Travis calls me on his lunch break every day around noon. Every day unless he’s going to lunch with someone. Occasionally he’s called at 11 but not often. Friday was one of those not often days. I thought it was strange but I wasn’t really worried. Until he said, “Honey, I don’t know how to tell you this…”
He’d been laid off. His position was being eliminated and though his termination date was to be three weeks later they told him that he could go ahead and leave so that it wouldn’t be awkward.
I think I said something brilliant and comforting like, “I’m so sorry. I have to go now.” I tend to be quiet when I’m processing things.
Then I had to tell the girls.
Just a week prior we’d visited Burgess Falls with Travis’ mom. The hike was beautiful if not a bit treacherous in places. It starts at the cascades and then we hiked to the middle falls and then hiked and climbed what seemed like a hundred stairs to the overlook for the big falls.
It was beautiful…and *high* up. A little-known fact about me is that I have a fear of heights. I’ve always had it and unsuccessfully tried to conquer it in college. I’m not sure how one gets over an irrational fear. As I walked out onto a wooden deck built out over a cliff I felt an all too familiar feeling. Butterflies, sweaty palms, light headed and as much as I wanted to see the beautiful falls that we’d worked so hard to get to, I wanted to run off the platform. Then I suddenly heard the Holy Spirit speak, “I want to show you that you have nothing to be afraid of.” My eyes welled with tears, not because I wanted so badly to see the falls but because I know how much I struggle with fear. And Jesus cares. He doesn’t want me to be afraid. Because my life is in His hands I truly have nothing to fear. So, I stepped out onto the platform again, still scared, but not as much. And this is what I saw.
I can’t help but think that word wasn’t as much about seeing these falls, as beautiful as they are, but was more about what we would face just one week later.
It would seem like this is the last thing that we need but I know that through the past, through things that I’ve suffered, God was after something. What is God after in me in this moment? Because I will tell you this, and it’s the truth, every time I’ve gone through what looks to be impossible I’ve come out on the other side different than when I went in. I’m more compassionate because I know what it is to struggle. I love more deeply because I’ve needed love. I give more grace to those around me because I’ve received much grace. The Christian life isn’t about escaping struggle and hardship, it’s about becoming more like Christ. It’s about being people that Christ can be seen in. How can I identify with the struggles of those around me if I’ve never struggled myself?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
There’s no faking the fruit of the Spirit. It’s either been developed or it hasn’t. If I know anything to be true it’s that when I’m squeezed what’s really inside comes out. If I’m going to be completely honest, I have been completely appalled at what’s come out of me during times of testing. God saw it though and He wanted something different for me. And I’m thankful for that.
I wouldn’t have signed up for this. I certainly didn’t ask for it and I don’t want to walk through it. But I will. We will. And I trust God’s plan for us.
God is good and my circumstances don’t change that. What will it look like? I don’t know. But I believe that His plans for us are good.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever. Psalm 23