Discouragement effects every part of your life if you allow it. I determined last October when Eric's losing his job became our reality that I was not going to allow discouragement to punch it's powerful blow into my stomach. Yes, I was discouraged for a time because of our circumstances. We were forced into a reality in which we had to fly by the seat of our pants by the world's mind's eye, though we knew our existence on this earth depended on God whether or not Eric had a good job. For the first couple months, I believe I lived in somewhat of an adrenaline fog, focused only on how to get through each day, reminding myself that we've been through similar circumstances and survived.
The thing about merely surviving your circumstances is that you don't really arise on the other side of a debilitating experience better than you started. I think that in many ways, that is what happened with us the last time we went through under-employment and financial strife. It was the most challenging season of our lives. We moved to a new place in which we knew no one. Those 18 months in that new place were most certainly the darkest days I have ever experienced. Not only were we facing challenges that we had never encountered in our young lives, but we were facing them alone with no support system around us. It was dreadful and treacherous ground on which we tread during those 18 months. When we found a way to leave that place, my entire countenance changed. My heart was lighter. My mind started to clear. I cried tears of joy as we pulled away from that apartment complex for the final journey away from there.
One week into our new journey, we knew that we were not necessarily in a better situation, though it was different and the pressures we were facing were not the same. We still felt some relief even though disappointment filled our hearts, and we didn't know what we should do. We felt trapped. We stayed the course in spite of the misgivings settling into our stomachs trying to trust the Lord to show us the way he intended us to go. The choices we made allowed us time to heal our marriage and to become each other's friend again, so to say they were wrong choices would be like saying our marriage wasn't worth saving. Once that was accomplished, we knew that God was calling us out of this place, and we were grateful. We felt like Eric's professional life was surviving with a ticking time bomb strapped to his shoulders ready to explode at any moment.
And it did.Even as we worked to find a new path, to return to an old path, we experienced this colossal explosion that ricocheted through every part of our being and destroyed parts of our lives in the 2 seconds it took for Eric to hear those words spoken by his boss...his father. "You have to go on unemployment." No warning. No time to prepare. It was happening, and we couldn't stop it.
Determination to stay strong only works if every member of the family is on board. Our kids were on board. They didn't care that we couldn't go out for dinner or meet daddy for lunch anymore. The didn't notice that we were eating inexpensive, less healthy food. They didn't realize that we didn't know how we were going to provide for anything under the Christmas tree. They are happy just to be with us. None of this matters to them as long as we are in this house together.
My determination to become stronger instead of becoming defeated has wavered. I can't describe how long I went through each day hoping that my support system would return to me, realizing that parts of my support system weren't very supportive at all, flailing my way through each corridor of my life wondering if there actually was a light at the end.
We're not arising from the dust of this experience. Nothing feels different from the last time. We've been left to wander through this experience, and there is nothing I can do about it. It isn't up to me. The world tells me to be proactive, but the Lord tells me to wait. The world tells me to get a job, but the Lord gave me a very definitive "no" each time I asked.
I feel forgotten. I feel down-hearted and destroyed. I feel trampled upon and misplaced. My passion wavers. My heart aches. My body reacts to all of this with severe, debilitating back pain, the inability to overcome sickness in a normal amount of time, and temper tantrums that seem to be outside my ability to control them. I say things I don't mean. I read between the lines. My emotions are raw. I am lonely.
I am not stronger because of this experience. I am not more capable of relating to others. I am not better because of this. All of those cliche things that people say? None of them apply to me, and I don't know that they ever will no matter how many times someone tells me they will. I don't want to hear it anymore. Every time I look to the right or to the left, things become worse. Even some of my closest friends answer my pleas during this time with silence. It's hard to face. People become worn out, and it isn't their fault, or, they disagree with the path you've chosen because they can't imagine that God would actually ask you to take it. Their trust in you wavers. They don't believe in you anymore because they are swayed by the world. Others just look at you and see failure. This is my life. This is the way it is.
I find myself wondering if an end will ever come, if the lessons needed to be learned from these circumstances will ever truly surface, if anyone will notice if we just disappear.
God, are you there? Do you hear anything I say? Where is my comfort? Provision? Where are you? I'm losing it, Lord. If you are still there, watching over me, I really, really need you to show up. Like...now.