Dear Running on Empty,
Dear Word Washed Wife,
Life is tough at the moment. My husband hurt his back three months ago and cannot work. He is in pain and so he is cranky and difficult to live with. Our bills are piling up as fast as my stress level. To complicate matters we have two preschool age children. I’m working as hard as I can, but I’m not sure how long I can keep it up. I work 40 hours a week and pick up extra shifts on the weekend and I do all the cooking, cleaning at home. I am starting to snap at my husband and my kids. I have a male friend at work who has offered help, but I get a funny feeling his motives aren’t honorable. I’ve asked God to help, but I am afraid He is not listening. Any words of advice would be appreciated! Help, please.
Running on Empty
Dear Running on Empty,
Thank you for sharing your story. I hear that you are in a very tough place. Life is hard and you are correct to turn these concerns over to God. God cares, my sister! He cares very much for you and your family. He is listening. And God is able to meet your every need. He is our Jehovah Jireh, which means “the Lord will provide.” This is both a name of God and an actual place in Moriah. This is the place where, in obedience to God, Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac. (Genesis 22:1-19) At the last minute, God provided a substitute sacrifice in the form of a ram. God could have given Abraham the ram many hours earlier, but God is a good Father and He wanted to see Abraham’s faith grow. God challenged Abraham, and Abraham proved faithful. This story is powerful and personal to me because in my own life God has provided time and time again. And because God is not a respecter of persons, God will also provide for you, my sister in Christ. Hold on to God and take Him at His word.
Let’s unpack this story of Abraham and Isaac and see what other encouragement we can find. Abraham heard God’s request to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Abraham took his beloved son, along with all the supplies he needed to make a fire, and climbed to the top of a mountain. As Abraham proved his obedience to his responsibility, God proved his faithfulness. Abraham didn’t whine and complain to God. Instead, he got busy doing what he knew God wanted him to do. You, my friend, are also proving your obedience to your responsibility by working 40+ hour weeks and by caring for the needs of your family. I applaud your strength of character. I know that God will honor your obedience. If you allow Him to, God will sustain you as you march through these difficult days. If I were you, I’d let something slide around the house. Lay the vacuum cleaner down 😊; in that saved time, pick up your Bible and allow God’s spirit to strengthen you. For a start, read Psalms 16 and nourish your soul. Take God at His word – He says that He “will fill you with joy (Psalms 16:11).” Also consider and mediate on these verses: Deuteronomy 31:8, Psalms 30:8-12, Matthew 10:29-30, and Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
I am sure that as Abraham climbed that mountain to sacrifice his son, Satan whispered in his ear, “You don’t have to do this; don’t trust God; turn away from this and protect your son.” Satan has only one plan, and that is to destroy you and your family. Satan would have loved to have persuaded Abraham to abandon God. He may be trying to do the same with you right now. Do not give him a seat at your table! Consider this, God has already provided you with your ram – Jesus Christ! Jesus suffered all the shame, all the heart ache, all the anxious thoughts, and all the despair that you are feeling now. And, He overcame it for you! Celebrate this truth. Celebrate that though the battle may be tough, the WAR has already been WON!
Do not accept help from the man at work. I believe that the “funny feeling” you have about his motives is actually spiritual discernment. Stay the course and believe God to provide! God may use men, but he won’t use that one. Reach out to your church body. Your church family will want to know what is going on and will want to help carry your burdens. Pride keeps a person from sharing what is truly going on in his or her family. Do not fall into this trap. Call your church and ask for help. Ask for your church elders to come out and pray for your husband. The Bible clearly instructs us to “call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord (James 5:14).”
Not in any way am I trying to make light of your situation. Nor am I suggesting that it will be “all better soon.” The heaviest trial of my own life took a year to turn around. God doesn’t promise us an easy ride; instead, He does promises us that He will love us (John 3:16), that He will never leave us (Joshua 1:5) and that He will sustain us through the storm (Isaiah 43:2). Look to God to fill you with joy through His Holy Spirit. Tap into that joy by daily counting your blessings, starting with the blessings of your husband and your children.
Let an older sister share with you one last bit of encouragement. When I look back at my life, I see both the mountains and the valleys. Because I experienced God’s faithfulness with me, time and time again, I would not change one thing. God used every hard time, every rocky month and my husband’s and my ugly year to strengthen my faith. In all of those hard times I sensed intimately the Spirit of the Great Comforter. I cherish all of those memories as highlights of the reel of my life. Rest in God my sister, stay washed in His Word and keep doing the things you know to do. Trust God with the rest!
You are in my prayers.
Word Washed Wife
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
DISCLAIMER: In the interest of brevity and an intent discuss particular topics faced by many in marriage- I have simplified most letters to one question. I have personally reached out to each person who wrote me an e-mail to offer more specific details that address their individual needs.