Wednesday, February 8, 2012
A Declaration of Dependance
The other day while I was driving to the store the saddest song came on the radio. A song that used to be somewhat fun to listen to now practically brings me to tears. Since her death last year, does anyone else find “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse to be a downer?
It’s a song of rebellion and independence. The catchy way she sings “No, No, No” has a way of making you as the listener feel empowered to shake your head in defiance and stick it (whatever 'it' might be) to ‘the man’. As I thought about Amy’s cry for independence, it made me think about how this past year of my life has been one of complete dependence on God, family and friends.
It was just about 1 year ago that our picture perfect life in Auburn was flipped upside down. And what a year it has been! We experienced a lay off, sold a house, interviewed for several jobs, went down to 1 vehicle, moved our stuff into storage, lived with friends for 3 months, started a new job, found out I have cancer, moved into a new home, underwent surgery, started chemotherapy, survived the holidays, welcomed a new year, and climbed out of emotional wallowing. Thankfully I think we somehow managed to do it all in a way that our kids are still smiling and I don’t believe they have been negatively effected or hurt by the rollercoaster that has been this past year. Nevertheless, this list of what “we” did is not really a list of our challenges/accomplishments. It is actually a list of what being dependent on God and others allowed us to survive.
Sometime last February we went with my sister to check out her church, Bridgeway Christian Church. Pastor Lance was teaching from some passage out of 1st Samuel, and the main point was about Gods desire for us to be completely dependent on Him. I remember he was talking about how in a moment we can screw up our lives by choosing to do things in our own personal time rather than choosing to wait upon God for His best. (Marrying the wrong person, choosing the wrong job, poor/illegal decisions, falling into temptation and ruining what you have, etc.) Lance talked about how when we feel that we are at the end of our rope and desperate... maybe in truth, that place is actually like half as desperate as God desires us to be.
I remember sitting there in the dark auditorium thinking about our situation of not having any steady income coming into our home (ministers are considered independent contractors and do not receive government unemployment… so there really was nothing guaranteed coming in). What if maybe while our money was slowly fading what God really desired for us was to have like $2 left in our account.... and then His amazing provision would occur? Would He purposely push us to a place of extreme discomfort and complete dependence on Him for every earthly need? Maybe His plan was for our walk through the valley to be so very lonely, that when we emerged on the other side of this mountain of trials the relationship of trust that we had with Him would be so much sweeter. Maybe He desired us to be in a place of weakness requiring trusting in Him to be more than a walk, but a delicate dance of trust and dependence.
In the weeks and months following that sermon, I learned to see all things as a gift of provision from God. Selling our truck back to the dealer for close to what we had paid for it 2 years earlier was a blessing. Eating dinner at someone’s home was God feeding my children. Coupons were a gift of provision. A gift in the mail was more than someone's generosity, it was divine intervention. The buyer for our home was a blessing straight from Gods hand. In retrospect, that was true dependence and it was a great place to be. I actually felt less stress being in a place of dependence than I had before when we had control of our income. It was also the first time in my life I had ever really experienced being truly dependent upon Him.
And then it happened. In June Eric was hired at Bayside Church of South Sacramento, and we were no longer in the same place of desperation. I remember getting the news that he got the job and I immediately wanting to go shopping. For anything, I just wanted to shop. After 4 months of not making a single frivolous purchase, I just wanted to go to Target and get something fun. I wanted to get a Starbucks. I wanted to go to a movie. I just wanted to have a little fun to celebrate surviving the Valley of Despair. However, I came to realize that what I really desired was to declare my independence from dependency of Gods provision. As if I was saying, “Okay Lord, thanks for carrying us through that scary time… but we’ve got it from here.”
I sometimes wonder if those months of depending upon God, was a training exercise for the dependence we would need in fighting cancer. On the other hand, could it be that when I naturally returned to my spirit of independence, He shook His mighty head and said, “Okay, since you missed the point of that exercise, we will now continue with round two.”
Either way I am finding that trusting God with the healing of my body is pushing me again to complete dependence upon Him. In reading more about Triple Negative disease, I have learned that reoccurrence percentages are very high and chemo actually only works about 40% of the time. The flip side of the coin with Triple Negative disease is that if my cancer is going to come back it will do so right away and not hang around hiding for years. So, if the chemo is able to successfully rid my body of the cancer and if I remain cancer free for four or more years, the chances are good that my cancer will NEVER return. I have to believe and trust that I am in the 40%. I am depending on God to put me in that 40%. After all, someone has to be on the positive side of this percentage and why shouldn’t it be me!
Once again, I’m discovering that being in a place of complete dependence is the only place I am supposed to be.