There are Some Things You Only Realize Later, When You Have the Advantage of Hindsight…

Originally published Monday, 18 June 2012.

One thing that never fails to astonish me is how good God is. Even in the midst of squirming and praying and pulling away. Sometimes, we just can’t see the goodness until much, much later.

That’s how it was for me…

You may not remember, but two years ago, I was in the place of squirming because I couldn’t find a full-time job and my husband couldn’t find a full-time job. He had graduated from college, with a degree to become a history teacher and there were no schools anywhere we wanted to live that were hiring for anything other than math and sciences and foreign languages.

We were subsisting completely off a freelance gig of mine that was set to expire any day now; that income was guaranteed only on a month-to-month basis, so as the 30th of every month drew near, we held our breath about whether it’d be extended for another four weeks.

Every week at community group, when it came time for prayer requests, this was what we asked for—week after week. Every week at church, when the prayer binders were passed, this was what we wrote in the little box—week after week.

It felt like our lives revolved around this instability, this constant state of uncertainty, waiting on pins and needles with no idea of what was going to come next. I wrote a little about that feeling—that burden, really—in a post here.

As it happened, there were two other folks in our church who were in similar situations—without work and wishing they weren’t. Like us, they were praying ardently for God to reverse their circumstances. Their prayer requests were much like ours and stretched on for weeks and weeks, as well.

And yet, God hadn’t answered those prayers for any of us.

We did what any twentysomething with loads of time and little cash would do: We passed the time together.

At the time, we were really into a board game called Settlers of Catan, which I would heartily recommend to anyone, with or without a full-time job. We would get together at least two or three times a week to play Settlers—trading wool and wood and wheat across the table, chatting about life, learning more about one another, spending the unexpected lull of free time that God had given us together.

This went on like that for weeks that spring and early summer.

And then, of course, God began answering those piled-up prayers. One friend got into medical school, which he’d be waiting for for years. The other, got into a program that took him away from the city. My job got extended through the end of the summer. My husband found a part-time job at Starbucks and then, weeks before my job was to officially end, he landed a full-time job with benefits.

A few months ago, when we were moving into this house of ours, my husband and I were reminiscing about all the places we used to live, and we thought back to that first apartment of ours downtown. And we recalled those lazy afternoons spent around a board game, laughing and teasing and forgetting our cares for a little while longer.

“Those are some of my favorite memories,” we said, thinking back to those days.

And it hit me: At the time, we were praying that we wouldn’t have those empty afternoons but instead would have jobs and schools and career tracks. We were praying away those afternoons and yet, now looking back from the safety and security we know now, we miss those days that poured through our fingertips like grains of hot, gritty sand on a weekend trip to the beach.

It’s humbling to look back on it all now. To be able to see it all—even just a bit—the way that God was seeing it, even back then.

Even as he was gifting us with a deeper trust and faith in him, even as he was maturing our faith and all the other pat answers that people give you for why you have to face struggles—even in all of that, he was gifting us with much, much more. He was gifting us with afternoons well spent with friends, making memories.

Carmen writes the blog,Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twentysomething woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be.

Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons."

Feel free to read more at her blog, Life Blessons.

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