Painted toes and prosperity gospel

When you are in a funk, sometimes the smallest things cause the greatest annoyance.  Ive been looking at the mostly scraped off toenail polish on my toes for three weeks now.  “I’ll paint them soon”, I kept telling myself.  I never did.  I never made time, or something else needed my attention more.  And then, there I was, crying in the kitchen because “I just want five minutes to paint my toes!!”  Truth is, it wasnt about the toes at all.  It was about loss of control.

When I was in Cleveland, the consensus  among the doctors was, that I should no longer work as a nurse (at least for this time), due to my condition.  It wasnt safe for me, or my patients.  One doctor even used the term “disabled”.  Ive been off of work since August, and I know that I wouldnt be safe working in the capacity that I was, so in the moment, those words didnt mean anything but reassurance of what I already was doing.  But now, the importance of those words, its hitting hard.  DISABLED.  That word stings.  Ive always been a dream it and do it kinda girl.  I knew as a young child I wanted to work in the medical field and I never questioned making that dream a reality.  Ive been a nurse for 7 years now and loved every bit of it.  Nurse, is part of me.  Nurse, defines me in many ways.  Having that taken away, is like losing a limb.

Not only is working as a nurse part of my identity, but also a source of our family’s income.  Living on one income is not something we can do long term.  We have been able to survive the last few months with some creativity but now that my diagnosis and instructions are more final, we have come to the realization that “creative living” is not a good long term plan.  We have really been praying and seeking and questioning what the solution should be.  So many things to consider.  Darren’s job requires him to be away from home a considerable amount and taking off when I need him isnt easy, but the pay is good and the benefits are great.  I could find a job that doesnt require me to be on my feet and help supplement the income, but then we need someone to watch the kids.  Working evenings would work, but then, in times when Darren is working late, which is often, no one is available to put them to bed and they get tired and sick easily.  So, the obvious solution of me helping to bring in some income,  isnt logistically easy to do.  We have considered selling our home and purchasing something smaller.  Thats a very big decision that we are open to, but not something we want to do without time to consider.  If we move, do we stay local, or move closer to family?  We are still praying and seeking what God’s will is, and pursuing many options so we can consider all possibilities.

In seeking wise counsel from those around me, I keep getting the same answer, “God will provide”.  What does that even mean?  Hasnt God already provided?  No matter what I experience here on this earth, my salvation and eternity are secured.  No matter if I live richly or die a pauper, holds little eternal significance.  But, what does that mean for my time here?  Does that mean God will provide for us to keep living as we have?  Does that mean, you can just sit back and wait for the provision to start rolling in? Lets say, the money doesnt come, and we loose our home.  Has God chosen not to provide then?  If my prayers are not answered in the way I have asked them, do I assume God has forsaken me? Do I assume, I am no longer in his favor?  To assume any of this assumes God’s love is conditional to my actions.

How good I am does not determine how much favor I get from God.  Does God intervene in our lives?  Yes.  I can think of many occasions where my exact need was provided in the exact moment I needed it, only to be explained my Divine Intervention.  When we go through challenging times does that always mean we arent living in Gods will?  That we have somehow lost his favor?  No.  Certainly, God will put things in our lives to redirect us as needed.  But sometimes bad things happen to good people.  Last month, my friend died of cancer at the young age of 18.  She was a child on fire for God, blessing everyone who came in contact with her.  If anyone was deserving of “favor”, it was her.  She died.  I am not God and I cant begin to understand God’s plan in that moment.  What I do know, and what this story solidifies for me, is that God does not care about favor.  Your prosperity is not dependent on your works, or how hard you pray.  Sometimes you will pray and pray hard, and sometimes, your request is answered with a No.  There will always be bad people in this world who are prosperous and good people who suffer.  My God is not about favor.  My God, is about grace and love.  His love is not dependent upon my actions.

Being a parent has helped me understand God’s love so perfectly.  My children love me the best they know how, as completely as they know how.  But sometimes, they make decisions that dont communicate that love.  I dont love them any less because of that.  My love is not conditional.  I dont love them more when they are good.  My love is so full for them.  My love does not wax and wane for my children.  My love is.  Sometimes, I choose to intervene for my children to teach or guide them.  Sometimes, I choose to let them learn on their own, while I watch close by.  Sometimes, I know what they need, but wait for them to ask.  Sometimes, I know they think they need something, but, because I am older and more knowledgeable, I know that what they are asking for, in not in their best interest, so I say no, to their request.  My objective is to help them grow to their full potential.

Right now, I have no idea what God’s plan is.  Right now, I feel sad and discouraged and uncertain.  Right now, Im not sure that my idea of provision and God’s are in alignment.  Just because I am feeling a time of loss, doesnt mean I am not in Gods favor.  I am not any less loved.  What it means, is I need to keep seeking understanding and listening for that still, small voice, to guide me.  What I know, is that I am loved, fully.  God’s love is not conditional.  My perspective remains eternal, and in that, I find joy.

And so it is the prayer of my heart, that I can remain open to hearing the will of God and humble to follow wherever I am called.  I remember that God HAS provided.  In time, we will know the answers to all of our current questions about jobs and bills and houses.  In time, we will establish a new working normal.

Now my toes are painted, and Ive regained some much needed perspective.  Focusing on those tiny things I can control, no matter how trivial, helps me maintain some sanity.  Darren and I would love your support in prayer as we consider many things.  We have several possible directions, and some of them would entail big change.  We hesitate to share too much detail, as nothing is certain this point, but will update as appropriate.  God is good, all of the time and all of the time, he is good.

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