“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The book of Nehemiah is one of my favorite books in the Old Testament. I’ve read through it a handful of times and I can say that each time it reveals something new to me. In fact you will probably see future blog posts that reference something from Nehemiah because it has been that influential in my life. Today after writing out my post below, I tried to think of what scripture would sum up what I was trying to express and Nehemiah 8:10 was it. As you read through this post, recall this sentence from scripture and hopefully you will see the connection!
Last week I was going through emails and came across one from the Co-Owner/CEO of VidAngel Neal Harmon. Attached was a video that at that moment I didn’t really have time to watch but I clicked on it anyway, and next thing I knew 9 minutes and 10 seconds had passed by and something in my spirit was moved. In the video (you can check it out by clicking here) was a storybook drawing that Neal’s family created explaining how they made it through the 2007 recession. He created it in hopes to encourage others in what is sure to be an unstable time economically due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As I watched the pages turn and his story unfold, there were many parts of their story that I could relate to. The financial hardships and humbling experiences stood out the most. But when the video was over, I started to think back to the spiritual battle that I found myself in. I had a lot of conversations with God and I found myself telling Him on more than one occasion that I couldn’t do it anymore.
You see, during the 2007 recession my husband and I owned a different business at the time. A retail storefront selling video games in our up and coming community. We had purchased a house just the year before and we were trying to make a life for ourselves and our family in this family friendly community. And then….the recession hit. As our customers began to lose their homes and move away it left many abandoned houses in our community which meant we were losing our customer base as well.
We weren’t immediately impacted in 2007, but by the end of 2009 things quickly went downhill for us. We found ourselves losing our business, our house and moving in with my in-laws. My husband and I couldn’t see eye to eye on just about everything and neither of us saw any kind of end in sight. Prior to this, my faith had been growing and all of a sudden it was challenged. What I was facing was the perfect storm. We had lost everything, my marriage was not in a good place and I found it hard to keep any kind of faith. It was a real struggle and I was unhappy. Well, unhappy is a nice way of putting it, really I was depressed and I told God about it a lot. But what I found was that God, in His mercy and love for me, listened. He listened to me in my weakness and when I was ready to give up He became my strength. If I had not leaned on him during this time, my story would look very different today. As I continued to look to God for answers, He continued to show me hope and as I continued to bring my feelings of frustration, sorrow and hopelessness to Him, He continued to show me joy, a new hope and His great love for me.
Since being on the other side of that recession I can say that things turned around for us. There were miracles….so many miracles that happened during that time. We were able to move out of my in laws home and actually back into the same house that we had lost. Our family has grown by two more so it’s pretty safe to say our marriage made it through that time. And then there’s my faith. Ohhhh my faith….it has increased by leaps and bounds all because of the experiences during that time. A time when I often told God that I couldn’t do it anymore.
Today the world is facing something new and I don’t know what the outcome will be but I have a different perspective this time around. I saw God’s hand working in my time of need and His hand is extended to all of us. I don’t know what we will face tomorrow as a result of this crisis, but I know that God’s love for us remains and that He didn’t use up all of His miracles back in 2009-2011. He has more to show us and more to give. For anyone who is in that place of sorrow and feeling hopeless, I can’t pretend to understand your feelings completely because we each have our own unique experiences, but I do pray that you give it to God. Trade it in for His joy and allow Him to be your strength during this season because trust me friend, it is just a season and we can and will get through this with Christ by our side.