What does one do when you pray, and pray, and pray and cry tears like you never had before and all you hear from the Lord is “Patient Endurance”?
You Endure and patiently wait on God.
I don’t believe there was anything that could have prepared me enough for how my year was going to transition from the year of 2016 to the year of 2017. I was not ready for the loss and grief I was going to face. All on top of what I had already lost during the year. I never imagined I would come face to face with anxiety again. I blogged about being anxious back in college here, “Anxious?”. Click on the link if you want to read it. I could not fathom the humiliation I was going to feel, the fears that would overwhelm me, or the ugliness God still had to uproot from my heart. I knew I was in a rough season. I felt like an unexpected storm had caught me by complete surprise. I was so uncomfortable I did not get much rest. In my attempt to look for an exit out of my troubles I panicked realizing there wasn’t a way out. I had to go through to get through the storm. All along God’s plan was to strengthen me and fill me with wisdom through my troubles. Through God’s silence, I learned to endure and trust him despite how I felt.
My husband got married May 20, 2016. He is a better man than I ever imagined I would be bless with as my husband. Our troubles haven’t change that fact. We were off to a great start. Losing everything and having only God, and one another to hold on to in the end brought us closer. It was the catalyst of us truly becoming one and operating as a team. Within just one year of marriage things got worse before they got better. However, God was in control. I loss my job while we were still on our honeymoon. I was promoted and received a raise the week before our wedding. It just did not make sense to me. We started our marriage one income, but we needed both. I was bummed, and finding a decent job with a good pay after that was the ultimate struggle. My husband suggested we pray and he tried to be uplifting about the situation. A few months later while we were driving home from church we found out my husband’s license had been suspended. An officer pulled us over and made us aware of our predicament. We had a car full of children we normally pick up for church. These children were terrified, especially because of what they were used to seeing in the neighborhood they lived in. They thought for sure we were all going to jail. The officer looked at us and said you guys look like good individuals doing something positive in the community, I’m not going to mess you guys up or give you any more financial troubles to deal with. I knew that was the Lord stepping in. He gave my husband instructions to follow to fix the issue and reinstate his license. It turned out he had some traffic light tickets we weren’t aware of that went unpaid, resulting in his license being suspended. A few weeks later we received a letter informing us my license would be suspended if I didn’t pay the amount listed including late fees by the given deadline. It was about two days before the suspension date. It turned out I had a traffic light ticket that went unpaid. We didn’t know because it was send to my old address and never forwarded to us. I thought someone out there was trying to play a sick joke on us. I wondered if maybe God was punishing us for any unconfessed sin. Thankfully that is not how God operate. If that wasn’t enough, by the time the year was over we accumulated a lot of medical debt going to the ER for different health issues. Neither one of us had health insurance. I already had poor credit from student loans. My husband did his best and worked hard, but it just wasn’t enough. Our bills and needs were far greater than our income. Just when I thought I had found a dream job I loss it due to some unfortunate events. We ended the year facing an eviction. We paid late, and our landlord showed no mercy. By January 10th, 2017 our landlord wanted us out. Not long after our car was repossessed. I had never lost so much in my entire life. I was scared and devastated. I felt hurt, low, broken, and humiliated. It took me a while to realize how much more difficult our circumstance must have been for my husband as a man. Our troubles may appear to be nothing and bearable compared to what others go through, but it was hard for us. It was hard especially for me, but I learned humility on a whole another level in the process. Thankfully we had friends that opened their home to us as they felt led by God to do some. It was a humbling experience.
I knew I had to pray then more than ever before and trust God if we were going to make it through. I felt weak and weary, but church and the work of God was still a priority for us. I began to study more deeply parts of Abraham’s life, the book of Job, and the book of Hebrews. Through that and prayer, God encouraged and strengthened me. I managed to keep it together openly but privately I cried non-stop. I cried tears I didn’t even know I had in me to cry. It wasn’t because I was pretending to be okay. I was simply determined to glorify God no matter what and not complain to anyone. Many times, my prayers were just hot burning tears as I didn’t know what else to say to God. I felt like David did in many of his Psalms. “I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: my eyes fail while I wait for my God”, Psalms 69 verse 3. “And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily”, Psalms 69 verse 17. “Reproach has broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I look for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none”, Psalms 69 verse 20. “Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily”, Psalms 83 verse 3. “Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayers; and attend to the voice of my supplications”, Psalms 86 verse 6. Also like David, I was determined to “praise the name of God with a son, and magnify him with thanksgiving” (Psalms 69:30).
