It’s been twenty years, going on twenty-one and the struggle has been for the most part through out the full twenty-one years. At first, we were young and – let’s be honest here – we were stupid. We had high ideals and grand ideas and we worked nearly all twenty-four of the twenty-four hours available to a human in one day. I had to give that up pretty quick, but hubby, no, he pressed on hour after hour, day after day, the pressure of huge bills and closing sales and the ever evil press of paperwork to be completed, driving him forward. His sheer will forced him to learn techie things that even a high school geek like him hadn’t anticipated. His capacity to sell drew in large customers, political customers, and his compassion drew in the needy and the oppressed.
We worked hard for our money and sometimes, especially at the beginning, we worked hard for no money. Okay, maybe we weren’t stupid, but we were perhaps foolish. And certainly to the world around us, we were down right crazy.
And even after twenty-one years, we press on. Not because we are all that and a (very big) bag of chips . . . no, because we know that even though we fail, even though we can’t possibly anticipate the wending of competitors mixed with market changes and innovations galore, even though we grow exhausted and weary of the never-ending pace, we are loved by a God who has no weariness, Who watches over us without sleeping, Who cares deeply for me, for hubby, for our vendors and our customers, our children and our friends.
That’s not to say that bad things don’t happen to us. Have you been listening? We’ve been in the war of the self-employed in a highly competitive market that believes with enough money we can lower our price enough so that even though we are losing money, we can drive out our competition enough to kill them off and then have all the market share – or at least a much bigger one. We are not those people. We are the competition they hope to drive into despair, to rip our precious customers and new sales from our worn to the bone fingers and smash us into hopelessness until we give up.
But we don’t wage this war alone. Nor would I ever attempt it. I don’t know how people who do attempt such a thing exist. It’s not my world view and I confess I can’t wrap my head around that world view.
The Creator of the Universe and beyond, Alpha and Omega (that’s beginning and end for us English speaking folk,) He CARES about ME! Why would I ignore that? If my earthly father owned half the world and devoted himself to my every need, would I just go, “Ah, heck, Dad, I’m good” and walk away? I am pretty rebellious, but not that much! God the Father gets me. He knows who I am from the inside out and back again. He really gets me! I don’t know me as well as He knows me – and so sometimes I ignore His advice, because – like we established up above – I’m foolish (okay, stupid, but just let it go – its not nice to keep reminding me of it!!) I like going my own way. I like trying out the way that looks different, unadvisable, maybe even dangerous – though I am a bit wimpy.
I did marry a man who is NOT wimpy and danger is often his middle name, so I guess I’m not all that wimpy – I just needed a scape goat.
But I digress. Or do I? Because every time I make one of those “inadvisable” choices, God is there. His plans are not thwarted by my ignorance, nor does He wait with glee to point out my failures and bad decisions. No. He’s the Father standing by the gate, day after day, running with joy as he catches the slightest glimpse of me returning home, head hung low, totally defeated with shame. Or just a shrug and an “almost apology” – “I did it again, Dad, sorry.”
There’s the image of a young child at the mall, walking along side their Dad, tiny hand in his big calloused one. The child is jumping and bouncing and almost dancing – carefree, soaking in everything around him without a care. Why? Because he KNOWS Dad is holding his hand. And if he breaks free and runs into something or someone scary, he knows he can turn around and run back and his Dad will scoop him up in his arms and make it all okay. That’s the kind of Father/Child relationship God wants with us. Scripture says in more than one place that He delights in us.
So I know that while I am going through ridiculous hard times, God is not walking away in disgust, He is not throwing up His hands and saying, “I told you not to do that!” and He is not disowning me, making fun of me, or lacking in compassion for where I am at right now. He is standing with me. Sometimes He is standing there to help me walk through that hard thing, sometimes He is wrapping me up in His divine Comfort in my grief and sometimes He is working in and through and all around me to work Miracles for me. I say sometimes, but the reality is more like all day, every day He is all those things and more for me. Given what I’ve seen Him do, I’m pretty sure there are so many rescues and healings going on all around me all day, every day, that I am not even aware of – so many things happening on my behalf that I have no clue about and then I am anxious about so many petty things, while He’s weaving Love all around me.
So I am still self-employed after twenty-one years – hopefully a little less stupid than when I started out, but regardless I have learned to rest in His faithfulness and I hold up my hand to take His Big Daddy hand and I try to remember to just soak it all in and look for His miraculous care on my behalf moment by moment, day by day, year after year.
I don’t know where you’re at – if you know Jesus, if you acknowledge there is even a God who sent Jesus, whatever . . . but I encourage you, wherever you are at, soak it all in – watch for His hand and if you see it don’t shut your eyes and keep going it alone – reach up your hand, let Him hold it and just enjoy the walk for a while. He DOES care, not just in passing, but in a “come to earth as a helpless babe, live thirty years and let them kill you in order to save them” kind of care. So let Him have His way. Let Him Love you, lavish you with His guidance and provision and say, “Thank you, Daddy,” to Him as often as possible!
“Thank you, Daddy!”