Jack-in-the-Box Moments

People have been asking me for this story again.  I have combined the two posts so they can be read together.

One Friday morning in 2009, my life was drastically changed. The week before had been filled with Jack-in-the Box moments. These are moments where life jumps out at you and scares you silly. I never did like that toy and can’t even imagine working at a factory that makes them. The song it plays – “Pop Goes the Weasel”- warns you that Jack is about to pop out so you try to prepare yourself for his sudden appearance. Being prepared doesn’t help. I always jump. That Friday morning I was weary from jumping.

On Monday we were a family of four; by Friday we were down to three. On Monday I was a minister’s wife; by Friday he had been fired. On Monday, we were upper middle class; by Friday I could qualify for food stamps. On Monday we had a three bedroom house complete with two kids, two dogs and a fenced in back yard. By Friday we were preparing to move. “Pop Goes the Weasel” became our family song.

Thankfully the scary free-fall we were experiencing was broken by a gracious, loving church and a Sunday School class full of friends. They took the shame and embarrassment we were experiencing and lessened it with graceful love. Our church provided my sons, dogs and me with a house until we could get back on our feet. When we moved in, there were groceries already in the cabinets from my Sunday School class. Meals, cards and monetary gifts came. God provided through his people.

It was during this time that I sat on the edge of my bed asking, “God, HOW do I DO this? How do I DO life?” God drew me to Proverbs over and over again each night. It became my guide for “doing life” as it was at that moment. In Proverbs it shows that there are really only two ways to do life – you do it “with God’ or you do it “without God.” I had a choice to make. Did I want to live with bitterness, revenge, and fear or did I want to be free from those things building up and choking my life? I wanted to be free, so I chose God.

That may sound like a proud bragging proclamation, to say “I chose God.” But it is not. God cries out to be chosen with His arm raised over the worldly crowd. He waves it wildly in the air, hoping to catch our eye. “Pick Me, Pick Me” is His chant. Our eyes scan the crowd of choices and in our brokenness and neediness we point to Him and shout –” I choose Him”. He steps forward and makes the weasel’s song fade and replaces it with a new melody…fresh, clear, compelling, pure and free. It is God, and He is singing.

Zephaniah 3: 17
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

After November of 2009, Jack kept jumping. Our lives had been drastically changed in one week and our lives would change even more as the New Year introduced itself. Thanksgiving and Christmas with family passed and became dear memories…really dear memories.

I started off the New Year by going with my sister to chemo. I had never been in that situation before and seeing the young and old waiting for their turn in treatment was eye opening. When my sister stated that her doctor was the leading specialist in the type of cancer she had and that he only accepted “special” cases, I knew we were heading into a place in life I did not want to go.

As January ended I prepared to budget for February. I pulled up my recent paycheck stub online and noticed that my paycheck had decressed significantly. A phone call informed me that the IRS was garnishing my wages for taxes my husband and I owed. Since he was fired and we were separated, I was the only one with a job…so they came after me. Now my two boys and I had to live for five months on $800.00 a month. This surprise almost put me under, but God held my nose above the water.

Not long after that my son’s car blew up, and then he wrecked mine. My tri-focals broke and had to be replaced. February was the month of broken things that just settled in along side our broken emotions. It was at this time that I noticed laughter…the weird kind of laughter that breaks out when the Jack-in-the-Box toy pops out at a baby. It is a laughter mixed with fear and amazement. I had the laugh, my friends had the laugh and my children had the laugh…what else could go wrong? Well, a phone call can go wrong. My Mother was sick. The day she got out of the hospital was the day she went back in the hospital. The news was not good. We lost her here, but she gained heaven with her Christ-bought soul.

On my birthday in March, we buried Mom and that evening we were told that my sister had three months to live. We lost her in two…May was her date to go home.

Where was God when all this was happening? He was where He has always been..on the throne. I don’t see the throne room of God as a cruel place where He flings out sorrow to earth. There is not a jester standing by Him who is playing around with my life to entertain. Why? Because Death, Decay, and Sorrow are products of this world that I have to wade through. Their flow of muck originated in Eden, but will end with Heaven. It will be clear one day…until then I will by faith see LIFE in death, I will see Hope in decay and I will see Joy in sorrow.

Jack is in his box…eternally confined. God is on His throne….powerfully free.

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About 2b14u

I'm just a person. A person who has learned a lot of truth in the darkest days of life. The truth that glimmered, flashed and at times broke through like a day's dawn all came from the hands of a mighty God. His light makes the darkness worth it. To know my background, visit my posts titled "Jack-in-the-Box" and "Jack's Still Jumping"- Feb. 2012.
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35 Responses to Jack-in-the-Box Moments

  1. Mel says:

    Your words are powerful. You’ve walked through so much. Thank you for sharing parts of your story- your faith is encouraging.

    Like

  2. Judy Walters says:

    God has surely used your life’s journey to bring hope and encouragement to others. The Holy Spirit clearly speaks through you! Your story brings tears to my eyes as I recall my own pain and sorrow, but reminds me that only He can bring beauty through ashes. Thank you for using your writing talents to bless others. I will definitely be reading your blog on a daily basis!

    Like

  3. Wow you can’t know how this speaks to me right now…thank you

    Like

  4. Very very, special and insightful!

    Like

  5. terry1954 says:

    this was very good

    Like

  6. Christine says:

    I almost hate to say I “LIKE” this because it’s so sad what all you’ve been through! But I love knowing how God has helped you through it all.

