July 3, 2017

He is I AM

It is Monday here in sunny and warm, Phoenix. Yes, the skies are clear (again), and the air temperature is expected to hit 107. In all truth, this is “normal” for June in Phoenix. We usually have steady daytime highs right around 105-108. It is more abnormal for us to hit above 110, though it does happen depending on the weather pattern. Still, after a couple weeks of the same scenario, a good vacation to some place cooler starts to sound pretty enticing.

I have several friends who have family members in the Midwest, and right about now, I start to see their posts show up on Facebook as they begin their yearly visits to cooler climates. I so want to go and visit with them, but frankly, after my earlier visit to Indiana, I am pretty much tapped out. However, I think to myself how nice it would be to live in another state — a cooler state — right about now! *Sigh!*

I guess I could plan a short trip to San Diego. My brother is probably in town this month, and a little jaunt to the ocean would do the trick. Yep, that sounds so very nice right now. But, as I am tied up with work, and with the opportunity for interviewing for a full-time position, I guess I am stuck here in Phoenix for a time, for a bit more time, I should say.

In all, I am feeling the twinge of being stuck like glue to this hot, hot, hot place. I pretty much accepted the fact that it looks like the Lord intends to plant me here, and while I have thought that staying in Phoenix was a good choice — practical choice — my heart longed to be relocated some place else. Yes, I really wanted to go some place else.

I am learning the difficult lesson of yielding, of submitting my will to His will, and even though I get it, I mean, “I understand it,” I still am not 100% happy about giving up my dream, my hope, and my vision for my perfect future life.
Wanting to Go

You see, there is this part of me that really wants to go — somewhere else. Yes, I really have this desire inside of me that is saying to me, “Let’s go check out a new place, Carol!” I don’t know how I would even consider “going,” because for all intents and purposes, my life seems to be stuck in this holding pattern — permanently, I mean. I have this desire to go, but I have this practical and logical reaction to staying put. I think it makes total sense to stay right here in Phoenix. Considering my options, I see the only two negatives as the cost of living here and the intolerable heat.

I was browsing Zillow this morning, just to see what homes were available in my area. I was pretty much depressed after about a minute on the website. I mean, the average home price in North Phoenix is well over $300k. And, this is for an average home, and not something in a gated community or with granite and stainless steel, etc. I looked at what a mortgage would run me on a home of this price, and monthly without figuring in utilities, it would cost me almost $1500-1700 per month. Then with utilities, I would need to pay close to $2k or more just to be able to keep a roof over my head. Yikes!

The other day, I was looking at comparable homes in the Midwest, and I could purchase a really nice home for under $200k. If I wanted to live in a more rural area, I could probably find one for under $100k. Sure, these homes are not fancy, and the rural ones need some work — but — monthly payments run somewhere around $500 per month (a $1k tops) and with utilities, really the cost becomes manageable.

This information leaves me in a quandary. Right now, I am doing well financially. I have no lack, as it is said. I have enough money to pay my bills, and I can manage my life and my future well — so long, that is — that nothing changes for me. My good friend and I were chatting on messenger last evening and I was giving him a hard time regarding change. We were joking about how change can be good and bad, and that change is okay, so long as nothing “bad” happens as a result.

I started to think about my living situation, here with my parents, and how one event such as major illness or even death, could trigger a very different scenario for me. More so, my homeowner could choose to sell this house, make a big profit now, and then we all would be without a roof over us. It is scary to think that this could happen in just an instant, and whenever I start to think this way, I immediately want to run for cover someplace else. Some place where I can own a home, free and clear, and where I will never have to worry about losing my security.

