Boy, it’s been a rough month.
Lately, Cody has been unbelievably cranky and not sleeping well for naps or at night. His naps have been skipped altogether some days, or postponed until late afternoon, or interrupted by multiple awakenings, or just plain short. At night, he has been waking up 4 to 6 times, and nursing almost constantly some nights. I could probably pin the blame for all of these struggles on teething, because those molars STILL haven’t come in, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Then, last week, he caught a cold and had a stuffy nose and a high fever for a few days, which made him even crankier, and of course worried me and Cory—it was his first fever over 100, so it was a bit alarming until we consulted Dr. Google and discovered that it’s a normal symptom of the common cold.
We have also been stressed out about selling our old car, since we got a new one. It took us two months to sell it, even though we considered it to be in very good condition and a relatively “young” car. We loved that car and expected other people to love it too! So it was incredibly frustrating when nobody responded to the ads we posted, and then even more frustrating when people did respond and would come to look at it, say they really liked it, and then disappear. To add to the stress of that, our title was lost in the mail, a fact which we discovered when we were getting ready to sell it. Oh, and our registration was lost in the mail as well. When we tried to get it smogged, I ended up on a wild goose chase driving from store to store trying to find one that was charging a reasonable price and open, to no avail. We groaned more than once about the car seeming cursed, because of all of the stress involved with selling it.
Then for the past three weeks I have had almost no breaks from taking care of Cody, because our weekends have been dedicated to performing a major repair on our trailer (which was also expensive and unbudgeted). Cory spent over 12 hours working on it, as well as the time spent going to the store to buy parts, and bringing the trailer back and forth from storage to our house. My precious mother-in-law also had to cancel her bi-weekly visit a couple of weeks ago (for a very good reason, of course), so I missed out on a much-needed break in the middle of this rough patch.
On top of all that, we were deeply disappointed last week when we found out that we again weren’t receiving something we have been praying and hoping for from God. And after that, we received even more heartbreaking news that the child we have been sponsoring with Compassion International for the past four years, Binit, will no longer be in the program because of political issues happening in India. We have no way to say goodbye to him, and no way to know anything about his life anymore. I am brokenhearted over this boy who once called Cody his little brother in one of his letters, and who we had hoped to be able to visit in person one day. All I can pray now is that Binit is being taken care of and that perhaps someday, somehow, I will be able to hear from him again.
It’s been a physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting month and I’m feeling a little ragged.
God always works bad things out for the good of his children.
Trying to see the positive side of things, I noticed that Cody’s new level of difficulty (like a video game, haha) had inspired me to research and learn more about discipline with toddlers, and then start writing an ebook about positive discipline, which I’m excited about. Cody also recovered easily from his cold, with the help of some children’s ibuprofen as needed, and a few days of rest. We now have “fever management experience” under our parental belts. 😉
The car was perhaps the most interesting part of this whole story. We finally did sell it, to a family of unpaid traveling missionaries. We were able to reduce the asking price and sell it to them for less, as an offering to God, to support the work that they are doing for his kingdom. It turned out that the new amount we asked for, which we needed to pay off a loan of ours, was the exact amount that they could afford without struggling financially. It all worked out really well, and it became clear to us that the car wasn’t selling before because it was being saved for this family. We got the smog, title, and registration figured out with no further issues, too.
When we once again did not receive the thing we have been asking God for for the past 11 months, I felt more disappointed and disillusioned than I have felt in a very long time. I did some whining and griping, and then I did some thinking. I came to realize something that I think may be one of my most important realizations yet about life with God. We don’t have any guarantees in this life, even as believers—what we do have is hope, and more importantly assurance in eternity. We can and should ask and believe for great and limitless things in this life; Jesus said so himself! But his grand statement has a hidden asterisk: God will only act on our behalf when it is within His will. It seems obvious enough that God won’t act outside of his will, but it has taken me a very long time to truly understand what this means. It means sometimes we will ask for something good, but God won’t give it to us, not because he doesn’t want good things for us, but because he has a plan that is somehow better. His plan may not even look better to us, in our human eyes, but God sees into eternity. His ways are higher than ours. And so ultimately, our hope is not in this life, and what God can do for us and with us in this life. Our hope is in eternity.
The beautiful thing about this is that when you put your hope in its proper place, nothing in this world can take it away. I could lose every single thing in this life—my provision, my health, my family, my friends, my comfort, my reputation, or even my life—and I would still have a hope that provides everything I need, because I know that I have an eternity with God in paradise.
Of course, I continue to pray and believe for protection, health, prosperity, and blessings in this life for my family and myself, and I will not stop asking and hoping for God to work here and now. I just know that when he doesn’t act how I want him to, it’s okay. He is God, and he has something better for me ahead, even if it’s all the way at the end of this road, in Heaven.
Right now, I admit that I can’t see what good plan God has for the situation with Binit. Perhaps he’ll use this opportunity to connect us with another child who needs our sponsorship even more than Binit did. I may never really know. But I do have hope that the support we provided for the past several years was enough to effect Binit’s life long term, for the better. And I will continue to pray for this boy who I loved from afar, and who I know God loves and cares for so deeply.
Tomorrow is Friday, and thank the Lord because my mother-in-law is coming out for the day to help with Cody. Then I have a wonderful weekend ahead with plenty of opportunity to rest and refuel. It looks like the rough patch might be over, thankfully.
Even though I haven’t enjoyed these recent struggles, I consider it a milestone for myself because I didn’t sink into a depression despite them, something that usually would have happened. I’ve been stressed, and I’ve had moments of deep sadness, but it never went to that darker level throughout all of this. That’s progress! God is healing me, day by day. <3