Walking Through Disappointment to Find Hope By Katherine Perez
We have this kitchen table. It's a large wooden tabletop with two white trestle shelf legs. It's a wide, sturdy, and hermosa (beautiful) mesa.
I find that table to be the quietest space in our home. It's a safe place I can lay out food, like carrots that need peeling or strawberries that need to be sliced for a yogurt parfait. It's a leveled place I can lay open my Bible to read or to lay out my journal to write out my prayers and thoughts.
Our kitchen and I are a team. We work together to sustain lives with fuel, comfort, and joy. My husband and I would tell our guests, "Come with me to the kitchen", we even say that to each other. It's a place where one can lean back and talk while the other leans in to serve.
The kitchen is the cornerstone of a home; it's where we can create something that everyone can benefit from. But some of us might resent this place because it can get messy. But the mess comes from something good. It shows us that even when something great happens some bad can come with it; but the bad does not take away all the good that filled us up in the first place. And the bad can easily be cleaned away – it is not permanent.
I used to see a kitchen as a messy and crowded place. I used to see it as a place for only older women who knew how to cook. I did not consider myself worthy to be in there or as if it were my own. My mother knows how to work any small space of a kitchen. She knows where every dish and snack is and if she wasn't home we could call her and ask and she could tell us exactly where an item is. Now I can finally relate. I know our kitchen and now I answer my husband's questions as he searches for things.
There's something about the relationship between a woman and her home. It can speak to us and we understand it. There's a reason why the home is a special place for women. We like to make it beautiful with our framed photos and clean floors. There's no shame in up-keeping your home as the woman of your home; it's worthy. I had to grow in this area as a newlywed.
I had my dream job taken away from me a couple of years ago due to layoffs and I was left with being a housewife — something I have never wanted to happen. I used to look down at the idea of just being a housewife. Yet, God brought me into this role and changed my heart. I learned how to be content in that place, and now I have genuine joy in being a homemaker. Only God could have brought that transformation and change in my heart.
I can truly say I completely understand and relate to Paul in Philippians when he says "I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation... For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."
In the past two years, I have also waited for some kind of direction, for something to finally go according to plan, or to hear “this is it” from God. When you lose something that you’ve put years of time and effort towards, you feel out of place and like you need something new. I waited, and waited, but as I waited, I was still doing—and something was still happening inside of me; and it’s not until now that I can see it clearly.
I heard Holy Spirit tell me recently, “you have waited patiently for me.”
After hearing that from Holy Spirit I searched through scripture on what it means to wait patiently for the Lord. In my dream journal I had already written Psalm 40:1-3:
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me...out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”
This whole section is about a process; the process of waiting for God. Scripture shows us there are still a lot of things happening in between the lines.
During the waiting, you are believing, getting stronger, gaining courage, and walking in His ways. The Lord is also renewing your strength, and you are still able to move, do things, and not get tired. Preparation happens in the waiting and there is something to gain.
We are always encouraged to wait on the Lord in scripture. I remember being bothered by that; I was impatient throughout the process in the beginning, I just wanted the victory! Only now I know, after many seasons of waiting, there is a lot that you can gain from the process God has you in, and it’s fun to see how God works.
Isaiah 40:31 says: “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
A commentary for this verse said, “the criterion for receiving God’s unlimited strength is to wait on the Lord.” While in the waiting, your strength—which cannot compare to His—is becoming new, being made strong again; getting repaired, restored, refreshed, rebuilt, corrected, rectified.
During the long periods of waiting I certainly felt like I lost my strength. I felt so weak—that’s what I kept telling people, I feel so weak. Meanwhile, I had no idea that God was actually working. He was renewing my little strength. He was trading mine with something new: His.
Losing my dream job shook me to the core. My identity became cloudy and I felt paralyzed by fear. I could not believe the rush of it all, and I panicked. You really learn a lot about yourself when your faith gets tested. During that time, I realized I did not know God as well as I thought I did.
I felt like He was far away, I felt like He took everything away from me. I laugh at that now because I still had so much, we had our home, family, friends, our church. I was not alone, but the lies of the enemy kept getting louder in my head. I would have good days, then bad days that consisted of crying and doubting.
That year of process was a time of learning how to breathe in fresh air; it felt like I was breathing in God's breath. The only way I can describe it is as me walking on air, but still feeling like I was walking on something grounded, which is the Lord. He became my true foundation and He became my hope.
I did not lean on my own understanding, I did not fight for my own way, I sought the Lord more than ever and learned of His true character. I thank God for that time, I truly do. I am thankful for the trials and tribulations because I got to know my God, my Jehovah Solemn.
With full trust in God and full surrender of my plans and dreams, God brought me back into the zone of dreaming again. For a time, I had stopped because I felt like everything was already taken away, but God reminded me that He is always doing something new and that I still have a lot to offer.