Two Week Follow-up

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My two week hiatus is over. I’m feeling rested and slightly petrified.

After finally calming the crap down around Day Six, I spent lots of time napping, dancing around the living room to “I Will Survive” and “How Do You Mend a Broken Heart” and drinking fizzy fruit sodas. My blood sugar raged but the Inner Emo felt better for the exercise, thanks much.

Then the emails started. The beast tightened the financial screws which makes job-hunting higher priority than before. I’m no longer looking for work in my field and have cast the nets further adrift so to speak. Trying to find work after so long out of the loop is tough. Trying to find something that pays a living wage is worse.

Hate to be so cryptic but keeping identifying details to a minimum while updating is difficult on a good day.

All this sounds pretty rotten and–well, it is. But during the last two weeks, I felt my Father’s joy and His assurance of provision. He assured me that those who trust in Him will not be put to shame. He assured me that He keeps watch over His children and He will repay their enemies. And He assured me that He knew beforehand and made provision accordingly.

Like a Light in a Storm

Three months ago, I had a strange dream. I wrote it down, including all the odd details. At the time, the dream made me feel  better even though it made no sense and knowing it was from the Lord, I tucked it aside with other journal gems, then went on about my business, promptly forgetting the whole thing. It went something like this:

I’m in a store doing ordinary things which I wrote down. These things were quite specific and not the least bit scary and yet I am terrified anyway. I wake, screaming at the top of my tiny lungs for the Lord to come comfort me right-this-minute.

Only I wasn’t actually awake. I’m a little girl, maybe six to eight or so. I’m in a big double bed. The covers are horribly rumpled as I’ve obviously been fighting in my sleep, my head down by the foot of the bed. Beautiful soft light streams in through the window and I am squealing like crazy, crawling up on the pillows and calling for Jesus to come get me.

It’s the middle of the night. I may be awake, but I am little and I am scared.

All of this, I perceive in a bare minute. The colors, the lighting, the perception– much more than a dream. And in the split-second it takes to start squealing, I see my Lord, all warm and drowsy and stumbling over to calm down this wailing child of His heart.

Which wakes me up out of the dream-within-a-dream. I am no longer scared. I realize I’m home, I’m safe, my Lord isn’t the tiniest bit worried and I  have woken Him up for no reason as there is actually nothing wrong– no danger, no imminent threat, no looming destruction. The ordinary items that terrified me are not a threat. I tell the Lord that it’s okay, He can go back to sleep, I’m fine.

I get some loving up anyway.

And then I actually did wake up.

How the Story Plays Out

For several days before the email of financial doom, I felt a need to go back and reread my journals. I remembered things, reread encouragement and replayed some of the sweet moments from time spent in His presence. Pretty nice stuff. I reread answers to prayer given before I knew to ask. Holy moments tucked in between panicky moments of desperation. I got a snapshot of the way the Lord has upheld and sustained me during this transition. Yeah, things stink sometimes. But, there is beauty in His sweet care.

The evening of the email’s arrival started off pretty nice. One of the kidlets had the nerve to get older than allowed for a youngster of my tender years so out we went for a little birthday sushi and a generous helping of family gossip. Afterwards,  dear child invites Mom to their favorite thrift store (some things definitely run in families). Nice surprise and lovely end to a wonderful visit.  We  drive over, park too far away after so much raw fish and part ways near the door as I’m more of a home goods kinda shopper and kidlet loves the clothing section.

Round the corner and there, hidden in the back tastefully arranged with a grouping of tacky ’80’s mauve and blue geese sits a vision from heaven– the most awesome little table to grace a thrift store in ages. A 1930’s, drop leaf office typing table, complete with wheels that raise and lower, a foot operated devise that actually works to lock the table down. The top needs refinishing but all the marvelous, industrial metal goodness is perfect.

The table is mine. I know it. I love it. It loves me back. We are meant to be united in decorating bliss. There’s a great big freshly painted wall back home with an empty slot in need of just such a wonder. I drag my treasure to the cashier, knocking various grandmother-types out of the way as I go. This baby needs to get bought and paid for pronto before some big city high brow sees what I’ve found and tries to wrestle it from my grimy clutches. After all that raw fish, I’m in no shape for a tussle.

