Tuesday, January 15, 2013

God's Provision in Darkness


A friend of mine recently assumed primary care of a young relative. She wrote the following—regarding the experience—for her church blog. I’m leaving out the names for privacy reasons, but felt this was an encouraging story that goes along with the provision theme. 

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I have really struggled with anger this year. Anger in living far away from a place I had set down roots. Anger in the demands and responsibilities of my new life.  Anger for those who abuse and damage a child.  Anger for a broken educational and therapeutic system that doesn’t fulfill my expectations for that child. Anger that the child doesn’t know how to receive my love and sacrifice. Anger in pain.

Life has been pretty dark.

But there is light in the darkness.  And sometimes that light comes through repentance.  In my morning reading, I came to Jeremiah 17:7-8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream,
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought,
Nor cease to yield fruit.”

That’s when the tears came.  I have not trusted in the Lord.  I have trusted in the way life was before I moved.  I have trusted in the educational and therapeutic system. I have trusted in my own experience and knowledge of working with and loving kids.  I have feared when the heat came.  I have been anxious in a year of drought.  

Suddenly, I saw all of my frustration for my child’s misbehavior, ungrateful attitude, and lack of trust in me, as my own attitude toward God this year.  I have not accepted my Father’s love and sacrifice. 

He has orchestrated so many miracles this year in order to bless me - a wonderful church community, the perfect job, supportive co-workers, the child I have wanted for 9 years, the privilege of getting to move into a nicer community, a much nicer car after mine was totaled, and most of all, Himself.  And it wasn’t until I read this verse that I broke, and let go of all the anger.  

Just one month later, ingratitude has crept in again and culminated in another moment of brokenness.  My cousin and his wife gave me the book One Thousand Blessings for Christmas, and oh how it has cut me. In a good way, that is.  There's a raw unfolding of a life filled with pain, and the call to still live fully.  The call to trust in One who has a bigger picture than we can presently see, and therefore, to embrace each day instead of waiting for it to be over.    

How is it that I forget this so easily? Well, maybe because I get cussed out on a regular basis! Maybe because my 10 year old acts more like a rebellious 14 year old! Even as I type this, I am laughing.  There's pain and fear behind the crude words and rotten attitude.  Perhaps God intends me to model instead of control.  Perhaps he wants me to trust instead of try to heal - after all, only he can do that. Maybe I'm disappointed because my perspective needs to be adjusted.

So to list off some HUGE miracles that have taken place:
* My child asked to be baptized in November and he has begun seeing God answer his prayers (bus issues, school issues, friend issues)
* God gave me my own personal Social Worker/Therapist, who loves Jesus,  to help me navigate "the system" and my own transition into mothering my child.
* Many PRACTICAL supports have finally been put into place (respite, in-home therapy, special hockey league, male role models, great babysitters, etc).
* My child was able to transition out of the "school from hell" to a great school that he loves and is excelling in.
* God has brought a few core women into my life who have "been there, done that," and they are such a support to me.
* A very generous family in our church purchased a town home in a really nice neighborhood closer to our church community and is going to rent it to me at a price I can afford (which is truly a generous gift!)  

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What I love about this story is that God doesn’t just relieve the pain. He enters into it and helps through it and because of it. A lot of times we want it all to just go away and be better, but sometimes the Lord has plans of revealing himself to us that can only be done through difficult circumstances. And he still provides in the midst of it!

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
(Jeremiah 17:7-8)

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