Four years ago, we were packing up our little apartment on campus, preparing to move to Albuquerque. We had a place to live – with gracious family – but Scott did not have a job and we did not know what would happen. We spent the next year living with family while Scott looked, and did not find, a job that would fully support our family. At the end of that year, God opened doors for us to return to Massachusetts, to seminary, even to the very same small apartment that we had left.
This month we are again packing up our small apartment on campus and preparing to move into the unknown. Scott does have a job, but we have been searching for several weeks to find housing that we can afford as we count down the days until we must leave campus, whether we have a new home to move to or not. This all feels very familiar…and not in a warm, cozy way.
I know that year in Albuquerque was necessary for my faith. On top of many other lessons during that time, God taught me about His provision. He taught me about tithing first – before knowing that there would be enough to cover necessities. Even before knowing that there would be enough to cover the amount we had pledged to tithe. God provided for our necessities and He also provided for our tithe. None of that came from the abilities of Scott or me. That is a critical lesson. I needed the opportunity to learn it.
I can sit here in front of my laptop and continue to type out words that have the potential to compel and to convince any readers that stumble across this post of God’s goodness, graciousness, and provision during that year. And they would be honest words, flowing from the knowledge of the faith that I have. They would be words of truth.
The whole truth, however, is that in addition to the faith that God has grown in my heart, there is also an equal amount of scarred tissue that is still painful to the touch. I do not doubt God’s ability to provide for me and my family. But I also remember how difficult it is to resist my own twisted delusions of shame and guilt when His method of providing does not match my own desires and expectations. In the eyes of the world, God did not provide during that year, He took away. The world is wrong and feelings lie. But I still feel shame when I do not possess what the world claims is success, blessing, necessity.
As Scott and I have been wrestling through questions of housing, ministry possibilities, and where we believe that God is leading us, I have been balking. I don’t want to be led there. I want our life to finally be socially acceptable. And as those scars within my heart ached again this afternoon, my phone alerted me of a new Siesta Scripture Memory post and I read Psalm 32: 8-9:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
As Beth Moore had her grandkids memorize, “Don’t be like a…donkey.” Yep, that’s pretty much what I needed to hear this afternoon. There is no doubt in my mind or my heart that I am going to follow God with all my heart, soul, and mind. So it’s time to stop behaving like a mule and do it.