We received a phone call from our property owner last weekend informing us that we had thirty days to vacate our home of six years. Saturday, November 17, was our Wedding Anniversary and one we shall never forget. I did not handle the news well and the phone call was literally the straw that broke the camel’s back.
For four days I wrestled with being swept up by the tide of change. We have poured ourselves into renovating and making our home a castle. When you have been through significant heartache, the last thing you want is to have the rug pulled from under you.
What you do not know can hurt you.
Our property owner had put her house on the market and did not tell us of her intention to move back into this home within thirty days.
For eight years, we have fought battles that are beyond comprehension. Specifically, as an Etiquette Instructor, our property owner has unknowingly tested my authenticity over many years. There have been opportunities to leave and find a place of respect and appreciation. Each time, God has taken a hold of my heart and reminded me to "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10
The adage is true: The real test of a servant-leader is how we react when treated like a servant.
As I write, somewhere in this world I want to encourage you and simple say; allow grief to visit you but do not allow grief to seize you. There is always hope even when it appears to be hopeless. We all reach a place of pointlessness. If you have sailed through life unscathed, having never experienced feelings of despair, then unfortunately your time will come. Life is not for the faint of heart.
Consider this: You can measure the caliber of a person by the amount of opposition it takes to discourage him or her.
Losing our home has been very discouraging for me. There is never a time where struggles are void of their effect. One cannot always control their circumstances. However, one can control their response to circumstances.
Be careful when the storm hits. Dark clouds often eclipse our perception and our mind is capable of concluding the worst.
My response to relocating in the midst of Thanksgiving and Christmas was a mix of disbelief, anger, frustration, and an unwillingness to yield to the tide that moved us along. As an introvert, I immediately internalized everything. I would prefer to keep my mouth closed and retreat for a pity party alone than to ooze verbal garbage. Nonetheless, God exposed me for the imposter that I was. During this trying time, I was figuratively as the child directed to sit on a chair facing the wall in the corner of the classroom and whispering, “I sit, but inside I am standing!”
During this current whirlwind, I have already learned a handful of profound lessons.
1. God always has a plan. He masterminds every little detail. He will accomplish His plan in His timing and not ours.
The Bible says in Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
To live the present moment of not knowing what to do or where you will land stretches one's faith beyond comprehension. There is great security when you have a plan and you know what lies ahead. It is a completely different ballgame when you stare into the abyss of your life and literally have no place to go. You stand there looking up at a cliff and as you turn, you face a ferocious waterfall. Then you sidestep and only just miss the quicksand. With a final dash, bushes full of four-inch thorns confront you. At zero advantage point, you must stand still and exercise patience.
2. What really resonates as I face uncertainty is the power behind the Scriptures. When the props in life that represent security are gone, you learn and live the power of the Gospel.
It has taken every ounce of strength to find my way through overwhelming fear. When your own life takes an uncertain turn and you can barely find the energy to place one foot in front of the other, just keep reading the living Word of God. His Word will deliver you from despair – I promise! Every single written word is life giving. It will breathe hope and perspective into your soul.
3. Do not vent your anger and frustration onto others, in particular your family members. It is all right to hurt. It is not all right to be unkind with your words. When we say things out of anger and frustration, we hurt others and add insult to injury. Pour out your complaint onto God. He can take it. We are programmed to say the right things and will always hold back from others. Tell Him all your hurts, pains, and sorrows. Do not keep anything from Him. Unload and you will have victory.
4. Keep a journal and transfer your frustration onto paper. God will use this one day. You will be an encouragement to someone who will reflect what you have lived. Furthermore, the ability to exercise empathy is refined through the fire of our own troubles. Everything has a season and a purpose – the good and the bad. Accept the change as quickly as possible. Be grace-filled and self-controlled. The right words have great power to improve our perspective. Make a plan. Do not wind yourself up, spin around in circles, and sabotage the good that already exists in your life.
5. Purge yourself in prayer. We are still responsible for negative emotion when we are unjustly treated. Unload the bitterness in your heart. Say, “I am sorry for my anger, God. Please renew my heart and thinking.”
6. Create a comprehensive “Thank You” list to God. Proud people never express gratitude. Embrace the lessons behind change and do not question God. Be patient with yourself and your life. Change comes as we change our perspective. Being “thankful” is a guaranteed antidepressant.
7. Be careful not to withdraw from your support base. A true friend is always there to listen and to help in any way they can. Unfortunately, pride isolates us. I thank God for a wonderful family and friends. They will always be there for us.
I do not know about tomorrow. As I embrace today, I thank God for turning my world upside down and flushing me out. The loneliness of struggles forces us to deal with ourselves. God develops our skills, not in a crowd, but alone.
The adage is true: We learn to wait on God by “waiting” on God. The word “wait” is the Hebrew word “Qoey” and refers to a “Waiter/Waitress.” When we simply go about our business “waiting” on God (i.e. serving Him and others) despite our troubles and trials in life, we will learn to be patient with Him.
Our patience with God determines His purpose with us.
Until next time…