where we’re at

So last year I did this little series about the journey the Lord has been taking us on, through life and also leading us to start our ministry company, Wit & Folly Productions.  If you’d like to read it, you can find the four parts here, here, here, and here.  In those posts I talked about a year of crazy ups and downs, how God placed us in His hand, at His mercy, and proved Himself faithful over and over again.  I’m glad I wrote it down 🙂  Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget.

I haven’t written much about where we’re at with everything lately.  It really has been very busy around here but aside from the lengthy list of projects and homeschooling and just trying to get the laundry done, I’ve been kind of quiet because honestly, I’ve been struggling, a lot.

I’m hesitant to share here sometimes, about when things are hard, about how I’m not always okay, or when I’m frustrated, not being able to see what the Lord is doing.  For some reason, in my head, I have this idea that following Jesus means you’ll always be okay.  Not necessarily happy, but you won’t worry.  Like knowing you have Jesus in your corner will eliminate any anxiety in the face of your needs or unknowns, like you’ll never struggle with trusting God.  I’m learning that that’s not always true.  At least it hasn’t been for me.  I’m learning too though, that the Lord knows.  He knows that we, even as Christians, as those who have seen His goodness first hand, will still struggle with our faith, that when we get scared, we will retreat to what we know, what we can control, which doesn’t usually include waiting on the Lord.

So, I want to share, or continue to share our journey with you.  One, because I want there to be a record, of our real and sometimes overwhelming fears, and of the incredible ways that God meets us in the storm (because I am confident, at least today, that He will).  And also, because maybe you’re there too, scared and struggling, wondering what the Lord could be doing, if He’ll really meet you.  And maybe our story would encourage you and help you cling to Jesus one more day and through a season that seems endless and difficult.

So where are we at?  Well, the last post in that series was written last year October.  We had gone through what seemed like deep, overwhelming valleys, only to see the Lord’s hand walk us through.  God had given us direction and we were putting the pieces together to start our new ministry company.  We were building a show, had a school assembly for Wit & Folly on the calendar, and were making some progress.  We didn’t know how “successful” our new venture would be or how fast things would seem stable (financially speaking), but things were looking up and we were feeling a sense of peace, even excitement as we moved forward in what we believed the Lord was calling us to.

Well, that was about seven months ago.  Like I said, since then we’ve been busy, with some traveling for Wit & Folly, which was great!  Then the Lord had us doing some ministry here, starting and working on some new things, some projects we are still working on.  As the weeks and months have come and gone though, Branden and I have become painfully aware that our bank accounts are being steadily depleted.  And as far as events or shows for the new company, the calendar is looking pretty slim.  Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to do, maybe too much actually.  On one hand it seems like our “to do” lists are unendingly long.  But in the midst of a steady stream of tasks, there really is no money coming in.  And finances and the helplessness of not knowing what the future holds, has been overwhelming, almost crippling at times.

Things came to a head around the end of March.  All the things we knew, all the control we thought we had over our situation was slowly being replaced with unknowns.  I remember Branden one day just being quiet.  Not that he’s never quiet, but this was different.  “I just need to go get a job,” he said.

“Maybe.  Is that what the Lord is saying?”

“I don’t know.”

And that was it.  We didn’t know.  We didn’t know what we were supposed to do.  How things would work out.  How God was going to take care of us.  Jesus had called us so clearly to this.  Hadn’t He?  What was His plan?  If we were obeying, and we were, we are, as far as we know to obey, then why did it feel like God had maybe left us high and dry?

There were days my mind would race with anxiety.  Other days I would just sit before the Lord and cry.  We didn’t have a solution, but the problem seemed to be growing more and more evident.

I wish we were on the other side of this, that I could rejoice and give you a story of how, yet again, Jesus took care of things.  But we’re not on the other side yet.  As far as we know, we have a certain amount of money.  It is running out.  Branden and I have calculated how long we have until we really don’t know how our bills will be paid.  It’s not long.  And yet, in the sea of needs and questions, Jesus speaks, sometimes whispers a steady, “Peace. Be still.”

