Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Nevertheless" with Scarflettes

I'm knitting a scarflette out of Italian wool the color of smoke. In my mind, sometime this autumn I'll wind it around my neck and grab a thermos of spice-scented apple cider and kick through painted leaves. With Millie. Another day I'll wear it home from the restaurant and market where I now work, it draped carelessly about my neck and a muffaletta tucked in crisp brown paper underneath my arm. Scarflettes and muffalettas go together, for obvious reasons.

Yes, I'm working full time at a small but frantically busy deli and gourmet market tucked in the corner of four states: Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. (The license plates tacked onto cars in the parking lot are from everywhere.) I work back in the kitchen with the chef, handling big orders and catering. On one hand I don't mind it so much. On the other hand, I hate it with every Italian wool fiber soon-to-be on my being. This is a waste, I tell myself everyday when I'm making the 45-minute commute. A waste of an expensive education, talent and hard-won experience. But a job is a job. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

.......................

Nevertheless is a big word with me right now. Do you ever have those? Big words? A word that keeps presenting itself... first you read it, then someone says it, then you hear it on the radio or on TV or on the street. Nevertheless is mine. I got foolish and bold two weeks ago and decided I'd be very angry at God. I was outside in the dark, lying on a trampoline and staring at stars and giving Almighty God the what-for. What could You possibly be thinking? I asked Him. How could You let me lose my love, my career, my car, my house, my bakery, some family and all my dreams so close together? If this Your idea of "all things work for together for good", You can keep Your good, I told Him.

Nevertheless, He said, gently.

You make no sense to me, I said back.

..........................

Nevertheless. Of course I've been confused. See, it's like this: I have been looking at the hard, bitter things in my past and realizing they don't add up to happy. But I'm learning. I'm seeing that I've been looking at circumstances backwards. The question isn't how God can let bad things happen to good people. It's how God could let something so good happen to bad people. Messed up people like me. I'm learning that having a relationship with God... that being a Christian... doesn't mean an American-dream life. It does mean walking through life - griefs and all - with a Comforter. With someone who never, ever forsakes you. Even when you, the work of His very hands, lie underneath His stars and tell Him, with the very breath He gave you, that He's blown it big time. Not even then.

Nevertheless. Even though life is hard, unexplainable and sometimes downright heartbreaking, nevertheless I will praise Him. In an Italian wool scarflette, on my back on a trampoline under the stars, I can say to God: God, I can't figure you out. I can't see how You'll work out my life to make something good. Nevertheless, I will praise You. And nevertheless, I will trust You until the end.

..........................

In the meantime, I'll go to work and make muffalettas, I guess.

(In case you're wondering, my scarflette pattern is a variation of the pattern here. Oh. And this little ditty was a good read for this time in my life.)

52 comments:

diana said...

minute by minute... step by step... you will find your way. xo

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

Your powerful words always hit home Brin! I've learned God always answers each and every prayer, sometimes it's no, or not yet. Baby steps...

Shaun and Holly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaun and Holly said...

Do I have "BIG" words? Oh yes!!! My big word at the moment: *authentic*

I am so thankful that you Blog. I love it. You are raw, real, honest, love Jesus and oh so creative (with your words, and with your whole life really). Thank you for being a blessing.

Holly

emjay said...

Hang in there! I've been where you are. I enjoy hearing from you!

Alissa said...

i had a similar situation...i was angry with God. however, it didn't last long. i felt guilty. He gently reminded me of all the good that has happened in my life.
He still goes on loving and caring for each of us. we don't understand why things can happen, but it is so good to know that He is on our side. praying for you.

Patty said...

You said it better than I have heard it said by any minister Brin!! I am where you are, I get angry with God and cry alot. I lost my best job (which I had been at for 22 yrs.) over six yrs. ago. I have tried working every job in the world thinking the next job will be the one that will help get my family and me back on our American feet. Wrong! Well,I haven't had a job for over six months now. My son graduated high school in May and now can't go to school because of my not having a job. I just make a mess of things. I do pray though that you will get answers from God and take it step by step.

Love ya for all your blogging!

the lady of the house said...

Amen Sister! Just keep swimming, just keep swimming... we aren't of this world.. this is not our home... we are here for one reason and that is plant those seeds so others may know of his amazing grace... even if your making muffalettas in fabulous scarfs with sweet wet nosed dogs nudging at your face as you roll in those crisp fall leaves. You are amazing and they will know you're a christian by your love... anyone who stops by here or the little market knows - believe me.

Tara said...

Girl...you know how to say everything I too am thinking and going through. I love your honesty and way of expression! I have to keep reminding myself that life is short and we just have to keep on keepin on through it all.
Keep your chin up. Bet you make a mean muffaletta. I had one for lunch this summer at Auntie Skinners in Jefferson, Texas. It was delicious.

tales from an oc cottage said...

wow....

