The last year has been difficult. More difficult than normal, that is. We have experienced, one after another, a stream of heartbreak, sorrow, frustration, and trouble.
I do not ask God why. I believe that God is God, that He is good, that He loves me, and that He works all things for good. I have gone through heartbreak, sorrow, frustration, and trouble in the past, and I have seen that God has used it all to teach me, heal me, strengthen me, humble me, deepen my understand and faith, and make me more compassionate toward others. So while I don’t exactly like suffering, I understand it’s purpose.
One thing I have observed is that when I enter a new time of suffering, there is always a period in which I am strong in faith, able to courageously trust God, able to stand firm in His truth. But it seems that God is never content to allow me to remain in that place of strength. Instead, He seems to increase the pressure and suffering until I’m beyond my strength, beyond my ability to cope, beyond my level of faith. I recognize that at those times, God is taking me to a new level of strength, faith, and truth. However, it is often a time of turmoil, struggle, and pain as I try to reach for what I don’t yet know.
I think my family is in one of those transition times now. I suspect God might be pushing us out of the comfortable to something new.
It’s been a difficult year.
We moved to this little village because we felt God had led us here. This has been a very difficult place to live, full of heartbreak and trial. We stayed because we felt God wanted us here, and we learned a lot here through the trials. For a few years, I had friends here, a church here, a ministry here, and family within reach. But slowly, over the years, for one reason or another, my connections to this area have disappeared.
My husband, EJ, works as a CNC machinist in a factory in a nearby town. He was one of the first machinists in the factory, and he wrote some of the manuals and developed some of the procedures that are used there. He is a great machinist. However, the factory has become more and more difficult to work for. EJ calls it “psychologically torturous” to work there. It appears that the “old-timers” are being used up and pressured out so the company can hire younger, stronger, and cheaper employees. My husband is struggling with his health because of that factory.
Both EJ and I have been praying for guidance. We have told God that we are willing to live in a difficult place and work at a difficult job if He wants us to be here. My husband has ministered to many in the factory. I have ministered to my neighborhood. We know that suffering can lead to growth. However, so great and many are our problems that we are getting fatigued and discouraged.
We are willing to leave if God wants us to. However, we don’t have any idea where or how to move. With EJ’s age and health problems, we don’t know if he’d be hirable in this terrible economy. We don’t know what job Eric could do if he decided not to work as a CNC Machinist. We don’t know whether it’s wiser to stay where we are (at least he has a job) rather than be the “new guy” at a new job, and the first to be fired. We don’t know if we could sell our house. We don’t know where we want to move to. “Stay or leave?” we have asked God for months. “Do we stay or leave?”
We are believing that it is time to leave. The most important thing to consider is that the factory is killing EJ, and it’s oppressing his spirit. So is living in this area so close to a family that rejects me. We think we are in a transition time–that God has something new for us and He’s pushing us out of the familiar and comfortable.