What a week it has been.
Big Life Stuff up one side and down the other and through it all, the Lord has been faithful to teach me things.
1. Suffering is never in vain. God uses every trial to teach and refine. Things don’t just happen so that we will hurt. Things happen that are in His will and things happen that are not in His will but He uses everything to refine our hearts. He uses suffering.
2. Honor matters. It just does. We must err on the side of too much honor. We must consider how our words will affect others. We will never be sorry for behaving honorably…I think about Paw, who lived in this way. She was not without fault, of course, but her goal was to speak well of others, to give honor, to be respectful. It resulted in this- she was a woman of dignity, integrity and she was worthy of respect. I’ve been thinking about that as I’ve opened my mouth to speak ever since her funeral. Will my words add to the situation? Are they words that will help? Will these words elevate or will these words deteriorate? I have a far road to travel on this one.
3. Security can just NOT be found in earthly things. I wasn’t expecting any emergencies at all last week. I thought we had more time until Paw went Home to Him. I certainly didn’t expect a veterinary emergency last week. But I got one.
She had to be rushed to the vet’s office. We didn’t have a vet yet, so we had to just pick one and hope it would be a good one. My sister and Michelle had to scramble to get my kids and David and James figured out because according to Animal Poison Control (that call cost $39) she needed to be seen immediately.
Visiting the vet was a messy, smelly, expensive experience and in the end, they couldn’t help. We were sent down the road to the emergency vet…but not until AFTER she’d been given medication to induce diarrhea and vomiting…so you can imagine how that ten minute ride went. I’ll spare you the details.
She spent Friday evening until Sunday evening at the emergency vet. They got her fixed up and she’s going to be just fine. This is Aubrey’s dog, and so I was relieved to be able to give her that news. When I was filling out paperwork in the waiting room at the emergency vet, I said to the Lord, “Please, just let it cost only what I have…you know how much we have…let it be less than that amount.”
We had recently socked away $2000 per Dave Ramsey for savings and for emergency funds. We were very proud of this accomplishment and I was personally pleased to have some security. Finances are often a struggle here. This felt like security.
When all was said and done at the end of Caro’s treatment…it totaled $1999.74.
I don’t tell you this to make you feel sorry for us or to make you send a donation. We are okay. It didn’t impact our day to day life money, our bills are paid, there is gas in both cars and a kitchen full of food. Caroline’s emergency cost us our savings and our emergency fund…but God made sure we had enough for our needs.
Because our security is not in our finances.
Our security is in Him.
Which brings me to the next thing I’ve learned this week.
4. God’s economy is absolutely NOT the same as the economy of this world. To gain, we must give. To be first, we must be last. To have security, we must release our worldy things to Him. Our pastor spoke on this last night and it really touched my heart. I worry so about finances and the house and the cars and the kids and everything under the sun…but…
I need to learn to live in the freedom of that statement. It’s out of my control, it’s in His hands and He is a good father. He does everything He does through a filter of love.
I’m glad we’re learning more about money and how to manage it well. I’m glad. But ultimately, He gives and He takes away. It’s His to do what He wants with.
And so I said to Him yesterday, “Thank you that we had the money to take care of Caroline.” It was what we had. Not more.
5. This life is an ever changing adventure. Seasons come and seasons go and sometimes seasons come around again…I’m on my second season of raising small children, for instance. I’m in a new season at a new church, with a new way of doing things. Your circle of community will sometimes change and sometimes not…some people are friends you see every day for years and then not much at all. Some people are friends who will do life with you always…but seasons change. The one thing you can count on is that all things change except for One. I am grieving the end of some seasons…grieving deep. All at once, I grieve what has come to a close, anticipate the future and glory in the current. All at once, on this great adventure, I am feeling everything and surrendering to the Life He Has Given Me.
This morning, I pulled out my gratitude journal and made some more entries.
237. My bed all made up
238. My husband who makes beds
239. Enough money to cover Caroline’s emergency
240. The bills all planned out for April
241. The smell of spring air through open windows
242. Laughter at our family Bible study
243. The song- You’re Beautiful
244. The IHOP iphone app and speakers that fill the downstairs with the sounds of the prayer room
245. Claire eating that chocolate pudding and LOVING it
246. Our nutty dog, who acts like nothing ever happened
247. Paw’s handkerchief