Saturday, February 4, 2012

This Side of the Storm

Sometimes trials can sweep into a life like a fire storm.

Sometimes it's both an unexpected arrival and, in the end, an unexpected outcome.

We had one of those storms this past summer and I was left asking myself "Am I going to make it through this with a sound mind and a marriage in tact? Can I stand the heat? Will I melt like butter or will I allow it to strengthen me?" Because, If you think about it, that same fire that melts butter will also strengthen and harden steel.

So was I butter or steel? As the fire swept through, I wasn't so sure, but thankfully God walked with me though it every step. I thought, at times He wasn't paying attention. Like He left His post or something??? I knew better, but I felt like I was alone. Oh, how our feelings will lie to us. Now, looking back, I can see He never left my side. He had a better plan for my future than I had for myself, but it was a more difficult path than I would have chosen... It was exactly what I needed.

What exactly happened? Well, making a long story short; just weeks after my last post in June my husband lost his job of 13 years. We also lost our home of  7 years to foreclosure. We were suddenly without a home and without our main source of income... Never in a million years would I have ever guessed we would end up in that situation. Anyway, what we did have was 3 kids, a cat and a dog to care and provide for. We packed up our things, put them into two storage units and moved our 3 kids and 2 pets to our dear friend's home for the following 4+ months. They had "mother-in-law-quarters" in their basement (sort of like a studio apartment) that we crammed into until we moved to our current home.
I tell people it was the most horrible-wonderful time I've ever experienced. Very humbling and very eye-opening. God blessed us SO greatly through our friends that shared their home as well as through our church, that shared their hearts and resources. What a strange thing to suddenly be the ones in need.
I've had a few people tell me it seems so unfair how everything went down. I felt that way at first but, then I thought "Really? Who am I, that I shouldn't experience difficulties?" ...And in the end I've seen God's hand in more amazing ways than many are fortunate enough to see. I do miss my house, my garden and park-like backyard. I miss the larger paychecks, too. But I wouldn't trade them for all that God has given us through this season in our life. God has a beautiful way of restoring to us what we lose in those trials, as well. Maybe in a different form, but restoration, all the same. We have been blessed with a beautiful home now. It's actually nicer and newer than our other home. My husband has a job that doesn't pay the same, but it's much better on his back and for his health... This was an answer to prayer!
Anyway, all of these months since life took such a drastic turn, there have been so many times I've snapped a picture or had a story to share, but decided against it. I struggled with the decision to share, or not to share the trials I was enduring.  I didn't know... so I did nothing.The first couple of months ALL creativity had drained out of me. ALL desire to blog was gone. Life seemed to have so much of it's color. But as the creativity and color slowly returned, I realized life and time still marched on around me... It just looked a little different. I saw how God was returning what had been lost in beautiful ways.
I wanted to reconnect. I missed my blogging connections. But embarassment and pride kept me from sharing. I journaled instead, but it's not the same as sharing life with others. So it's taken me months to get here to this place where I open up and share the personal trials we've faced, but I don't think it's a story for me to keep to myself. I hope it encourages at least one little somebody.

Life can be a struggle. But it can be such a beautiful struggle when you look back and see the full tapestry God is making of your life... not just the part that was rough to get through. That's where I am... looking back at all of it now. And it's an amazing view! (You may also want to read the post I wrote almost a year ago now about God's restoring power: My Art Lesson. He's a patient teacher.)

I'm stronger. He didn't let me melt. I'm back and look forward to posting and sharing again. I have many things I'm working on that I look forward to sharing. Maybe even filling in some of the gaps over the past few months. All of the pictures I've included in the post are from those precious months in the "wilderness" at our sweet friend's home. G'night, my friends!

Hugs  ~Jen

Romans 5:3-5 “Let us exult while in tribulations, since we know that tribulation produces endurance; endurance, in turn, an approved condition; the approved condition, in turn, hope, and the hope does not lead to disappointment.”


  1. Your story reminds me of some relevant sayings:
    "All's well that ends well", "A friend in need is a friend indeed", ' Life is a journey not a destination".

    Glad to learn that God hasn't deserted you, and that things are well now.
    Welcome back to Bloggie Land!

    1. Thank you for welcoming me back so warmly. I've been quiet for the last several months, but I've still enjoyed your blog on several occasions. It was one of those small things that aided in helping me to stay connected to the life I felt I was losing at the time. Your journeys and stories bless me.

  2. Wow, what a touching story. So glad that you have come through it stronger, and that you shared it. The pictures you took are absolutely beautiful. :)

    1. Thannk you, JoAnn. It is true that if it doesn't kill you it will make your stronger! I appreciate your positive feedback. My pride wanted to just keep that part of my life under wraps, but there really are so many others struggling. I hope someone is blessed to see a simple girl like me made it through to the other side w/ the help of God :)

  3. Way to make me cry, dearest.
    I LOVE the photos....brings back memories, for sure.....

    As always...
    In Christ alone,


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