God's Girl

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

The Lies We Buy

on June 5, 2014

My husband retired from the Army almost a year ago. We had done everything right. We saved. We had dug most of our way out of debt. He took paid leave for several months before his retirement date so he could submit his resume and interview for jobs. Everything seemed to be going okay. It was a little scary, but we had taken all the right steps. We had prepared our minds with knowledge and our hearts with prayer.
Just before it was time for him to retire, he received an email. The job offer he had been waiting for had finally arrived! God’s timing was perfect! I just knew He would come through. My faith was solid. Bring it on! I was ready for a new adventure.
We had to pick three locations for the new job from a list they had given us. Two of the locations made my heart beat faster. They were places I didn’t want to go. Now that this was becoming a reality, my faith was beginning to become a bit shaky. I researched each location. Two of them were remote towns miles from the nearest city (if you could call it that). These towns had harsh winters, small populations and hot summers. The only bonus would be living near some beautiful parts of the country. None of this set well with a girl born and raised near Dallas, Texas. Country to me is living on the outskirts of the suburbs.  To make matters worse, I began talking with co-workers about these options. Everyone had an opinion of each place and none of them were glowing reports. They smiled plastic smiles and said, “Y0u are gonna do great wherever you go.” in voices that were a just little too perky. This was the beginning for me. If they doubted maybe I should, too. Doubt had moved into my heart and made a comfy little corner. Poor faith was starting to get crammed out a bit.

The time to move came.  Things were taking longer than expected. We moved into a trailer on my father-in-law’s land. This trailer had a bed for us, a fold out bed for the kids and very little room otherwise. If I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I would need to walk a bit to get to the house. It’s just temporary, I told myself. It’s so kind that relatives are letting us stay with them. It will only be a week maybe two.

I told myself this for two months! During this time there was a mess up in paperwork in the finance office of the Army. My husband wasn’t paid his last two paychecks. Doubt moved from the corner of my heart to take center stage. He rudely shoved faith to the corner where He once sat. He introduced me to his friend Fear. What were we going to do? I kept praying. I didn’t feel God. I prayed with a boldness I never had before. I asked for things I had never dared to ask for. My tiny morsel of faith just knew something had to happen. It didn’t. Was God there? I asked friends to help me pray. They did. Still nothing.

I began believing lie number one. God isn’t here and if He is He isn’t the God I thought I knew. Yep, doubt was finishing it work so I could stay immature and incomplete. The God I knew would have swooped in and saved the day by now. He would have ridden in on that white horse and saved his princess. All I could really see at this point was anger and doubt. Maybe God isn’t so good after all or maybe He just doesn’t care.

That’s when lie number two quickly joined in with lie number one. Lie number two went something like this, “You can do something to control this situation. You aren’t doing enough. Come on! This can happen if you think hard enough, take as much action as possible and pray enough.” This kind of thinking nearly tore my family to shreds. It can do it to yours too, if you fall for it. I feel hard.  I treated my husband as if he wasn’t doing enough. I tried to take control of every situation. I fought with my husband every step of the way instead of working together with him. Our children saw the lines of worry etched on my face more than they saw kindness and trust written in my eyes.

I began reading a lot during this time. I read “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom. I had always wanted to read this book about living in a concentration camp, but never found the right time. I thought it would be too depressing. Now it seemed to fit the sadness I felt. One day I came across the story of the fleas that would mercilessly invade the beds of the prisoners in the camp. Corrie spoke of hating them desperately in the book. She heard her sister thank God for the fleas. She could not understand. Neither could I. How could I thank God for what had obviously gone so wrong? I turned the page and read a bit more. The women had been secretly meeting where the fleas were the worst. They had beautiful times of bible study and prayer uninterrupted by Nazi guards. They would have faced instant death if they had been caught. It began to become apparent to Corrie that the fleas were what kept them safe. They had every reason to be thankful for the fleas!

This changed my world! I began to thank God for everything around me. My anxiety eased a bit. I began thanking God for meeting up with a precious relative for some girl time early in the morning before everyone else woke up. I realized that I would not have gotten to know her, if it had not been for the “fleas” in my life. I began to have a new gratefulness for everything because I began to understand that I wasn’t entitled to “things” just because I follow Christ. Humility began to push doubt away and faith crept away from Her corner.

I had always  been the one to help.  It became a source of pride. God broke it. Now I was on the receiving end. Having someone open their pantry to me and say, “Use whatever you want to make whatever you would like while you are here” felt awkward. There was nothing I could do in return for this kindness. This was grace at it’s finest.  I finally understood. God didn’t give me what I wanted, He gave me what He knew I needed. After two months, the job we had been waiting for notified us and we had ten days to move across the country.

We said sad goodbyes to the family who had welcomed us in and dealt so well with our all our stress. Now we know we are exactly where we belong, though it’s tough being far from family. God has provided more than we had dreamed. He has given us so many of the wants we know we don’t deserve, but I’m most thankful for the things he taught me along the way. My heart has a new sense of thankfulness everyday and a renewed since of compassion for others.

No God never left us.

He never leaves you either.

He isn’t the God I thought He was.

He is more.

He is doing more in you than you can see right now.

Don’t fight it.

If He is moving in ways you can’t understand, that’s okay.

I don’t really want a God I can figure out.

Do you?

I don’t think a God I could figure out would be worth living for and bowing down to.

I do know this.

He is good, even when everything around you says otherwise.

This is what faith is all about.

Hold onto your faith in times of doubt.

Don’t worry if you don’t feel it.

Hold onto your hope.

Cherish the love you have and give it to others.

When everything else falls away let faith, hope and love take a firm grip on your heart.

When you are losing your grip, let it happen, that’s when you will find that you have been in His grip all along.

 

 

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5 responses to “The Lies We Buy

  1. Christin says:

    Beautiful ! I read that book as well. What a great book! Thanks for sharing this story. You are a great writer and inspiration.

  2. djoaquin says:

    This was such a blessing! I am in my own campground full of fleas, and God has used you to open my eyes. “He isn’t the God I thought He was. He is more.” Powerful! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • apdawn2000 says:

      I will pray for you and your church. When I say that I mean it. :0) I think when the fleas are kickin’ up God is stirrin’ up. He’s up to something in your life. Don’t get distracted.

      • djoaquin says:

        Thank you for your prayers! I am sincerely praying for you as well, that God continues to use you in such a powerful way.

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