Thursday, January 29, 2009

Overdue and Underdone

I forgot to post my Praise Report. I neglected to invite you to my Hallelujah Dance. In my previous post, my faith held on to a wing and a prayer that my God would prove Himself to be the Great Provider that I know Him to be. Of course He did.

I was staring down the calendar, knowing my applications had been sent out, my interviews had been completed, but the last Unemployment payment was coming on Wednesday. I knew all week - I
knew God would come through, some way, some how. I expected the phone to ring, the letter to come, the email to post. I rested on His promise to me that He's never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed go begging for bread. I told you before, He always comes through.

Every day that week, I woke up and waited in expectation. 'How was He going to do it this time,' I wondered. Monday rolled by, then Tuesday. Wednesday came, the remaining balance of my unemployment claim posted to my account and I spent the rest of the day writing. I wasn't fretting over how we were going to survive during the coming months. I spent a peaceful day with my husband just writing - continuing to do the work God has given me to do.

Then, Thursday morning arrived. For some reason, Derek decided to stay home that day. I love when Derek decides to stay home. After nearly eighteen years serving in the Big House, he needs an extra day here and there to keep his mind and soul in a good place. We were spending the morning cooking up breakfast fit for a king when I wandered to the mailbox.

A letter from the Department of Labor and Industry awaited me. I expected it to say something like, "Your UC benefits are now exhausted. Thanks for playing, now get a job." I almost didn't open it in my assumed knowledge of what it was. Curiosity got the best of me and I opened it up. "Congratulations," it read, "You are financially eligible for an extension on your UC claim for an additional 20 weeks."

I immediately called up L&I to make sure this wasn't a mistake. The woman on the phone, said, "Yes, your claim begins immediately, you can file this Sunday." I heard the joy in her voice arise as she heard the joy in mine.

I did a Hallelujah Dance. Derek came around the corner, wondering what was going on. "He came through, Derek. He always comes through." We both continued to praise God for His provision. I made sure my Facebook friends got a status update. I emailed my personal Prayer Warriors. I called my Mom. The subsequent weeks have held continuous praise. But then I remembered, I forgot to update you.

This is what brings me to why I have entitled this posting "Overdue and Underdone."

First, I left you hanging after my last post. This Praise Report was indeed, overdue. Maybe some of you out there needed the encouragement and the gentle reminder that God is Jehovah Jireh, Lord Provider. Maybe some of you needed to rejoice with me for a moment just so you could see His light in your darkness. Maybe.

But secondly, I'm going to get real personal with you right now. I am constantly being reminded of how much my praise is underdone. It's a little rare - in both meanings of the word. It doesn't reach its completion. I'm a little short on the follow-through. Maybe a lot of us have this same issue, or maybe it's just me. But not only did I fail to use this blog to give God praise, but I have gotten sucked into the lie of loneliness - again. I'm so tired of this trap, I'm ashamed to write this. But here I am, hoping that somehow my struggle will shine some light on your struggle and together, and with God's help, we will both be better for it in the end.

I believe I have intimated to you before how I've never made friends easily. My lifelong friends are strewn across the United States, but not here. This is why I love Facebook. I can keep in touch with all of my friends through my computer and it brings me great joy to be able to make someone smile across the miles.

Lately, my friends have been kind of quiet. My email inbox hasn't exactly been "dinging" too much. My husband and I are in a different place in our marriage at the moment. My one girlfriend who is here seems caught up in her own life. Nine times out of ten, if we make a date to do something together, she calls to cancel. Except for my neighbor who
always needs something from me, and of course my children who always keep me hopping, I don't get too much social interaction - not for the sake of "togetherness," anyway.

It can be a lonely place to feel like you are not important to anyone unless they need something. I have spent entire days wallowing and crying in my loneliness. Monday was the last lonely day I experienced. When I was finally tired of my own pity party and decided to cry out to God, He simply responded, "Now you know how I feel." Ouch.

Of course the next morning's email devotion fell right in line.

From "My Utmost For His Highest":
Take no thought for your life.  Matthew 6:25

"A warning which needs to be reiterated is that the cares of this world,
the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, will
choke all that God puts in. We are never free from the recurring tides
of this encroachment. If it does not come on the line of clothes and food,
it will come on the line of money or lack of money; of friends or lack of
friends; or on the line of difficult circumstances. It is one steady
encroachment all the time, and unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise
up the standard against it, these things will come in like a flood.

"Take no thought for your life." "Be careful about one thing only," says
our Lord - "your relationship to Me."

Common sense shouts loud and says - "That is absurd, I must consider
how I am going to live, I must consider what I am going to eat and drink."
Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing the thought that this statement
is made by One Who does not understand our particular circumstances. Jesus
Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not
think about these things so as to make them the one concern of our life.
Whenever there is competition, be sure that you put your relationship to God first.

"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." How much evil has begun to threaten
you to-day? What kind of mean little imps have been looking in and saying - Now
what are you going to do next month - this summer? "Be anxious for nothing,"
Jesus says. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the "much more" of your
heavenly Father."

What an awesome reminder was that. If I'm feeling lonely, I need only to turn to
the one who loves me most. My husband can't even love me as much as God loves me.
My parents can't love me as much as I God loves me. When loneliness enters in, how
dare I refuse to throw my arms around my heavenly Father and wallow in self pity?
God, I have learned, needs our love and devotion, too.

Yes, my praise has been overdue and underdone. But thank God for His faithfulness to me.
Surely, I may not be the greatest friend and my friends may not be able to fit me into their days.
But God - He is the greatest friend, Father, and Love there ever was and ever will be.

Let's continue to make our praise timely, continuous and complete.