We have been through a lot the past 9 months. All the recent changed in our lives has really got me focusing on all the preparation God has done to get us primed to listen to him.
September 07 I had my gorgeous Baby Boy. That was the beginning of our roller coaster. I spent 12 weeks on unpaid maternity leave. This brought us all the way up until Christmas. Can you even imagine how hard it is to buy Christmas for 2 kids and a huge family on no income? Not even no income, but delinquent on bills, also. Well, some of you can. But I had a couple angels who were in-flesh examples of what the spirit of Christmas and the love of God is truly about. They helped me get over that mountain.
Going back to work in December 07 was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I cried, and sobbed, and wailed and mourned the loss of my time off with my kids. After being able to take my Baby Girl to work with my until she was 1, I felt taking my Baby Boy to daycare at 3months old was irresponsible and made me that much less of a mother. I felt like a failure.
The whole month of January proved to be a true reflection of failure for all of us. I found out my best friend since early high school and who was 39weeks pregnant at the time was found to have a mass in her brain that was unrecognizable. (praise God that now after watching it, it is of no concern at the current time). In the same breath, on the way to celebrate my Baby Girl's 3rd birthday, we get into a terrible accident, totalling my car. All caused by a teenage girl's assumption that she was invincible and could run red lights without consequence. The choices (to not hit the brake pedal) of one girl caused an earthquake beneath the feet of an entire family. Hubby was banged up pretty bad and to this day we are still dealing with medical bills and insurance issues. And just one breath later, we loose the matriarch and anchor to Hubby's family. His Nana passed away after years of illness and struggle to keep moving forward.
The bad luck ran into the next month, and the month after. I was having issue after issue with the kid's daycare, I was debating accepting a new job that was offered to me, the financial struggles continued to bog us down as we were still recovering from my maternity leave, I was struggling SO hard to get my business off the ground, the kids got incredibly ill for a 2 week span with pneumonia and asthma issues and our faithfulness to attending church was less than acceptable.
For a few weeks, we tried committing to a Young Marrieds Home Group through our church. The people were awesome, it was led by our pastor whom which we completely adore, but we were just having such a hard time attending. It's surely doesn't help that we have such a long commute and hardly see our kids as it is on weeknights. But Hubby's job started demanding more from him, my business was demanding my evenings, we could hardly make it there in a timely manner, and it was expensive and late to feed the kids after group and get them home to bed. I know, God doesn't take excuses, but we just couldn't find the balance of time.
Although we hardly attended, I know God put us in that group for that short time for a reason. As we were telling a bit about ourselves and the hardship we had been through, Pastor's Wife told us of a bible verse that I will now never forget. And after she told us about this, she warned us to be ready for big things, massive fruit. Unbeknown to us, that warning packed so much power. God was preparing us and pruning our branches vigorously for something huge. The 'story' had to do with us being the vine and God being our gardener. Grapevines are very rugged in one aspect, but in another sense their fruit is very delicate and requires being treated with delicate hands. A young vine is not permitted to bear fruit for the first few years. It is therefore drastically pruned in winter months to preserve its energy. The particular branches that do not bear fruit are cut out to further conserve the energy of the plant. If this constant cutting back was not done, the result would be a crop that was not up to its full potential.
It's so hard to understand why God allows us, his children and his vineyard, to go through so many painful trials and tribulations and yet, when we look back over the past, we can see how God was with us guiding our every step and pruning us so our lives would become more fruitful and productive.
"No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way." (Hebrews 12:11, NIV)