for post title, see sign below

stop grumbling

so, i've been wanting to post about this sign {and how it ties into some recent days of my life} for a while now. but as i am a new mom of thirty-nine to a new baby of seven weeks, lack of time and energy has kept me from getting to it {as well as a wedding invitation design that i have been working on}.

in fact, i began the draft a few nights ago {around midnight} because i was a bit pepped up on iced coffee, and isaac and the hubby were down for the night. still... i did not finish for some reason. however, today's shutter sisters post was all too relevant, so i found ample reason to get back into it and finish writing.

the shutter sisters post was about finding words in our photos... words with messages that seem as though they were meant to speak directly to us. so i had to contribute a link to the above photo for sarah-ji's post. how appropriate it was for her prompt. here is what my comment on her post said:
my recently discovered words of advice were discovered before i took the photo... and thus, the reason for taking the photo. but they came in the midst of one of the most difficult weeks of my entire life. so much "crud" was happening to me all at once, and i began to complain and look for someone to blame for each trial. so imagine how i felt when i drove past this random sign in front of a corn field along the side of the road while driving out to my mother's house to escape some of the "crud". it was as if the person who put it there, put it there just for me. and it really stopped me in my tracks... both figuratively, and literally... i stopped the car, turned around, and drove back to take a picture. i just had to!
my comment says "one of the most difficult weeks". but it was actually in the midst of a stretch of "bad luck" that lasted about two and a half weeks. and i can easily say, they were the most difficult days of my life so far... in so many ways, for so many reasons.

in my post, i had originally begun to write about all that occurred to get me to the point of being able to say that. but i realized, it would be way too long of a post. plus, i kid you not... even if i told you all that happened, some of it was so bizarre, most people might think i was just making it up and not even believe me. {for example... just one crazy part is that i experienced power outage four times, for three different reasons, in less than three weeks... totaling almost five full days without electricity... WITH A NEWBORN AT HOME!} so i'll just leave it at that and say, "trust me... it was an awful, awful, extremely trying stretch of days and circumstances."

i think it was the "one thing after another" aspect and the ripple-effect part of those days that made it more difficult than any other stretch of my life. plus, in all other tough times of my life, i was able to go through them with a normal amount of sleep.

but as a new first-time mom who was technically still recovering from labor/delivery when this period of trial began {not to mention, still coping with the hormonal changes of giving birth}, not only was i sleep-deprived... i was just not myself in so many ways.

yada, yada, yada... i know... this is what all new mom's go through. {although, the majority of first-time moms are not thirty-nine like i am.} so when i say, it's really hard to be a new mom that has to learn to adjust to an incredible amount of physical, mental and emotional change {...even relational change} and to have to adjust overnight, i know i'm not alone or the first one that has ever had to do it. yet, that does not make it any easier.

but that was not what made those weeks so crazy and awful. all of the above mentioned "mom stuff" was to be expected... i signed up for this. this is what i wanted. and in fact, the first four weeks of being home with isaac were as difficult as one would expect, but nothing more than what i envisioned. no surprises, really.

it's when a bunch of other things occurred... things that would be really difficult to go through all by themselves, even more difficult when all put together, and REALLY awful when heaped on top of an already difficult time of life that is supposed to be spent recovering and taking it easy and accepting any and all help that is offered... that's when my positive attitude and pioneer spirit began to break. and along with that, a bunch of other things began cracking, too.

well, back to the sign... as i said in my shutter sisters comment, i drove past it while driving out to stay with my mom for a day or two. it was right smack dab in the middle of those two and a half weeks. my home was all torn up because of construction that the landlords were doing in the house, the extraordinary heat and humidity were unbearable {not to mention, hard on isaac}, we were experiencing unusual financial strain, and there were many other things going on in our lives to cause us to be much more busy than usual. so little isaac was very out of sorts. the disruption of his schedule from all these things made him very fussy and not his usual mild-mannered self.

and that only further fueled the things that made him that way... so you see, it was a vicious cycle that had me quite spent. and i only mentioned the biggies. there were so many other little things to make this such a taxing time. i think i cried the entire way to my mother's house... unlike isaac who was cashed out in his car seat. {like many babies, driving always soothes him to sleep.}

anyway, i was a little more than half way to my mom's. {she was going to let us stay there as long as we needed for some quiet, calm, peace, and AIR CONDITIONING! it would also be a time of getting some help from her, which meant catching up on a lot of lost sleep.} i felt, in my spirit, that i was holding on to a lot of bitterness and frustration... even anger. instead of trusting and giving everything over to God, i held on to the gripes i had about all that was going on or voiced them to others, like my husband. he was at work {this was a very taxing time for him, as well}, and though i had poured out my heart to him many times, i did so again, over the phone for the first half of my trip. that's all well and good sometimes... that is one of the things hubbies are there for. but i had neglected to go to God in prayer about any of it. and i felt that causing a lot of pent-up, unnecessary angst in me.

i could not pray, though. i was just too mad... too tired... too frustrated. and though most of the things i was dealing with were not directly related to isaac, they all indirectly affected him... some even directly affected him. i think that underneath all of the things i was going through, i felt most frustrated about money... because somehow, i thought that having more of it would have been the solution to most {if not all} of the problems that surrounded us... or kept the problems from occurring to begin with.