And it’s impossible.  I’m terrible at it.  It’s like sitting down in the middle of a hurricane.  My natural response is to race around, find shelter, make sure everyone is safe.  But that’s not what God is saying.

I’ve been reading in 1 Samuel.  I’m just at the part where King Saul has been rejected by the Lord.  He makes a rash decision because he gets scared (sounds like me) and then straight out disobeys the Lord’s command because he thought he knew better (always a mistake) and now Samuel tells him that the kingdom will be given to someone else.  Game over.

And I’m surprised at what happens next.  Samuel mourns for Saul.  The Bible says that he’s upset about Saul for so long that God actually asks him if he’s done grieving.  Then the Lord tells him to get up, and go anoint a new king.  And Samuel dusts himself off, and obeys.

Sometimes our emotions don’t line up perfectly with what God is doing.  Sometimes God says something and we’re not just okay or ready to go.  Our hearts are slow, or we wrestle.  And God knows that.  And still, He continues with His plan.  And asks us to go with Him.  And we must.  When things are scary or we don’t understand, or when all that we are cries out against the circumstance, Jesus says, “Let’s go.”  And we are faced with a choice.  Go or stay.  Go where God is, or stay where He is not.  So we go.

In the remainder of the chapter, Samuel goes and makes a sacrifice to the Lord.  He invites Jesse and his sons.  The prophet of God invites your family to a meeting with the Lord.  It’s a big deal!  One by one Jesse’s sons pass before him and the Lord tells Samuel they are not whom He has chosen.  It’s that famous verse that says how God  looks at the heart, while man looks at the outward appearance.

Seven young men pass before him.  All not chosen by the Lord.  And I can imagine the pressure on Samuel.  Those were it, as far as he knew.  He ends up asking Jesse if he has anymore sons!  Can you imagine?  The list of candidates is growing smaller by the minute, and when there are no more, he asks, “You wouldn’t happen to have any more kids would you?”

If I was in Samuel’s shoes, I might be inclined to listen to my own judgement.  God said it would be one of this guys sons, right?  Well, here they are.  It’s gotta be one of these boys.  This one looks strong.  And tall.  And that one seems smart.  And that kid seems like he’d be a great leader.  Eeny, meeny, miney, moe…

But that’s not what Samuel does.  Given the great task of selecting Israel’s new king, even when things aren’t adding up, with time running out, knowns turning into unknowns, Samuel believes the Lord.  If God said something was going to happen, even if he didn’t know how, it was going to happen.  It was more likely to him that Jesse had somehow forgotten to bring one of his children to this very important meeting, than God was mistaken.  You know what this tells me?  One, Samuel knew God.  The Lord had a track record.  He’d never given Samuel a reason to doubt Him before.  Samuel couldn’t even conceive that He would now.  And two, Samuel could hear the Lord.  When each of Jesse’s boys passed in front of him and he thought they seemed fit for the throne, he could hear God say, “Nope.  Not that one.”

And it tells me that God, in His goodness, will let us go through times to test our faith.  He could have easily told Samuel that David was the one he was looking for, or even that Jesse had another son.  But He didn’t.  He let Samuel look over each of the other boys, one by one, each time telling him “Keep looking.”  He let the clock run out.  Why?  Maybe just for Samuel, to see if he would believe Him when things didn’t add up.

I want to be like Samuel.  To remember clearly the Lord’s hand in my life.  So that when the pressure rises and I don’t know the way, I still trust the Shepherd because He has never misled me.  And I want to be close enough to hear His voice, over my own thoughts, over the world’s shouting, over fear and heartache and discouragement, I want to hear Jesus and only trust Him.

Are you there friend?  I can only tell you what I have been telling myself.  In the unknowns, when our faith is truly tested, trust the Lord.  Trust the Lord.  He is both sovereign and good.  He has proven himself worthy of such faith.  Trust the Lord.  Cling to Him, when you know nothing else.  He is not a liar.  His love for you compelled Him to give up His own child, His Son, for the chance to be with you.  You can trust the Lord.  I will trust the Lord.

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