My heart is deeply troubled as I write this post. I'm weary, worn, and frazzled. I'm really not trying to run ahead of God or lag behind. At the same time, I'm soooo ready for certain things to be OVER. The problem is that Satan tempts me to feel that God is not there when our family goes through difficult circumstances. The battle between faith and feelings is a life long battle. Each day I make the choice again to "fix my eyes on Jesus" as the writer of Hebrews encourages us to do in 12:1-3:
"Therefore, since we have so great
a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,
let us also lay aside every encumbrance,
and the sin which so easily entangles us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of faith,
who for the joy set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who has endured..."
Permit me to share with you two of the several ongoing difficulties, in our family, and let you know that the only way we make it from day to day is the transforming power of Jesus.
1. OUR MOTOR VEHICLES SAGA: In the picture above, I am with my basket of files sitting at NJ Motor Vehicles Services. Steve snapped the shot with my camera phone. Over the last year and a half we have had ongoing challenges trying to get our vehicles registered and tagged and for me to get a driver's license in our new state. Although we have done our research and understand why New Jersey is one of the most strict states in the nation, here are some words that we have heard when there, "We've never had this happen before!", "Lady, you should have known!", or "Do you always have so much trouble with this kind of thing?" The first couple times it was sooooooo frustrating. Although most of the workers have been kind, on one visit, I was reduced to tears by the rudeness of one. Each time since, I have prayed before going that I would be LIGHT and SALT to the people at Motor Vehicles -- no matter what! They now know us when they see us coming. We laugh! They laugh! Quite a few have asked us why we remain cheerful. One man said that we should have the evening news follow us each time we go back until everything's resolved.
A few weeks ago, during our Tuesday morning Bible class, I received a phone call from a lady at Motor Vehicles saying, "Mrs. Sikes it looks like everything is now in order for you to come in today to finish up on your husband's truck paperwork." Steve went almost immediately. As he stood across the counter from this supervisor, she input everything into her computer according to law. As Steve was getting ready to write his check, she said, "Oh, no! The last line has a red flag. There's another title out there somewhere on this vehicle. You cannot do this until you surrender this other title!" What other title? We knew nothing of an other title! It would take me way too much time to tell you what has happened in the last few weeks to find out who had this title. In fact, it raises my blood pressure to think too much about it. Just know that we now have one fully licensed and legal New Jersey truck.
The saga continues with my car and our two girls' cars. We actually also got the license for the Buick and had 14 days to get it any repairs that it needed for inspection. That same day, the odometer went out and "it is one of the hardest odometers to replace". :) The Buick is on it's third week of sitting in the repair shop. Stay tuned!
I know that God is at work. Jesus experienced being deeply troubled.
"Now My soul has become troubled;
and what shall I say,
'Father, save Me from this hour'?
But for this purpose I came to this hour.
28 "Father, glorify Thy name."
He knew things were going to get worse before they got better...and they did...
"From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass,
so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.
20 "Truly, truly, I say to you,
he who receives whomever I send receives Me;
and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."
When Jesus had said this,
He became troubled in spirit, and testified, and said,
"Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me."
2. OUR DAUGHTER'S DISCOURAGING NEWS: Many of you have heard of the horrible excruciating pain that our 25 year old daughter goes through daily. Of the 40 some medicines she has tried, she is either allergic to them or they do not work. Yes, she has daily migraines but she also deals with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue symptoms. She has windows of relief where her pain will be at a level 5 out of 10 instead of a 10, 11, or 12 out of 10.
She applied for Social Services as a first step to applying for Social Security benefits. Although I do not have a picture of all the times we have had to sit in those offices waiting to be called, no matter what her pain level, I can tell you that the picture would look nothing like the one above of me at Motor Vehicles. A Social Services, there are lines of people applying for unemployment and various types of government assistance. There is crying! There are arguments! One day we sat between a policeman, a man in a wheelchair, and a woman screaming at them both. You would have to be there to see the pain in people's eyes... to hear the stories. I sat next to a man who said he was living out of his car.
Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be standing in one of these lines. I can't imagine Jessica's pain as she sits and waits. Last week, Jessica got a letter that she needed to come again for an appointment on Tuesday. Steve took her. After waiting and waiting in horrific conditions, they found out that she had been "forgotten" because "the lady who was working on it had gone". Then, when Jessica finally went in for her appointment, she found that the appointment was for her to be assigned to the NJ Workforce... they could not find her paperwork for her medical waiver...so she must work....
The saga continues... we are weary... our feelings tell us one thing but our faith says that we must believe...we must hope that there is LIGHT at the end of this tunnel...
I read more of Jesus' words and I ask "Why?"... give me mustard seed faith LORD...
"Let not your heart be troubled;
believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 "In My Father's house are many dwelling places;
if it were not so, I would have told you;
for I go to prepare a place for you.
3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again, and receive you to Myself;
that where I am, there you may be also.
4 "And you know the way where I am going."
5 Thomas said to Him,
"Lord, we do not know where You are going,
how do we know the way?"
6 Jesus said to him,
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life;
no one comes to the Father, but through Me."