It is quiet. Such a rarity in my house. Not like when I was a stay-at-home mom with little ones… that’s a different type of quiet. That’s either a “Thank God they are all napping at the same time!” quiet or a “Uh oh, what are they into?” quiet. This… as a full-time working mom with a house of teen and pre-teens, is a rare moment indeed. Because I go to work directly from taking them to school and I get home after they have already gotten home, I don’t ever have the house to myself. This morning, my sweet neighbor surprised me by offering to take the girls. So here i sit… quiet… only the hum of the ceiling fan making a gentle whirring sound as I sit and enjoy the peace… before I have to leave for work in 15 minutes. And I write.
It’s in quiet moments like these that I am struck silent, simply in humbled awe of where our lives have taken us. Duane and I just celebrated our 21st anniversary. Back in 1994 we were college students that thought we were going to be school teachers, and the farthest east we would ever live was Colorado. Instead, we have lived in 6 different states (3 in the west), have served in the military for 14 years, have been through 3 deployments (one of which almost left me a widow), we have seen business setbacks due to corruption and greed, we have been on unemployment, we have had cancer scares, we have had pain brought by those we considered friends.
The experiences we have had, the growing pains as God stretched us and grew us… the pains that continue to hurt even as we feel ourselves being pushed and challenged in ways we never thought we would be… it hurts.
In this last year especially, as we faced unemployment and the bitter throbbing pain of betrayal, I have learned what the term “a sacrifice of praise” really means. I would be in the middle of a good old fashioned temper tantrum with God, throwing out phrases like “How could this happen? Why would You allow this? It’s so evil… we have done no wrong… why are we the ones being victimized here? WHY?” And in the midst of my bitterness, my anger, my anguish… I would hear God’s still small voice whisper “I know. I, too, know betrayal. I know unfairness. But just as I prayed ‘Not my will, but thine be done’ in the Garden of Gethsemane, so too must you pray that. Praise me anyway. Even through the storm. Praise me. Because you KNOW I’ve got you in the palm of my hand. You KNOW that you will get through this. Right now there is so much uncertainty, so much fear, so much pain… give it to me. Let me walk through this with you. The journey is not over – you’ve still got work to do… more challenges ahead… but I’ve got you.”
And so I praised. Even through the tears… even when I really really really really REALLY didn’t want to. but I had no choice. It was either praise, or be swallowed up by the bitterness that threatened to consume me.
To be continued…