"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5
It has been a rough week, maybe even a rough month, I see that I've hardly found the chance to blog during the month of November, which is a sure sign of hectic days (and maybe a sign of having to divide computer time between blogger and facebook now :). This month God has been working on me, producing hope, and while it's painful, it's also wonderful. Today my heart aches mainly from being too full and I am seeing God more clearly.
We went to San Antonio for Thanksgiving last Tuesday, and were happy to have the opportunity to spend time with family, finalize Chloe's adoption (blog to come!), and eat some turkey. And while the week started off as I would have pictured, Kylynn came down with a stomach bug Thursday night and Jack Friday afternoon.
From Thursday on my days have been filled with scrubbing, and laundry, and strangely looking around and finding so very much to be thankful for. Here's a little bit of what I recorded during those days:
*Clean sheets to replace the dirty ones
*Help from Nana in keeping up with all that needed to be done
*A peaceful drive home, where the kids mainly slept and the only incident of sickness was in a gas station!
*Christmas movies on youtube, one after another after another
*A husband who lets me sleep in till 9:30!! while he decorates the house for Christmas, even though he is just as sleep deprived as me
*A father who happily goes to the store, again!, to get what the sick ones want
*A grandma's message checking on this kiddos
*A text from a friend asking what she could get for us; remembering God has filled our lives with people who want to love us in tangible ways
*A great washing machine!
*Medicine that stops throwing up
*Chloe, Kyle and I remaining well the whole time
On Monday, I was feeling pretty good, thinking that maybe, just maybe, I was learning how to be content in all things (I love how Paul says he has learned, that this skill is something that needs to be learned). So that afternoon I called the IRS to make sure they had received our latest fax, the one that I was sure would finally resolve this mess, they say to allow 5 to 10 days, it had been 12. The fax had not been entered into the computer, and she informed me that on the 30th of this month the IRS will be mailing us a letter of deficiency. Also known as the "90 day letter" it basically means that we can either pay up or choose to go to tax court regarding the issue at hand. I started to cry while I was on the phone with the representative, I got myself together until I finished the conversation, and then had a nice cry. I told God how angry I was with Him and this situation and how I just can't believe He hasn't stepped in and fixed this already.
Then He reminded me what He had taught me that morning, I had pulled out one of the follow up lessons from Kylynn's Sunday school and it had been reflecting on, "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 Do you know I've had that verse memorized for years, and every time I re-read it in the Bible I realize I've memorized it without, "with thanksgiving." And I can tell you why, it's because that didn't make sense to me, how do I petition God, with thanksgiving?
Kylynn's worksheet said that when bad things happen we need to adjust our attitude, we must choose to be grateful and when we do we won't miss out on all the blessings God has given us. I sat there crying about the IRS and God asked me to adjust my view and start telling him why I'm thankful and at first I couldn't think of much more than, I know the plans God has for me are for my good, I suddenly realized that I may be learning how to be content, but I've got a lot more learning to do! The longer I tried to do what He asked of me the easier it got:
*God is in control of this situation
*All my money is God's and He will do with it what He wills
*Material things will not last the end of this world, it is meaningless
*I would sell everything I own to have my children
*An opportunity to have a "court date" with the IRS would (I think!) resolve this issue, we are in the right
*The lady on the phone was so kind to me, especially once she realized I was upset
*God is changing me through this
*I'm not scared
*I have the money to pay the amount they think we owe
*my invisible friends who have emailed me ideas to fix this situation as they've had similar situations
*The reason I'm dealing with the IRS at all is because of a credit that I never would have dreamed would apply to me. My children are such amazing gifts
*There are so many bigger problems people face
I awoke this morning like a new person. I cannot believe how much I've been missing by taking out that "with thanksgiving" from that verse. It is through the thanksgiving that one receives the peace, it is through the thanksgiving that you can turn over your requests to God.
Today has been a great day, I have no idea what will happen with the IRS, I am sure this will not be the last time I will watch my children's body revolt against them, there will be more trials in this life, in this year, in this month, but in them He is producing this hope and it causing me to rejoice!