The past year has been extremely tough on our little family. I guess we've always had it kind of easy. Both Zach and I have never had any trouble when it comes to finding work and making money to provide for our family. We're a pretty multi-talented couple and we've always been able to find jobs that fit our skill sets. The first year we were married, we struggled financially, but that was more due to the fact that we were irresponsible with our money than that when didn't have any. And then right before we celebrated our first anniversary, we were hired as youth pastors at a church in Western New York.
For four years, things were easy. We took home a decent pay check, we both worked and we didn't have to pay for our house or our utility bills. We thrived in our skill sets and were able to use them in ministries of all sorts. We definitely had our fair share of frustrations and problems, but nothing too terrible. It was just ... easy. So maybe our easy 4 years of married life had us naively thinking that things would always just ... come to us. When we decided to move to Knoxville, we weren't scared at all. We knew it was what God had called us to do and we knew that he would provide all of our needs. So we kind of jumped the gun and moved into an apartment only three weeks after arriving in Tennessee. Zach had been hired at three different places and there was promise of him making more money, so we thought for sure we'd be set.
Just... all kinds of wrong.
Things got really bad for a little while. Zach lost two of his jobs and as hard as he tried to find work, it just didn't happen. He spent every available hour applying for jobs, but to no avail. Just when we thought we'd finally get out of the hole we were in, another door would slam shut in our faces. I found myself getting angry and entitled and questioning every choice we'd made in the past year. One night, in my frustration and sadness and loneliness, I started asking God all the questions he rarely gives answers to.
"Why did you bring us here?" ... "Why are we struggling if this is what you asked us to do?" ... "Why did you ask this of us?" ... "When are we going to get a break?" ... "When is this going to end?" ... "We're in need. Where are you?"
I was reminded of the passage in Exodus where the Israelites were thirsty and whiny and asking Moses why the hec he took them out of Egypt in the first place. They told him things were better there because at least in Egypt they weren't needy. This was after they had complained about hunger and God sent them bread from the stinking sky. Then they complained about being hungry again and God was like, "oh the bread's not good enough for you? ok. HERE'S SOME BIRDS TO EAT." Still, they complained, though. Cause humans have a short gratefulness attention span. Now they were thirsty and questioning this God that had provided for them over and over and over again. So then God told Moses to hit a rock.
So Moses hit that rock and water poured out and the Israelites quenched their whiny little thirsty selves. (Exodus 17:1-7)
I had this humbling realization that in spite of our less than ideal situation, God has been providing water from rocks and bread from the sky. There were times when we really didn't know how we were going to make it and then something amazing would happen. A gift card, a check, a mini van (yes, someone gave us a MINI VAN). We weren't able to buy Jonah a lot of Christmas presents this year, but he still had a HAUL under the tree. Water from rocks.
Maybe we could focus on the negative. We DID get evicted. We had to leave our beloved apartment and move into my parent's basement. How's that for leaving Egypt for the desert? (Kidding, Mother. We like your basement.) But the fact is that now we don't have to worry about choosing rent over groceries or utility bills over school loan payments. Now we can relax, refocus, reboot, and get on our feet. I refuse to dwell on the negative anymore. I won't question his faithfulness because there's nothing to question. When we're hungry, he gives us food. When we're tired, he gives us rest. When we are weary, he gives us strength. In spite of my fear and lack of faith, he provides and remains faithful.
Life threw rocks at us and God was all BAM and He struck those rocks and gave us water. He's provided every need and then some. I can't justify being a whiny complaining complainerson. I'll be thankful in our times of need and thankful in our times of want. God has done amazing, incredible things in our lives this year and I wouldn't change it for all the money in the world. (Although. I would maybe be ok with trading for a macbook pro. hashtag just sayin.)
So, my friends, whatever rocks life has thrown at you, know that God can make water flow from those bad boys. He is always faithful, always good, and always provides -- even if it's not the way we think he should. Cause he's dope like that.