Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dirty Sheets

I was so mad I was shaking. I grabbed a corner of the fitted sheet on my bed and I ripped backward, yanking it off the mattress with exaggerated force. I nearly smacked myself in the face. But no matter. You might think this is just about changing the sheets on my bed, but it's much, much deeper than that.

You're wondering why I'm mad. What on earth happened that has Cara so ticked off? I'm ticked at my adversary who calls himself an angel of light, fancy pants Satan. That's who I'm mad at. I'm sick and tired of his lies and how he makes me fall for them. I may have eaten his brownies yesterday, but today I'm throwing them up and I refuse to eat them again.

Let me back up. Yesterday was a bad day, y'all. Like, a really bad day. I don't want to be this honest, but something is urging me to--probably because someone reading this needs me to be this honest. So I hope you won't discount me after reading this. I'm so unbelievably human...

Ten months ago my husband and I felt God asking us to leave his solid job in the city and move our family back to our home town...where there is basically no market for his expertise at all. Seriously. It's the reason we moved to the city in the first place four years ago. So why on earth would God ask us to move back? Because of family, that's why. We felt the deep conviction that our children need to grow up closer to their grandparents, and that we needed to be a part of the church here. My husband had a spark of a dream to start his own business, and somehow it seemed like the time was right to do it. We were scared, but we felt like God was lining everything up and asking us to jump. So we did.

God did some cool things over these last 10 months, but it has also been incredibly stressful. Not knowing where your grocery money is going to come from is a little bit humbling and if I'm honest, angering. We are not incapable people. We are not uneducated, and we are not fools. But as these months have passed, the funds we started with for the business have slowly dwindled. A few months ago we felt God answer in a big way by sending a sizable contract our way, and so my husband rejoiced, did the work above and beyond expectation, and then waited for the payment from his labor. The Bible says a worker is worth his wages. I believe that. But four months later, with no payment from his labor, you start to wonder if the Bible is true. (Insert whatever heartbreak, frustration, unbelievable circumstance you are going through here and you understand what I mean.)

Anyway, yesterday was a day where all of these hopeless feelings, frustrations, worries, anxieties, dashed dreams, you name it--they all hit the fan. We were covered in poop. I could not seem to reel myself back in from the slope I was tumbling down. I became down right angry with God. I said it. I was not just angry, y'all--I was furious! And I told Him about it. Several times. I recounted the ways I have called on Him, believed Him, trusted Him, followed Him with my whole heart...and yet here He was ignoring me. Rude.

Yesterday I heard all the right lies at all the right moments, and they all sounded like truth. He is not good, He is not faithful, I cannot trust Him, He does not care, He does not answer. The Psalms say "I cried out to the Lord and He answered me!" Was I crying out wrong? Was I not loud enough? (You do not want to see my prayer journal entry.) I felt like He was flat out ignoring me, and it was getting me seriously riled up! I was not asking for a million dollars; I was asking for provision, plain and simple. Let me insert here that we are NOT starving, and no one is coming to take our house away...or our cars. But it's been hard, and the harder it gets, the more things break and the more the kids need things, and get sick, etc. And the less business comes in.

Pause. I'm not writing this so you will feel bad for us. I'm seriously writing this because somehow we Christians aren't honest with each other. And when YOU have a day, a week, a month, a year--for crying out loud--where you feel THIS way, you feel alone. And I don't want you to feel alone.

THAT'S why I'm writing this. That, and I like to watch Satan eat dirt. It's a win win. ;)

As if all that weren't frustrating enough, though, here's what really got me ticked off. Reading "Anything" by Jennie Allen, I have surrendered a lot of things in my heart. I have asked for God to reveal His plan for us, to guide us to His Will, rather than our own. In the midst of reading it, He brought back a dream that I've had on my heart for about 5 years (I can't be 100% open just yet about this, but I'll tell you as much as I can), and this dream requires us to be financially stable. It will require us to have extra money. See where I'm going with this? He has even been quite specific with this dream in the past month in extravagant ways that cannot be coincidence.

And yet, this dream is impossible where we sit right now. I go to church and work with the children, and we sing about how nothing is impossible for God, and He delights in doing the impossible. I cry and I ask Him if it's true. I feel Him say yes...and yet, our circumstances say something different. And it feels like He's just being cruel. (Can you relate?)

I went to buy some groceries yesterday, and I used a gift card I'd received for my birthday, and it freaking wouldn't work at the register. I almost had a melt down. It finally worked the third time at the service desk. Whew. You probably can guess how sweet and Christian I was in my mind during those long few minutes. Oh how weak I am, guys.

Anyway, yesterday sucked. But this morning as I chewed God out in my prayer journal, I mean poured my heart out to Him...I saw something. I had written a prayer several days ago asking God for integrity, humility, patience, obedience, courage, and passion like Queen Esther. What the heck was I thinking?! I even wrote that He could break me to build me up again to make my character line up with Him. Y'all, I obviously was experiencing a serious lack of common sense in those moments! But here's what I saw. God does answer prayer. He answered that one. Dang it. Why THAT one, Lord?! So I asked for this! I literally asked Him for this. Sigh.

And then something else hit me: The children's songs ARE right. God does do the impossible. He does delight in shocking us. He is faithful. He CAN do anything. He is "Super Big." He is super strong, super wonderful. I closed my eyes and I saw the chasm between where I am and where He wants to lead me, and it was so deep and wide. And scary. And it grew before my eyes in my mind.

And that's the point. God is widening the gap so that what He does IS super big, super wonderful, super impossible. I'm shaking writing this, because I'm scared honestly of just how big that gap is going to continue to become. But steadfastness is what the purpose is right now, today, this week, this month. And I am so weak in this area. But "My God is big, He'll do anything big or small" is playing in my head, and I am going to believe it. I am choosing to believe HIM, to trust Him, to keep my faith even when it doesn't make sense.

If God doesn't come through, then He is a liar. And I don't think He wants to be called a liar, do you? He will prove Himself faithful, and I have to stand on that. I want you to know I'm writing this BEFORE He comes through. It's easy to say this stuff after He proves Himself. I'm choosing to say it before He does, when I don't even see a speck of His provision in the distance.

"For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised." Hebrews 10:36

"And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." James 1:4-5

Back to the sheets on the bed. As I stripped the mattress, I thought: Isn't this exactly what I must do spiritually? Strip the filthy sheets in my heart? I can't lie in doubt, discouragement, hopelessness any more. No, I won't. I am going to get angry at the REAL enemy. And I won't continue to lie down on dirty sheets. I'm going to strip my heart of the filth, the anger, the hopelessness, and let God wash them His way. I don't know how long it'll take, but I am purposing and positioning my heart right now to receive and learn what He wants to teach me.

And I hope my honesty here helps someone. It's ok to be real, to be honest. We don't have the ability to be churchy all the time. God can handle your anger at Him, your clenched fist. But don't refuse to loosen your grip. I realized today that if my fists are clenched, they can't receive anything when He does decide to give it.

Peace of Christ to you,

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