This picture sums up our Spring 2008 Semester...Sick. I don't mean that in the way "kids" say it today either. We were all really SICK through most of the semester. Because of that, we had to move in the middle of the semester with very little notice. It was physically hard to due with our five little ones in tow, but today we are praising the Lord for our good health; which has returned (with little to NO illnesses in the entire month and a half) since leaving our previous rental.
Every time we go through a rough semester, someone somewhere asks us if we think that "God might be trying to tell us something?" Everytime I hear that I have to fight the urge to stand in my chair and scream :o), as if being called into full-time ministry is supposed to garuntee us some added level of...I don't know...comfort. Or that struggles (with a full-time work, school, and family load) are some indication of a needed change of course; a "sign from God.". Usually, I am able to calmly answer by reminding the person that the Lord hasn't led us anywhere else and we are still alive, so unless we hear differently, we are here until the end. Then I again have to fight an urge to stand on my chair , but this time to ask anyone in the building (be it the mall, a restaraunt, or even the church,) who HAS NEVER felt stretched thin and pressed to please raise ther hand. Follow?
Everyone struggles in one way or another. I realize that it is all relative, but like someone once told me, "Puppy love is pretty important if your the puppy." Some people suffer MUCH greater than I have or ever will and I know that. Other people may not feel the strain of balancing family with academics and career, but they feel strain in other areas of life. In all cases, resistance is what makes us stronger, more prepared individuals.
On the treadmill at the gym each morning, I have watched people working out. Whether on machines or using free weights, the idea is the same. These people are placing heavy objects at the end of the muscles they desire to see stronger and they are forcing those muscles to move them. Thinking on that, it makes perfect sense that the Lord would see fit to allow struggle and resistance for us right now as we prepare to go into careers of ministry; or for ANY Christian for that matter. We are made stronger when we push through the resistance and come through on the other side.
Also, just as I watch those people working out and get inspired to get off the treadmill and pick up the weights myself, pushing through our trials in life are a fantastic testimony of our desire to please God. As I am writing this, I know that my testimony through trial has not always been one to admire. But, I am learning. I think it would be fair to say that those "muscles" were once very weak . The good news is that, after semesters like this one, they have gotten a good workout :o). If you have ever excercised when you didn't want to, then you know how good it feels to have pushed through and feel the physical benefits of persisting.
It feels good to be at the end of this semester and to "feel the burn" of well-worked spiritual (AND physical) muscles.
Thank you for providing for my family. Thank you for providing my children a safe, clean place to move to, so that their lungs could heal and they could be well. Thank you for giving Nathan the wisdom and comprehension to be able to LEARN through the chaos and to come out of this semester having had one of his best academic semesters (in terms of his growth and comprehension) yet. Thank you Lord that you have held me through this. Sometimes you have held me while I cried and sometimes you have held me up, so that I could be here for my family and be stronger for them, but all the while You held me and I knew that. I felt you here. I love you for causing me to meet this resistance. I wouldn't have chosen the struggles that have come to us since we became a student family of 6 (then 7!), but I am a better wife and mother than I was before we came here. We, as a couple and as a family, are stronger. I know that.
I love you!