Fourteen dollars and twenty minutes later, the table sits near the front door with a lovely sold sign attached. I threaten the cashier with immanent doom if she lets my baby out of her sight for one minute and head back to the book section. I have vowed to quit bringing home anything bigger than a matchbox but a quick perusal yields an armload of HUGE hardbacks meant to melt the  heart of any bibliophile. Someone cleaned off the coffee table. Whatever– they are  mine. I remark to the cashier that I have no place for these boat anchors and quickly calculate the probability of getting both the rolling table/cart and the huge box of books to the car.

At this point, I park myself near the door on a second-hand sofa and look smug. Occasionally the thought crosses my mind that I can’t possibly lift the book box and the cart but decide that God Will Provide and thus, turning religious, move on to more pressing matters like watching other shoppers gawk over my table until they see the sold sign. More smugness ensues.

Trust me, there is a point in here somewhere.

Eventually, my daughter and I get everything loaded with the help of a nice gay man who does, in fact, make a play for my table although my heart is hard to his cries for mercy as he assures me that he, and only he, can properly appreciate it’s wonderfulness. I snicker and head homeward, arrange table in place of honor, grab the laptop for a quick check and bam– the beast strikes again.

Don’t know if anyone else can relate, but the world stopped turning.

I am petrified. Bills loom. The little bit of personal credit in my own name is liable to be ruined. Important things must be paid or put off indefinitely. My kids will do without and there’s not much cuts closer to the bone.  I’ve tried to find work already. I see no answer, no solution, no promise.

Of course, this is not all technically true. I’m not exactly on the street. I haven’t tried Walmart yet and I hear they hire just about anyone. That doesn’t help however. Spiraling commences. I’m not thinking anymore and a big hot wad of Ugly wants to take me under. I see myself living in a box under the bridge, selling plasma and eating radioactive carp from the bayou.

After plenty of this, I head on to bed, get still and hear my Savior.

He reminds me of His promises. He quotes from my journals. The stories just read only nights before replay through my fear-soaked brain.

I can hear and I know– there’s a decision to make. I can chose to trust the One Who brought me this far already or I can head on into this shit-filled pit the beast so kindly dug and stay there for only the Good Lord knows how long.

This time, the good guys win.

Spiritual wrestling makes me hungry. There’s crackers and cheese in the kitchen and as I’m no longer headed for life as a bag lady, I head to the fridge instead for a midnight snack. I may be better but sleep is out of the question so I open up the journal I’ve been reading for days now and scroll down to the next entry on March 10th.

And there’s the dream. I’m munching crackers and reading all this incredible detail from the first section of the dream which I’d forgotten as it made no sense whatsoever. After all, it wasn’t scary and yet I was terrified. The part which I kindly left out earlier to make the story much juicier. . .

. . . the part where I’m in a store. And I’m terrified. And I find a rolling table that might be a cart and I’m trying to get it out of the store. Except that I have a huge box of heavy books. And I can’t figure out why I’d buy these great big books.  I know I can’t carry both the books and the table and everyone wants my table and it makes no sense whatsoever to be frightened of rolling tables and books but I am and . . .

I am Fine.

At that moment, crackers falling out of my open mouth, I know, beyond a doubt that my Father knows everything. I’ve heard this all my life but the reality of experiencing trumps the head knowledge of hearing any day.

Nothing takes Him by surprise. He is watching. He knows. He gives me a dream three months in advance and makes sure I find it again on the day I need to hear from Him so desperately. He knew where I would be, what I’d be doing, how I’d be feeling and that I would squawk like a trembling baby bird in a rumpled nest.

He gave me some loving up ahead of time.

Now isn’t that something?

I’d like to say that everything is all better now but circumstances have not change quite yet. I know they will. Not how or where or when– just that they will. I may panic again tomorrow.  I wish I could say I’m strong enough to remember this little miracle when the crap hits the fan again– which it will– but I am not.

What I can tell you is this.

If I squeal, my Savior will come and pat me until I’m better. And for now, that is plenty good enough.

