His discouragement spilled over to me that night as his words flowed: “sometimes it feels as if we’ll never get ahead.”
Our strong desire to get out of the rental game and onto our own land is real. We spent the last year working to that end, diligently following our detailed budget. This winter we ate very simply, from the goods we harvested with our own two hands. We stayed home, instead of going out. We talked with folks who have gone before us, signed up for the Financial Peace course and soaked in whatever we could.
And in it all, we remembered to give, to give because we had been given to. Many a time we’ve been tempted to become stingy, pinching our pennies. But we know this is not the way, not the way of trust in our God. We’ve worked hard and saved however we could without compromising our values.
My man’s words hit a nerve, and although he didn’t (and would never) say it, I felt it. I know where our money goes. I know why we can’t save at the rate we’d like. I’m painfully aware of the reason we must live the way we do.
“It’s because of me.”
It’s because of me that we are not where we could be. It’s because of me that we’ve been unable to save to our full potential. It’s because of the limitations I’ve caused that discouragement hits.
It’s because of me. Chemical and toxin-free food, the nutritious and unprocessed is what I need to sustain this weakened frame. But it costs!
It’s because of me that we don’t live up to our income potential. While many women work outside their home and particularly before children come, I am unable. Pushing through when I shouldn’t only leads to another crash. And then? Everything I make goes to pay for more appointments as I seek help for my unable-to-rebound body.
We can’t live just anywhere because of my limitations. My allergic reaction to dogs and especially mold quickly removes the majority of available options.
And a family? There’s the issue of being unable to safely breast-feed children. Due to the milk allergies that run on my man’s side of the family, it’s either buying expensive formula or having enough land to raise a dairy goat. More $$$. Because of me.
Our hope and dream, the one that discouraged my man is this: in terms of natural wisdom, we feel its best to purchase a small acreage, build a new, simple home that we know is clean, have enough land to raise most of that nutritious food my body so desperately needs and a goat to supply milk for the family we’d like to begin.
I know. It isn’t my fault. I didn’t choose to be sick. And my man did choose to marry me. I can’t remove the consequences of his choice (nor do I wish to). That would be to insult him.
But sometimes, I wish that my life bettered his own in the financial sense. Sometimes, I wish that my life could help us get ahead. Sometimes, grief comes knocking and it storms through my being. It’s not my fault. But it is because of me.
Can anything good come from all this? Its easy to crumble under my reality. I could so easily let it take the wind from my sails. I could let it control the way I view myself, make me feel like mud-no not mud, but barnyard manure. And at times, it does.
In it all, whether unsettled or at peace, I am grateful for God’s reality. To those of us who are feeling the heavy side of life, God’s reality suddenly becomes beautiful.
Life isn’t about getting ahead, about ‘success’ as our culture identifies it, about ease and pleasure. Life isn’t about getting set up, about being comfortable and having extra for peace of mind. When these hard times hit, I’m extra grateful for God’s reality. When allowed to shine onto our situation, suddenly my limitations have purpose. Painful though they may be, they remind us of what matters most.
What we deem as success isn’t always His definition.While He knows the about the temporary things, He’s keen on the unseen things. Like the condition of our relationship with Him and those around.
After hearing the words from my man’s mouth that night, I told him I needed some time by myself. He went to bed, but came out 10 minutes later. The words that flowed from his mouth this time?
“I can’t stop thinking about these words: ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God'” (Phil 4:6). Thanksgiving. How easy it is to forget what we have been given in both the physical and spiritual sense!
But wait. There’s a promise: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).
Peace. Its peace we want, and we find it by presenting our request and acknowledging what God has done.
And then I got to thinking: his discouragement came on because of me. And his change in perspective wasn’t my doing. But perhaps because of my limitations, God is reaching his/our hearts in one of those ways that matters for forever.
It doesn’t mean there aren’t hurts and disappointments, sometimes, raging questions that flow. But it does mean that they have a purpose, grander than anything I can see, an eternal purpose. I rest on this.