There it is, the misty muddy swill and hiss of a rusted water main bested by the cold snap. That problem has come and I feel the damp of it pressing on the tiny ember of newborn hope recently kindled within me. I’m in that place in life where I’ve got to concede I’ve reached my limit. I’ve blown the balloon of my financial capacity just to the edge of bursting and I’ve got to find a way to release the pressure. I thought maybe, just maybe, the new plan that just arrived, carrying with it direction and hope, would be it. Then the pipe burst.
Roughly a year ago, with a heart pure and open, I declared to Jesus that I wished to be in partnership with Him in absolutely everything. He was excited by my proposal, and being the kind, attentive soul that He is, He obliged me. Due to the constancy of His wisdom and influence, my life is changing and it’s been a good thing.
Having a new life partner has given me the breath of fresh air I need to take another run at certain challenges. One area that’s been particularly difficult is financial provision and security. I’ve been in an extended prayerful conversation with Jesus about it. “How do I get out of this financial morass I’ve been wading through lo these last few decades?”, I’ve asked. His answer? “Try having a go at it as who I’ve created you to be.”
Now, this is no small permission that He’s granted me. It releases me into a paradigm shift that I’ve been pursuing for longer than I care to recount, but haven’t been able to achieve on my own. Though I’ve pursued it doggedly, it’s Jesus’ gentle presence that has been the link missing for me to validate a real move toward living authentically with regard to my livelihood.
Somewhere along the way of my life, I swallowed the idea that my passions, my interests, and my gifts weren’t valuable. The expressions of Jennifer were most definitely NOT useful on the road to success. To expand upon my talents and interests would only lead to fantasy and failure, and would most certainly never bear fruit in the “real world”. These beliefs have created a sad state of affairs within my financial provision network, and it’s one of my greatest desires to be released from this particular misery.
To be in this place then, to strike out as THE JENNIFER THAT GOD CREATED, really does feel as if I’ve been directed to a yellow brick road all my own. It’s a gift granted, precious and rare, and packed full with excitement and adventure. “OK!”, I answered, “Yes Lord! I’m gonna do this! Thank you for the encouragement and direction and I trust you and let’s go!” It’s a new leaf and a new plan born out of partnership with God.
And then there’s the world: I don’t have a job right now and the income I receive doesn’t quite cover and so I’m going deeper into debt and then some emergencies came up like health stuff and then a trip that was mostly covered but not completely and I still have to pay all the dues and fees for real estate license even though every deal that got started last year fell through except for one (yes, that’s right, I only had one close last year) and I can’t skip the periodontist if I want to keep my teeth in my mouth for awhile longer but insurance doesn’t cover it and the result of all this is now i’m at this tipping point where i almost have to borrow more from my credit card to make the payment and that’s not going to last for long and none of the jobs I’ve applied for have come through and i’m sinking and i’m scared and i don’t know what to do. . . Then the pipe burst.
My Pastor sent me a text, quite out of the blue, on the same day I discovered the pipe. He mentioned simply that we get tested greatly, that he’s praying for me, and then he quoted Luke 22:31-32 –
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
I read that scripture and I think ‘God bless Jesus Christ’. He knows, better than anyone, how difficult are the tests that we face in deciding to pursue His way. He’s saying these things to Peter just before Peter denies Him, just before Jesus goes in to the trial that will convict Him to his death. He knows Peter’s ass is about to get handed back to him by the enemy of our souls, Peter is going to face a difficult test. Jesus is there, letting Peter know a larger picture exists in His Love and to stay the course through it all.
The burst pipe, and all the mental and financial havoc it’s causing, aren’t testing me enough to prompt my denial of Jesus and His way. However, it’s affected me. It’s cast a pall of fear and anxiety over these new plans I’ve been given. Maybe I need to put the plans on hold and do something else? Maybe I need to get this place on the market and find a newer house? Maybe I need to go back to what I know as conventional thinking and just get a job, any job, even though it would mean acquiescing to the concept of my life as ‘survival’ vs. truly ‘living’.
Or maybe I need to repent from fear and anxiety and trying to figure things out from within my tiny, stinted, limited view. Maybe I need to turn, yet again, to my partner in life, to Jesus. The truth is that, for today, I have my daily bread. I have a Savior and Partner and Lover who sees the bigger picture that I cannot. Maybe, and most probably, and, really I’m quite sure, I need to trust Jesus and stay the course, because I know He’s prayed that my faith should not fail.
So I write tonight, my brothers and sisters, in hopes that my thoughts might strengthen you. Stay the course. Weather the storm. Pay the plumber the $434.25 and enjoy a hot shower, knowing that Jesus has got the bigger picture covered. Keep and prize that faith.