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11 responses »

  1. Emails. Sometimes I want to return to the days of no internet. I often tell myself to NEVER check my email before I go to bed, but… I do. Seems like that’s when those zingers so often come. And then, yes, getting the news, as intended by the sender, of looming financial doom. That is enough to ruin a saint’s rest for sure. I am so glad you kept your journal and that the Lord provided you with the reassurance of His promises. Until the next time. Joshua 1:9.

  2. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go”

    Good one, Jeff 🙂

    And today I found this — Isaiah 46

    “Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
    I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

  3. Wow! Why do we ever question his provision? Time after faithful time, he comes through, just when we don’t expect it. I can just see those crackers falling out of your mouth as you gape in astonishment! Dear one, something is around the corner, something good. I have every confidence the Lord will provide for you, and your pals are praying … Love you lots, M

    • Thank you for praying, Morven. Wasn’t quite sure how to write the story and relay the truth.

      I’d like to say I’m strong and marching through Zion waving the banners of victory as I go but I’m feeling more like that little bird that got a worm so they’re quiet for a bit. But it takes a while to grow feathers so they’ll be needing another worm directly.

    • I question God’s provision because after he, ( not God,) would empty the bank account for something he “needed for work/interview/have to have it” he would make the blanket comment”God will provide, He won’t let His children stave. You are not supposed to fear” . God’s provision is one of the biggest areas I struggle with in these two years..two wonderful years of not walking on eggshells, though I do get similar emails. Got one last week! He’s laid off and thinks he’s not responsible for support anymore! It’s hard to learn anew how to trust God ‘s provision without it being colored from the past. Trying to walk it out.

  4. Oh dear sister, I am in puddles of joy after reading your post. Everything, every single thing in it is so perfect. I know I’m sounding like a stuck record, but I LOVE the way you write!

    The dream was magnificent, even before you told us the punch line.

    And the thrift shop experience – If I haven’t already (?) I hereby crown you Queen of Thrift Shopping – Worldwide Title. And believe me, my sister-in-law previously owned that title and she is really something when it comes to thrift shopping. She can stand at the door of the shop and within seconds spy the brand new Gortex snow suit that is exactly her size, AND the rug that will fit precisely dimensions and color-wise with her lounge suite. We all know, even us ordinary plebian shoppers, the ‘smug’ after selecting our purchases. LOL. But you, Queen, only *you* can find the gay guy who covets your purchases but will graciously carry them to your car!

    Sorry to hear about the beast’s latest move. I’m praying for you.
    And thanking God for his perfect love and his inimitable way of showing it to us.

    • The other shoppers need to be properly dazzled so I can snatch up the goodies whist they are busy bowing and stuff.

      For that, I’m going to need a tiara.

  5. I knew there was a point in there somewhere, and I so enjoyed the journey. Inspiring, touching, personal and, of course, with your charming sense of humor thrown in.

    You truly received a love note from God with exclation points at the end of it. “Do not fear for I am with you…”

    He will make a way for you.

    • Love note from God– I like that 🙂 Had a little trouble getting this story told. Seemed to be meandering all over. Finally decided there was just no straight forward order to a story that keeps jumping back and forth timeline-wise thataway.

      But it was such an encouragement that I had to try. That is one thing I appreciate about the Lord– He may ask you to wait, but He doesn’t ask you to wait alone.

      Its pretty easy to see in retrospect how many circumstances could’ve stopped me from hearing from Him that night– if I hadn’t written down the dream in the first place because it seemed like nonsense or if I’d written down only the second *half* of the dream, if I hadn’t already read through months of journal entries, if I hadn’t gotten some measure of peace already that night and developed a case of the munchies.

      Probably most significantly, If I’d stayed in that pit– and things *did* slow down enough for once that I could actually *see* that I had a choice (which in itself is a minor miracle)–I might still be wallowing there days later. I think many times we don’t hear from God because we don’t believe He’s speaking.

  6. This, my sister, is a fantastic story and I’m blessed by reading it. Praise God. I hope you are doing well, I notice you haven’t updated in a long time.

    • Thanks Katy. Means so much that you took the time to comment!

      I plan to update soon. I’m still hanging around other blogs and waiting for some things to settle the crap down. But I’m here and I plan to write again soon 🙂

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