This lesson began about a month ago when I didn't get my way about something and I pouted and snapped into cynical mode. I was wallowing in "discouragement." Then one day, when I realized I was feeling encouraged and that that was because of my circumstances - the ones I would not have chosen for myself - that were really turning out for the better, conviction rained down. And then I read Habbakuk. Habbakuk struggled with the LORD, questioning the circumstances and not understanding or liking what was going on, not seeing His purposes...and then it ends with this:
"though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior"
Yesterday we got a phone call from our social worker. Not good. She said she is not going to give us a favorable home study because we don't make enough money. Ok, first of all, our income was the first thing we discussed and information we gave, so to bring this up now, after so much time and money has been invested in this process, is a bit aggravating, but that's really not our focus. The fact is, we don't make much money. The reality is, our paycheck may seem puny for a large family, but that is because we work for a ministry that provides our housing, utilities and food as part of our compensation package so our salary reflects that.
+++++side note: (my ADD is kicking in) I can't figure out how to get the blockquote formatting off, so my apologies for the formatting of this post.+++++++
Back to our conversation.....Our social worker has every bit of our financial information. She can clearly see that we are very far from struggling financially, that we are very responsible with our finances and can more than adequately provide for another child in this family. So we talk it out and she agrees with me that her reasoning is not legit but says that her supervisor looked at the case and made the call. So, naturally, we want to speak with the supervisor. All day we wait for her to return our calls.
Finally the supervisor calls and we have our first opportunity to share with her. She asks a ton of questions, seems to understand that her ruling was made prematurely without her getting the whole picture and says she'll talk to our social worker and call us back soon. She did. Now the third call to tell us they just won't do it. So we talk some more. She asks a lot of questions, trying to understand our life, because we agree with her that it "sounds" crazy to have four little kids of your own and at the same time be raising 14 teenage girls, for a total of 18 kids under your roof, while depositing a check that you would think only supports a single person. It does look bad on paper, which is why we discussed all of these factors BEFORE we began this whole process, because when you see it in action, you understand.
The third call ended more hopeful (of course, I had an ounce of hope after the second call, too). She said that when she hears our heart and explanations for all their concerns, her emotions say there's no problem, let's proceed, but when she gets off the phone and looks at those darn figures on the paper, she says no. BUT, she said she is going to pray about it and take our case to their director and call us back.
So I don't know what is going to happen. I know what I want. I know what I think is best. I can really get worked up when I think about the whole picture and I really struggle with the thought of them making a final "unfavorable" ruling if they truly are advocates for the least of these....but, in the midst of my tears, I can honestly say I have peace - and joy - because God is God despite my circumstances being what I want and He is deserving of my praise whether or not I appreciate what I have been given.
I love worship music and scripture memorization, and various lines have been flooding through my mind (if only I were in a sleep state at this awful hour)...
I am not skilled to understand what God has willed, what God has planned. I only know at His right hand stands one who is my Savior...
Blessed be Your name, on the road marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name....
habbakuk 3:17-18 ....
etc. etc. etc.
And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trumps shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, oh my soul!