As I was doing my tree work job today, I had an awesome conversation. It happened when a neighbor of the client we were cutting down trees for came over to say hi.
We were taking a short break from dropping trees, cutting and splitting logs, and loading the back of the truck to deliver firewood. As I sat for a few minutes to rest, the neighbor across the street came walking over. He introduced himself, and we began to talk. As the conversation went on, he shared how he had become a Follower of Christ about a year ago. So cool!
He proceeded to talk about how coming to the Lord had changed his perspective on what it meant to be a father and a husband. So I asked him about his family, and he shared with me how he has a nightly devotion time with his daughter. Then he told me that his wife was not a Follower of Christ.
I asked him if his wife was supportive of his beliefs, and he said “oh yes, definitely…but she does have a lot of questions about it.” He went on to tell me that she is very intellectual, so he had been doing a lot of studying in apologetics (how to defend your faith) to find answers to her questions. We talked a little bit about that.
As we talked about apologetics, we discussed how being able to defend our faith and answer people’s questions does have its place for sure, but that can only go so far. Ultimately, it is our life that is the greatness witness. Us living our life faithfully, day in and day out, in front of them.
The man shared how it was because of a coworker of his that he came to be a Follower of Christ. This coworker, he said, lived a Christlike life every day…he didn’t shove anything down my throat, he just lived out his faith. And watching him live that way is what caused me to want to have in my life what he had in his.
I have thought about that conversation for the rest of the day. It was such a cool conversation! Especially because this is the first time I had ever met this man. Definitely a God moment.
The past…well, about 3 to 4 months…has had a lot of discouragement in them for me. There’s been a lot of good things too, don’t get me wrong. I’ve had some pretty fun experiences, been able to go on some great trips, see my Student Ministry really begin to gain some momentum, given opportunities to speak, watch my children continue to grow up (which is crazy!), had some amazing times with the Lord, and made some new friends.
But if I am completely honest, a lot of those things seem to be overshadowed…at least somewhat…by the struggles and discouragement I’ve also had in my life. Struggles to figure out how to finally get back on my feet again financially, and discouragement with how it almost seems to be impossible to do so. Struggles with not getting to see and be around my kids every day, with not getting to see and be around my best friend regularly, with only being part-time at my church so I have to try to supplement with other part-time work too, and just feeling very discouraged in the midst of all of it.
I often describe my life as a part-time life. My best friend does not like when I say that (and if she reads this, I’m sure I’ll hear about it next time we talk 😜), but I don’t know how else to adequately describe it. Everything I want and love in my life I only have part-time. Everything feels incomplete…which is very difficult for me because I’m an “all or nothing” kind of person. Job, part-time. Being a father, part-time. Relationship with my best friend, part-time. Ability to afford for life, part-time.
My problem is, once I begin to think about it that way, it just seems to snowball and become more discouraging. And lately, the snowball has been getting bigger.
Then today, I had this amazing conversation that was very encouraging in the midst of my discouragement.
First, I got to hear a story of how God has changed someone’s life. Awesome! I will never tire of hearing stories like that.
Second, I was reminded that what matters most isn’t knowing everything, it’s simply being faithful. In the context of the man I was talking with, that meant living faithfully in front of his wife who wants to understand things, letting his life be the ultimate witness to her. In my context, it means realizing that while I do not understand why everything I want and love in life I currently only have part-time, I need to continue to be faithful in how I live, trusting that when the time is right, God will move in my life.
“Lord, I need you. I need you to give me strength when I am weak…and I feel very weak right now. I need you to provide encouragement in this season of discouragement. I need you to provide my needs as it seems no matter what I do, it’s not enough. I need you, Lord. I need you. Help me to trust and be patient as you lead and guide me. Help me to follow and not try to figure things out on my own apart from you. Amen.”
God is faithful. I know that. May I also be faithful. And may I trust that he is working, even in the midst of a discouraging season.