house completely or trying to rent it when (if) we move. Neither option is particularly appealing.
We are also looking at a large cut in the salary Cliff had been receiving. A very large cut. And, because the new church is almost 3 hours away I will have to quit my job that I love and had planned on staying with until I retire. The prospects of me finding new employment in the new community are slim to none. While I will very much enjoy being able to devote more time to working at the church, it is still another loss I am facing.
We will also be moving away from our children and grandchildren. Not so far away we can’t see them fairly often, but certainly we will be not be close enough to continue with the almost daily contact. We won’t be able to go to all the home football games, the concerts, the school plays, etc. We won’t see our grandkids in the church audience like we are used to. We won’t be able to go to youth group events with them. I won’t be able to have regular Saturday morning coffee with my sons and daughters. No more impromptu get togethers over the backyard barbeque.
As we have been discussing all of this lately, I commented to Cliff that God seems to be stripping us of almost everything we had gained over the years—our home, income, the close family contact, my job, everything that the world sees as success. I said our life feels broken.
Then as I was processing all of this, we had one of those life changing events. My beautiful 15 year old granddaughter tried to take her own life on Monday night. She has been angry for a long time and apparently things came to a head during an argument she had with her parents. She took a lot of pills and had she not gotten scared and told her Mom shortly after ingesting them, the outcome would have been very different. I am so grateful that she chose to seek help immediately instead of waiting for the inevitable to happen. We spent Monday night in the emergency room and ICU with her as the hospital staff did what they do and saved her life.
And my friends—I have once again been brought up short while I was in the midst of wallowing in my own discouragement. While I was processing all the things I thought we were losing, I was suddenly faced with what my existence would look like had this dear, sweet, lovely girl succeeded in taking her life. And I fell to my knees in grateful praise to our Lord and Savior. She is scheduled for an evaluation with a mental health counselor tomorrow and I think the event scared her enough she is ready to seek help.
I don’t know what the future holds or what our lives will look like if we make this move. But I do know that suddenly my priorities have straightened out. I don’t care what kind of a house we live in. I don’t care if I am unemployed myself and I don’t care if we lose every material possession we have. I only care that I serve a loving God who repeatedly shows me he loves me and takes care of me.
I covet your prayers for my granddaughter and her family, that she will find her way to wholeness again. I ask for your prayers as we seek God’s will in our professional lives. And I ask you to praise his holy name with me that he kept his hand on my dear granddaughter. I serve a risen and living God and I am choosing today to trust him with all of my life. Even though it looks like things seem out of control at times, I can see the master builder moving the pieces into the places he wants in order to create a beautiful work of art that is exactly what he planned all along. Today I trust him even “in the broken.”
Thanks, as always, for listening. Caro