Amy said...

Brin...although I favor myself a very devout Christian, I too was having a time of it. Not understanding why so many non-believers had so much more with so much less struggle. A good friend reminded me that my treasure awaits me in my heavenly home. You are a gal that finds her blessings in the little things, and I think that alone will be your saving grace. When the chips are down, it's usually mine, too.

Sorry for the long comment.

Grace =) said...

I love your scarflette. I think it's beautiful.

I'm also in some ways dealing with struggles and I sometimes wonder why God lets us go through these things. It's interesting because I just finished a Bible study about suffering which had some interesting pointers and insights.

I think it's okay to admit that you're angry with God. I'm not saying it's actually okay to be angry with him, but we all do get mad at God at times because we just can't comprehend who He is. Plus I think that when we cry out He reveals himself to us. His patience and mercies are limitless, praise the Lord.

Congrats on finding a job. I'm sure that something will come your way soon and in the meantime I'm sure God has you right where you are for reasons of his own. And that is a comforting thought for me when I'm unhappy with where I'm at.

Sending up a prayer for you! Hang in there!

Beverly said...

Perfect and priceless words, Brin ...

Cindy said...

SO glad you are back. keep looking up.

Diane said...

Thanks for sharing with such honesty Brin. I have questioned God, I have been angry at Him as well, but He continually shows me His goodness, as He is clearly showing you.

Blessings,

Diane

tara said...

Anger:

A
Necessary
Grief
Expressed
Rawly.


Thank you for being you, Brin.
We love you.

patientmom said...

Oh Brin...even in your disparing you are so transparent...God has very big shoulders...it's okay to be angry. He understands your heart.

and what a wonderful word He gave you in "Nevertheless"....

Just in case you think again "what a waste"...know that no experience in your life has been a waste...they have brought you through to where you are today, a strong and vibrant woman... and they are launching you forward into your beautiful tomorrows...

Keep trusting, and keep looking up. You are a treasure :)

FlowerLady said...

Wonderful post, full of heart and soul.

FlowerLady

Shelley in SC said...

Such good thoughts on the word "nevertheless"! I won't ever look at that word the same!

YogaGracie said...

Read "Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow" by Elizabeth Lesser. And remember, you are so courageous!

Kathleen Grace said...

You won't be working in a deli forever, you know that right? I've gone through some hard things too, but I have always been able to look back and say that I learned something that made me a better person/Christian or God had something better for me. Every. time. And no, it sure didn't feel like it when I was going through it. I used to have some pretty interesting one way convo's with God. He let me vent. He still loved me and took care of me and I know he is taking care of you. You are right, a job is a job. My hubby has been out of work for a year now, the unemployment runs out in 2 months and he may be thrilled to get full time work at a deli. To have found full time work in this economy is a blessing.

Jenn said...

Maybe you are not working there for you, but for the people that come through the door for you to bless:)

carla said...

My life has not been what I thought it would be, and I wanted simple things. I wanted a close knit family, Godly children. I only hope that He is working in me to create something more like Him. If everything had gone smoothly and happily, would I learn those lessons? Probably not.

P.S. I love tea rooms and years ago I worked in the kitchen of an antique mall/tea room. It was a miserable experience (I hope yours is not), but boy, did I learn some valuable things from that time.

Karens Hopes said...

I've just found your blog and I think I will be back often, I dont know what hurdles life has given you at the moment but it will all become clear I'm sure. Pop over and say hello if you have time.
Karen

Lulu said...

love that you showed your latest project..Its so pretty..
Loved this post!!!!
hugs,

mammaw said...

Dear Brin,
They say a picture is worth a thousand words...well, I would need a couple dozen pictures to "show" you all I would like to share. :) A good long southern-country visit would do nicely.
I've been reading your blog for sometime and commented on it when you were considering ending it.
As a mom and "mammaw" and lover of my Lord, I've followed along (my daughter has too) and (we) prayed many times for you. Brokeness is such a part of our Christain journey ...not what we would seek, but, if we truly desire to grow and feel that close intimate relationship with THE Potter we will have these broken times that He will use to shape and mold us into the vessel that will be used to carry much love to be poured out on others in our lives.
Just know that I care and am continuing to pray and watch with you. Anticipating His glory in all of this.
With sincere love and care,
Linda
ps...( recently purchased your set of crocheted kitchen dishclothes...L_O_V_E them! They're great. I think of you and pray for you as I use them. :)
"Contentment"

Brambleberry said...

Just what I needed today. Thank you.

I'm praying about my word...

Cottage Mommy said...

You paint pictures with your words....really, really beautiful. And your relationship with God? Beautiful too...in all it's honesty and trusting. Thanks for sharing.

