I just completed a discipleship class on the book "Good and Beautiful God" and am digging in to the She Reads Truth study on Ruth. What I love about She Reads Truth, is that it's a fork. (You know, as in, they hand you a fork and you feed yourself some meat and potatoes right off the figurative plate?) I don't know about you, but I have been needing that.
I've been quiet here because I've been working my way through some things. Hard things. And I am emerging out the other side and hope that I can encourage you today. The first thing I actually struggled a long time with (even though I knew it wasn't right while I was in the midst of struggling with it and trying not think that way) was thinking that my hubby's downsize and our subsequent losses of incomes, freedoms, perks, flexibility were God punishing us for not being more grateful or for not being better stewards with what we'd been given, when we were living in a time of "blessing." You can't imagine the guilt I have batted around these past few years over this one. And that should have been my first clue... since God doesn't heap guilt on our heads. If He did we'd all be crushed by it, from all the wrong we do in this life! Which leads me to the second hard thing I finally worked through. My mistaken view that God's blessings were only in the forms that I perceived blessings should be in- alongside the rest of the world and how they look at "blessings." Such as financial breathing room, vacations, good times in our jobs (not necessarily just financial gain but enjoying it and such) etc. The third hard thing I have been chewing up one side and down the other, has been a relationship thing. Realizing that some relationships really are seasonal and you have to let some of them go even if you're not ready for that to happen. A side to that, was realizing that as long as I still wanted something from that person, I was tied to them and until I forgave them, I would always be tied to them. Hardest lesson yet. (When I forced myself to think through what exactly it was that I still wanted from them it came down to prideful silliness. Pride makes a fool of us all if we let it, I suppose. I wanted them to know the ways they hurt me and made me feel insignificant and less than the other friends they have, and people they make regular time for that I see splashed up all over facebook (collective Ugh right here) or some sort of apology for not listening to me when I tried to tell them all of this.)
So what I learned over the past few weeks and couple of months about all these hard things all boil down to this one key thought for me. It's all a blessing.
Stay with me okay? I wrote this in my She Reads Truth journal today and I wanted to share it. "Thank you God, for never leaving or forsaking us these past four years, even if outward circumstances made me feel that way. I looked around (mistake) and saw the great bounty bestowed on others around me and mistook that as favor on them and therefore lack of favor on me by comparison. I missed that a blessing can actually be in the midst of lack OR of plenty. I missed that "being very blessed" is often what we say in reference to having a lot or being successful or in reference to material MUCH. But that's not really what it is and we're kind of wrong when we say that... "Blessing" is anything poured out on my life that is meant to bring about the ultimate GOOD in my life. It makes me want to start seeing "blessing" in a new way. He gives plenty to some and less to others but He promises to give us a hope and future, so I want to be a woman who takes all things- good or bad as a BLESSING NOW (not down the road, when the bad has worked itself out.)"
It helps me look back at my man's job and think huh... that was all meant for something for our ultimate good. We can see things that wouldn't have come about without those squeezes. And you know what? They are GOOD! When I look at relationships I can apply this too... if there is painful relationship that God is bringing to an ending... it's a blessing. How can I not forgive the hurts it has caused if the entire thing has been meant for my ultimate good? Both the having the delightful friendship... and the losing what I thought I would never actually lose? All blessing.
This majorly helps me and if there is anything that encourages you in whatever you're swimming in, or fighting to hang on to or shaking your fist at the sky over, take it from God as blessing and give thanks, because He loves us so... He doesn't want us to see him as a great punisher up in the sky but rather a loving father that keeps us safe by giving us boundaries. (Which sometimes hurt, in the moment.) Praise Him!