In spite of the purring, this is one majorly disgruntled kitty. Usually quite friendly, she’s currently furious with me. I had the audacity to scoop her out of her kitty bed, where she was happily dreaming of tuna, and shove her into a pet carrier even before she had her eyes open. Even worse, I put that carrier into a car and drove for 45 minutes. She hates being in a moving car!
A friend of mine recently commented about how, with Thanksgiving coming, she is trying to learn to thank God even for “the hard stuff.” She’s basing her belief on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
There’s no doubt that Christians are supposed to be a grateful people. There is so much to thank God for—his love, mercy, righteousness and goodness, our salvation, one another, his coming reign on earth, answered prayers, not to mention the endless blessings he bestows on us day by day, often ones we hadn’t even thought to ask for. For example, when’s the last time we thanked God for the air that we breathe? We hardly ever think about air, unless we’re in danger of suffocation or drowning!
I was totally overwhelmed. Mind going around and around on an endless track of useless thoughts: Now what? What if? How? I hardly slept. I could barely eat. I couldn’t focus on anything, much less God. No way I could pray.
Yet, I had never needed to pray more.
Have you ever felt this way? You’re in the deepest pit, and God is your only salvation. You know you need to pray. But you just can’t. And that makes you feel even worse. Like you’re a failure.
Life was hard. Even though we were blessed in many ways, life was hard. The year was 2002. Pete was working overtime, and had been for ages, but he hadn’t been paid in months (this comes with the territory, when you have a non-profit ministry). We had just moved my elderly dad from his dream home in Mendocino, California to Colorado Springs. I had done much of the packing and unpacking. Now he was having medical issues that required an enormous amount of my time and attention.
I was in transition from full-time mom to empty-nester. I was feeling worthless, at a loss without a well-defined role to tell me who I was. We desperately needed money, but I couldn’t get a normal job because of my responsibilities in caring for my dad.
Looking back now, it doesn’t seem that bad (or I’ve grown since), but at the time, between the financial stress, the stress dealing with my dad’s medical issues, my lack of purpose, and the stress on our marriage, I was seriously struggling.
It’s when we’re feeling miserable that God is most able to get our attention. I was writing volumes in my journal, crying out to God, asking Him for direction, for encouragement—pretty much asking for anything from Him, just so I could know He was aware of me. All I got was silence. I’d never been stretched so thin.