Treading Water

My baby sister got engaged on Saturday. There is something so incredible about someone that close to you starting a “new chapter” in their life. You think about all that they have to look forward to. Visions of white dresses and flowers, weird dance traditions and that one family member (who probably shouldn’t have brought his or her date) come floating to mind. And of course, thoughts of your own special day do not go unnoticed.

With everything that goes into making a wedding, it is hard to remember that you are making a marriage. And like the waves of the ocean, every marriage has its ups and downs. Thinking back on my vows, the “richer or poorer, sickness and health, good times and bad” seemed so simple when I was standing on the altar. Of course I loved my new husband with everything I had. We held the world in our hands. What could we not accomplish if we had each other?

And then life happened.

As the bad times seem to get worse, and the good times just don’t last long enough, we pray hard. And God gives us one of three answers, “Yes. No. Wait.” The problem is that sometimes our ever optimistic American brains can’t comprehend “No.” And so we assume that what we hear is “Wait.”  We string ourselves along from one cirumstance to the next, hoping and praying that just around the corner is the outcome we have been waiting for. And perhaps it is.

The problem with waiting is that, a lot of times, we are waiting for what we want and missing all the other opportunities that God is bringing to us. We are so focused on achieving OUR dreams that we forget about God’s plan. And so, after running in the wrong direction for so long, we end up on a barren shore with no where to go except where God was pointing the whole time. And what can we say but, “Oh, is that what all this was for?”

For my own part, I am sitting in forced patience, feeling very much like poor Noah. Noah worked hard for the Lord. He did everything he thought he was supposed to do, and God really gave him a lot to carry. Noah was pushed down, burdened by the ridicule that accompanied God’s plan, and physically challenged to adhear to the call. And then Noah had to collect lots of animals, with whom he had to share living quarters (yuck), and not eat (especially those sheep and chickens….yum) for an indefinate amount of rainy days. And what was Noah going to do once he was in the thick of it? Do you think on day 15 he was contemplating jumping overboard?

I’ve been sharing Noah’s forced patience for a while. When my boss chose to eliminate my position rather than pay for health insurance for my twins, I felt low. I always thought that I worked hard for my boss, proving myself on more than one occasion,and doing some dirty work that I’m pretty sure no other self respecting preservationist would have done (and I don’t mean scrubbing toilets, even though I was doing that, too). I couldn’t help but feel unimportant, expendable. But it seemed God had other plans for me, and while one man may not have felt I was worth it, I thought that being the mother of three beautiful daughters had to be something important. And it is. Unfortunately, my job was our main source of income, and losing it has meant a lot of sacrifices. The sacrifices have been met with anger, frustation, tears, and other less than becoming attributes that I should probably just keep to myself. And that was just for me. My husband had to give up a business that he loved, and worked hard for everyday for almost 10 years. He got a job in a field where he was stressed and out of his element everyday. We have struggled to stay afloat for nearly 2 years.

But it seems that things may finally turn around. Of course, I’m praying that all the pieces fall into place, and that we can tred water long enough to make it through to the rainbow. I’m also praying that we have learned our lessons, swollowed our pride enough, waited for long enough, and that God does not give us the opportunity to learn these lessons again. When I pray, I ask that God make me open to recognizing and obeying his plan, and that Josh can be, too. I also pray that, one day soon, we can look back at those vows and know that, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, we were there for eachother, throwing eachother the life preserver, and occasionally giving eachother mouth to mouth.

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