Becky K. said...

Awesome post!

That is Spiritual Maturity, dear girl.

Becky K.

Guy said...

This post brings tears to my eyes. I struggle with this, what you wrote about I mean. The question really IS "How can God let good things happen to bad people?" You are right. All this puzzling I've done over the opposite question... I'd never thought about it as you have, in reverse. You have crystallized the truth (as you often beautifully do in your posts).

I thought of Job as I read your post. That was one of the last books I read in the Bible. It was hard for me to read.

Thank you so much for your words.

In Him,
Ashley

Carolyn (Harbor Hon) said...

Nevertheless, you are strong of body, mind and heart. God has a plan for you and He'll reveal it in his time. Most of us have been where you are, but never lose faith. Ok? I've never doubted Him for a minute and He's always been there for me. Keep on truckin' Hon. xxoo

Jenn said...

I love the scarflette....that yarn is beautiful!!! I have a little neckerchief type pattern I bought tucked away and that yarn would be fabulous.

I am so glad you decided to return to blogging! I love your honesty and how up front you are with us no matter how bad things are. "Nevertheless" is a good word right now. We are facing a tough decision and I haven't blogged about it because it is a little to personal for me to go into...but your post made me smile and remember it's okay to be mad at God sometimes and I think it helps us remember who we are and where we stand with him. We aren't perfect but he loves us anyway.

nanatrish said...

I love reading your words. We are pilgrims and I suppose things will never really be the way we suppose they should be. Yet we have so much to look forward to. I loved the statement about being either bitter or better. It makes us all stronger, it's just so difficult understanding it all when we are going through it. You are His child.

twentysomethinggirl said...

Beautiful post, as always, Brin. I wish I had your faith or figure out where I left mine.

MamaAngie said...

When people ask me how I am, I often will answer "Better than I deserve!" (this reply is not originally mine). As a born-again Christian this is so true. No matter what is going on in my life, good or bad, I am still a sinner that has been saved by grace, been adopted as a child of the King, and looking forward to a magnificant home in Heaven. Not to mention that Jesus has been given all power and has promised to never leave me (Matthew 28:18-20)!
Thank you Brin, for posting from your heart. Over the months that I have been following your blog, you have been a real blessing to me!

fairmaiden said...

I love Him because He's always by my side whispering those simple things like your 'nevertheless'...doesn't it comfort you? I remember that season..I was in one similiar to yours, in my 30's, wandering lost even though I was saved I felt lost, and I had lost a long list like yours, some by choice, and some not. My health also deteriorated and I felt at times like I was going to die. But He was so near, whispering those simple words that comforted my spirit deep deep down in that place of knowing 'all is well'. I was crying out for two very specific things in that season...for peace...deep unmoveable peace, and a home...a haven, a sanctuary, a place where I am my family could rest. Within His perfect time He gave those things to me. He will give those cries of your heart to you too. He will...He will. Just keep leaning and abiding in His wounded side until you come up out of that wilderness leaning fully and completely upon your Beloved.

PS. I had a dream the other night about you...a good dream.

Patsy said...

Aaaahhhh Brin,
God is smiling on you my dear. He is opening the way, it is just a little foggy right now.

You have had a hard time lately. Giving up your car, your home, losing grandpa Jack, leaving your gardens, losing your independence.

Nevertheless, you have your parents, dear precious Millie, and most of all, your health. Never, ever take that for granted.

So while you are "temporarily" in that deli, sing a song of praise. For He truly loves You.

P.K said...

God doesn't make these things good or bad happen to us. Faith in God gives us the strength to go through the bad, be grateful for the good, and share our bounty with others. To me being a Christian isn't about happiness or feeling good all the time, that would be unreal. Nevertheless is a often used word with me as well. All the best

Randi said...

That line will stick with me: that God allows something so good to happen to bad people. I needed to hear that. Thanks for your amazing transparency.

Terri and Bob said...

I needed to be reminded of this... with a recent diagnosis of breast cancer and with the results of the surgery not being what I hoped for, I needed to know that this is all for good and one day it will all be revealed. I can live with this as my reminder. Thank you.

Tee of Dragonfly Cottage said...

I love reading your posts of thoughts and wonder... I am not a christian, I am heathen. That being said we obviously share a beliefe in a much greater force out there. Mine's just alittle different.

It must have been such a rough time for you... loosing Freeman house, the bakery, your grandpa (wasnt it?)... it sucks... but you will find happiness again... somewhere, someday... Nevertheless ;) I do belive fate, and maybe your faith, will lead you there...

keep writing you inspire us all!
Blessed Be from Tee

Al Malekoivc said...

