Sometimes I am just going along, and everything seems pretty good. Then - BAM! - life derails in an instant. It can be a huge, shattering thing, like when my sister became terminally ill, or it can be a small thing (but we all know a pebble can begin an avalanche!).
Today was a small thing. Well, small in the scheme of life, that is. We put the van in the shop. Like we did last weekend. And a few months ago. Every time we put the decrepit, scarred, 13 year old Caravan into the shop we pray and hold our breath and cross our fingers and toes, and then we get a phone call to say that is considerably less than we feared. I should have known when we dropped off the van last night, and we weren't worried, that it would be major. A leak turned out to be a cracked radiator, which means $600 we don't have. (Time to do the taxes, honey!).
I have been praying for a year, telling God that I trust Him to take care of our vehicle, because the van is actually paid off. We cannot afford a car payment. But, the van is also on its last legs. I know it, ArtGuy knows it, and the van knows it, too. So, God is going to provide for us. I hope.
Three years ago, I was as big as a....well, fill in the blank. I was three months away from giving birth to a 10 1/2 pound baby. Again, we had no money, and we prayed fervently for health and safety. I remember thinking with confidence that God knew our finances and would not ruin us.
I also remember crying about it as everything went wrong on May 9, 2008, and I headed to the hospital for an emergency c-section. The bank owns 99% of the Mad Toddler. I wish they would take his diaper bills off our loan amount. We ought to finish paying for him sometime before we retire.
Trust. Faith. Sometimes it is so hard to have.
My younger brother has what I call "The Midas Touch" - everything he sets his hand at doing seems to prosper (at least to my eyes). He is successful and charming and witty and has heaps of brains. I am what I call the Queen of Mediocrity. I blame it on the 8th grade gifted and talented program back in the 80's (of which I spent one year in, the last year possible, while Lil Bro qualified back in the 2nd grade). Anyway, I remember learning all about the notion of a Renaissance Man - learning for learning's sake, trying a bit of this and that, exploring options and living life by not being defined by one calling. I loved it, and I wanted it.
Yup. To this day I do many things, and do many of those things better than average, but none brilliantly. Nothing that will get me noticed. Not that I am a fame seeker, but I would just love to be sought after. For something!
I want to write, but I want to be successful at it. I want to parent, and excel. I want to sing, and be praised (but humble). I want to be thin and pretty and yet so natural. I want all our horrendous debt gone (none of which went to wild living but things like appendixes and surgeries and plane tickets to funerals and water heaters).
I...I....I....At the heart of it all - I. One letter. So much trouble.
I have a lovely little prayer book, Every Day Is a Gift, given to me when I helped write lesson plans for a 2nd grade RE program. There is a short quote from the writings of a saint, and a short prayer for each day. February 16 is as follows:
"The definition of vice is as follows: It is the wrong use -in violation of the Lord's command - of what has been given us by God for a good purpose." St Basil
Prayer: All-holy God, help me to curb my passions and desires. Let me always use Your gifts in the way You intended for them to be used."
It is either for Him or it isn't. I am not talking about things, but about people. Self.
That is the choice. Do I take my gifts and run? I can pursue what I want. Many people do. Or do I place them in a loving heap before Him, to do with as He pleases? Even if it doesn't please me. No one ever said His will would be my will. It should be the other way around.
Dying to self hurts.