Seems elusive this time of year, doesn't it?
Schedules and finances and relationships all seem to conspire to steal what little bit of peace (and sanity) we have.
Yesterday, our refrigerator died.
We've been anticipating it for awhile and trying to save for a new one. We had money saved but new brakes/rotors on the van the week before our trip to Arkansas, and a furnace that needed repairing once we returned ate away at most of those savings.
Financial stress immediately began to eat away at my peace.
Why did this have to happen NOW? December is already expensive without having to buy a major appliance. (Last year we bought a transmission!)
Where are we going to find the money to buy a new one? Cash is preferred, but our reserves are low and I really don't want to dip into our "Christmas fund".
Do I need to get a job? Does my husband resent being the only one supporting our family financially? He doesn't but I know the responsibility weighs heavily on him sometimes.
Stress. Stress. Stress.
We went to Sears last night (with tired kids in tow) and perused the selection. We settled on one that was in our budget and when I say settled, I really mean that. It wasn't ideal but it was what we could afford to spend. We handed over our Sears card to complete the transaction and discovered that our account was inactive because it hadn't been used in quite some time. It's not a big deal to re-activate the account, but it just felt like a good time for us to hit the pause button.
We decided to leave, think/pray/sleep on it, and try to figure something out in the morning when we weren't tired and grumpy and impulsive.
As I was drying my hair this morning, I was reminded of the Advent candle we lit at church Sunday morning: the Candle of Peace. Hmph, I thought. I'm feeling anything but peaceful.
I was then reminded of one part of Sunday's sermon that really stood out to me. Our pastor was sharing about the importance of names and how our names shape and define us. She (yeah, we have women pastors) threw a photo up on the screen of Richard Gere and Julia Roberts from the movie Pretty Woman. I love that movie. There's some nuggets of spiritual truth in there that are too good not to share, so remind me to do that sometime.
Anyway, in one scene Richard Gere picks Julia Roberts' character up in his car and asks what her name is. She responds coyly with "What do you want it to be?" Missie used that picture and movie quote to prompt us to think about what names we might need to know God by this season. Wonderful? Counselor? Almighty God? Everlasting Father? Prince of Peace? Provider? Healer? Savior? Rescuer? Warrior? Love?
I stood there blow-drying my hair and asking God to remind me of the peace candle we lit to usher in this second week of Advent. To flood my heart and mind with the peace I know comes only from Him. To show up today as my Prince of Peace and remind me that this is going to be okay. I asked him to show me/us that He sees us and that He cares about the fact that we have to buy a refrigerator in less than ideal circumstances. (Are circumstances ever really ideal for buying a refrigerator???)
Thirty minutes later I walked into Home Depot.
I found a much nicer, bigger refrigerator (the one I secretly wanted yet couldn't afford at Sears) for a CHEAPER price and the salesman even offered me an additional percentage off because it was a floor model. I was okay with that BUT he later found one that was in a box in the back and still gave me the extra percentage off!
Of course I snatched up the deal. I used what cash we had and put the rest on our credit card. And it was sooooo much less than we would have spent had if we'd impulsively bought the one at Sears!
Wanna know the best part? I called John to coordinate delivery times while the guy was writing up my sales ticket. He told me a guy had just offered him a small freelance job that would cover the cost of the fridge. I almost started crying but instead I whispered a prayer of thanks to the One who took my concerns and gave me what I asked for: PEACE!
I share all of this because I think it's so important to share what God does for us...to give him the credit.
But it's hard too because I have so many friends who are waiting on God to intervene in their lives in similar ways. I have no formula, friends. No list of do's and don'ts. I doubt God's care for me more than I should...especially when my prayers (seemingly) go unanswered. I believe he has a time and a purpose for everything, but on days like today I just simply say "thanks".