This past week was one full of both ups and downs.  Starting on a positive and grateful note, the ups include, but are not limited to: Finding out I could actually have a job by the start of this school year as a full time teacher, being accepted into the teaching program I applied to, celebrating 1 month of marriage with Tim, mastering the “sit” “down” and “come” commands with our pups (mastering may be a bit of a stretch…), a sudden excitement for my new home, driving the big highways in the rain (scary but I’m still alive so totally a success), and finding tadpoles in a puddle outside of church on Sunday.

Now on a still grateful but also realistic note, the downs of the week included: not trusting God, struggling to trust God, trying to decide if I want to trust God, questioning if I have ever trusted God, and wondering if God is out to get me.  Tim and I had many a late night conversation as I once again wrestled within myself. Seriously, how many times have I read or heard the story of Exodus and scoffed (yes I am using the word scoffed) at the people of Israel for not trusting God after he had show them countless miracles while delivering them from Egypt.  I mean, how could you not trust God after He parted the freaking Red Sea for you? Yet, here I am doing the exact same thing.

God has seriously been so good to me.  His love for me includes but is definitely not limited to: relentlessly pursuing and loving me, making a home in my heart, being patient when I am hesitant, overflowing me with His grace in my shortcomings, and granting me peace to be human and imperfect while still making me into a new creation each day.

Still, I honestly wrestle to decide if God is truly for me.  I wonder if I’m a joke to God, something for Him to point and laugh at, if I’m not important enough for Him to help me through this trying life, and if I’m someone He created to fail.  God may not have parted a sea for me (though that would be cool), but the list of things God has done for me does not even crack the surface of incredible experiences I have had with Christ.  Yet, just like the people of Israel I doubt endlessly.

All of this culminated this week when Tim and I had to decide whether we would tithe this month or hold off and make the payment for the teaching program I’m desperately wanting to begin.  We chose to hold off (keep reading).  This led to more night time conversations and crying (on my part).  I was sure God was done with us, that we pulled the last straw.  Once again, I was making my loving God into a controlling and grudge holding jerk.  Once again, God broke through and showed us His love.

At church Sunday, the sermon happened to be about the difference between being a fan of God and being a worshipper of God (the latter costs something, the former is more of an admirer).  God spoke to my heart: Will you trust me?  10 percent.  10 percent of what I give is what I ask.  Will you trust me? Will you trust that I know your circumstances? Will you trust that I will provide? 10 percent of what I give is what I ask, will you give it? Will you trust me? Sigh.  Once again, God showed me He was not a demanding God.  What He asks for goes so much deeper, is so much bigger than a list of rules that I have to try to live up to.  How do I keep missing this? The choice of tithing was something so much bigger than a rule, it was a matter of trust.  Were we going to trust God? He ask for 10 percent of what He gives, do we trust Him? Do we trust in what He gives and what He asks back? Do we trust that He will take care of us?

Well, needless to say, we changed our minds, we chose to trust. Things will be delayed, but the Lord has a plan.  He knew what we would have, He knows what we will need.  What He has provided does not permit me to begin the teaching program as soon as I had hoped, but I truly believe He knew this would be the case, and I believe that there is some reason for why I won’t be starting it this month, and I trust that reason.

And with that, so many other things fall into perspective.  By taking my eyes off of what I see, off of myself and my own circumstances, by looking to God instead, I am filled with peace.  By focusing my limited perspective on the One with perfect perspective, my problems shrink and I am refocused on a kingdom mindset, rather than a worldly one.  I know the topic of tithing is touchy.  My hope is that people don’t read this and form a perception on me based on Time and I’s choices, good or bad.  Instead, I truly hope that readers will see my humanity for what it truly is, human, and see God’s goodness and grace that are a part of the Love that He truly is.

The weird, mysterious, great thing about all of this is that I continue to go about my normal life.  In my heart I hold a peace that transcends all understanding, a Love that is eternal, and the knowledge of my journey towards the home that I long for, all the while making grocery lists, doing laundry, scheduling appointments, caring for puppies, etc. This life is just weird, crazy, fun, sad, broken, hopeful.  After this week though, I am once again glad that life is not all that I live for, however grateful I am for this journey, and all the ups and downs it brings.  For the downs because they bring me wisdom and healing, drawing me closer to my Maker, for the ups because of the great and simple joys like the success of being accepted into the teaching program or finding tadpoles in a puddle which bring life and laughter to this present journey home.

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