Friday, July 22, 2011

And you're on your knees...

This summer has brought a time of reflection.  The last year of our life reminds me of the old joke about country music...  You know.  The one that says, "what happens when you play a country song backwards?"  "You get your truck back, your dog back, your girl back..."  I think they actually wrote a song about it...

Although there were no trucks or dogs involved, we seemed to lose everything else.  One year ago this month, two days after returning from having led a successful two week missions trip to the Dominican Republic, my husband was informed (on his birthday) that it was time for him to find another job.

Dan was told he would be given an unspecified amount of time with which to find a new position. There was no moral failure on Dan's part.  No seeming justification for what ended in January with Dan's reluctant resignation.  Dan's ministry had been highly successful as God had used Dan's gifts greatly in fostering relational and spiritual growth among  many children, youth and adults at the church. We had given four years of our full efforts to serving the church.  Upon hearing of his impending
dismissal, Dan immediately began searching for a new job, all the while trying to make known his desire to stay and continue to serve there where he felt God had called him.

In November, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor at which time we realized that not only did we not have a job, but we didn't have our health either.  Nothing could be taken for granted.  December came and just days before Christmas we faced the reality of being asked to find a new home by the end of the month.  With three young sons, brain surgery scheduled for mid January and with Dan not having yet found a job, the stress and pressure were awful.

By the time January rolled around, we were facing the loss of a job, a home, our health, our church, and what we thought were friendships.  By any secular gauge, we had lost everything short of our children.  Oh how we dreaded what might be next!  Just after New Years Dan submitted his resignation, his last Sunday was two days before I was scheduled for surgery.

The next day we brought our children to my parents house and said goodbye.  That day I knew that may well be the last time I kissed their sweet faces.  Tuesday came, and with it surgery.  In the silence of the early morning car ride to the hospital, Dan and I both knew that this may be the last sunrise we saw together.  Significant in that Dan proposed at sunrise one late August morning, now nearly 12 years ago.

Surgery was successful.  The tumor was removed!  I began to heal and thus begins the country song played backwards  ;)

I was discharged from the hospital.  The kids came home.  By the end of that very
long week, Dan received a call informing him that the youth pastor job he'd wanted that'd he'd applied for four months prior, he got!  Many people, people we love and invested in greatly, have had nothing more to do with us.  Many others showed us tremendous support and love.  Along with the hostility we experienced at the hands of many, more importantly was the overwhelming, prayerful, loving care of our family and friends.

In February, while I was still recovering, Dan was taking care of the kids and I, and doing everything he could to find us a new home.  He looked at dozens of places until God led him to our current home.  It's nearly perfect!  It's private, comfortable and surrounded by nature. A "requirement" according to our boys.  In March, we moved and Dan began his new job.  He loves it.  It suits him perfectly and with his job came a new church home for our family.

When looking back at the past year, much of it is a blur with the exception of the strong feelings associated with particular memories.  One of the few things that stand out as positive is our daily family worship time.   A number of years ago we replaced our time spent reading to the boys before bed, with family worship time.  Dan has taught himself over the past ten years or so to play the guitar.  He leads us in a few worship songs, we read from a family devotional and from scripture, and pray together each night before tucking the boys into their beds.

It's funny how certain songs can be identified with certain memories, but the song "Hold Us Together" by Matt Maher was one the boys requested to sing almost every night.  It is a catchy little song (Dan even made it his ringtone) with seemingly not so deep lyrics, yet, it seemed to suit our situation so well.  When it seemed so much was lost and there was so much up in the air, we held on to the hope we had in Christ.  There just had to be better days ahead even though we were unsure of where God was leading us.  We knew God would require us to persevere.  We tried to be faithful.  We knew that even though it felt that we'd been abandoned, we had the love of Jesus sheltering us from even greater unseen storms.

At the end of each day, we had each other.  We knew not what tomorrow would bring, but at the end of each day we could give thanks that we were still together and we had the love that held us together.  We had all we really needed.  Love sure didn't seem a ready-made fix to the problems and worries of the day, but it allowed us to see the light even while in the dark.  It made us a shelter to weather the storm.  It was gonna be alright.  When there really is nothing else, you're truly on your knees, and you know it's gonna be alright.

It don't have a job;
don't pay your bills;
won't buy you a home in Beverly Hills.

Won't fix your life
in five easy steps.
Ain't the law of the land
or the government.

But it's all you need and...

Love will hold us together
make us a shelter to weather the storm.
And I'll be my brother's keeper
so the whole world will know that we're not alone.

It's waiting for you
Knockin' at your door
in the moment of truth
when your heart hits the floor
and your on your knees and...

Love will hold us together
make us a shelter to weather the storm.
And I'll be my brother's keeper
so the whole world will know that we're not alone.

This is the first day of the rest of your life
This is the first day of the rest of your life
Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It's gonna be alright,
It's gonna be alright.

Love will hold us together
make us a shelter to weather the storm.
And I'll be my brother's keeper
so the whole world will know that we're not alone.

-Matt Maher
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.Romans 5:1-5
To hear Matt Maher's song, Hold Us Together, pause the music player on the bottom left sidebar, then press the play button on the player below.

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1 comment:

Tenny said...

wonderful post lisa. glad to get a bit more info on those times(That i REALLY wanted to talk to you about when we saw you but just didn't get a chance to). that's a great song, too.


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