    Like

    • 2b14u says:

      It’s OK. I have felt the same way when reading other blogs. It is like we need a “I Understand” or “Awww” or “I don’t like what you have been through, but I like what you have learned” button. Thanks for reading God is faithful and works things for our good. Have a great day.

      Like

  7. Jewels says:

    I relate so much to this. November 2009 must have been a universal time for those jack-in-the-box moments to begin. Mine began on a Friday evening ~ the 6th to be precise, and my life hasn’t been the same since, Jack has continued to rear his ugly head, and I find myself asking God when it’s all going to stop. I fear, not until the grave. But I am not alone ~ He is with me. And there is no better One to have beside me than Him. ♥

    What a beautiful picture you paint: “God cries out to be chosen with His arm raised over the worldly crowd. He waves it wildly in the air, hoping to catch our eye. “Pick Me, Pick Me” is His chant. Our eyes scan the crowd of choices and in our brokenness and neediness we point to Him and shout –” I choose Him”. He steps forward and makes the weasel’s song fade and replaces it with a new melody…fresh, clear, compelling, pure and free. It is God, and He is singing.”

    Thank you for sharing this again.

    Blessings for your day!

    Like

    • 2b14u says:

      Thank you for reading. I am so sorry you went through what you did. Those moments tend to define our lives for the good or the bad. It seems you have learned a lot about God. It will settle and rear up again from time to time, but yes, there is “no one better to have beside” you. Can’t wait to read your blog. Maybe I will have time later today.

      ________________________________________

      Like

  8. kathylashley says:

    Thank you for sharing such an honest and real story. Your faith is inspirational.

    Like

  9. Thank you for your honesty. I always hate it when people say that religion is a crutch, because it’s not. It is hard work to keep believing sometimes. But, when there comes moments like what you have gone/are going through and those that I’ve been going through- I wouldn’t want to do it without God by my side. And I love your earlier comment “Our ability to have faith at such times is a gift from His hands” so true! That is what I love about God, I can ask for another portion of faith and he will give it to me. Life isn’t easy, neither is faith. I’m sorry for all your losses, praying that God keeps giving you strength and faith. Praying for you sister.

    Like

    • 2b14u says:

      Thanks for reading the post and for your encouraging comment. I understand about people thinking religion is a crutch – to me it is not something I invented to soften the blows of life…my God is the very legs I stand on…since He is my legs, then I don’t need a crutch! Hope your weekend goes well…blessings to you.

      Like

  10. Sad how the IRS treats separated couples. I had the same experience. Yet God is so gracious.

    Like

    • 2b14u says:

      So true Robin. Thanks for reading and thanks for letting me know that someone else had a similar experience. It’s paid off now. I could have tried to get an innocent spouse thing because i had spent some of that time in mental hospitals, but it seemed much easier to just get it paid.

      Like

  11. Pingback: Where is God When Chaos is Happening? « Christianity 201

  12. I’m just reading this now in May of 2013 . It is amazing that we as Christians can go through so much and yet so many do not give up on God…because somehow we know that even though so many traumatic things happen to us …He is still there. I may have cried out to Him despondent at times wondering why things were happening and yet I knew that I knew He was there….. Diane

    Like

    • 2b14u says:

      Thanks for reading. Blogging is such a great way to bear testimony about what God has done. Keep up your posting and thanks for visiting….to God be the glory – He has done wonderful, marvelous things!!!

      Like

  13. Thank You for sharing your story. Powerful and inspirational!

    Like

    • 2b14u says:

      I had to share it because God has shown Himself faithful through it all. Thanks for stopping and reading. Time is precious and I really appreciate your spending some of your time reading a few of my posts. I will most certainly take a look at what you are up to on WordPress! ________________________________________

      Like

  14. Robin Claire says:

    Wow!!
    I have a friend that is going though lots of trouble right now too. I will direct her to your blog and to this post. Thank God… you chose God. How can anyone go through what you went through, without him.
    I wrote a post that you might like to read. It is here…
    http://robinclaire.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/dont-ask-god-why-ask-what-2-2/
    It seems like you already know this stuff, from this post I read here, but I just thought you’d like it anyway.
    May God ALWAYS be near you,
    Love,
    robin

    Like

  15. pokesfan7 says:

    Wow, thanks for sharing that story. I’m just as encouraged by how the body of believers responded around you as I am to hear you were able to find strength in God through it all.
    God told us not to become weary in well doing, and you’ve demonstrated what that faithfulness looks like. Great testimony!

    Like

    • 2b14u says:

      I have been away from the internet this summer. Thanks for reading and “yes,” my church family really responded in grace and support. The hardest thing was to show up to church after all that happened. I had to square my shoulders and go. After the first hug from a church member, after stepping through the door, I was fine.

      ________________________________________

      Like

  16. patandfloyd says:

    Hello my friend,
    I have not posted since my “Ducks In the Pond” in May as I am trying to put a book together for my wife. It was one of the “promises” I made to her along with two others I plan to fulfill next week. They (along with the completion of this book) will be the last thing I said to her that I would do. Tomorrow I will be ordained as a Deacon at my church, a process that was delayed by her diagnosis and treatment 4 years ago, so my walk with God continues…
    Be Blessed,
    patandfloyd.wordpress.com

    Like

  17. i’m so sorry for the losses you’ve experienced, such depth of pain, but so grateful for the God who’s been with u thru those depths and held u with His grace. what a God of grace. the beauty and hope He brings from such brokenness…what grace. what love!

    Like

  18. kparmelee says:

    Your strength shines through! It is encouraging to see your perseverance and your heart to seek God throughout difficult times. He will honor you for this!

    Like

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