Last week, my husband lost a job which he had essentially worked to attain since he was 15 years old. A chef by trade, last June, my husband was offered a position as the Assistant General Manager over Food and Beverage at a large hotel in our area. We were all pretty proud of him and had hoped that the opportunity might open up even more doors for advancement in the future. We never dreamed that less than a year later, due to fears over a global pandemic, he would lose his job...and our family's sole source of steady income.
Even before homeschooling became every mom's sudden unexpected reality, we were homeschooling our big kids. I left a decent-paying job in 2010, when my oldest daughter was born, in order to stay home with her. Homeschooling was a choice, and one we've never regretted. Several times recently, I recall feeling grateful that my husband's job had afforded us the opportunity to do just that.
So much is uncertain now. If we survive the pandemic, how will we live? Will my husband be called back to his job? Will we have to move for work? Will I have to return to the workforce? If so, would there be any way for us to continue homeschooling our kids? If not, what then? So many unknowns. In one of my favorite Psalms, King David implores his hearers...
Bless the Lord, O my soul;Psalm 103:2-5, NASB
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle."
At various times in my own life, when I've found myself standing at the crossroads of fear and faith, the Holy Spirit has brought this verse to mind. In those moments where the outcome of some difficult and scary situation I was facing seemed so uncertain, instead of looking forward to the end result, I was reminded to look back, instead. Encouraged to look back at His hand actively operating in every circumstance of my life, caring, guiding, protecting, and providing.
It would be so very easy to allow fear to creep in and immobilize me. In the past, that's exactly what would have happened. Until fairly recently, fear and anxiety were pretty constant fixtures in my life. I was like the people referred to in Hebrews 2:15, "who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives." On more than one occasion, the anxiety I experienced was crippling.
The Lord was faithful to preserve me through these episodes, though many times, as I came out on the other end, I would feel grateful and yet also apprehensive as I wondered when the proverbial "other shoe would drop."
At some point, however, I realized that this all had to do with a deep-seated lack of trust on my part. Over time, I slowly began to understand that the opposite of fear was faith or trust. And I knew that this was the very thing I so desperately lacked. Ironically, although I had trusted in Jesus for my eternal destiny, per John 3:16, I had always struggled to entrust Him with the details of my life here on earth.
Around the fall of 2015, I recall being in the worship service of the church I attended back then and hearing the song "Oceans" for the first time. As I listened to the words, "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders," I thought to myself, "how could I ever get to that place of unreserved trust in His plans for my life?"
You see, a decade prior, my husband and I had buried our first child shortly after marrying and moving to another state, away from family and friends and all that was familiar to us. Her death followed just five hours after an emergency c-section at 24 weeks gestation. The surgery was prompted by a severe case of early-onset Preeclampsia which had seriously compromised my liver and kidneys, and which was brought on by a previously undiagnosed blood clotting disorder.
The loss of our daughter Eva had left us reeling, and on shaky footing as a married couple just starting out. We were isolated and ill-equipped to face such a hard blow alone. Dreams shattered, and without any community to speak of, the sense of hopelessness which we felt drove my husband to alcoholism and workaholism, and me to depression.
In the aftermath of our daughter's death, a well-meaning friend had remarked to us that what we had experienced was likely divine punishment for having been intimate before marriage. It was like the very worst sort of salt in the wound and profoundly affected our view of God and our ability to trust Him to rebuild our broken lives. So instead of trusting Him, we ran. For a decade.
Our gracious Lord did break into our darkness and blessed us with a second daughter, Brooklyn, and also a son, Alexander. Over time, our hearts began to thaw out little by little. Hope resurrected as we saw His benevolence operating on our behalf, in spite of our continued inability to fully trust Him. We started to settle into a comfortable rhythm in our lives as parents of two little ones. We began to develop a small support network here. We were healing, but we were still holding back.