Lots of changes in all the plans that I have been making over the pat couple of months. I don't know if you remember the plans for the foster baby? Well, if you haven't guessed they are on hold. With Ryan intending to go back to school, we felt like adding another baby to the mix would be a little much. We were also advised by some past foster parents to maybe wait until our children get a few years older. I do know there will always be the need and really do look forward to when we will be able to care for a little baby until their parents become equipped and desire to do so. Moving on...
(Hey Ashtin, I tried to call you tonight. Do you not have an answering machine hooked up yet?)
I am sure, if you have been reading Ryan's blog at all you know we are in the middle of fund raising for this next year. i don't know what my deal is this year...usually things like fund raising make me excited and anticipating, watching what God will do and really expecting that He will do something great. But this year I have been quite the downer. I am anxious about the whole thing...strangely stressed and not really invested or wanting to hear updates or keep up with anything. And it seems as though instead of praying and seeking God, I am trying to figure out solutions on my own. How can I make money? Or thinking maybe we should look into different jobs. I have even found myself being angry with Ryan and wishing he would have just been a normal minister in a church that pays him, instead of after over three years of work, just having a one year long part time salary...that we had to raise. The problem with this anger is that (besides that fact that one should not be angry at their husbands...in general) WE chose this ministry, not just him. Anyway, I have been in a really down place about this all.
I have been trying to put a finger on what it is that is causing this shift. This frustration and general lack of faith. I have come up with a couple of possibilities. One might be that this last year was rough financially. Not like "my marriage and all of life is barely hanging on" rough, but more "living several thousand dollars below the poverty level in a expensive city is really hard" rough. The thing is that i think my family has actually been blessed through this and most of the time I don't even view myself as someone who is poor...I feel I make sacrifices, but never poor. I think we have gained a healthy view of materialism and finding happiness without having an excess of things (although we do have a lot). But at the same time I really do have pity parties and get in a place where I think..."seriously a girl sometimes would like anything new that fits or not have to feel guilty over spending $2 dollars on a coffee with a friend." Usually I do not dwell in this place long, because God humbles me and brings my heart around, reminding me that I have it SO much better than millions of other people. This time though I think I have been in this spot a little longer and maybe it's because I am looking at another year of this same very simplified living and maybe it is because of the season. It has been so much easier for me to stop wanting so much by just stopping to shop all together. But now with the Christmas shopping it reminds me of "what I don't have" or the fact that "my clothes are no longer in style". (this would be an interesting thing to explore deeper in the future...how, when we are not in a place to compare with others and their things, is everyone more happy? if we stopped putting ourselves in places that told us we want more, would we not want it anymore? i think so...) Isn't it interesting that something can bless us so much and be so hard at the same time. I wish that our nature wasn't such that we had to continually put our hearts in check. Wouldn't it be easier if we could just make a decision and have a conviction and stick to it without having to continuously rededicate. So this might be one reason.
Another reason is that I have ideas of how things should go. I really feel that I have good ideas and plans...wouldn't it be best if God would just align himself with them? \In the past I don't think I really grasped the extent of how God's plans are usually much different than ours. I have always know this, but this year in obedience to him i experienced it. Man it is hard sometimes...but would I have changed it? i think true faith that requires us to actually trust that God loves us more than we love ourselves and that he really does know and want better for us is so hard. I have discovered though that hard living in God's plan is peaceful and blessed and beautiful...living a little easier in the present, but not in God's will may seem easier to bare, but you miss out on so many blessings and your life can never be as truly beautiful. Even after saying all this and really believing it, I am at the place right now of having to follow what I believe even though i don't really want to. Hard.
Sorry if it feels as though I am dumping, i really think it is just refreshing when Christ followers will be real and open about the journey that faith actually takes and I always want to be honest with you.
Now, for today, we don't know what God has in store for us in 18 days, when our funding is essentially gone. We don't know where God is wanting Ryan to go to school or how we will pay for it. We are unsure where we will be living after February or weather or not i will be working. But I do now that the last sure thing we did know is His calling for us here working for renovatus. I know that he loves us and following Him will ultimately bring lives of beauty that we ourselves could not have composed. I know that God provides for and blesses his children in more ways then they can understand. And I am choosing to live out of that in faith...weather or not my heart feels up to the challenge. Pray for me that I will step out in faith again everyday.