While I was driving one day I had a panic attack and almost got into an accident. I was so overwhelmed with fears and anxiety. I was losing control of my thoughts and emotions. I felt the knots of anxiety building up in my stomach. As I was shaking with fear, I thought to myself, I am falling apart God, where are you? Psalms 61 verse two immediately came to my mind, “from the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I”. I drove to one of my husband and I favorite places to go. A humongous rock facing the ocean. I sat on the rock, staring at the ocean, I told God I had nothing else to say I just wanted to hear him. I imagined the humongous rock I sat on to be the Lord and the ocean before me to be all my troubles. Tears streamed down my eyes and I felt the presence of God with me. I thought to myself, Lord you are greater than this vast ocean before me, I trust you. It came to my mind to read the book of Hebrews. As I read it the Lord ministered to me. After reading I mediated on what I had read. The words “Patient Endurance” came to my mind. God reminded me of faith and endurance (Hebrews 6:12). Throughout the book, there was those who suffered and went through, by faith they endured and received God’s promise. They learned patience and obedience from the things they suffered. They endured. God had me focused on Hebrews 10:36 “patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he promised”. By faith Abel’s sacrificed, Enoch was taken by God, Noah built that boat, Abraham obeyed God when called and waited patiently, Gideon, David, Samuel and all the prophets, and so many others endured and receive the promise of God. I had to activate my faith. I had to continue hoping. I needed to trust God and keep moving forward. It wasn’t about what we were going through. God had a greater purpose for our troubles. I could never in my right mind say I lost as much as Job or more than Job. Our losses had me feeling like Job, but I couldn’t have imagined being in his shoes. By the grace of God, we had people who cared about us and encouraged us. Job’s wife was terrible, she advised him to curse God. His friends weren’t any better. In their attempt to comfort him they blamed him for his suffering and accused him to have sinned to be suffering in such a manner. One even though his punishment wasn’t harsh enough. The word described Job as “perfect and upright, and one that feared God”, yet it was in God’s will to allow him to suffer. Despite everything Job still hoped in God. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him”, Job 13 verse 15.
I remembered receiving a phone call one day from someone who shared with me a vision God gave her concerning my husband and I. she wasn’t sure when exactly to share it with us but figured when she did was the right time. She told me while she was in prayer God had her interceding on our behalf. She explained to me, “a vision of you and Justin on a roller coaster came to me. You guys were side by side going with the ride wherever it went. Then I heard a voice saying, “I am the operator, soon this ride is coming to a stop”. Then the two of you were at a table feasting and I heard the scripture “thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies””. She said whatever is going on, God is in control. I was encouraged but I didn’t know what to say. I asked God to help me to have faith like Abraham did. God called him from among everything he knew and was familiar with to a place he would show him (Genesis 12). Abraham, known as Abram at the time, obeyed. God never gave him specific details or told him exactly where he was taking him. He simply told Abram he would show him and he blindly trusted God. God took him through so much from that point on just to bless him. I could only say I trust you God and reminded myself “Patient Endurance”.
“Bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, or anger”.
“Quietly and steadily persevering or diligent”.
“Having or showing the capacity for endurance”.
Enduring, Forbearing, Long-suffering, Persevering, Persistent.
“The ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions”.
“The fact or power of enduring or bearing pain, hardships”.
Patience, Holding up, Perseverance, Persistence, Bearing, Courage, Enduring, Forbearance.
Despite our circumstance, troubles, and struggles God wanted us to endure. He wanted us to persevere through them. His plan was for us to take heart and last through it all. No matter how long it took for things to get better, we had to be patient and trust God. There was no easy or quick way out. He never allowed more than we could handle. He gave us the strength we needed to not faint. We had him t lean on and one another to hold on to. I had made up my mind to stop crying, complaining to God, and feeling sorry for myself. I wanted to be better and allow God to strengthen us and our marriage. I was choosing to no longer be in distress, unpleasant, or continue having a cast down spirit. I woke up every day and intentionally put on the garment of praise. I was going to be thankful and praise God despite how I felt. I was not going to let the spirit of heaviness keep me down. I began to see God in my weaknesses; how he was molding me and changing me. I was able to thank God for my pain, my troubles, and the things he brought out of me through what we went through. I was thankful for the wisdom God poured into me from my troubles. I was humbled God trusted us with trouble and gave us the strength to endure. In the end, we were still standing. I didn’t give up even when I wanted to. God made me stronger and wiser. My praise increased. My worship went deeper. I gained some things in Christ I can’t even put into words. Before we knew it, things got better. We ended the year of 2017 in victory. Our circumstance didn’t destroy us nor did the enemy triumph over us. I give God all the glory!
“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t”.
Hebrews 12:3 “Think of all the hostility he (Jesus) endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up”. Focus on the things that will last. Run with endurance and keep your eyes on Jesus. Troubles don’t last always. If Jesus is in your boat, it won’t be shipwrecked. There is a calm after the storm.