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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I've Got The Whole World In My Hands......

     Doesn't quite sound right, does it? It certainly doesn't feel right--to have the whole world in my hands, I mean.

     God doesn't give us more than we can handle, but it is possible for us to take on more than we can handle.

     Somehow, I nosedived from trusting God and resting securely in His promises, to a bundle of frayed nerves. Though never managed perfectly, and sometimes not even well, stress has not wrestled me to the ground.

     Until last week....when I actually thought I would have a stress induced implosion. My muscles were tighter than Aunt Bee's pantyhose, my breathing shallow and labored. I woke up having a panic attack, and could not reclaim my calm. Embarrassed, I tried everything in my power to relax. For days I prayed, read verses and books, took hot baths......all in vain. Coffee was out as I tossed things from my diet that could rev up the anxiety already engulfing my being.

     The stress became impossible to hide, as people one by one asked if I was okay. I would reply, "I think so," but as the days passed, it was evident that I was not okay. My husband and others around me saw it coming. They saw the tension in my demeanor, and urged me to take some time to rest. Pressing on about my business as though everything was fine was one of my biggest mistakes.

     Life keeps coming. It never slows down to let you catch up. The days don't stand still to allow time to grieve loss or heal from trauma. Sometimes it seems like a wave of trial washes over you and you don't have time to stand up again before the next wave hits. During these times of intense stress, it is vital to take the time to grieve and heal. Daily tasks will wait.

    Rest, before the stresses of life do you in. You are no good to anybody if you aren't healthy yourself. I learned that the hard way.





     "Superficial problems call for superficial solutions. But real life isn't like that; its headaches and stresses go deeper, right down to the bone. They touch the nerve areas of our security. But God says He is a present help in trouble. Go ahead, read Psalm 46. See God's strength through times of stress."
Stuart Briscoe, What Works When Life Doesn't

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Who Writes This Stuff?

      Life's been crazy lately. Not your typical busy schedule crazy,  but off the wall crazy. No matter how many times I pinch myself  and cry uncle, this low budget horror flick drags on. There is no pausing it, no recasting, and Lord knows, there are no retakes.

     For whatever reason, I have assumed the role of director. Odd, since I have no experience in this arena. I march over to the writers and throw the script in the air. "What kind of trash is this!?!" I demand. "I never approved this!"


     But there is no answer. My tantrum produces nothing. Paper lies scattered all over the floor, but no one cowers before me, sorry for writing such junk. No apologies, no promise to write something better; silence is the only reply.

     I try firing cast members and holding new auditions, but the current actors don't budge. No one shows up to the auditions, and so I am stuck with all of the same people in my life.

     The same script, actors, and plot......stuck. What to do? I think I will hit my knees, and pray with all of my might. This mess is far bigger than anything I can handle on my own.

     As I contemplate the thickening plot of life, wondering how events unfold the way they do, I remember how much God has already brought me through.

     My husband interrupts my daydreaming with, "Are you okay?"

     "I am just stressed," I reply. "There's just a lot going on right now."

     "Isn't God still in control?" He asks me. "He took care of Joey and Tim in the wreck, and He is taking care of this other stuff too."

     God is in control, and I know it. When life feels haywire, I struggle to take charge of the situation. Helplessness is not a pleasant feeling. Not knowing what lies around the next corner frightens me a bit.

     It's easier if we can plan ahead, or at least see what's coming. So, while life seems to unravel around me, I will remember that God knows what He's doing even when I can't make sense of it. Reminding myself of that often in the upcoming days and weeks will be absolutely necessary to maintain some level of functioning and sanity.

     "We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful." ~James 5:11

     What do you do when life is overwhelming?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

     Today I am angry. At what, I'm not sure. Is that even okay? My little brother, Joe, is alive and doing alright, his buddy Tim went home from the hospital yesterday. Still thankful to God for His hand in the accident, our families look ahead at what needs arranging at home to aid their recoveries.

     Painful, but exciting physical therapy sessions are happening twice a day. Joe is pushing himself already to excel. His attitude remains thankful and optimistic, with occasional twinges of irritability. Understandable.

