I'm in a tough season now, especially with working two half- to full-time jobs. And because I'm in a tough season, that makes it tough for my family as well.
But like with any trial, this lessons from challenging time must not be focused only on myself. Already, God has allowed us to use this opportunity to teach our children some very important lessons, about Providing, Serving, Pursuing, and Being Sharpened.
Teaching My Kids
ProvidingI've had great discussions with my children about why I'm working the jobs that I am. More than anything, I need to provide for our family. Work is not always easy, but it is honorable to do it to provide for others, especially when the job situation is not always fun and enjoyable.
ServingWhen I asked one of my sons why I took the job at Lead Academy, he said, "Because they needed someone." He's right! I believe in the vision of that school, and they found themselves in an unfortunate situation of needing someone to fill in.
As a former football player who spent more time on the Scout Team (i.e., practice squad) than the game field, I am used to filling in the gaps. I want to be a part of something bigger than myself.
PursuingI want to be a constant learner. My natural (passive) self is usually content to stay in the same routines. But I need to regularly get out of my comfort zone, and to pursue new opportunities. And of course, I want my children to do the same. My working this "uncomfortable" job provides a model for them.
Being SharpenedOne of the main focuses for our family this year is to be sharpened (Proverbs 27:17). Within my first week on the job, I had to go to my bosses for help. I asked for their advice and criticism, because I knew I had a lot to learn.
Was it easy to admit that I don't have all the skills needed, and to hear their constructive criticism? No! It's humbling. And I want my children to see that being humbled is a wonderful thing, because it follows the example of Christ (Philippians 2:5-6).
I don't just need to hear their counsel. I need to put it into action. That in itself is extra work, but it will help me provide, serve, and pursue even more.
Teaching MeOf course, God has been growing me through these trials, but in a way that caught me off guard.
Recently, (especially dealing with job struggles, or the lack-of-a-job issue) I found myself thinking this, "God has abandoned me. For all I've done for Him, I deserve better than this."
Boom. I froze at the thought. I know better in my head. I know He is loving and faithful. But my heart and flesh were failing me. I felt hopeless, and I felt ashamed of feeling this despair.
The trial I am going through was not causing me to doubt God. Instead, my trials merely exposed my lack of faith in Him.
I'll keep praying for "grace, mercy, and peace" from God (2 John 3). And I'll keep praying for His wisdom (James 1:5). And I know that our faithful and generous God will give me both.
And I know that as I wrestle with God, He wrestles back and wraps His loving arms around me. And when I get through a trying season, God's glory will be made know. How can I say that God is great, if I don't go through trials which give Him the opportunity to show His greatness?
"Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?" Romans 8:35
**image courtesy of BigB via freeimages.com