By the end of August, the doldrums were taking their toll on me.
I was going down like Laura had. I was short tempered with the children. I was depressed and frustrated most of the day.
We decided to visit Laura’s parents in south Louisiana.
That’s what you do when everything is rotten, right?
Spread it around!
We had planned to stay a week at her parents’.
Little did we know God wasn’t going to let us leave until He saw us through our lowest days.
At first, the trip south was an adequate distraction. While we were there, we sold the rest of our goats (over the phone) and Ryan and his wife, Kathylee, had their second baby.
But when those first two weeks were over, we were left facing “our life” again…regular and various bills to pay, a midwife appointment to have and pay, school books for the kids, and, the big one, our baby would arrive in 3 months. Someone else was still paying our house note, and we still weren’t any closer to selling it.
And, of course, we were still in The Big Wait.
We had been waiting 3 years. Over 1000 days.
One thousand days of working little or not at all, bringing in little or no income, because God said He wanted to teach us something.
We still had no idea where this was going.
With the weight of the circumstances and the bleak life that dangled in front of us, Laura and I, both in the same few days, hit bottom.
We had finally had enough.
We were exhausted and emotionally raw.
We each, independently, came to a point where we planned to give up on God…to quit waiting…to disobey and pray for mercy.
In desperation, Laura planned to step away from God’s plan…to disobey…to stop waiting…to make her own way…just long enough to make money and comfortably birth the baby.
“I feel like I could explode.
I feel I can’t emotionally handle this waiting forever on God.
I don’t know what tomorrow holds – my house can sell out from under me, my electricity could be turned off.
…My thoughts lead to, ‘I’ll quit waiting on God for a couple of months. I’ll try to make…a “nest” in hopes that I can emotionally prepare myself for birth…’
I don’t want to leave Him.
Oh, please Lord, have mercy on me – the same young girl who loved You so well 14 years ago.
The same girl who has loved Your voice…Your wisdom.
The girl who trusted you with my marriage, who had babies only because she trusted You!”
While Laura was facing her lowest point, so was I.
I was so tired of the whole deal.
I was tired of seeing my wife hurt…my family hurt.
Lying awake one night with my first ever earache, I finally did what I had been tempted to do for years…I mentally stepped away from waiting on the Lord and made plans to get a job. The job would give us substance to our days and the money would pay some of the bills, I rationalized. This would relieve some stress, I told myself.
But I would be on my own. What a lonely, scary place.
But I was so very spent.
I was at the end of the end of the end of my frazzled little rope.
In my heart, I did not want to step out and get the job, but I felt I couldn’t keep going like we were.
I would disobey and ask the Lord to have mercy.
The next morning, I met our oldest son in the kitchen. He’s our businessman, always ready for a new adventure, especially if it makes money.
I said, boisterously, “Hey, what do you think about me getting a job? Doesn’t that sound great?”
He replied, in a matter of fact tone, “Yep, if that’s what God says to do.”
Who went and made him so wise?!
Obviously, he had learned something over the past few years. Something I needed to remember.
How could I possibly step away from God with my children looking on?
Laura and I talked the morning after we had both made our plans to go it alone.
We sat crying on the bed.
We cried at the thought of walking away from His plan.
We cried because we felt like we had no other option.
We had hit bottom.
And there He was.
God was there.
God was even with us at the bottom.
Ever the patient Father, He sat with us as we cried…as we faced this painful test of faith.
He held our hands as we considered whether to stay with His good plan or not.
In His wisdom, God didn’t budge a bit. He didn’t change our course. He didn’t give us more money. He didn’t say we could stop waiting. He didn’t promise relief before the baby came.
Our life didn’t change.
We conceded. We stopped fighting it.
We trusted Him again. We trusted the judgment and direction of a crazy, incomprehensible God.
We remembered His goodness to us all our lives.
We remembered the years with Him before we met…how He introduced Himself to us, how we marveled at His creation, how we loved talking with Him and hearing His voice.
We remembered the years with Him after we married…the blessed finances, the blessed homes, the healthy babies, the rich marriage, the parenting advice when we didn’t know what to do next, hearing His voice again as He led us from one ministry to another.
“But today, today I remember.
I remember all You’ve been to me.
And I just don’t want to leave You – not even for a moment in my birth plans.
We have conceded to what [the future] may hold – continued late or unpaid bills, turned off phones or electricity, foreclosure again, the humility and lunacy of others paying our bills, no school books for the year, no midwife which would mean we birth on our own, and welcoming another child in the midst of the hard time.
…I’ve conceded to finishing this marathon though there may be much more in front of me.
I may crawl many days.
On good days I’ll walk or jog a moment. And on hard days I may take a break – curl up on the side of the path and cry a while.
But I’ll keep going.
I’m staying here with [You].”
The thought of life without Him was more unbearable than the heartbreaking life we had with Him.
He is good.
And so we stayed.
And so, we had faced the bottom.
We had descended to our lowest point with God, and He had brought us out on the other side.
The Wait was far from over, but we had conceded to stay with Him wherever He went…or waited.
(Oh! And remember the earache I mentioned when I first imagined walking away from His plan? First ever in my life. And it hurt. God used it to keep us at Laura’s parents until we conceded to His plan. It healed up at the same time we conceded. We didn’t know it at the time, but both our moms were praying that God wouldn’t let us leave Louisiana until we were settled on obeying…)