Friday, June 20, 2014

When His plans are not our plans...

We started summer with a bang this year, quite literally.  Some might recall that my "word" for the year is "imperfect," as I wanted to try to learn to live life more contentedly in the here and now.  I've spent so much time feeling like I couldn't be happy until life met my standard of perfect, and it felt like a good year to try to work on finding happiness NOW, in the imperfect.  I don't mean giving up on striving for holiness, but rather giving up the need for the perfect house, the perfectly clean house, the perfectly behaved children, the perfect relationships, etc.  Allowing those around me to be human, allowing my life to have ups and downs, and trying to see the beauty even when things don't "go my way."

Well, in my experience, God tends to provide me with ample "practice time" anytime I decide I'm going to work on a particular character flaw, and this year has been no exception.  As I mentioned, my husband was laid off in January of this year - imperfection.  When he finally did find a job in April, it wasn't at all what he or I were hoping for - imperfection.  And then.. just as summer finally arrived, we were out running an errand in our ordinary life, when BAM, everything changed in an instant.   Suddenly our only car was totaled, and while thanks be to God my kids and husband were perfectly OK, I found myself with two broken bones in my pelvis and a broken hip.  Imperfection!  Not at all how I had planned to spend my summer.  I had grand plans to run a 10k, not to spend weeks trying to ambulate from couch to bathroom with a walker.  But "my plans are not your plans..."

And yet, and yet.  In this imperfect situation, I've gotten to see more of my mom than I had in years.  In this imperfect time, my cousin quite miraculously came home from abroad (the very day before our accident), with free time to spare, meaning she was available to take care of my kids and household, and that we, too, could have more time together than in the past several years.  In the uncertainty and pain of this imperfect moment, I have seen the depths of the care and friendships that surround me, as people have provided meals and assistance beyond what we could have imagined.  It's not what I had planned, and it's still hard for me to say that it's "better" than what I had planned (who wants broken bones, after all!) but it's amazing how God can take something so bitter and bring sweetness out of it.

Still, I need to ask for your prayers, my blog followers... for swift healing, and for the tide of our life to reverse direction, as it were.  We are so thankful for the lessons God has been teaching us during in this time, but we are at the same time feeling pretty discouraged (never have I so identified with the book of Job as this year).  In particular, prayers for my husband's job situation to improve would be MOST appreciated!  In this imperfection, I have definitely appreciated more deeply than ever his character, to go off to work in the wee hours of the morning (he's at work two hours before the kids or I get up) day after day in the hot sun or the pouring rain to a job that is so much less than what he deserves.  He does it because he loves us, and I love him for it, but I so want to see him happy and fulfilled in his work!  So would you keep him (and us) in your prayers?

There is beauty in the imperfect, yes... part of that beauty, as I am learning, is realizing how much we are made for MORE, we are made to be perfect, we are made for a heaven that will answer all these longings.   When life becomes an exercise in embracing ever deeper levels of imperfection, there is no temptation to mistake this life for our ultimate end, and for that lesson, I am truly grateful.

All the same, say thank you to God today for the ability to walk... we never appreciate the blessings of the ordinary until we don't have them.  Like the ability to put on your own pants, to get into a shower yourself, and to carry a cup of tea from one room to the other.  I'm so thankful, now, for the blessing of empathizing with the pain of the handicapped, the home-bound, the suffering; this experience is (hopefully?) very temporary for me, yet there are so many for whom such situations are a permanent cross.  So say thank you for your mobility, and pray for those who lack it!

And if YOUR life feels imperfect today, read 1 Corinthians chapter 2.  That and the book of Job have brought me much consolation during these trials....

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