     Watching him and applauding as he goes through these first days after the accident, the realization of how far he has to go before he is wholly himself again is setting in. His pain is excruciating and heartbreaking to watch. I feel like crying when he has to ask someone to scratch his foot, because he can't.


     I want Joe to get up and go to school tomorrow, and then go on to work. I want him to hang out with his buddies at the high school football games, and continue bulking up for his entry into the Air Force. I want him to have a wonderful senior year of high school, full of great memories. I want to return to six days ago, the day before the car accident, and tell him to take a different route after school.

     In this situation, we don't get what we want. There is no undoing that which has already been done, and God has allowed this into their lives and ours for reasons we don't yet know. As I grapple with the anger that caught me off guard-- anger at the accident, nightmares, the broken legs, the wheelchair, and the physical therapy--I just have to give it to God, because I don't know what to do with it.

     How is it even possible to feel thankful, angry, and sad all at the same time? No wonder I feel so crazy. I know God understands our anger, He knows we can't see the final outcome of what is going on right now. He will comfort all of us in our anguish, if we can turn toward Him in it.

     "I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction
 and knew the anguish of my soul." Psalm 31:7

   

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sense In The Senseless

     We try to do that, don't we? Make sense out of things. It's easier to wrap our minds around a situation if we can come to some kind of logical explanation. Sometimes, though, you just can't.

     Why? is an irresistible question.....the first one most of us ask when looking at something that makes absolutely no sense.



       Like.....Why did my little brother and his best friend, in the second month of their senior year of high school, get into a  terrible wreck?


     Why did they not only live, but astound the state patrol, EMTs, doctors, and the tow truck company by escaping the crash with minimal injury?


     How did the passenger take the impact of a head on collision, then get crunched from the side of a metal post they landed against, and not break a single bone?

Photos from krem.com

     Why will my brother be in a wheelchair, and endure extensive and difficult therapy?

     Infinite questions could be asked, but they would hang in the air unanswered. It is not for us to know the answers right now, and they may or may not be revealed in this lifetime. All we can do is drop to our knees and thank God for having mercy on all of us by letting us keep our boys.

     "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh: I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be declared in all the earth." Romans 9:15-17

      Rather than focus on the long and painful recovery, we must keep our minds on the blessing that they will heal.

     We will applaud them and cheer them on, no matter how tempted to over help, so that they will regain the strength to be independent. The pain will be difficult to watch, but we know that through pain comes strength and endurance.

    Just as God had His hand on them during the crash, He will be there as they recover and beyond.

     "For I know the plans I have for you,"declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Anyone Have A Field For Sale?

     I am constantly on the lookout for a great deal on greener grass in which to bloom. Sure, they say to bloom where you're planted, but have you seen the possibilities? What about blooming on the other side of the fence? I spot a nice place just around the bend, and there's another across town. Have you seen the blooms on those flowers? I want to bloom like that. Sometimes, all I can think about is trying to get where I think I'm headed.


     Planning and praying, I plot the coordinates--my coordinates--that will lead me where I want to go, where I think God wants me. The grass over there turns a deeper shade of green each time I peer at it, and it makes me crazy. Waiting is so difficult.

     It's interesting, though, as I pray about how and when I should get over to this other field, all this other stuff gets in the way. For instance, I write sometimes for the JR High at church and communicate the Bible to teens. While I actually love this and appreciate its importance, it doesn't allow for much time to develop my writing. So much research to do, classes to take, topics begging to be explored.

     Rather than consider the spiritual development and experience happening right now, I have been trying to hold off, looking for avenues to grow my writing skills and communication experience. So, with all of my might, I hold my petals tight to keep them from blooming until I reach my destination. Only then will I let down my blooms.


     If all of my efforts flow into the future, what will I miss in the mean time? The opportunity to bloom right here, right now, where God has me in this very moment. I've decided to live purposefully in the present, giving my best to what's going on around me each day, one day at a time. All the steps taken  are more effective if I am fully engaged and wholeheartedly living now.

     It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.~Proverbs 19:2

     Where and when will you bloom? In the here and now, or on the other side of the fence down the road?