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When Times Are Tough

When Times Are Tough

The Birth of a Pure Heart Through a Challenging Season

By Aileen Hamilton

7/10/2012

 

The sound of the heartbeat of this little bundle of joy of a boy I was expecting, was going to carry on the family name and be the President of the United States one day. All our dreams were unfolding.

One evening, my husband came home from work with red, swollen eyes. On his ninety minute drive home, Craig tried to figure out how to break the news to his pregnant wife, that his contractor position was no longer needed. We struggled  just to ‘get by’. I watched my husband continue to grow discouraged. One night Craig wrote me a letter, “Honey, I know times are tough, but we will get through this. Just keep believing in me and in us. One day we’ll be able to tell our children and our children’s children, about how we went through tough times and maybe be able to laugh at all this worry. I love you, and I always will. Through good times and bad, for better or for worse.”

Weeks later, Craig took a job in the city. Soon after, we found out we were expecting a little girl. Thrilled, we loved the idea of having our children close in age so they would be playmates, companions, best friends. Shortly after, Craig came home with the same news he had last time I was expecting. He took this second time around so hard because it was strike two. He started to doubt himself, and his self-worth. He felt like a failure as a man, as an employee, as a husband, as a father, and as a provider. He felt emasculated; he was an emotional wreck. Once I even took my wedding ring off and told him I was willing to sell it if it meant paying off another home mortgage. Tearfully, he said we could sell our cars and our furniture but he would never ask me to sell my wedding ring. My husband, so tall and strong usually, was weeping. Every time I reminded him that God was in control and to keep the faith, he told me that he was tired of hearing that. “Well, I have prayed and prayed and sat silently to listen but I never hear anything!” he said truthfully. All I was able to do was ask him not to lose heart because I trusted that God really was working. Then it hit me…what exactly was God is trying to tell or teach us?

When things are going great we tend to forget to be thankful, forgetting that what we have doesn’t belong to us. They belong to God. All things ultimately belong to Him; He can give, and He can also take away. I strongly felt that God was wanting to reveal something. First, I prayed for my husband. I continued to ask for comfort and healing for Craig. I prayed for every job application he submitted, that if it was His will we would hear about job opportunities that fit our needs. In the afternoons I’d get down on my knees and lay my head on seat of our rocking chair. I’d imagine my head was on God’s lap and tearfully prayed for Him to reveal His presence to me. I needed Him to hold me close. Every time I ran across scripture that offered hope and encouragement, I’d rush to my husband’s side and share His word with him. My husband and I learned to pray more frequently together.

I couldn’t believe what followed in the next weeks and months. Generous financial gifts from friends and family, including anonymous gift cards arrived in the mail. Hot meals were delivered to us almost every night. We had not one, but two Thanksgiving dinners delivered to us! Clothes and baby items were left on our doorstep for our children. Through our friends and family God was providing.  He had heard every prayer and He was revealing His presence. He was working and He was faithful. Most importantly He was teaching us that His love His love endures. My husband and I felt so tremendously blessed.

After all this love and support, through a message on the radio, and a couple of times in Church, Craig felt convicted. Despite our financial woes, we still needed to continue tithing and blessing others just as we have continued to receive blessings. To follow His lead, not by sight, but by faith. After another of our Pastor’s sermons, we held a garage sale and advertised it everywhere, without putting a price on anything. When anyone came to look and ask what an item cost, we said, “It’s free.”

“Free? Oh, wow! Well, what about this?”

“That’s free, too.”

 ”And this?”

 ”Free.”

We had a free-sale. Everything we dragged out to the driveway was a gift for whoever asked for it. Craig and I were incredibly blessed beyond measure to see how excited people were. People opened up to share their stories. We met several people that had also lost jobs. We prayed with those who wanted prayers and just felt so blessed to share God’s word and His promises with those needing encouragement. Despite our friends’ comments that we had “lost it”, we continued to stay faithful to what we felt God was leading us to do. These trials have not only brought my husband closer than we’ve ever been, they have strengthened our marriage. Our marriage is unbreakable. Even more so, our relationship with God is indestructible. We’ll be the first to tell you when the rain pours, He’s got you covered.

Craig lost his job once more. This time our reaction was, “Where He moves, we’ll move; we’ll follow Him.” There was a very long time when Craig and I were separated. He took a job in another state and I had to stay back with the children until the house sold. Even though that grew discouraging, we continued to trust. We knew He would reveal His plans in His perfect timing and He did. Six months later, God brought my family to where our hearts had been aching to be: back out in the country, on a beautiful 20 acre farm in a tiny little town!

Craig and I have learned many lessons from these trials. We no longer desire material things we once had. We have learned that our treasure lies in being able to serve others so we would be able to share God’s love with them. It brings us such joy.

“Why do you have so little faith? And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to those in need. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Luke 12:28-34

We’ve made lists of ideas we feel we can implement in His name. We hope to share harvests with neighbors. We hope to utilize our farm to help others. Our doors are always open, especially to those in need because we have been there. Through God’s tests we’ve developed a compassion to serve. We’ve learned that what He brings you to, He will bring you through. With God as the center of our lives, we can face all our giants. No matter how big the storms are, Our God is bigger.

Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

With much prayer and consideration, Craig and I finally came up with the perfect name for our homestead…Pure Heart Farms.

With Grace,

Aileen Hamilton

B.L.O.G. Magazine Contributing Writer

Aileen is a stay-at-home-mom to three rambunctious children and the lucky housewife to her doting husband, Craig. She has the perspective of having lived a lot of unique lives, e.g. a military daughter in a non-Christian family, a life overseas as an American-born child in the Philippines, an unequally yoked wife and young mother, a struggling single mom working multiple jobs, and her present day life as a stay-at-home married mom and wife of a God-fearing man. She is also writing and sharing her experiences for the first time as a contributing writer for BLOG magazine. You can find her on Facebook or you can email her atthehamiltonhome@gmail.com.

 

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