Blessed be the name of the Lord!"
One month ago, I was standing the Christendom College Chapel while the man of my dreams was on his knee beckoning me to spend the rest of my life with him. As I muttered a tearful yes, I painted romantically the next year in my head. Only the week before I had moved into my own place: a sweet, wonderful apartment I was making my own. School would start and I would return my students, once again throwing myself into my passion: teaching. I saw myself balancing work and wedding planning. Side by side with my mother, putting together a wedding while I spent other time with Richard and madly grading papers. I could see myself in the classroom, working my children, aiding and encouraging them to achieve their dreams, awakening their passion for learning. Life was set: just the way I had pictured it. And then God called.
One week, exactly, after I had accepted Richard's proposal and, coincidentally, two weeks exactly after I had moved into my own place, I was called into the school to meet with the principal. I cannot lie: I expected it. Still though, I felt as though my life had fallen apart. Nothing had left me so exhausted at the end of the day as teaching. I would head home, just to sit for an hour while I regained my sanity and energy. But, it was this pouring myself completely out for my students that had never before left me so fulfilled. I put my whole self into molding my children, standing in the classroom ,while Christ worked on my children through me. It was a truly rewarding experience and I felt as though I'd found my niche.
It's been a roller coaster ride ever since. I've spent my days looking for work and my nights worrying myself sick. Questions ride through my head while voices of failure stab at my soul. Moments of false optimism gave way to long periods of despair and discouragement. I felt as though the Devil had his nails dug into my throat, while he attempted to turn me from Christ. I felt a burden to many around me, refusing to ask for help. This went heavenward, as I shrunk away from God, too ashamed to pray. Thoughts of my students wafted in my head, as I heaved myself through the day. Nights would bring terrifying dreams of unemployment and trips to the school to beg for my job back tiptoed wickedly through my sleep. Nothing has left me so terrified as being laid off suddenly from work.
I had to go and clean out my classroom. I dreaded it. But, as soon as I drove out of the parking lot, I felt an inexplicable sense of peace. I no longer felt the emotions crashing, the negativity dancing wrathfully in my head. Oddly enough, it felt...right. How bizarre. Still the feelings have not returned. A constant sense of contentment has replaced the feelings of despair and terror. I have begun praying again. Sleep still is difficult, but the nightmares have decreased.
As I was making dinner this evening, a bible passage popped into my head. I remember a friend turned nun would remind me of this when life got tough: "What the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." Honestly, I never could relate to this verse...until recently. Having gone through a Job Divorce, I now fully comprehend. The Lord blesses us with vocations, filling us with joy as we empty ourselves for others. At any moment, however, these jobs can be snatched away, leaving us with questions and discouragement. We should not wallow in sadness and despair, but rejoice at the opportunity we had. Inevitably, though, the fear and the sorrow will follow. But God ALWAYS has something better planned. We just have to wait. Sometimes, it's tremendously hard and scary.
Too, this passage runs hand in hand with Roman's 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Even when God does not will life's setbacks, He will still provide for us in His time. We are called to serve His purpose and He will provide ample opportunity for this. Even in sadness, there is salvation. Later, the passage relates, "If Christ is for us, who can be against us?" As we face life's demons and destruction, even these forces cannot stand up to the power and grace of God. For He is the all-powerful ruler, who is also all-loving. Really, who could ask for more?
Tonight as I climb into bed, I will climb into the lap of Jesus, my all-powerful and all-loving Father, and lean my head against His chest. I know He will wrap his arms around me and hold me, showering comfort and grace with unspoken words. I will find peace and contentment in hearing His heartbeat and slow, constant breathing. In the morning, I will climb down from His lap and search for His holy will for me. I am called according to His purpose, the Father of Heaven, and He works for me because He loves me. He is for me, so no one can be against me. Praise be God!!!