Hi Brin: I could not find you email address. My name is Al Malekovic (al@countrybobs.com) and I represent a very, very small company called Country Bob's, Inc. We are making a great sauce called, "Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce" and we would like to get the word out about our product.
I know that review blogs are a great way to get information to the general public. I conducted a google search for food blogs and your name came and after looking at your blog, I was wondering if you would be interested in trying my sauce and perhaps reviewing it for me.

If you send me your name and address via e-mail, I would gladly send you a recipe brochure along with two bottles of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce in hopes that you would write a review.

If you would like more information, I would be glad to respond to any questions you might have. In fact, if you are interested in interviewing me after you've sampled the product, I would gladly make myself available!

Thank you for your consideration. www.countrybobs.com We also have two two bottle give a ways for your blog.

Lynne said...

Nice color of yarn, Scarflette O'Hara. You knitted this pattern once before and spurred me on to try the pattern myself. I didn't like the way it worked with the yarn I chose so I ripped it out. Anyway, shouldn't you be doing a more seasonal pattern rather than one named "April Showers?"

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I loved that image of walking through grief with a Comforter. Brin, after 37 years of happy marriage, my charmed-life world feel apart as my husband waltzed off with a 30-year old. I have had some of those temper tantrums at God. It is AMAZING how life can just BLINDSIDE you out of no where. I mean, couldn't He have set things up better than this? Still, and all--nevertheless--I agree with you.

As the first comment said, "step-by-step." The only way I have made it is just putting one foot in front of the other. Keep us posted. C

Susan said...

My goodness ... Nevertheless - a small sweet cottage on a perfect 4 acre plot of land in the country miraculously awaits ... both you & Millie. That sure sounds like a big ol' blessing to me.

Sometimes I think having a job that you can very easily leave at the door at the end of your shift would be heaven says she who struggles with own small self employed design business.

Simple tasks done simply and well sounds awful good to me. How is that darn chocolate dog and has she had her "Ladies" operation ? we sure hope so. xo S & les Gang

Shannon said...

Brin,

Oh, girl. Loss is so hard to take. This is what He taught me through my loss -- two pregnancies, a marriage, a job, a home -- there is NOTHING better than the Lord. NOTHING. That's the bottom line. And now, He has filled my life with a new husband, two beautiful babies, a lovely home. And I still know, still live it everyday -- there is nothing better than Jesus.

Joy said...

Oh boy. Those times when all seems lost. When nothing makes sense. When you wonder, 'what is going to happen to me'? 'What's up next'? 'How long am I going to be in this muck'? I've been there many times---and even now---as a Christian the best thing I can do is trust. Trust that God knows what's best for me and what the future holds. Thanks for your honesty. Many have been there. Just remember that you are young, Brin... life is not over yet. This is but your moment in time.

Joy said...

Oh, and that scarflette is absolutely beautiful!!! Great color to go with apple red! You've probably thought of giving knitting lessons???

Cathy said...

Brin, Have you seen the cabins that Home Depot offers? Please take a look at Simplyforties.com blogspot. Wow! Thought you might be interested.

God will take care of you. Whenever I hit those lows I start to make a gratitude list. I actually have a gratitude journal that when I began it I wanted to put at least 4 or 5 things a day to be grateful for. Helped put things in perspective for me. I am happy that you have a paying job. I own a staffng agency and if it were not for the other services we offer we would have to close! People are driving hours for 10 dollars an hour....pretty tough out there. Good Luck, your in my prayers. Cathy

Sarah Sanders said...

Oh, my. I JUST stumbled across your blog and this post had me wiping my eyes. I myself have just come through a very difficult season and I wish I could've had your perspective in those moments when I too, was so very angry at God. You have challenged me even though you don't know me and I'm thankful to have found your place here. I'll definitely be back.
Thanks for sharing and encouraging people you may never meet. I am grateful.
In Him,
Sarah

Karen Deborah said...

Love this post, been there and done that. The most angry I ever was, happened after the death of our first grandson. He was 4 months old and died of SIDS. But he was also my baby. I was 32, and his young teenage mom was sharing him with me. I took care of him every day and his death nearly killed me. I understand. But when I look back God has used every bitter thing in my life for good. All of it. I don't like it when it happens no one does.

Having gone through and read ALMOST your whole blog, you are not the same girl you were when you began this journey. Maybe you should peruse some of your old writings and see for yourself. You have depth and character, you are growing. When you post these kinds of writings you are as real as that Texas dirt and as gritty, and it is a breath of fresh air.

geramyum said...

I'm a new reader of your blog and I must say I wish I had your faith in God when I was going through all my life losses. I know it's tough. I really do. I wish I had your joy. I'm just getting out from years of being furious with God. I'm tired of being angry with him and fearing him. I appreciate your honest writing. Please write more. And I promise you, it's not over yet...
Amy
geramyum.blogspot.com
lulasgift.blogspot.com