Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Another Bump in the Road

I have gotten such sweet words and encouragement about some of my recent posts.  I appreciate you all so much and it's a blessing that many of you can be encouraged by my honesty and willingness to share some of our struggles.  With that in mind I just wanted to share a little from today.  The last two weeks have actually been very encouraging...we have seen some financial support for our ministry come in (though we have a long way to go), we had an unexpected gift given to our account for Lily's school which was amazing, and there have been such simple blessings along the way too.  Like my friend Molly who felt like the Lord was asking her to give us some meat from her family farm.  We are incredibly humbled and thankful.

And I am trying hard to remember those things  because today felt like yet another bump in the road of this challenging time.  I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but it involved our boat.  A number of years ago Joe saved and saved and saved enough money to buy our family a small motor boat.  It's an old boat, but it was kept very nice, and it was just big enough for our family.  Nothing fancy, but such a joy to us and a dream come true really for this water loving family.  We aren't in the position now (and likely not anytime in the near future) to own a camp on the water or even the house we are hoping for, but this boat for us is our treat and a way for us to get away.  It broke down last summer in dramatic fashion while on the middle of the lake with my mother (who, by the way, is not the biggest water person).  The fire department had to come out and get us (much to my husband's embarrassment).  It was later in the summer and we didn't really have the money so we weren't able to fix it.

This year when we got our tax return (which we were very thankful for) we were determined to get our boat fixed.  Quickly our tax return was eaten up by the many unexpected expenses that this year has brought.  That was hard, but I kept telling myself that I was fine with it...fine with giving up all of the other things we had hoped to use it for as long as we could still fix the boat.  That was the ONE thing I wanted.  We are cutting corners as much as we can and I knew that this would be a summer with very few extras...but somehow I thought that it would be okay as long as we had the boat and those family experiences to look forward to.  We were expecting the repairs to be around $400.  So when our boat repair guy called today to tell us that the problem isn't what he or anybody else thought, but that our whole engine actually has to be rebuilt we felt (and still feel) totally defeated.  The estimate he gave us is $1,100.  And I want to cry.  It's the ONE thing I wanted this summer.  And it's just a boat.  A silly boat.  And it's totally a 1st world problem.  And now tears are running down my face and I feel slightly ridiculous.  But this is where I am at.

  I also made the mistake of checking our ministry account today and found out that our account is even lower than it was last month (now officially the lowest it has ever been since we were married).  And I can't help but wonder why.  Why is this happening?  Why is our ministry account the lowest it has ever been during a year when we have had more unexpected expenses than in YEARS combined?  And why can't I just have our boat?  Why can't we give our kids this one thing?  Tonight at dinner Lily commented that her favorite thing to do during the summer is ride in the boat.  And then, just a few minutes ago I saw pictures on Facebook of another family riding in their boat.  And there are tears because I don't understand.  But then I try to remind myself that I'll take tears over a broken boat that we can't afford to fix right now any day over tears about how to feed my children, or tears over a child that is dying, or tears over wondering where we will sleep tonight.  The boat IS a 1st world problem.  Is it fair to still be upset and disappointed?  Sure.  It is and I am.  But God has so much more for me, I know He does.  He is working here and I can feel it...it's just now how I WANTED Him to work.  Because in the end I know that God cares about far more than just my comfort.

And I will praise Him that we have a boat even if we can't afford to fix it right now.  And I will praise Him that we have a house even if it's not the one we are dreaming of right now.  I will praise Him for my beautiful children even if I can't given them everything I want to.  I will praise Him for this incredible yet challenging ministry that He has called us too even though we aren't fully funded.  I will praise Him for my husband who works so hard for us even though he is struggling with this just as much as I am.  I will praise Him for having enough financially to pay our power and heat for the season even though for the first time ever I find myself wondering how we will do it in the fall.  I will praise Him for dear, sweet friends who rally around us constantly despite having their own struggles.  There is SO much to praise God for...please, God, help me to remember!

So that's my story for today.  We sure do appreciate your continued prayers...and if you happen to know somebody who can rebuild a small boat engine on the cheap please let me know!:)

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