My dear Reader, may I borrow any hope you have to spare? How rapidly I run through mine! How short-sighted! How human!
This week has been so different than last, thankfully. No one I know personally has died. Hopeful has begun her wanderings on the Appalachian Trail, which I find fascinating, inspiring, and wondrous (please, if you think of it, send out a prayer for her—this renewal is badly needed). My church is finishing its week-long VBS, which has its own microcosm of grace, stress, drama, and exploration. The friend I’m stubbornly trying to push away is doggedly, blessedly holding on.
And it rained. That alone should be enough to make my week, Reader—it poured, and I wandered in my apartment’s parking lots kicking the rushing streams and dancing through this precious gift. This morning I went running and, for only the second time in my life, got a 9-minute mile out of it. The air was cool for the first time in months, and I didn’t begrudge the arrow-shafts of sun that pierced the leaves protectively shadowing the trail, the drips of light that slid out of the golden bowls on the treetops. My prayer for a cloudy day was answered yesterday.
And with it came a nasty headache from the pressure shift, physical twinges of other sorts, a flurry of frustrating paperwork as my life continues to be reduced, reduced, reduced to employment history, address, worth by merit of lines, and the unwelcome realization that I have sorely miscalculated the compensation of a freelance job I’ve agreed to do.
How hard it is, Reader, to live a life of faith and wonder when paying the rent is an all-consuming worry. I will just barely make my August bills, as long as a few more reinforcements from previous jobs come through in time. But there’s no way I’ll be able to take care of September before my fall employment. Woman cannot live on service alone.
I felt awful last night in my VBS work and class—I was so distracted by this worry, I was absolutely useless in discussion and community. I finally took myself out of the class for a bit to remember that mulling it over and over in a church conference room wasn’t going to change anything, but I never made it to being fully present. You can tell, perhaps, how it gnaws at me, that I should lay this at your doorstep, that this space meant for searching for God’s plans in my life should be so heavily laden with cries against the seeming impossibility of having the means to complete them.
Yet I listen to myself, read my own words, and hear the doubt of the Israelites I myself scoffed at not four days ago. “You have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger,” they grumbled to Moses—this, after God (via Moses) had protected them from His plagues, parted the Red Sea for them, and brought water out of a rock when they were thirsty. Was it still possible that they should think He would leave them?
Is it still possible that I think He will leave me?
Being poor sucks. It doesn’t matter why you’re poor, or how long you’ve been poor, or whether you’ve learned to work around being poor. It sucks. I hate that so much of my mind and energy are spent on finances and paycheck juggling and frugality to the point of absurdity. I hate that I can’t return the generosity of my friends.
But I have to remember my own Red Seas. How many times has God been there to pull me through? He has given me those generous friends who give without expectation, He has given me the trail on which to run for free, He has given me the rain to cool the parched land, my parched heart. It hasn’t been easy, not at all, and He certainly hasn’t made me a millionaire. Yet I have to realize that I started this blog almost exactly one year ago seeing the grace God extends when the money runs out. That seems like a lifetime ago, but here I am, wrestling with the same fears. He has asked me to trust Him, and with each new desert I forget, and I complain, and I worry, and He lovingly sends me a breeze, manna…rain.
I thank you for going on this journey with me this past year, Reader, whether you’ve been along from the start or you just dropped in last week. I ask that you pray for me, especially in August, that even if the money runs out, my faith will not.
Blessings on your own journey and worries, Friend. He knows them, and He will not leave you, either.
But Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. Stand your ground, and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never ever see again. The LORD will fight for you. You just keep still.” (Exodus 14:13-14, CEB)