I wrote the following word one year ago. Before I knew my husband had cancer. Before I knew we needed to move out of a raccoon and cockroach infested house. Before my husband died.
I'll give you the opportunity to read my words, then share how stunning and kind my God is.
The Yellow Rose of Texas...
Unnecessary and totally useless as far as needs go, wouldn’t you say? I mean, it holds no innate value in order for me or my family to live and breathe, and yet- the Lord in His kindness knew, when these were planted how much these roses would mean to me. He knew they’d be reminiscent of days spent planted roses with my grandma. How kind. Not to mention our lake house. Is this real?
Just like the enormous English garden the Father planted for me decades ago in Massachusetts, knowing I would take great delight in simply seeing hydrangeas and roses each morning. Not to mention that beach house. Stellar. Wants. Not needs. Desires. Wishes.
I hear far too often “God provides only for your needs and not your wants”. Not only is that false, but it’s poor theology and a gross lack of understanding of who our God really is, and His character.
You see, God is a good God. One who gives good things, things only you would appreciate.
A certain bulldog comes to mind. To my family, my bulldog is an utter annoyance. He’s gassy, drooly and completely rude to every other animal. But to me, he’s an absolute delight. He was an unnecessary want.
It’s like this. You don’t actually need to ask God for your needs for the Word of God says “before you even ask, your Father knows what you need.” And later Jesus says, “ask the Father for anything you wish/want/desire in My name and it’ll be done.” He says it 7 times by the way.
Oof. Some of you don’t know how to handle a God that is just that good. So you make up false stuff to assuage your trauma and perceived lack. For that, I’m so sorry for your pain. But we must handle the word of God correctly and show others that actually- this God is astoundingly generous. He is a wealthy and lavishing Father. It’s sometimes overwhelming for me to think of the ways He has just poured out on me and my crew.
Today I want you to know- we have a GOOD God. He gives us our wants. He loves you more than you’ll ever comprehend on this side of Heaven.
So ask Him, friend. Don’t allow past trauma and bad theology to keep you from it.
Facebook memories reminded me of my own words, exactly one week after I had given up on life. Not in the usual, someone needs to call for help, given up. It was more of a "what's the use in believing God for anything good anymore" sort of giving up. A what's the use. Oh I still believed IN God, just didn't think He had anything good for me anymore. Like I had used it all up or something?
I am sitting in a home that is not mine, have been for 8 months- way longer than I thought I would be here. I am trying to help my five children through scads of grief and nuances that come with that all while dealing with my own pain and sorrow. All while dealing with literally the devil's system of credit and FICO scores. I am debt free after paying off some shenanigans my husband did and because of that I don't have enough credit to rent/buy/ etc. The irony is nauseating.
There was a time in my life when I would look at the Lord and say "wanna show them now what only You can do, or should we wait?" Not in a demanding way, but in a I have seen my God move mountains and I can't wait to see how He shows off, sort of way.
Since the death of my husband, that fire, chutzpah and desire to see God move was quenched. I didn't realize it at first, but as time has gone on, my situation seemed to become more hopeless, that inner knowing had nearly vanished. Until one weak moment and I said, "enough. I'm done."
My kids rarely see me cry. Please no comments about how they need to see it, it's normal blah blah blah. I hate crying in front of people because people are so awkward and don't know what to say so they just stare at you until you get it together, and it's worse with your kids. They know I cry. When I cry it makes some of them tearful and you know how that is, they were fine until mom started up and now they're not fine. Maybe it was because they miss their dad. Maybe it was because they hate seeing their mom so sad. Or maybe they just think it's a sin to let anyone cry alone. (name that movie) Whatever it is, I rarely cry in front of them.
Last week was another story. Shoot, I couldn't get through teaching verbs to Selah without waterworks starting. Everything felt bad, horrid and completely hopeless.
I'm sure my friends want their house back. There's ten eyes staring at me everyday wondering when will we finally have our own home, when can they get their stuff out of storage, when can they go through dad's things and when can we get our other dog back from grandma's? These may all seem like superficial things to you, dear reader, but to us, they're big things. One thing I know from teaching emotional well being is all feelings matter and all feelings are important. Everything hurts a little more for a kid without their dad. So then everything hurts me a little more as well.
It was probably my mom and dear friend who were fervently praying for me to come back to life, but Sunday I started to see a light at the end of my darkness. We visited a church that had signs for widow parking. Widow freaking parking, people.
Not a sign for the pastors, or guests. But a sign for widows. For the first time in eight months I felt seen. Seen by God.
During my darkest day, my aunt said "ah Jenny, God SEES you!". To which I said, "yes, I'm sure He does- like ' oh look at poor Jen down there, that's a real pity'". The worst part was, I meant what I retorted to her. I felt like God didn't see me, didn't care about my mess of a situation or my kids. When you ask well meaning friends what to do they typically offer "solutions" that only make you feel worse. Again, well meaning, but man.
Seeing those signs at church on Sunday made me realize how stupid and wrong my thinking had been. You see, the bible paraphrased says "true religion is this- care for widows and orphans" (1 Timothy 5 & James 1) This church took that seriously and because they did, I started to remember that God truly does see me and my kids. The service only got better when the guy asked all the widows to stand and spoke a prophetic word over each of us, something I needed to hear, encouragement from someone who didn't know me and wasn't emotionally invested in seeing me smile again, you know? Someone who wasn't trying to make it all better with platitudes, but was speaking from the heart of a loving Father.
Sometimes when my mom is encouraging to me I feel like she has to say that, after all, she's my mom. What kind of monster would she be if she was negative. Then I remember her mom and think, oh yea, that kind...
But when an outside spiritual authority encourages in such a way, I don't know, it causes my eyes to stop leaking.
Circumstances did not miraculously change that day. I still need my own home, my FICO score is still not what the people want (eye roll), but I know my God is working it all out for my good and His glory. It's His promise to me. There are countless scriptures promising to care for the widows. He tells the church to do it, but I know if they don't He hasn't left me. He's not a liar, that's the devil's role.
And then the above memory pops up. A sweet reminder from my God through my own mouth back to me when I needed it most- when I was ready to hear and receive.
A week ago I would have told you "God is good for other people, but He's straight up run out of miracles for me." I truly believed I had run through all the miracles He had stored up for me. But now, having walked through the darkest night of my soul with Him never letting me go, being able to feel His tangible presence even when I was a tantruming child, I can tell you without a single doubt- nope. He sees me, He's hasn't run out of goodies and bulldogs and yellow roses and houses and beaches. He's got them all and more.
And my friend, I KNOW that He also has them for you. I don't know who you are, why you're reading this, or what your situation is- but I can tell you- that no matter all that, He has got something amazing in store for you. If you are just biding your time until heaven calls you home or He comes to get you, oh friend, don't. Get out there and grab hold of all He has for you, it's there, a wonderful amazing something is right there. Don't give up, seriously, I know it seems like a good option, but it's not. That would be too bland a life for you.
If you don't know this God I know, can I tell you, He knows you. He sees you. My daughter had a friend at work say the other day "Oh I don't believe in Jesus!", to which I said "what a shame because He sure believes in you!"
It's true tho. He believes in you, He is cheering for you, even if you hate Him. Just turn your sad face around and bend your pride so He can get to you and help you. He has plenty of yellow roses for all of us, we simply need to open our eyes.