Saturday, January 22, 2011

fear and victory

In theory, we have a little break from Dave having to go to any of our rental properties for (major) repairs and maintenance. I say "in theory" because if there is anything I learned over the past year + of getting our newest rental ready, it's to never assume that things will go the way that I expect or want them to go. But as it stands right now, all our units are rented except for the water-damaged back house on one of our properties (which contractors are working on) so "in theory" there are only minor things here and there we need to take care of until someone moves out. In the meantime, I continue to pray that this season of respite from rental craziness lasts a little bit longer.

This means we're in a new season of having Dave home more than he is gone which is a little scary to think about. Scary because I'm afraid of relaxing too much and enjoying and depending on him being home.

You see, when this whole business started at the end of '09, it was really hard to push down feelings of resentment of being "stuck" at home while Dave got to be out getting things done. This also was the first time in our marriage when Dave was away from home more than he was at home. This was a huge and hard transition to make especially since we had four children ages 6 and under, were new to homeschooling and were just at the beginning of winter (and cold and flu season!). Before this experience, I sometimes could barely wait for Dave to get home from work so I could get some relief from the intensity of parenting.

Sometimes the only thing that got me through a tough time of it was God bringing to mind single parents or women who have their husbands deployed overseas in the military. I also thought of my mom and how she had to cope during the many times my Dad had to travel. (He knows that if I'm aware of how much more others struggle or suffer in this world, than I'm much less likely to complain ;).)

I also had to battle the "stuck" thoughts with remembering that Dave was doing this for our family and that he was working hard on this house because he saw it as work that God gave him to do. That is just one of the many things I love about Dave - he is never one to do things only half way. When he has a task before him, he puts his whole heart into it to make sure he is finishing the task well and following through on his obligations.

And I had to keep digging for the good I knew God wanted to bring out of this season because it tells us in James 1:2b-5,12 to, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."

True to His Word, God did grow me in many ways: by not being defeated by feelings of resentment and other accusations the enemy brought to mind, by increasing my dependence on Him, in showing me my sin tendencies and areas which will need further growth and by choosing to do the hard things (like take four young children to places all by yourself) because the alternative means staying exactly in the same place which is stifling to the body, mind and Holy-Spirit-within-you. This is my victory.

So in this new season, I must battle the fear that tells me if we get to enjoy a longer-than-anticipated season of having Dave home more than away, then I will revert to the person I was before November 2009. I must battle the fear that maybe I didn't grow as much as I thought or in the way of God's choosing and so must ensure a much harder season to further refine me. And I must battle three much more dangerous foes: self-sufficiency, pride and desire for control which can threaten to rear their ugly heads when it's time for me to respect Dave's way of doing things now that he is home and able to be more hands on in how our house is run and our children are raised. Clearly, the race I must now run is marked out for me and I pray I will be able to claim the prizes of God-reliance, humility and godly submission. That will be my victory.

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