Patient, Joyful, Hopeful (or getting Bslapped by Romans 12)

photo To say that life has been an uphill climb for our family lately would be accurate.

Oh, and also a bit of an understatement.

We’ve described it as swimming through molasses or as putting out endless fires.

We’ve even described it as a losing battle, on our worst days.

It’s not that anything big is wrong really, it’s just that every simple thing blows up in my face.

It’s like this:

I get up to make breakfast, but I can’t because I realize that in my stressed out state, I put the eggs in the freezer and ruined them.  So I go to grab my car keys so that I can go out for oatmeal and do some writing work, but I can’t find them.  Anywhere.  I give up and decide to take the van when I realize that I can’t work at all, because I’ve left my laptop 170 miles away and won’t be getting it back for a week.

Ugh.  Really?

Caedmon has learned a new phrase over the past few months: “I give up on this!”  This morning it was: “I give up on this yogurt!  I give up!”

Establishing ourselves in Michigan has been a blend of beautiful and stressful and living on two part-time incomes is no easy feat.

We’ve said all along that this was going to be a hard, faith-demanding, Abraham and Sarah-ish transition.  And guess what?  It is! It’s pinching and exhausting and mostly uphill.

I knew it would be, yet I act shocked and ooze whininess.

Yesterday I was working in a coffee shop on a borrowed laptop and I decided to give up some of my time to read the bible and pray.

I say this because I’ve developed a bad habit of seeing prayer and the bible time as expendable.  Please feel free to believe that this is the source of a lot of my current stress and issues, because… I know… 

So I’ve been working my way (slowly and erratically) through a study on “prayer in the bible” and yesterday’s reading smacked me with truth.  Hard.

It was beautiful and simple-sweet, I smiled, but it stung.

“Be patient in hope, joyful in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

That’s it, that was the entire days’d reading.  And guess what? I’ve been doing exactly none of those things… and it’s been killing me and my family.

I play worst-case scenario out in my head a lot and then stress out about the pretend world I’ve created.  I lament problems that haven’t even happened yet and little likelihood of ever doing so.

NOT patient in hope.

I walk around the house ready to blow up like some large green rage … I mean stress monster over bills, laundry and lost keys.

NOT joyful in Affliction

My prayers are as scattered as the rest of me these days and when I make time for them I actually wonder… how long is good enough… am I done yet?  (As if I have some quota to fill with God or that he has me on the clock.)

NOT faithful in prayer.

So this scripture verse hit me upside the head like a dodgeball and left a pink, round welt.  It was a truth smacking I desperately needed.

This evening I am going to find a board or a piece of wood or a tattoo artist and paint these words somewhere obvious.

Because I’m human and I need the reminder somewhere public.

I need to hang up my Prayer of Teilhard de Chardin again and re-read it each morning.  I need to remind myself that God can’t possibly make of me today what time and faithfulness can make of me tomorrow.

I need to go back to counting my gifts again, because that never went out of style.  I’m convinced that gratitude solves 78% of our human issues anyway.

Because it’s just money and email and time.  It’s stressful as far as I allow it power over me and God is just so much bigger and more beautiful than I’ve been allowing him to be in my life.

Or allowing myself to see him.

There is so much more at work here than what I’ve allowed my exhausted heart to take in.

And this small verse of joyful, thankful, faithful is the best gift I could have received this week.  Thanks Paul, Thanks God, thanks SheReadsTruth.

  • Ed_Cyzewski

    This is so perfect. I can relate to so much of what you mention here. The expendable Bible and prayer time. The wondering if prayer time can be over now. May God’s peace meet you in this crazy transition.

    • leannepenny

      I hate that wondering if “I’m done” I want to want it. I’ve been told that this enough considering my humanity. That’s comforting…. I think.

  • Danielle | from two to one

    I am right there with you in all of this, Leanne, struggling through the same issues — being IMpatient in hope, certainly NOT joyful in affliction, and not faithful in prayer. Thank you for this reminder.

    • leannepenny

      Oh aren’t reminders the worst… and the sweetest sometimes?

  • Joy Lenton

    Oh, how easily that stress/rage monster takes over. I was reading and nodding along with you, Leanne. Sillly little things (with hindsight) can make me someone I don’t want to be around, never mind my long-suffering OH. Don’t you just love God’s timing and sense of humour? Those sledge hits of scripture assail us right when we need them. The blows hurt but it’s a good hurt. Thank you for sharing and giving the rest of us hope in the midst of our own afflictions – and an urgent desire to pray! Bless you.