Monday, April 9, 2012

Hard Lessons to Learn

I wanted to write this post for my Thankful Thursday post last week (on my personal blog), but I didn’t get it done.  I don’t think I was ready to be able to express everything I’ve been thinking about lately.  Now that I’ve had a few more days to think about them, maybe I can adequately share what I’ve been learning.

You probably know that I like cloth diapers.  And…I had a retail store called Doable Diapers.  But it hasn’t been making money, and we came to a point last month where we wondered if we should keep it open.  I had hoped it would grow and be profitable enough so that Ben would not have to work a full time job when we are church planting.  I put out my fleece prayer request, and God chose not to answer it.  I asked my family members and close friends to pray with me about wisdom for the right decision.  Last Tuesday, we decided to close Doable Diapers. 

I feel like things are being stripped away from me one by one.  I know God is working on me and teaching me, and that these are good lessons to learn.  Good to learn now, before we are in full-time ministry.  But they are hard lessons too.  They hurt my pride and self-sufficiency.  They make me weak, and that is when I can fully experience the strength and power of God.

I thought we were doing pretty good on this parenting thing.  Our kids seemed pretty well behaved.  Then Elaine burst into the “terrible twos” stage with a vengeance.  She challenges me on everything, and throws these horrible fits, mostly in public.  Any pride I had in my parenting ability is being stripped away.  Though I know it intellectually, I am learning that I can only raise these children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord if it is the Lord who is giving me wisdom and strength to do so.

I thought I was a pretty good Christian.  Doing the right things, saying the right things, living the right way.  Then I come face to face with reality that my prayer life is struggling, and my relationship with the Lord needs some repair.  It’s humbling to admit you haven’t been completely genuine.  But now I feel like my cup is overflowing every time I open my Bible, and I know this has been a good lesson to learn…again.

I thought I would help supplement the family income and provide a way for my husband to spend more time in ministry and less time at work.  Then my business failed.  And as I look back over the months of sporadic work and unemployment, I realize that it is God who provided our needs and upheld us…not Andrea.  And now with no Doable Diapers, it is God who will continue to be the provider for us now, and in church-planting ministry.

I thought I had a good relationship with everyone.  Then things blew up with my neighbor.  And I had to admit some areas where I had been just as wrong as inconsiderate as perhaps she had.  And that was humbling.  And I didn’t want to do it, but I realized that it is necessary.

One by one God is removing my props.  Everything that was Andrea.  Everything that I thought was good.  But He is replacing them with something so much better.  He is filling me with more of Himself, and that satisfies so much more than anything I could come up with. 

This has been a hard month.  Several really hard days.  Things seemed dark.  But He is giving me the treasures of darkness.

“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places,
that thou mayest know that I, the LORD,
which call thee by thy name,
am the God of Israel.”
Isaiah 45:3 

2 comments:

Becky said...

needed this... thanks Andrea

Becky said...

I just wanted you to know that I read this post last night to our ladies group at RU. Several of them told me later that they received a blessing from you telling your story. I thought you put it so clearly/nicely when you talked about God stripping things away and replacing them with Himself. Its just what we all need to hear :) Thanks again