My stomach has been in knots since I started thinking this way, and I remember something the Lord whispered to me this morning as I was starting to wake up. He said to me, “Carol, I AM.” I often think about the Name of the Lord and how this phrase, I AM, is so curious in the English language. In truth, it should be said this way, “I AM ___________.” There should be something following the first part of the statement. I am smart. I am happy. I am good. This is what we do in English to express our state of being. In God’s vernacular, the words, “I AM” express His state of being without any clarification necessary. In this way, the part that comes after is simply inferred. For example, God is good. This could be said “I AM good” which would mean the same thing. God (I AM) is (implied) Good. Or Holy. Or Righteous. Or Merciful. You get the point.

As I thought about my need for security and for provision, I felt the Lord was saying to me that He is my security and my provision. I often think of Him in this way, especially after my divorce. I mean, for years I looked to my father and then to my husband to fill these roles. I was raised to believe that Daddy’s took care of their children, and husband’s, took over that role after marriage. The wife’s role was to care for her children, and to respect her husband (love him) for the security and the provision he gave to them.

Since my divorce, however, I have had to look to the Lord to fill these roles. I have had to trust Him to keep me safe, and to provide good practical work to me so that I could be Mom and Dad to my child (now grown). I had to work to earn a living, but I also had to work to meet the expenses each month. The Lord has been faithful to me. He has kept my bread basket full, and my kneading bowl has never run empty. Yes, He has seen to the fact that I suffered no lack, no loss, no insecurity.

Now, though, I realize that as part of His covering for me, He provided my Dad as a means of support. My Dad has always been a good provider for my Mom, and when we were children, we had no lack whatsoever. My parents are in their mid-80s, and well, their finances are starting to run out. This causes great stress for my Dad, and he is struggling to maintain covering for him and my Mom, especially with her needs (medical and such).

I think about how this scenario will work out. It would be so much easier had my parents been able to remain in their home, continue to be self-caring, but this is not what happened. No, I moved in with them to help them out, and well, now I am stuck. I am here until things change, and I no longer have the power to move, to go, or to even consider any other path at this time or this place.

I am content, mind you, but that doesn’t mean that every day I am happy. No, I am not happy every day — just most. Some days I feel overwhelmed with the charge. Some days I want to pick up my tent and walk on. Some days I just want to bury my head in the sand and hope things turn out right, best, or better than they are at present.

This morning, the Lord’s whisper to me reminded me that no matter what happens today or tomorrow, He is still my sufficiency. He is all I need, and in His name, in I AM, I have no lack. I have my needs met with sufficiency, and my provision, protection, and covering are met by Him alone. I have no husband. I have an elderly father, but I have no man in my life to take this position, this role. I am all alone, and while I am content to remain alone, to remain single for the rest of my life, I long for provision and covering to keep me safe. I long to feel safe at night, and to know for sure that I will never end up homeless, on the streets, or left behind (abandoned).
God is Faithful

I was thinking about this fact today, how God is a God of faithfulness. He never turns His back nor does He fail to keep His promises. He is a rewarder of the obedient, and in His book, obedience to His word and His commands is key. I look up today, and I wonder if I am faithful to Him. I think I am, but my flesh fails me so frequently. I struggle to trust, to believe, to hold on, and yet, He tells me “I AM” and I know that He is with me. He holds me. He keeps me secure. He meets my needs — all of them — and I am able to rest, to relax, and yes — to let go.

I wonder what it is that I am holding on to so tightly today. What thing or person am I holding on to that is keeping me from trusting the Lord completely. Is He really my safety net? Can I fall backwards and believe that He will catch me?

I think so. No, I know so. I know that He has demonstrated His faithfulness to me time and time again, so while I don’t feel comforted today or covered today, I can remember the days, the multitude of times when He stood there and said to me, “I AM your covering.” Yes, He is my covering. He is my head, and as such, He shelters me. He is my wrap, my sense of protection during the storm. He covers me. He keeps me safe. He protects me from harm, and He provides everything I need to live, to work, and to grow in maturity and stature until the day He calls me home. I am safe in His arms. I am safe and secure in His perfect love and His perfect faithfulness. He is good to me, so very good to me.

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