I feel so stinking accomplished. I stayed up until after 11 last night (When did I start considering that late? I’m getting old…) finishing A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Which means that I’ve (finally) finished all of the books released so far in the series.
I read the other four last year and the year before, and I hate to not finish what I start. So I started the monstrously long fifth volume in September. I repeat, SEPTEMBER. I’ve never taken that long to finish a book. I can usually finish a book in a couple of days. If it’s a monster (as GRRM’s books tend to be) it might take me a week or two. But, when I started this book in September, I spent ten days trudging my way through it, and I abandoned ship when I hit page 550. I read 41 other books before I picked it up again.
It’s not that it wasn’t a good book; it was fabulous, like everything else GRRM has written. He’s an incredibly gifted writer. But it was just so broad in scope that it was hard for me to feel connected to the story. And it was so looooong. I honestly enjoyed A Feast for Crows more, to be perfectly honest. I know that A Dance with Dragons was told from more popular perspectives, but the overlap, the demand that we witness the same events over and over from various perspectives, became tedious in spite of the caliber of writing.
I respect the crap out of George R. R. Martin and his epic of Westeros and beyond. His series changed the way the world views fantasy as a genre; it’s so much more respected than it was twenty-five years ago. And I’ve enjoyed reading his work; he has created some of the most memorable characters of the last century. But I’m glad it’s not hanging over my head anymore. I’m ready to move on to another realm. I’ll be returning to visit Westeros; it’s just not a fantasy world I want to live in between those visits.
I hate money. I wish that we didn’t have to find ways to earn it. But, as we don’t live in a world powered by rainbows and unicorn farts, jobs are necessary evils. Chris and I have been job hunting, and it looks like we might both end up with jobs that we’ll really enjoy. Which is awesome! We’re super excited at the prospect of getting to see each other every day instead of him flying back up to work in Michigan. He might get to go back to a job that he loved. I might get to go work in a library, which was one of my favorite daydreams as a little girl. So yes, we’re obviously stoked.
But everything is still so up in the air! We have no guarantees. Neither of us has even received an actual offer, just impressions from others. Are we idiots for putting all of our eggs in one basket and counting them before they hatch? Or are we just trusting God to take care of us?
And, if we do both get these jobs, our financial situation will be so radically different than it was last year that it doesn’t make any sense at all on paper. Seriously, we’d have maybe a couple hundred bucks left after paying our bills to buy food and gas. It makes no logical sense. Do we go back to doing things we don’t love and making more money? Do we go back to Chris working off somewhere to pay for a house that he rarely gets to sleep in? Or do we trust this new direction we feel led by God to follow? Will we be risking financial failure or gaining a testimony, an opportunity to share with others how God provided for us in ways that were supernatural?
I’m leaning on God. We both are. It’s the right move, and we don’t doubt His abilities. He’s got us. My heart is at peace with our decision. But my stomach isn’t. I’m going to go find something to sooth the churning in my guts. Preferably something with cheese. Hopefully I can sink myself back into my fictional worlds tomorrow and write something that I’m proud of. Today, I just needed to vent. Now that I have, I’m going to lay it at the feet of Jesus and walk away so I don’t pick any of it up again.
Have you ever burst into spontaneous laughter and dancing in front of your mailbox on a Wednesday afternoon? Pretty specific, I know. It’s a weird question. But it’s something I experienced today, and it was pretty stinking amazing.
It’s been three months since our last pay check. Chris was working for family, and there was a rough patch financially, so he and the other men in my family who had been working up north came home to wait. Whenever we talked about applying for other jobs, we felt like God was telling us to wait. So we waited. After all, we had a good bit saved for a rainy day. We would enjoy the holidays and reevaluate.
Well, the holidays are over. Reevaluation has begun, and we finally feel like God is releasing our reins bit by bit. Today we started tentatively dipping our toes back in the job search pool. Because, that savings account we had built up? We’re raking the bottom. And it’s kind of scary. We’re trying to trust God, we really are. But after we pay our bills this month, we’re broke.
Or so we thought until we came home today. Sitting in our mailbox was a letter from the bank, telling us that we had an overage of funds in our escrow account. Attached to that letter was a check. We would have been thankful for any size check, but this check just so happens to be for roughly the amount of our bills for this month.
I squealed, y’all. I think I scared the dogs. I jumped and twirled and would’ve full-on danced if I hadn’t almost busted my butt sliding across the rocks on our road. I laughed and then I almost cried. I know that God is our Provider. And, like I said before, I’ve been trying my best to trust Him. But that trust was starting to falter. So I guess He decided to slap me upside the head today with a blatant reminder of His faithfulness. Because getting a check that close to the amount we need when we’re so close to the bottom of our barrel? That’s no coincidence. That’s God.
He gave us a mailbox miracle.
Going to church when I have a sore throat is always interesting. I usually play guitar and sing a song every service. I love getting to sing, getting to use a gift God’s given me to lead others to His throne in worship. But when I’m coughing violently and my words come out as a croak, it’s a day for me to step back. Hacking my way through a hymn is no way to lead worship.
Usually, sitting in the back of the church and watching the service go on without me makes me sad. I need to feel needed. But my mind was in a better place today. I remembered that I’m there for God, not for people, no matter how much I enjoy their company. And God loves me, and I believe that He appreciates it when I’m using my gifts to honor Him, but He doesn’t need me.
So today, I did something I haven’t done in a long time; I gave myself the freedom to sit on the back pew of our little church and simply enjoy. I watched my family pouring themselves into their instruments as they played hymns. I let the words sink into my mind instead of simply singing from memory. I heard the sincerity in the voice of the German woman who just started attending as she sang “Word of God, Speak.” My husband played guitar and sang, his voice and face as angelic as they were the day we met; he still makes my heart mushy. My brother sang a song he wrote with passion and power, and his newfound skill playing piano astonishes me. Bro. Dwayne preached with openness and honesty and fervency. And all of it, every note played and word spoken, was aimed in the proper direction.
We’re a family. We laugh together and cry together and find way too many excuses to eat together. And we need to fellowship, we really do. Jesus commanded it. But church is about more than us. It’s about Him. Sometimes I need a scratchy throat and a day on the back pew to remind me.
I want to write, I really do. I promise I’m not trying to avoid it. But it’s hard to be all creative and original and junk when your brain currently consists of a gallon of snot with a filmy top layer of self-pity bobbing atop all that mucus. How can a head hold this much foreign fluid?
My family doesn’t handle colds very well. I’m trying to be all tough and stuff, but I’m just as miserable as they’ve all been. Give us a tragedy, and we’ll step up to the plate. Unemployment? We can band together and make it through, seeing God’s provision in every nickel we find in our laundry. Weddings? We can pull off life changes without batting an eyelash. Terrible injuries or possibly life-threatening illnesses? We will rally. But colds are our Achille’s heels. Give us coughs and congestion, and we shall crumble and cower before the eyes of the world.
Here’s praying that it doesn’t last long. I’m already shooting my vacuum cleaner hose forbidden looks of curiosity and longing. Even though I know I can’t actually vacuum the snot out of my head, I’m afraid I can only fight the temptation to try for so long. I’m going to go throw my hose up somewhere I can’t reach it, just to be on the safe side.