Thursday, January 5, 2012

In the Refiner's Fire - Enough Already!

As I said in a couple of posts earlier this week, it was a very difficult year for us in 2011.

Not because of any one particular thing, but because of all the little things.

We had a number of friends go through some really terrible things - I think watching is sometimes harder than experiencing it yourself.  These events included deaths, illnesses (mostly cancers, though a couple of strokes were in there too), divorces, and the huge transitions of moving elderly or ill family into care facilities or taking on that care themselves. 

We had a huge upheaval at our home church starting about 2 years ago that continues to fester and grow and not be resolved.  This is especially hard since we need the support of our faith community for our seminary journey.  The bishop and his office have been terrific through all this and John's mentor pastor has been terrific too.  We had a lot of "sniping" from the members of our church community - criticism about where we send our children to school, about where we live, how we dress, how I wear (or don't wear) my hair, how we spend our money, and that we drive very old, second hand cars.  Feeling that ridicule (even when we know where it comes from!) is very hard.  We feel like we've lost our family.

One of my husband's siblings became a single mom and we had to have a talk with our children about how you can be a mom without being married to a dad.  (Uh, thanks SIL!)  We did not want to have that conversation yet, but it was a necessity. 

My dissertation seems to be moving at the rate of a dying turtle and John's program is ramping up, which means I need to get done and get done quick.  We simply won't be able to afford tuition for two on the reduced income we'll have when John moves into his internship.  This last semester John took four classes - two of which were clinicals and involved 10-12 hours of work in addition to his "normal" classwork and his "day job".  We are most definitely not doing that again!

There were so many times this year when we thew up our hands and said "Enough Already! We're done with this!"  But we kept plugging along.  What else can we do?

Needless to say, this year has been difficult in a lot of ways.  Yet, I feel so silly for thinking it's difficult when we have so much to be grateful for:

* Our health
* The health of our extended family members
* A good, sturdy home that's mostly in good repair.
* The ability to buy what we need and some of what we want
* Employment for both of us adults
* The ability to send our children to private school
* Medical insurance
* A funded retirement account
* An emergency fund
* Plenty to eat
* Plenty to wear
* School going well (or at least progressing!) for each of us
* Plenty of friends and fellowship
* 4 faith communities to be part of
* Two cars to drive that run mostly well and are safe

And most important of all:

We have the love of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

If there is one thing that I learned in 2011, it's that that love and guidance is really all that we need.
Really and truly.
And it really is Enough.
Really and truly.

Soli Deo Gloria.
Always.

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Lea