Scene playing at my daughter’s house tonight: Worn out child #2 in room, tired but fighting the rest she so desperately needs. It’s been a long day, full of laughter, good food, a movie, and game time with Momma and Grammie. Now it’s past her bedtime, and even after the normal bedtime ritual of a story and song with cuddles, she is overstimulated and cranky. Momma has taken to the sofa, silent to the little girl’s pleas for her to hear and come placate her. Wise Momma waits patiently, ever aware of angelface’s cries, but in the work of training this child, allows her to shout out in angst, shed tears, and vent her frustrations.
I hear the wisdom of my Heavenly Father roll off her tongue, as she reassures her. “I love you. It’s time to rest. Lie down and go to sleep.” Then, she is quiet, and she waits for daughter to wear herself out with groaning. The cries grow louder and more insistent, and she resists the urge to run to her and coddle her. Patiently she endures the wailing, knowing this time of training, hard as it is, will make the next one a little easier. The goal is to teach this child to discipline herself. One day, she will be equipped with the coping skills she needs to remind herself of the things she knows. Mom loves me, it’s been a long day, it’s time to rest…and she will fall asleep without the fight.
And as my own Father waits patiently for my cries to subside, his words echo in my mind, I love you. Trust Me. Rest; And I am reassured that He is not absent, or deaf to my cries. He is just quiet while He patiently waits for me to quit fighting and obey.
Lord, I give myself to you…use me as you choose. Use my victories and my defeats; my joys and my sorrows; my laughter and my tears. If one person can benefit from my experiences, they were worth the time and energy. Tears and angst turn to assets of joy and peace.
Remember my new year’s resolution? Well, maybe not resolution, but my word for the new year, “surrender”. I just keep learning more and more about it, and today, 1/4 way through the year, opportunity for practical application appeared in the form of physical stress that brought on a full-blown grand mall seizure, as I was on setting out on my trip to return to Texas. I’ve had a seizure disorder since I was a pre-teen, and though my episodes are sporadic, they do seem to follow a pattern of sorts.
God is so good, through all of our hardships. On the way to the airport, my son put in a teaching cd on the topic of God’s grace. Fr. Thomas Richter gave a wonderful talk about trusting in the Lord, and many of his points caused me to reflect on my own need to trust in God and surrender to His will for my life; Specifically, how his grace is imparted to us in the places and times when we are most powerless
The classroom of dependence is the holiest place in my life. If I learn how to trust in the Lord, is either the holiest place or the place that drives me to insanity, depending on how I choose to react to it; either trusting in God to provide, and receiving that provision, depending on His providence, or trying to get rid of it, or trying to be self-reliant through it.
I do not have any recollection of writing this, nor do I understand where (if anywhere) I was headed with it, so I’ll leave it as it is. Maybe I meant to click publish and forgot…I am not completely with it for a few days after a GMS, to be honest, I’m surprised at the coherence of my thought above, since it looks like it was that same evening that I wrote it.
Sometimes I wonder if I will be forever in transition of some sort or another. The past three years has been one change after the next, with barely enough time to relax and enjoy the view. I have watched family relations on both sides of my family be tested and tried. I have seen frustration take its toll, leading to the disintegration of relationships, and I have watched the same test/trial be used to strengthen and build up relationships. Both cases involving my husband, myself, and one or more family members from both sides and even our own children. I’ve watched marriages be tried and fail, and other marriages be tried and succeed, strengthened. I’ve watched kids grieve their losses, doing their best by trial and error to learn healthy coping skills, and I’ve watched kids successfully balance a load that to anyone looking on appears to be too heavy…and yet, they continue carrying it, and with grace.
In each instance, the defining attitude determined the success rate:
Those who let bitterness and anger reign, reaped strife and loss.
The harder one works to be in control and call the shots, the harder they fall when God reclaims His rightful place on that throne.
Discontent breeds worry and angst…which give birth to depression and strife.
Total dependence and whole-hearted trust in God and His will give birth to peace that passes all human understanding, even when the money has run out…and the gas tank reads empty…even when the job didn’t come through, and we haven’t a clue what to do next.
Serving trumps being served…big time…but being served builds humility that can’t be found anywhere else. Both are essential, in their own time for the building of a person.
Pride is an ugly bag to carry around. Best nailed to the cross and buried in the deepest ocean.
I am a tool in the hands of the Master. What He does with me, according to His will, is His business. I just have to remain in His hand, and not be shy of contact with others.
While I love the freedom to participate or not, now I am learning that my choices affect others besides myself…and that same free will is offered to my family and friends who may or may not realize this truth yet, and that has an effect on me.
While the above is true, I also know that it’s not all about me. The beautiful truth of Romans 8:28 is that God works in several dimensions all at the same time. While he’s using my own past, present and future circumstances in His work for my good, He is using me in the lives of those around me as He is working all their “things” for their good as well. Often your “things” will bump into and overlap one with mine; this is beautiful and good from heaven’s viewpoint, though from this earthly perspective, it can be uncomfortable and humbling. I continue to pray to be able to see with heaven’s perspective, even though right now, I know I’m looking at the back of the quilt.
We are transitioning again…across state lines, from parenting to empty house, living with adult children en route, from employment to unemployment, and seeking gainful employment again…and while we are transitioning, there is more waiting, and leaning, and learning.
So much change.
So many opportunities to trust, and draw near.
Hopefully there is healthy growth in these dark, quiet places.
As my dear friend Kelly pointed out to me today, “living in the shadow” (Psalm 91) can be a dark place, or a place of refuge, depending on our perspective, and how we choose to view it.