What I thought versus what I got- and how to handle the difference

I think we can all agree that the year 2020 was basically awful for all of us. Don’t worry though, this isn’t another article about 2020- I’m just setting the stage. Many of us felt that with the New Year, so many of our problems would fade away. For us, 2021 wasn’t off to great start either. We had a huge medical scare with Gary that we are still dealing with over a year later. Mid year we moved to a new church- which was a huge step of faith. We left a full time salary and stepped out in complete trust. The project list was huge, but so were our dreams. We saw the potential and we knew that God is always faithful. We were sure that He called us and so we just jumped right in believing that it was all going to work out. We worked really hard those first few months organizing, cleaning, adjusting, and growing.

We enjoyed the holiday season with our new church family and stepped into the new year with huge expectations and anticipation. We could just imagine how God was going to work all things out. We had spent  time adjusting  to being lead pastors.  We had spent time getting to know our new church family, and we just knew that 2022 was going to be a year of thriving. We imagined growth and outreaches and miracles and stability. We were so excited. 

Now here we are. We are eight weeks into 2022- the year that we thought was going to be a year full of blessings after 2021. Let me just give a quick recap of the past two months-

  • Gary had some tests come back with not ideal results. We thought that we would be having our final surgery and instead this journey could go on for another year since he needs physical therapy.
  • A very dear family member suffered a stroke and it scared us all.
  • We were notified that we are losing our church building. They are tearing it down to build townhomes and we are currently looking for a new place. We have about sixty days left to find something.
  • We have been to five funerals this year already.
  • The financial worries of it all. Personal and Church. There is not a place available for our church with rent less than double what we are currently paying- most cases the amount is almost triple.

I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but man- I’ve had some days with some tears.

Don’t get me wrong- there is also so much to be thankful for. I’m so glad that our surgical team had the wisdom to run these tests, so that we didn’t have the final surgery only to have Gary end up with issues again. I’m so thankful that Gary is in good spirits and doesn’t mind at all that the timeline has been pushed back.

I’m so thankful for our family member that is doing so remarkable well after the stroke. I don’t know what we would’ve done if things would’ve been different- so thankful for God’s hand on her.

I’m also so glad that God put us in touch with amazing professionals in the real estate industry to help us and guide us in finding a new place.

So how am I processing and handling all of this?

I’m choosing to rejoice(most days anyway). I’m standing on the fact that God must have some amazing plans for our family and this church for such roadblocks to be coming. I’m resting and relying on His goodness even when I feel overwhelmed or discouraged. He didn’t bring us this far to leave us. That’s not His character. He is going to use all of this – every single thing- for His good and His glory. Those big dreams – we’ve still got them. We are still praying, planning, working and trusting. His timing is perfect.

 It may not be tomorrow, next week, or next month, but I’m ecstatic about all that God is going to do in us and through us. His plans always blow anything I can come up with away, so why not just completely trust Him anyway? 

Otis preached yesterday from Joshua about being a warrior. One of his points was about how it is so important to remember all that God has done for you in the past.

“And those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you crossed over, just as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; so that all the peoples of the earth may know [without any doubt] and acknowledge that the hand of the Lord is mighty and extraordinarily powerful…””

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭4:20-24‬ ‭

I can look back over my life and see where God has always been faithful to me. Things haven’t always been perfect according to my plans, but it’s always worked out. There have been too many times when God could’ve given up on me. If He has always been so good back then- ten years ago, last year, last month- and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever….He has shown me his love for me. He has shown His character. As I face all of these current obstacles, I can rely on Him. As long as I stay focused on Him, He is going to take care of us. I can choose to become paralyzed in worry and fear or I can continue to walk step by step as He guides.

I can’t wait to write a blog post this time next year and detail all of the amazing testimonies from what started out as a trying time for us. I can’t wait to exclaim His favor and love over us and trust that our twelve stones will serve as encouragement to you as well.

About jfulford01

Hello to anyone taking time form their busy lives to read my blog. I am a wife to an amazing man, who I am blessed to serve alongside in youth ministry. I am mommy to two amazing kids who I am privileged to be able to homeschool. This blog is out of my comfort zone and certainly me trying to be obedient to Christ. I love Him more than I care about my own comfort or awkwardness. Hopefully, this blog is honest, real, and transparent. I'm not a big fan of fake. The Lord is using it to bring growth to me...and I pray that in the process something about my crazy beautiful life might also encourage others.
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