What Now?

My dad loved ketchup. He called it catsup. Put it on almost everything. He joked about adding it to ice cream. I never saw him do it, but knowing him, he could have.

Sometimes, the newly-opened, glass ketchup bottle wouldn’t bring forth actual ketchup. I still remember him holding it sideways and taping it on his index finger. This became a teaching moment for me.

“Pauline, sometimes the ketchup forms a vacuum and you have to do this.” Tap, tap, tap, wait, wait, wait.

I’d hold my breath. For a long time. If it took too long, he pulled out a bread knife and stuck it in the ketchup to break the vacuum.

Eventually, our french fries would be liberally covered in Heinz.

I’m waiting now, but not for ketchup.

My mom went to heaven 6 months ago today. I just realized this was the day as I’m sitting in a semi-dark living room thinking. After her death, there were arrangements, travel, family, finances, all of the usual stuff you do when your mom dies.

I’m not sad she died since I know she is in heaven. I think oftentimes I felt sadder when she was here. After fourteen years of in-house caregiving and watching both my parents lose all of their independence, I grieved more for them then.

I still grieve. It’s just with bright hope.

But after all the travel and funeral arrangements and decisions, I came home to our farm. The day I arrived, Tom was laid off from his sign company job. Instead of being anxious, I said, “It’s a God thing. We need some time alone.”

And we did. And then I got some type of flu and Tom cared for me. And then he got a job and I stayed home.

Alone.

And I liked it. A lot. I prayed and read and sat and slept. And then I did all of those things again and again.

A few months later, I participated in the local farmers markets with my homemade salsa, pesto, and jellies. But salsa sales are slipping and people are busier which means not much money coming in.

So, my question is, What now? The first years of my marriage, I was a young married professional, then a mother, then a home school teacher, and finished off as a caregiver/farmer/food entrepreneur.

The proverbial ketchup bottle is tipped sideways and nothing’s coming out. I have a writing agent, 3 proposals in with three different publishing houses, but no one is busting down my door.

And money is short. Not gone–in fact, by the world’s standards we are rich. I’m not complaining. But I have applied for jobs. I’m ready to wear grown-up clothes and be around people, and have conversations, and minister outside of my home. But when you’re fifty something and haven’t worked as a professional for several years, finding a job is tough.

As I thought about all of these things today, I remembered a prayer I prayed to the Lord about three years ago, and still have on my prayer cards. I asked to be a woman of faith. A woman who trusted God and encouraged others to trust Him, too. Sure, I can point to numerous times in the past when God came through in ways I never imagined. Miraculous, even.

But that’s not today. It doesn’t pay the bills next week. Or next month or next year.

Bottom line is, do I really believe what I say I believe?

By God’s grace and through His strength, Yes. I just need to remind my anxious heart.

Maybe you are waiting for the ketchup, too.

Let’s wait together.

Those french fries are going to be awesome…

 

5 Comments on "What Now?"

  1. Heather Bock says:

    I like this analogy of the ketchup. I can be impatient at times. I buy the easy squeeze kind of ketchup. But God has me in a place of waiting, too, and it’s good to trust Him in the middle of it instead of yielding to anxiety. Thank you!

  2. April says:

    Blessed me today, thank you Pauline!

  3. phylton says:

    Thanks, Heather, let’s pray for each other today…

  4. phylton says:

    April, great to hear from you. Thanks for the encouragement, I need it.

  5. Sue Dunigan says:

    Pauline ,
    This was perfect for me today. I am also in a different waiting for the ketchup moment. You are a wonderful woman of faith and I pray that God will bless you and Tom immeasurably more than you could ask or imagine.

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