In the last year a lot has happened in our lives. Aside from the normal – birthdays and milestones, the day to day routine, the Lord has been doing some big things. I’ve been hesitant to write about it here, somehow I wasn’t sure about what the Lord was saying, if I could trust it, or if we were even hearing Him. There’s something about writing it down, even putting it on the internet, that I wasn’t ready to do, until now.
The dictionary says that crazy means “senseless, impractical, and totally unsound.” Well, that sounds about right to me, at least when I think about things “logically.” Crazy – that’s where the Lord is taking us. And somehow, when He is in the crazy, it’s okay, even good. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes there’s worry, and drama, and chaos, but that’s mostly us I think. The good part, the part where you look around and you can’t believe you’re not freaking out, that’s all Him! So, where do I begin?
(I feel like there should be some sort of flashback music here 🙂 Let’s start from the beginning –
Branden and I got married a little over 12 years ago. I was a baby and he was puppeteer – for reals. Branden had been doing children’s ministry and working for a company that taught ministry and puppetry classes around the country. When we got married, he took a job as a children’s pastor in Dallas/Fort Worth, which is where we lived for about 5 1/2 years. We worked and went to school and served and learned a lot about what it meant to be married, sometimes great and sometimes super challenging! When we got pregnant with Silas, we sold our little Texas house, packed our stuff, and moved back to Colorado. Soon after, we were in full baby mode. Silas was born in late 2007 and Ethan in early 2009, just 19 months apart – not really our plan, but Jesus is funny that way 🙂 Other than being up to our eyeballs in diapers, we pretty much lived a normal life – Branden went to work everyday and I stayed at home with our boys and ran the photography business on the side.
Okay, fast forward to December of last year. Branden was working for the same puppeteering company here in Denver again. The Lord had already been telling us that that door was closing, but not really what was coming next. On December 7, 2012 Branden lost his job – right before Christmas and after a hard, stressful season, there we were – without an income and full of worry.
I remember being really mad a God. Did you know it’s okay to be frustrated with the Lord sometimes? Yeah, He can take it 🙂 We had been faithful, seeking and serving Him, obeying as best we knew how, and then we were jobless. We had two little boys and a Christmas tree in our living room with no way to buy presents. I know that presents aren’t that important, but at the time, it just felt like the Lord had forgotten about us. I remember telling Branden that if this is what happens when you’re faithful to the Lord, I didn’t want to do it anymore. Branden just prayed, and he reminded me of how faithful the Lord had been. He was right (of course 🙂
That was the biggest Christmas we’ve every had. There were presents under that tree that I didn’t even know where they came from! People just blessed us! God is good, not because he gave my kids presents to open on Christmas, but because He is faithful even when we are faithless. He didn’t leave when I doubted him; He stayed and proved himself.
In February, Branden started working for a man who had a big vision for ministry, lots of exciting projects, and what seemed like the perfect job for Branden’s creative thinking. We thought maybe this was that next open door; we sought the Lord and had peace about it. A couple weeks after the job started, it fell apart. Branden spent the next three months working and hoping things would work out. They didn’t. In April, he finally left, unpaid and frustrated. I can see now, how the Lord used it in our lives, in our marriage. And I’m grateful for the lessons we learned. Sometimes (or a lot of the time!) God will let you go through what may look like failure, but He had a different agenda all along. In that time, despite all the difficulty, somehow we paid off all our debt! We trimmed down our budget, and actually put a little savings in the bank! I say “somehow,” because I truly don’t know how we did that (which is usually a good indicator that the credit belongs to Jesus!)
In May, Branden applied for unemployment. To me this was a good thing. To him, it was not. I didn’t really understand until then, how important it is to him, to all good men, to feel like they can take care of their families, to provide security. Here he was, faithful and seeking the Lord, but with no way to do what he felt called to do – take care of us. He was confused and frustrated. What could the Lord be doing?
By the end of May, we were down and discouraged, for the most part our needs were taken care of, but we were broken, and directionless. Is this what it meant to follow the Lord? This insecurity? This uncertainty? Trying to trust but constantly battling doubt. Branden and I would go back and forth. I would be okay and he’d be a mess. Then I would have a hard time and he would be strong. And all the while, we felt like we were drifting. We could see the Lord’s hand, hear His reassuring voice, that He was with us, that He had led us there. But we felt directionless, and without purpose. Was this it? This was life in Jesus? Most days we looked okay, but not so deep down, we were really struggling. Then one night, the Lord woke me up, and He spoke to me 🙂
Okay, I know that was a lot of backstory; we’re just getting to the good part 🙂 I’ll leave you with this verse and hope to see you in a few days for the second part of this post!
1 Corinthians 1:27 says, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
Okay, see you soon!