“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
Any followers of this blog will have probably read by now that I’m in a pretty bad place financially. I’ve been living in NYC for two years now and have yet to find steady employment. And yes, I’ve been looking. First it was the house falling apart, so I lived off of savings while we sorted it out. Then it was part of my contract as roommate to a man named Jimmy with muscular dystrophy – part of the deal was to be around on Mondays and Tuesdays (the two days of the week when he’s not at work). As it turned out, the work I was qualified to do takes place in schools or hospitals, and most definitely involves Mondays and Tuesdays.
So about the time I was looking for different work, Jimmy’s full-time aide got hit by a NYC bus. He’s been recovering slowly and painfully and still has a long road ahead of him. In the meantime, we’ve had a revolving door of aids while looking for a replacement and through it all I have been the one go-to backup. I’ve been permanently on call for the better part of a year. None of these situations are conducive to steady employment but I’m trying. Unsuccessfully, so far, but I do have a few potential prospects so be praying that one of them comes through!
Anyway, things have come to a head with some of my student loans this week. I basically ran out of deferment time and have to come up with a lot of money now. Which I of course don’t have. Whenever it came up with Jimmy, he made it clear that he didn’t have it either. As for my family….well, if they had it, I’d have it. And we all very much don’t. I don’t even many possessions to sell – most of my clothes are wearing out and I sold my car awhile ago.
So here I was. Needing more than I had. Owing more than I could give. With no crutch, no options, no man-made solutions left. I have to say it was a new situation for me. I have been in places where I’ve needed God….but never in a situation where literally my only hope for getting through it was to count on a miracle. Until now. And I wasn’t happy about it. There were a few days (and a few phone calls) where all I could do was break down and cry.
So I told myself that God knew best, maybe it was for the best. He does all things for our good, right? If I am floundering, maybe I need to redefine what it means to thrive. And that’s true. I do need to do that. Eventually. But what I need to do most of all, right this second, is stop trying to define anything. Stop trying to scramble and come up with crazy solutions and then pray that God shows me favor when I try to make them happen. No. That’s not trust. That’s self-reliance and looking to God to be my sidekick. That’s what I’ve always done. I’ve always landed on my feet, figured it out for myself, and just prayed to God for backup support. Sure I give Him credit. I thank Him for the blessing. But that’s not true trust. Trust is letting God do the defining, letting God do the planning and providing. I thought I trusted God. But this experience so far has shown me that I’ve never fully depended on Him. I’ve never fully, with everything in me, trusted His full provision. I’ve trusted Him for favor in my provisions for myself, but I’ve never given Him full and complete control. Until I had no choice.
So I told myself that I was going to trust this time. I was going to ride this ride, and let God stretch the boundaries of my heart. Let Him push the barriers of my control. That I would praise Him through every painful moment, and on the other side I’d come out like gold. That I would trust Him to turn this trial into a testimony.
And wouldn’t you know, even with nothing left the temptation to take the reigns was still there. In email correspondence about a potential job, I was thinking through how to word things and what would best work in my favor. I started to pray, but as I opened my mouth I realized I was about to pray for favor in my efforts. I wanted SO BADLY to ask Him for that. But I curbed the impulse and instead asked for His will to be done. For Him to give me the words to use to help His will be done. That I was trusting Him as my provider to do what was best for me. Typed the email. Hit send. And then I praised Him and worshiped Him with everything I had.
I haven’t gotten a reply to that email yet. But sure enough, our faithful God delivered anyway. Where yesterday there were no options, today there are. I mean it. My school actually bought my biggest loan and is giving me more payment options. When does that happen? With nothing to offer, no escape route, and nothing to save myself with, I am leaning on Jesus. And He is upholding me and seeing me through.
I am learning to go lower, to give up more control and lean on God harder. The more I do, the more I’m finding Him. When that’s the result, I can only be grateful for the hardship. He’s well worth the cost and He’s showing me that more and more every minute! I think of it like leaning on a wall. You can lean to different degrees, right? You can be standing just about upright and barely making contact with the wall. If the wall disappeared you’d stay standing. Or you could be doing one of those workout moves like a wall squat or pushups or something. If the wall disappeared then, you’d be in trouble. I’ve leaned on God before, but it’s not fully leaning if I’m still supporting my own weight. Up to now, were He to step away, I might startle or miss a step, but I wouldn’t necessarily fall. This time around, I’d faceplant and probably concuss myself. And yet it’s working out better than it usually does. My relinquishing that last bit of control is letting God hold up this whole situation, and it turns out He’s much stronger than me. It kind of makes me wonder what I’ve been missing this whole time!
With that thought in mind, I leave you with a song that’s been on my heart today:
~ Rebekah A