Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Don't Worry

When we first moved into our new home, I spent most of our time in the backyard. I am so happy with our new yard. There are just so many beautiful plants and flowers. I discovered that there was a nest in our tree, and that one particular bird was in it everyday. I named her "Momma" hoping that she was sitting on some eggs. I don't remember ever having a birds' nest to watch and be in awe of.

We do now. Just this week, three little beaks keep popping up out of the nest, straining for their momma. The first thing I do every morning is look out my bedroom window, which is actually pretty close to the nest. I see Momma and her babies enjoying their breakfast. What a sweet way to start your day!

I got this shot yesterday of Momma actually feeding her little ones.

She used to sit in the nest. Now she rests on the side of it. Or on top of her sleeping babies.

While I was taking pictures, she flew over to a branch that was really close to me.

See how puffed up she looks? I think she was trying to intimidate me.

I think she's convinced she could do some major damage to me with those talons if she needed to. I believe her.

If I go missing, this is the mug you should look for. Seriously.

But I just couldn't stop taking photos of her. I absolutely love her. I think she is wonderful.

"Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God." - Psalm 84:3
I wish I could tell this little momma robin how much she and I have in common. I too work hard to take care of my three hungry babies. And I wouldn't hestitate to stand up to someone far larger and more dangerous if I feared they could bring harm to my kiddos. I applaud her for trying. Her babies are loved.
Although I'm relating to this little bird, there are lots of things we don't have in common. Yes, that's right. Thanks for noticing. I'm not a bird and she is.
But to me, that's not the biggest difference.
To me the biggest difference is that she's probably not too terribly concerned with where her next meal is coming from. She is probably convinced that if she swoopes down to find food for her and her babies, she'll find it. She is convinced of this because it has just always happened. Why would she doubt?
Why would I doubt? I have absolutely ZERO reason to doubt that my family and I will be provided for. And yet, I'm a bit concerned right now.
See, Ben went a bit manic in February. He's still there. It's not overwhelming like it has been in the past. He's grown up a LOT, and the things his mind is urging him to do are actually healthy and good for him. He caught it early and went to a psychiatrist right away. (Yes, I count my blessings everyday that Ben is willing to take medication for his bipolar. That he realizes the importance of not letting his feel-good mania get out of control.) Because of this, he's been making a few mistakes at work. There are so many teeny tiny details and steps to his job, and missing just one will throw the whole thing. That's happened a few times. When he originially told his boss about it, his boss seemed relieved that it was something temporary and not Ben being careless or whatever. But it seems his boss expected Ben to be back to normal by now. He allowed Ben to take off work for like 6 days (not NEARLY enough time to regulate a manic mood), and said that he'd only call him for emergencies. Well, apparently everything is an emergency, and Ben didn't really get much of a break from the stresses of his job.
Long story short - Ben never got the time he needed away from work to get back down to a normal pace. And because of this, his mania affected his job. He would ask to work from home more days than he should have (which should be fine since he can do his job perfectly no matter where he is, but his boss didn't like it) and was still making a few mistakes every once in a while. Ben is the only person at his job that can do what he does. If something with the network goes wrong, he's the ONLY one that can fix it. So he wouldn't get to his car after leaving the office before he was being called to fix something. Probably 5 out of every 7 days, he had to work several hours once he got home and usually on the drive home as well. It was pretty stressful for Ben. Especially in his manic state.
Well, his doctor noticed that he should have calmed down by now and suggested that all the after-hours demands of his job were keeping him from getting better. The doc recommended that Ben go on short term disability. I wasn't too sure about it at first, but it was the smartest thing Ben could have done. About a week before the short term disability took affect, he got called by a recruiter about his job. The job he is currently working! Seems his boss has been trying to find his replacement. On Monday of this week, Ben got a company wide email from his boss introducing the New Guy. So when Ben is better and can get off of short term disability, he's out of a job. He can't be fired while he's on disability because of the Americans with Disabilities act, so for now, he's protected. Sure his income goes down by a third, but it's probably still more than he'd be getting if he was on unemployment or whatever.
He's working hard to get his resume out there, to call recruiters and ask about different jobs that he could work. But he's stressing out big time. (And I'm sure you've guessed that that is NO GOOD for his bipolar.)
He took Gillian out yesterday to a little hiking trail nearby and was teaching her about the flowers and animals living in the park. He told her that God always takes care of them. No matter what. And that if He takes care of them, how much more will He take care of us - who He loves even more?!
Last night as I was laying in bed, thinking about my birdies, and praying for God to place Ben in a job where Ben can be a witness and a good worker, it hit me. We're going to be just fine. Just like Momma Robin is able to provide for her new little babies because God guides her to the place where He laid her meals, God will take care of us.
We have no reason to doubt Him. He's always taken care of all of us.
I'm also realizing that it's not really lack of food or shelter that I'm worried about. I've lived in homeless shelters and been without money for food or clothes and was just fine. I've seen families taken care of in this country by the many, MANY organizations created just to serve them. If it comes to that, we'll still be fine. I doubt it would ever even come to that. We have such loving family members and friends. We will definitely be just fine.
What I'm worried about is changing my lifestyle. I know how shallow that must sound. Don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid to cut costs. To spend less and not eat meals with as many ingredients. To drive less and cut down on gas money. To completely and totally halt all unnecessary expenses. I'm not afraid to work harder to earn extra money. I've been brainstorming a few things that I might could do to earn a few extra dollars. I'm not afraid to sell certain things either. We just moved, and I purged us of all kinds of extra and unnecessary. To get rid of the things that I decided to keep would be a little hard for us, but it's far better to let go of those silly, replaceable things than to not be able to pay rent or buy food. I'm not that selfish. So if it comes to it, it'll happen.
I'm not afraid of doing all those things. In fact, it might end up revealing areas of my life that I didn't realize where extravagent. Which is actually kind of wonderful. I would love to live a simpler life. The simpler the better. Ben's not totally in agreement with me there, but I'm sure that once he lived with less, he'd like it better too. I'm not afraid, but I am a bit worried. I guess just not knowing if we can stay in this house. Not knowing if Ben will be able to slow down under all this stress. He does realize that he's not the primary provider of our family. But he really likes the role God put him in. He feels pressure to do it justice. To show God appreciation for making him the head of the household. Ben's always been able to find jobs. He's really good in interviews and is genuinely incredible at his job. It is definitely a gift of his.
Anyway, if you think about it, please pray that Ben would find a job soon. That our hearts would be focused on what we do have and not on what we might not have. That we would trust in God's goodness and perfect provision, regardless of what that ends up looking like. That we'd be willing to do what the Holy Spirit may be urging us to do, to go where He guides and to accept and appreciate the comfort of knowing that God is looking out for us just like He's looking out for our Momma Robin and her babies.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:25-27

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