Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's been a day...


I knew all the answers
The way my life should go
And when I used to say my prayers
I would tell God so
It seemed he wasn't listening
I thought he didn't care
But lookin' back
It's plain to see
He was always there
'Cause I prayed for strength
And I got pain that made me strong
I prayed for courage
And got fear to overcome
When I prayed for faith
My empty heart brought me to my knees
I don't always get what I want
I get what I need
I'm not sayin' that it's easy
Or that it doesn't hurt
Nothing seems to go my way
Nothing seems to work
These days I'm getting better
At goin' with the flow
Accepting that sometimes the answer
To a prayer is no
'Cause I prayed for strength
And I got pain that made me strong
I prayed for courage
And I got fear to overcome
When I prayed for faith
My empty heart brought me to my knees
I don't always get what I want
I get what I need
Every time I've had a door slammed in my face
In time a better one was opened in its place
I prayed for strength
And I got pain that made me strong
I prayed for courage
And got fear to overcome
When I prayed for faith
My empty heart brought me to my knees
I don't always get what I want
I get what I need
Oh I don't always get what I want
I get what I need


Read more: Collin Raye - What I Need Lyrics | MetroLyrics 


I heard that song on the radio today at an opportune moment.  It's been quite a day, a day of not knowing where our next financial provision is going to come from or what form it will take.  It started out with hearing from Allen's carpentry apprenticeship program that they likely won't be starting any of the apprentices out until the beginning of October (which isn't exactly great timing given my October 4th scheduled c-section, but that's another matter)...which means he isn't making any money this month except what he can make doing scrap metal and odd jobs.  That was quite a blow.  Then, this evening, I got an email stating that I had actually received my August paycheck in error; that I shouldn't have been paid at all this month contractually speaking.  It was a one-two punch to the bank account, which is feeling none too happy after a summer of Allen not having regular work.  
And I must confess that I haven't been handling this particular adversity very well.  Fear, stress, anxiety, self-pity: these are the emotions I've been hosting today all too frequently.  I was thinking about it as I drove Max to the doctor's today, thinking about how I had asked my sister in law to pray for us.  What I had meant by that phrase "pray for us" was really--if I'm honest--"pray that God will fix this mess."  What I should have meant was "pray that God will increase our trust in His provision and help us to act on faith, not on fear."  How many hard times have we been in financially since we were married four years ago?  How many times has deliverance come in one form or another?  We haven't been homeless yet, even when times have been bleaker than this.  We have people who care for us and are helping us out in many ways.    
I've been telling Ruby stories from the New Testament, usually accounts of the miraculous healings that Jesus did.  One of her favorites is about the woman who was sick with a hemorrhage for twelve years, who had faith enough to believe that if she just touched the hem of Jesus' garment, she would be healed.  She did touch it, and she was healed.  Her faith made her well.  Or consider the story of the Gentile mother whose daughter was very sick, whose faith in Jesus' powers made him marvel and exclaim that even in Israel there were few who had this kind of faith.  Or think about the friends who took their paralytic friend to Jesus and had to dig through a roof just to get their friend to Jesus.  These are the kinds of people whose faith I want to emulate.  They are determined, trusting, persevering.  Instead, I often feel like the man who cries out, "I believe, help my unbelief!"  
This year I've been listening a lot to our local Catholic radio station.  Every day at 3 PM and 3 AM, they pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which ends with the following prayer: 
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
It is a great reminder that God's will is not meant to hurt me, but to shape me and mold me, as the song that I quoted at the beginning also attests.  I also like how the Chaplet and the Rosary both begin with the Apostles' Creed, which begins "I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth..."  Sometimes it is easy to say that in a rote fashion, but when I stop to think about it, I am saying that I believe in a God who made EVERYTHING.  Is anything too difficult for Him?  If He can create Heaven and Earth from nothing, my problems aren't going to be too tough for Him to solve.  
I guess I'll end this post with some gratitudes to reframe my perspective.
1.  I'm grateful that my husband is willing to spend his days driving around in his pickup to get scrap.  It's a dirty, tiring, thankless job and sometimes requires dumpster diving.  Yet today he made almost $100 with scrap that he picked up yesterday and today (and since it is paid at a few cents per pound, you can imagine how much scrap that was that he found!)  
2.  I'm grateful that Allen is also willing to do just about any odd job that will bring in money for the family.  Whether it is driving around to pick up furniture to resell to antique stores, donating his plasma,  helping people move, doing yard work or maintenance, or baling and bucking hay, he will go the distance and get sweaty, dirty, and tired out to help make ends meet.  And all this he does without complaint: he's got a great work ethic. 
3.  I'm grateful that we have family members who are pitching in to help us get through the tough times.  Whether it is putting money towards Ruby's upcoming childcare expenses (preschool this year!) or offering to babysit the kids for free or for very delayed and far-below-par pay, we would be sunk without family.  
4.  I'm grateful that God has provided in tangible ways even today.  Allen had an uncommonly good day with finding scrap and then found two temporary job leads, one of which started immediately (as in right now!)
5.  I'm grateful for the witness of those saints who have gone before, whether in past weeks or past centuries, and have trusted God in far more trying and frightening circumstances.  
6. I'm grateful for technology that bears witness to God's love for us.  I can listen to uplifting prayer, teaching, and song on the radio 24/7 for free!  


2 comments:

  1. Oh, my sister-coz... These are the days I wish I was A) in the same Portland and B) able to send ludicrously large checks your way. I, too, have been convicted by the rote-repeating vs. actually believing clutch, and join with you in prayer for both (all) of us. Love you!! Trusting that God has way more awesome means of bringing you through (not around) this to bring greater glory to Himself and instill greater faith in you!! LOVE YOU!

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    1. Thanks, coz...appreciate your prayers and luvs and offers of huge monies. Thank God the paycheck situation is going to get resolved in the least painful possible way (divide amount owed by 12 and deduct from the next 12 paychecks, whew), and Allen has been literally working around the clock (7:45pm to 12:15 am, 8 am to 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm till now and still going) bucking hay. God is providing (as if that's a surprise)!

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