When Small, my daughter, was just a baby – we went to Knott’s Berry Farm with my brother. My husband loves roller coasters and I like to go on them with him. Since we had the baby we swapped off watching her – for example my brother and my husband would ride while I’d take care of the baby.
There was one roller coaster, the Xcelerator that shot straight up in to the air, not a 90 degree angle but close. I was next to my husband and it was not fun for me. It wasn’t exactly scary, either. The entire 7 second ride I felt very bad, as I was not having a good time and I’d have to pretend I was to have this hobby to share with my husband.
I was unhappy.
The next ride we went on together, however, was a lot of fun. It was the kind where your top is strapped in and your legs dangle free. It zipped along smoothly and quickly. I was my misery was not going to be my destiny. And the straight shot roller coasters? Those were on my ‘don’t’ list.
When I signed the certified letter from my husband’s work I should have been more emotional. I knew what it was; it was a lay-off notice. He had one in his box a couple of days before. He was bummed. I accepted it calmly.
When he got the notice he needed a $2400 class to be eligible for rehire, I looked for other programs…. calmly.
When I collected all the paperwork the Union’s lawyer needed and was called by his assistant (the day after the paperwork was due) because I had faxed six blank pages. I re-faxed them. Calmly.
When his status as a teacher changed from Temporary to Probationary, making his re-hire more likely, I gave him a kiss, calmly.
And when he got the final lay-off notice I tried to comfort him, calmly.
Why was I able to be so calm?
Ending about a year ago, we had two terrible years. I was in the hospital, I couldn’t be around a baby without wanting to hurt it, I came within inches of a suicide attempt, I saw specialists at the Stanford’s bipolar clinic and Women’s wellness clinic to no avail. When we moved I found both a psychiatrist and a therapist that provided very low levels of care. We had a renter who rarely paid rent and bounced checks when she did. We had a pipe break that would cost a minimum of $4500 to fix. We were losing our house. We had next to no money, we were deeply in debt (I’m talking about tens of thousands of dollars) although we had no business having more children, I desperately wanted more, and people around me who also had no business having more children were multiplying (I’m not talking about any of you). Things were not good. It was easily the most difficult two years of my life.
So, when this little lay-off snag came along, without really making note of it, I decided I wasn’t going to ride that roller coaster. I had been on it before, but I wasn’t going on it again. I would accept what was going on.
My husband likes to remind us, “God is going to take care of us.” He’s right, of course. He had, in a way not clear to those who do not understand His kindness and grace.
The Bible says: “Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” (Psalm 55:22 NLT)
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)”
“The LORD will not allow the righteous to hunger, But He will reject the craving of the wicked.” NASV
The funny thing about this is whole lay-off situation, and the two-years preceding it is the effect it had on my spiritual walk. I never doubted God cared for me. I don’t feel like I ever slipped and fell. Even at my most desperate I never blamed God for it, or wavered in my belief in His goodness. Even when I had my suicide plan spread out before me I wasn’t singing praises to the Lord, but I wasn’t feeling abandoned by Him either. I was just set to do what I felt I had to do.
Romans says: “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.”
This is one of those verses that is chronically misinterpreted. First of all, it says “works for good”, not that “all things are good.” To believe the former requires one to not pay attention; obviously all things are not good. Hurting a baby is not good. Suicide is not good. To want a baby with all your heart and soul is not bad at all, but not getting one is not good. The second part of that verse speaks to who all things work for good. It is for those who love Him and find their purpose in Him.
So many really bad things have happened to us; a lot of them have turned out for good – ultimately all of them will. Our house was taken by the bank (but not foreclosed on! No taxes due!) I had to find a new psychiatrist and a new psychologist. What the Stanford clinics could not do a tiny lady in a commuter city about twenty minutes away did – she discovered my problems weren’t with bipolar only, but side effects from medicines, and also ADHD and OCD. I was treated for them and the symptoms subsided – not completely but enough to take the edge off. God put other women who were either dealing with infertility or the ‘only child blues’ in my stead. God has given me what feels like a gift of compassion that draws hurting people to me. He gave me the strong desire to write these devotional blogs to help others along the journey, and I hope you are blessed. He is making me thankful. I hope we will get further together.