so, you see, this is where the sign i came upon really had a profound effect on me. it was like one giant reminder... "LOOK AT ALL THAT GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU ALREADY... i mean, really... don't you remember what this word BELIEVE has meant to you so far? don't you remember all He has given to you and provided for you? don't you remember how He has answered the deepest longings and shown you the biggest things to have faith in?... His provision, His protection, His love, His miracles... His salvation?

here i was, worried about how everything was affecting isaac, leaving no room for faith.

so, where others might feel that this was just a random sign meant for everyone or no one in particular, i feel it was put there at that moment for me in a very specific way. mind you, this sign was not in front of a church {like you would often see with this type of message board}. it was just in the middle of nowhere in front of a corn field... A CORN FIELD!!! really? on my way to my mom's during my little crying tantrum? um... yeah... that was FOR ME!

and i needed to see it. of course, if you think there was an instant turn-around in my attitude when i saw it, you are thinking wrong. it did not make me do a one-eighty. well, i guess i could say it literally did... i turned the car around to take the photograph, remember. but it did not make my thoughts or attitudes instantly swivel. however, it did leave a mark... a convicting, gnawing reminder that i was too focused on my troubled days and spending too much time grumbling about them.

it was a slow road back to trust and faith. but i did not stop thinking about that sign for a long, long time. {interestingly, those words were not there on that sign a week before when i drove to my mom's house... nor were they there a week later. i think the next time i drove past, it said something about where to buy county fair passes... making the above message seem even more meant for me!}

well, this long story has a really cool ending. i want you to know... i fail more often than i get it right when it comes to trusting God in everything. but i do have my days of strength and courage... where i lay everything at His feet, take a deep breath of hope, buck up, and sing instead of complain. after things calmed down a bit {a little over a week ago} and returned to a somewhat normal state, i had one of those days. and i once again prayed, trusting that God would provide... not just money, but direction, wisdom, solutions, normalcy, peace, help to fight against temptation and so much more.

that very day, mr. b. came home from work and said, "i have good news... i got the raise." {we had been contemplating having him ask his boss for a much-needed raise.} you can't believe how many answers to prayer this was... not just because of the increase of our income that would help us with so many hardships {no more having our electricity turned off because we could not pay our bill!!!... hooray}, but because i saw God give my husband the courage to go to his boss and ask for something we feel he deserved.

after this two dollar per hour raise, he is now back up to the same pay that he was receiving before he got laid off a couple years ago. {where he works now is the same job where he was laid off and then re-hired, but with less money.} with a third little member of the family, this is the biggest answer to prayer... the very biggest! we thought for sure that his boss would say no. and even if he said yes, we thought it would be less than what he ended up agreeing to.

i tell you, i could not help but think back to that sign. it made me think of the israelites in the wilderness... how God wanted to bless them, but their own murmuring kept them from God's abundant blessings. but i also remembered that He was constantly merciful to them and never turned a deaf ear to their cries for mercy and provision.

i wish i could say i will never complain again. i {realistically} know that's not going to be the case. but i hope that i will {just as continually} remember to...



sharon said...

i've been there. same story. different circumstances. same trials. same personal God. i saw that sign, too. you're right. it was out in the middle of nowhere. something like, maybe...a burning bush? the Bible says that when God saw that Moses took time to go over to look at the bush and investigate, they He began to talk to Him! God desires to be very personal and intimate with each of us...a unique relationship like no other...and He will put a sign out in the middle of nowhere to bring that about. some will stop to look. some will not. :)

georgia b. said...

mom... i just read your "God is not happy when we complain!" post. funny, too, because it is the link i clicked on when i googled your blog name in order to go to your blog to get the u.r.l. so that i could post your comment above. pretty cool!

georgia b. said...

oh... i should say, i did not realize what the post was about. i just clicked on the first link i saw that was for your blog... and it happened to be that post.

Jakki said...

the most powerful moments in our lives appear to be the most simple to everyone else...love it!

Sandy K. said...

Georgia...these are trying times, aren't they? Maybe this "sign" should be in every town..reminding us of the most important message we could use right now. Reminders...keeping the faith and trust and hope alive. And lose the grumbling. I'm glad you found your spirit in an unexpected place...they're the best messages, aren't they? And bless you and your family. Again and again and again.

Hi Kooky said...

So cool! I heard a sermon like that this morning - I felt like it was prepared just for me. God never stops giving us gifts. He really does love us beyond our comprehension.

I hope you're enjoying cooler temperatures and that little Isaac is back into a happy routine!

georgia b. said...

thanks, jen.

sandy, i thought the same thing... about this sign being in ever town... especially right now. everyone is so unhappy with the government and the economy. and i guess we should all be aware, and not settle for irresponsibility. but only if we are not complaining at the same time. easier said than done, i guess.

Stacey said...

That is so great about your hubby's raise! What a great reminder after a long day for me. Hugs to you, friend!

Heather said...

Thank you for this post, G. I really needed it today (even though I am reading it two days after you posted it). Thank you for reminding me of God's light, and for letting yours shine here, instead of hiding it under a bush as I have been doing lately. (Do you know that song, "This little light of mine"? We used to sing it in Sunday school. Perhaps one to sing to Isaac! I can teach it to you sometime, if you don't already know it.) Love you! -Heather

georgia b. said...

oh, that makes me happy, heather! your comment is the very reason i blog! thank you for telling me.

and yes, i know that song! sang it all the time growing up. singing it to isaac right now, per your suggestion. thank you!

not sure if he likes it, though... he just made a doo-doo.