Embrace the battles
When we are in the midst of battle it is hard to believe that it will ever come to an end. When we are in a period of blessing we sometimes expect it will go on forever. But life is not like that. There are battles and blessings.
In the months leading up to my wedding I can remember fervently praying for the hard days ahead that my husband and I would face in our future. Sitting in my office at my home in Bowling Green, Kentucky I prayed so hard for the transition to marriage, for a new life in California, for the oneness that my husband and I aspired to for our relationship. I prayed for the strength needed to overcome any hardship. I prayed for the ability to thrive.
So much about life is learning to embrace the trials that God puts in front of us. It is so easy to say we trust God out loud, but behind the scenes we worry ourselves to death while trying to control the outcomes and the way WE think our lives should work out. The bible tells us that Jesus learned obedience from what He suffered. I can relate to this obedience from suffering all too well. After all, one of my favorite verses comes from James 1: 2-3. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. We often fail to realize that if we want His promises, we have to TRUST His process. This can often be a hard pill to swallow.
So as a newlywed who just moved three thousand miles to thrive in a new home with the man of her dreams, you can likely imagine the trepidation and fear that I felt when my husband called in the middle of a work day to say, “They let me go.” Talk about stopping you in your tracks. How do you even respond to the man you love so dearly after hearing those words. Hearing the pain and hurt in his voice made the tears well up in my eyes. Trying to wrap my head around what to say, my response was, “Come home, we will figure this out together.”
At the time I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of my chiropractor’s office. I dropped my phone in my lap and instantly started calling out to God. Of course its only natural for the “Why God” questions to come next. “Why God are you doing this? I just left my family to move to this place because this is where my husband’s job was. How God could you be so cruel? What could you possibly be trying to teach me in this moment?”
Romans 8:28 is what I started to say over and over again as I had many times before when faced with adversity. I felt a sudden ease rush over me. I felt the Holy Spirit say, “I have never let you down, and I will not let you down now.” When faced with a trial, there has got to be something deep inside of us that helps to make things exciting again. Deep down, even if you can’t see the end, you know God has much better things planned for you. Truth be told, I knew God had better things planned for Ben. I knew with every ounce of my being that God was placing this hurdle in front of us so that we could join hands and move forward TOGETHER.
The day Ben called with the news, I didn’t want to build the drama of the situation by blasting the news to friends and family. I wanted to digest and internalize what was happening and why. That said, I knew that I needed the help from three of my biggest prayer warriors so I sent them a note simply asking for their immediate prayers and support. I wanted to run to God for clarity and advice. I wanted to seek Him on how I could help Ben address this challenge. I wanted this trial to bring me closer to God. In order to do that, I knew that I had to constantly seek Him even more than before. My prayer life for my husband became deeper and richer and I found myself praying for Ben, for his health and happiness more than any other person or thing in my life (as a wife, this needs to be done more). After all, a job can always be replaced. In the end, I knew that this hurdle would focus our dependence on God while also bringing us closer together as a couple.
All things work for the good (Romans 8:28). Despite losing his job on December 20th, five days before Christmas, we had to believe that God knew what he was doing. His timing is always perfect. On December 23rd, Ben and I flew back to Kentucky to spend the holidays with family. Our original plan was to spend a few days in Bowling Green and then fly back to California just before the New Year, however, now that there wasn’t an immediate need to get back to California for work, we decided to skip our return flight and take some needed time to reset prior to heading back to the west coast.
Before our wedding I had decided to leave my car in Kentucky because we didn’t feel that it would be necessary to have two cars in California. Ben would take public transportation to work each day leaving me with his car for wherever I needed to go. Luckily, our God knows all things and he knew that I would need my car in Kentucky for a purpose. What started as a struggle became a blessing. Ben’s career hiccup provided an opportunity to spend a few extra days with family and a chance to make a long cross-country road trip back to California. We took our time, we talked, we sang (I sang), we ate some amazing food, we saw our beautiful country, we hit the reset button on life. Again, Gods hand was on this all along. We made the most of our road trip and brought the New Year in with the breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon. It was an experience I will never forget and with each new view my eyes got to embrace, I was reminded more and more of God’s grace. Despite the setbacks, detours, and pit stops you face, never forget that God has a purpose for you that will be fulfilled. You simply need to relax and enjoy the ride.
Once home in California Ben had a number of interviews with a handful of awesome companies. My prayer for him was that he would find an opportunity that would make him feel appreciated, a place where he could be happy, a place where his worth would be valued. After much prayer and anticipation, Ben has accepted a truly amazing job offer and officially starts next week!!! I can not stop praising God for his faithfulness and I know it was all from Him and He deserved all the credit. In the end, God helped to get Ben out of an unhealthy work situation and gave us an opportunity to spend more time together as a newly married couple, time together that many newly married couples don’t get.
When we are in the battle it is hard to believe that it will ever come to an end. When we are in a period of blessing we sometimes expect it will go on forever. But life is not like that. There are battles and blessings.
Lord, thank you that ultimately your blessings far outweigh the battles.
Keep shining that light, friends.