Monday, October 09, 2006

Thank you for the prayers...

...that were extended to our family over the past few days. They have blessed us and supported us.

As to what we are struggling with? I am at a loss as how to explain. I, who love to write, who loves to use words to create and share thoughts, draw pictures with and entertain with words am at a loss how to explain in as few as words as possible where we are at and what is at the heart of our struggle.

It is not as some have supposed, a dream house gone wrong, or a weight loss plan not working or acclimatizing to the stresses of having moved to a new town, although these are all things that can cause a person a fair amount of angst.

It is more in line with the fire that completly destroyed the home of the family who had no insurance, that Annonomous wrote about.

In the past five years we have:

Lost a job and it's 120,000 annual salary and benifits.
Lost two babies within the same year , each (Thankfully) in the first trimester. I do not know if I could have coped with losing a baby I had actually felt move!
Dealt with serious illnesses (Lyme Disease, serious back injuries, asthma and its complications) and continue to deal with illness, on varying levels.
Helped a daughter escape a an abusive spouse, and on Christmas eve in 2003 placed her on a plane to NYC so she could hide with friends there.
Lost our home.
Lost our family van.
Given birth to our 12th blessing for which we are most grateful for!
Moved again.

Through all of this we have been trying to build a business so as to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. In my husband's industry, he was amongst the last to be laid off in our part of the State. And he was a manager. In his 20 years of experience - he knew that managers have never been hired from outside - only promoted from within. It's a morale issue. Unless he could find a small start up company seeking an IT project manager despite what was the worst time economically for his industry - he knew he had not a hope of gaining employment. Still he sent out resumes, joined church support groups, attempted to network and had resumes "walked" into Human Resource departments where he knew there was a rare job opening. Not one was acknowledged.

All the while he continued to also build, with no capital besides his severance and eventually what money we made, his online business. A few friends have lent personal time to assist us in whatever manner they could. For this, we have been incredibly grateful.

At our worst, most stressful moment while dealing with the forclosure on our home, we were literally persecuted by people we thought were friends who were Catholic and members of our parish. When our priest was approached by another family, dismayed at what was happening, his advice was to suggest we move to a different parish as 'the rich in his parish felt morally threatened by our being able to fill a pew on Sundays with all of our children while they filled the parking lot with their Mercedes and Cadilacs.'

And so we moved. To protect our children.

...and then we moved again. To an area that is physically safer for our children, more affordable to live in (1500 for a 3 bedroom home vs 600 for a 5 bedroom home). We prayed before moving, sought direction from the wonderful priest who was spiritually adminstering to our family about the move. He approved it.

We were convinced we were doing the right thing, for the right reasons.

We have sought to understand the burden Christ has given us. He has promised He would share the yoke. We continue to try and Hear Him in our despair. We are tired. Oh, so very tired, spiritually and physically and emotionally. We are trying to pray as a family, despite what feels like real attacks from the devil.

It has been five long years of continuously straining to pay the mortgage, and then eventually the rent on time. Often we are only able to pay the car insurance only hours before the deadline of it's being canceled. At least once these past five years we have had the utilities cut. It always a case of borrowing from Paul to pay Mary and then from Mary to pay Paul. For five long years. There is always the stress of worrying that we will be evicted, often receiving such a note in the mail. After a desperate novena the money will appear and we will be able to stave it off for another month.

We had grown lukewarm in our faith the last years before my husband's lay off. Mind I had always felt gratitude for his job, and owed it to God's blessing on us as well, as Hugo's abilities. While others were being laid off for the last four years of his employment, he was not. So as we struggled over the past five years - we re-learned the value of prayer. The value of having God the center of your life. God is a jelaous God and will not have any other God before Him. We got the message loud and clear.

But now we are completly worn out and as we sit here, over a month late with every single bill not knowing how we will pay for the rent, nor how we will buy more merchandise, I keep asking God - what is the lesson? What are you trying to tell us? What am I/we not getting?

My husband struggles as well, and I do not feel free to share his personal struggles but his questions have begun to impact on my faith.

I always felt certain God Loved me. I always believed He would provide. But after month after month of watching things go wrong and we struggle so hard to keep the business going while we pray for guidance. Again and again, we seem to just catch a break and think - this is it, we will finally be self sufficent, only to slide back further than the three steps we had just gained. "Show us, Oh Lord your Will. If this is not what you wish us to do - show us the way..."

It seems these prayers are met with silence. Or we are too stupid to hear Him, or too stubborn??

This constant struggle has begun to leave mne with more questions than answers, with less strength rather than more and with a shaken faith, that was once very strong.

As you have seen from my normal postings, we try to be positive. We take great joy from the twelve blessings God has bestowed on us. We try to foster a sense of gratitude in ourselves, no matter how difficult it gets but it has become harder the past year to do so, because we are tired. Tired, tired, tired.

"Please God, help us to Hear you. Guide us in the direction you wish us to go. Have mercy on us and send Your blessings upon us. Give us the strength to get through one more day, and one more day and then one day more again. Help us to count our Blessings, and to trust though we can not see nor understand the Why of our life right now."

Thank you, all of you, for your prayers and I humbly ask you to continue as I can only attribute our current sanity to your prayers. THANK YOU!

And now you have a bit of an idea of the spiritual struggle that we are going through. And so now I will go back to my fun, sometimes amusing and hopefully once in a while insightful postings. I prefer sharing that side of being a large Catholic family. Read more!