Thursday, September 13, 2012

One of Those Personal Updates

It's time for another personal update.  A few weeks ago I asked all of you for prayer for my wife as she was having surgery.  The surgery went very well and now we are back on track to see what God has for us in our lives.  Please note that what I write today I write as a prayer request.  This is not a woe-as-me kind of post, but it is about things my wife and I are praying on in our lives.  What we do need is God's grace to see us through these times, God's direction for our lives, and God's help.  I know that this post will seem rather self-indulgent, but I do promise I will tie it all together at the end.  I know my own life the best and so I use myself as an example often.  We know what we are hoping for is not possible on our own, but we also truly believe that God is leading us in these areas.  I think one Scripture in particular comes to mind today.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV
The first area that we are waiting on God for is to shorten my commute.  I currently drive 92 miles each way every day for work.  It is very expensive and really cuts into our budget.  Please do not get me wrong.  God has been doing amazing things in making ends meet despite the long and expensive commute.  God has also kept me safe.  I see way too many cars flipped over in the woods or on the side of the road.  I have even seen a body draped on the side of the road.  I have dealt with rain, snow, and ice.  I have dealt with traffic.  I even had a break down resulting in an 85 mile tow.  Despite these challenges, my greatest concern is just how tired I get on that drive.  It is scary sometimes to be completely honest.  This tiredness is related to the fact that my commute is so long I have to be up so early where I would have to go to bed at 7:30pm just to get 8 hours of sleep.  That is just too early though and would take too much time away from the time I do get to spend with my wife.  I average 5-6 hours per night of sleep during the week.  That is why I am so tired and why sometimes I really struggle to stay awake on the road.  God has been faithful and I trust that He will continue to be faithful in keeping me safe and keeping our finances afloat during this time.  This is a care of mine, though, and so I ask you all to pray for me to help me learn to give it to God and prayer for God to change this reality. 

For the commute to change, I believe, our housing needs to change.  The way mortgage companies are, it would be more difficult to obtain a mortgage if I recently changed jobs.  My wife and I are ready and willing to move; however, we need someone to purchase our condo.  We qualify for a mortgage in the amount that we need.  We believe we are supposed to stay where we are.  We know that once the Lord blesses us with children we will need a bigger place. We both want to be able to host family and friends, grow a garden, and just be home (or as much as home can be in this world), but none of this can happen until someone purchases our condo.  The market right now is terrible.  They are not selling all that much and the ones that are selling are not selling for much.  We do not need much, but we do need to make enough profit to cover closing costs in a new home and a small amount of savings and spending money for the inevitable improvements needed in a new home and some other important things we need to purchase.  We yearn for that day when our realtor calls us and tells us that she has an offer.  We yearn even more for the day when we enter our own home for the first time.  Please pray for us, that God would send us that buyer. 

As for my health, well there is an issue in itself!  No, I am not sick, but I can not continue my life of too much eating and too little exercise and expect to remain healthy.  My lifestyle has already earned my diabetes.  I need to eat better, exercise more, rid myself once and for all of this nicotine addiction, and set these new standards not just as a temporary fix but as a permanent change.  I trust God to keep me healthy, and in His mercy, He has.  However, I can not believe God is going to continue to reward my bad choices.  Right now, I am in His mercy, and what I also need is His strength to help make things better.  This is also related to my commute.  I simply do not have time to go to the gym or be more active.  My weekends are all the free time I have and during the week I am busy or tired.  This is yet another problem with my commute.   In other health news, an old problem with my jaw joint has returned.  It causes little pain but much nuisance in terms of a fairly constant hissing sound in my ears.  I have treated this successfully in the past and hope to be able to again soon.  I need God's wisdom though in know which treatment path and dentist to select.  I am also certainly not opposed to a miracle whereas I know with barely a thought, God can cure this for good. 

And then there is our desire for a child.  I can not tell you how excited I get when thinking of seeing my child for the first time.  I can not wait to share with all of you the good news that we are going to have a child.  I know my wife feels the same.  I hear it in her prayers and I ask God in mine.  We covet your prayers for God to bless us with children. 

We are called to cast all our anxiety upon Jesus.  In another part of Scripture, we are told to be anxious for nothing.  That is not because anxiety will never come upon us.  God knew that it would.  What we are supposed to do, though, is give it all to Jesus.  If there is something you are anxious about, give it to Jesus.  This same rules applies no matter how trite or trivial the reason for that anxiety may be.  In fact, it is especially for those seemingly minor issues that we need to remember this passage because more than likely it is the little anxieties of life that we fail to give to God.  It is always easy to remember God when a major life event is looming over your head, but we sometimes feel we can handle it on our own when McDonald's forgets our french fries and we already pulled away from the drive through.    The fact is that all of those things that cause any kind of anxiety whatsoever needs to be handed over to Jesus.  We are not to examine our anxiety, justify our anxiety, defend our anxiety, or even try to deal with our anxiety because any and all of that only makes us anxious about our anxiety. We are supposed to just give it to Jesus and be rid of it.   And, ironically, this is my last and most important prayer request.  I am terrible at giving things over to God when I should.  I eventually do and then end up writing a post about some failure or struggle in faith I had and how that struggle made things bad for me until I gave to to God and He made things better.  I need to be able to give it all to God and right away and not ever try to hold onto it.  I really do not know what defect I have in my brain where I refuse to do what I know I need to do to make things better.  When stress comes upon me, my wife usually tells me that I am choosing to be unhappy.  For a time, she is right.  For that time before I give it to God, for whatever reason, I almost choose misery over peace.  We all have areas in our lives that needs some work from God.  This is definitely one of those areas for me.

And that is the message of today.  I am not writing this for any sympathy.  While there are discouraging bumps along the road, I know that God is taking us to amazing places.  God has already done so much.  We paid off  our credit card debt.  We improved our credit to where we both quality for a mortgage.  We own a condo that was purchased so cheap that even if we have to go bottom dollar, we will still make some profit.  I just read in the news today that the median household income in New Jersey has gone down in the past year.  Ours has gone up.  I also need to add a disclaimer to all those things I asked for prayer on today.  I have my own desires but I want the desires of my heart to match God's desires for my life and I know that my wife wants the same.  In all things, not by my will but by the will of God do I want things to be done.  I also know that someday I will understand all of this waiting.  Perhaps we have no children yet because we have not purchased a new home yet.  Perhaps we have not sold our condo yet because God knows when our perfect home will come on the market.  Perhaps God is waiting for the right job to come open or that He is planning something even more amazing.  I can not see the end from the beginning, but I trust that wherever God is taking us that it is going to be great.  I do not ask for prayer for God to change His plan, but for the grace of God to keep my wife and I encouraged as we make the journey.   Thank you all for your prayers. 
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

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