I watch. I wait. I wonder. Some call it courage. Some call it foolish. I call it faith.
Over a decade ago, I wrote an article called, “Join Me on Our God Watch.” I invited blogging friends to join our family as we entered another “God Watch” period in our lives — my husband’s unemployment. Years ago, I coined that phrase for our children as a game of sorts. During our first extended season of financial insecurity, it was an intentional way of watching and waiting to see how the Lord would unexpectedly amaze us during a particularly difficult circumstance. Every day around the dinner table, we’d ask the kids how they witnessed God working in their life or in someone else’s.
All these years later, it’s still a family mantra. Our God Watch is a reminder to gaze at His goodness, to rest in His reassurances. But more importantly, it’s a whisper of willingness to choose joy in the midst of doubt — to live it and seek out His goodness when we feel it the least.
I chuckle as I re-read that post. Heartfelt was the God Watch invitation, but at the end I retorted, “Remind me of this in six months if we’re still unemployed, deal?” I never assumed I would need to revisit that tongue-in-cheek comment as we wrestled through an additional year of unemployment — another year of wondering how we’d pay our bills and hustling odd jobs to make ends meet. A year of attempting to model for our five children that while being in the throes of uncertainty, we stand as a steadfast gospel witness to all His things beautiful, good, and true. Throughout that season, we let them ask hard questions. We welcomed and walked with them through their doubts. When people looked at our faith and called us foolish, we believed wholeheartedly that He meant all things for our good even when we didn’t feel its evidence immediately.
This week I’ve gone down memory lane and read my “God Watch” journals to reinvigorate my spirit by His notable marks of remembrance in my life. I thought I needed that reminder in 2020, but 2021 has brought with it a whole host of new tensions.
Many of us have lost so much. We’ve lost jobs, loved ones, homes, savings. Some lost things less tangible but that have left us lonely and disillusioned. Maybe it’s the loss of goals and dreams, loss of community, friendships, or even church homes due to division. Amidst my personal wrestling, the Lord is allowing me to be a safe space for others to share these losses, but my typical Pollyanna personality is struggling. Do any of you feel like you’ve lost some of your optimism and fun? No? Just me?
That’s why I stopped in my tracks from a specific journal entry. Don’t you love how He often uses our past experiences to preach to our own heart when we need it most?
Satan would love nothing more than to take me down the winding road of regret and woo me into a long, whiny discussion. The kind of back-and-forth conversation that takes place in my mind — ideas primed as dagger-like darts, feelings that mull around in misery, yet with no audible words ever leaving the mouth. Oh yes, those have been some of my more lively discussions.
But, today, His faithfulness reminds me that I have the choice to punctuate my life with praise.
Praise for His security during times of uncertainty. Praise for the little things since they are reminders of the big things. Like the way the stars twinkle so much brighter snuggling on a blanket with my husband and children. Or the way my teen age son guzzles the soda straight from the two-liter as I type. No sky-rocketing mommy annoyance now. I am so thankful he’s journeying with us, choosing to be “an untypical teen” during this learning transition. (FYI: Now that teen is married, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see them chase after Jesus together, but I wish he was in our kitchen this second guzzling from the bottle. I miss it.)
How about when my favorite grocery store tripled their coupons the very week I needed to stockpile my favorite items or the “trash to treasure” finds that I uncovered at last weekend’s yard sale?
Ah yes . . . finding joy in things I had entirely missed before deepens my faith walk. It’s a reminder of how this extended “God Watch” season can grow us deeper, make us more intentional, and reveal to us the little blessings that are so often overlooked.
So here’s to finishing a year of no steady job, but I’m still testifying that He is good.
August 2021 Serious Jen needs that reminder from 2008 Jen.
As our summer starts winding down and uncertainty begins ramping up, let me testify again that no matter the circumstance, “He is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is a God of faithfulness who fights for us, forever desiring our best, and a God who wants us to find Him in every season and every part of our lives.