I've been building a lot of bitterness for about, well, we'll say a year. Though probably longer, considering statements I've made, it is apparent this bitterness began when the church plant in SD went so horribly wrong.
I have made a good talk. I've recognized the blessings that have been given to us, in the 3 horrible years in SD, and in the 2.5 years of recuperating/rebuilding we've had here in IA.
But I didn't really believe that God cared. Or that He was trying to help.
I mean, seriously, Mr. Curly is working three jobs and we're still slowly siphoning away our savings account (that was our tax return) while our credit card debt goes up because our kids need clothes, or shoes, or, you know, food (and yes, vacations, because we'd honestly go insane if we didn't allow ourselves fun).
I applied for a job, and in the rejection email I got, they stated that they felt my place was in the home, caring for my children. There were some very sarcastic and angry statements made about that. I wasn't abandoning my children by applying for a 5 hour a week job - I was trying to make life a little easier for us all. But obviously, I am not meant to work (yeah, I'm still working on feeling very very unimportant right now).
But Sunday, Mr. Curly had a great sermon. And he pointed out a couple passages that are changing how I look at things.
The first most important statement he made came from Act 3:19-20 "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus."
I desperately need a time of refreshing. And it wasn't going to come, sitting at home, railing at God for all the things that I could fix if He would just answer prayers. (Yep, you read that right).
I ignored the fact that Curly Boy 2 wasn't sitting perfectly still for awhile and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. And finally opened up my ears again to hear this:
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, 24a
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing....The one who calls you is faithful...
The one who calls you is faithful....
I have never claimed the calling of pastoral ministry. I have never claimed a calling of pastor's wife, or even Mr. Curly's wife. I was blessed with Mr. Curly, it is a blessing to be his wife and helpmate, to share his life. And I've been plenty angry when God hasn't made it easy for Mr. Curly, when it seems his ministry is ignored and even set up for failure.
I don't feel I have a calling in life.
But God did call my husband. And God is faithful. The Bible tells me so.
And so, after my prayer, and my repentance, I'm trying to let go of all the old bitterness. Of the feeling that if I pray for something, the exact opposite will happen. I have many many examples of this, both large and small, that I am trying desperately not to hold against God, not to drag out and count and point out how I know He doesn't listen. It is a constant struggle, a constant prayer of mine that I will be able to let the hurt go.
God didn't make us to suffer. He offered Jesus as full salvation so we can live a glorious life here and now and later on.
It is my prayer that I can change my outlook to only see the glory of God, and not focus on the hardness of life. And I pray the same for you.