This week has been a rough one.
This week has been the greatest blessing.
It really depends on where I choose to focus.
I feel like I have lived an entire year within just five days.
Monday, we received notification our first attempt at what looked like a 10-year iron clad lease four months ago on the first piece of commercial property we invested in fell through. With a personal guarantee written into it, we could’ve fought it. But within minutes of looking at one another, my husband and I both said the words, “Do the right thing.”
I remember my husband jokingly saying, “This is why you hire someone to manage property. We get too emotionally involved with the business side.”
We both agreed that we know God will bring someone to the building, but the worldly part of me still stresses. 🙏
As I pondered that conversation, I realized I never want someone else to manage the property for us. I would rather be poor and do the right thing than make money while someone else struggles because God took them in a different direction.
In the middle of worrying about finances, my daughter brought home her fundraiser packet for school. We spent $20 to get her going so she could get a prize on Day 1. And Brandon took her to a friend’s business, where she was able to reach her next goal of 16 items sold by Day 2. Her grandparents helped her reach 20 by the end of the week. God is good at providing when we ask, even if the prayer is from a 9 year old so she can earn tiny trinkets and a ride on a party bus.
Tuesday, I was able to spend almost 30 minutes on the phone with a lady whose marriage needed help. We were supposed to meet Wednesday night at church.
As I went to write down the Wednesday meeting on my calendar, I ran into a conflict. I had volunteered at the same time to also serve as a pirate in Kid’s Ministry. I remembered how our new senior pastor had asked us to pray for God to clear our calendars to be able to do His work. God answers prayers, but I still felt guilty when I asked our Kids Min Director less than 28 hours before her event to replace both of us. She showed grace.
The next night, 45 minutes before we were supposed to meet, the couple cancelled our meeting. And I did something I have never done before. I invited myself to a stranger’s house to visit. God laid it on my heart. To my surprise, they said we could come to them.
Sitting at a table in their front yard, my husband and I were able to open and honestly share together how our marriage was changed by putting God at the center of it. We were able to hear their story. We were able to invite them into the last open seat in the ReEngage Class and share how God has worked the last four weeks to build that class. We were able to share how a couple had backed out on Sunday right before it started, and we knew it was because God needed the place for this couple.
The best moment of the entire week was hearing the husband say, “I always thought life was full of coincidences, but I see it’s God now.”
My daughter has been failing her weekly required reading tests at school on all the non-fiction books, but making 100’s on all the fiction ones she picks out to read. I finally asked the teacher where I could purchase a set of the required books for home. It was going to cost us about $80 to buy them. I prayed in front of the computer for a second job because the bills are piling up, and $80 for books seemed overwhelming. A few hours later, God answered my prayer. The teacher messaged me she had met with the other teachers and they were going to let the kids bring the stories home. Emily made her first 100 this week on the test because we were able to read it the way she needs it read (with discussion and someone making her focus). I messaged her teacher, “Never doubt that God answer prayers.”
Thursday night we came home to discover our dog was missing, only to later learn we would never see him again.
As I prayed that night asking God how to help my daughter through this, the words of John 16:22 came to mind, “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
That verse has been my comfort whenever someone I love passes. While I may take it slightly out of context, it is my reminder that no one would want me sitting around in tears. God has a purpose and a timing for everything in life.
Friday morning, after working through tears, we all loaded up. My daughter went to school. I went to work. My husband volunteered to serve at the church. While our hearts all felt broken, we were able to model for our daughter that life doesn’t stop for those left behind. We are called to keep moving, loving, living, and finding God’s love in the moments.
The reality is, our dog’s passing has brought us closer as a family. I didn’t even ask. When we left to take lunch to our daughter, I just didn’t go back to work. I’d already been told by my boss multiple times during the week to go home. So I did. I went home. I went with my family.
I walked in a forest knowing I wouldn’t find the dog, and I prayed a lot looking up into the tall pine trees as I walked. I walked behind my husband as he tried to find something, anything. I saw family come that we don’t often visit to walk beside us in our pain. I spent two nights cuddling with my daughter more than I ever have. I watched our cat realize the dog who chased him every single chance he got is no longer here, and I cuddled with all of our animals and loved them the way they needed it, too.
Somewhere in the middle of all of it, I completed Lesson 1 for ReEngage this week. The lesson is on love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV) tells us, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Love is a choice, not an emotion. Love is being there in the hard times. Love is celebrating in the joyous times. Love isn’t what is taught in the movies. Love isn’t what you hear in country music. Love is God. And I’m so glad God was beside me in every moment this week. I’m glad I look for Him now and celebrate who He is instead of drowning in the sorrows and worries I could focus on.
God is good! I thank Him for loving me, for forgiving me, and for showering me with blessings in the moments I need Him the most.