One of this week’s Bloghop themes for P31 Ministries online Bible Studies, Am I Messing Up My Kids? just hit home in a big way. In last week’s post I shared a bit about how transition currently feels like a long endurance swim through life. It’s been tough to say the least. And then it got even more tough, more complicated, more “messy”. The little bit of security and stability I was grasping for became a tabled option for the time-being as more questions than answers surfaced in the middle of this re-location. The truth is we are resting in a period of great unknown. Our little family desperately desires to settle in a home again. In fact, one is just within our reach and under any other circumstance we would be pouncing on the opportunity without question. I am nearly certain that if we could act I would probably be eagerly looking at paint and decor options this week. That’s just how I roll. I nest. But that’s not present reality. The reality is there are questions that need some sorting first and my husband’s wisdom cries “wait”. I know that it’s the right thing to do, but I don’t like waiting. I especially don’t like that option when I had thought the option would look so radically different. Of course in moments of deep disappointment it’s easy to let your thoughts and emotions run rampant. Mine do and did. Fear sets in. For me, namely the fear that we would never be in position to own a home again. I began to grieve the loss of the home we just recently sold because the original hope and anticipation that we would be in another soon was quickly fading out of view. I desperately began missing the little things. Little things like a backyard and the cherry maple that grew in our front yard. I loved sitting and staring at it out our living room window. Beautiful red leaves. It was one of the first things my husband and I had planted when we first purchased our home. I loved how it felt “rooted” and “ours”. I loved watching it grow. I loved watching our family grow with it. Yes, it was the little things I began to imagine gone forever. Sometimes “this is all I have to give” feels more like “I have nothing left to give”. Especially when life is throwing us curve balls in the area of careers and homes at the same time a toddler is decorating the living room with a bowl-full of cheerios. Needs, demands on my time, a mind going in a million different directions and a panicked heart sent me on a three-day sabbatical to my in-laws. I had reached my limit of en-durability, or so it felt.
This is all I have to give in this move, in this moment.
This is all I have to give when life throws not only a curve-ball but a hair-ball.(If you have ever cleaned up a cat’s hairball you have just the right picture)
This is all I have to give in the midst of extreme disappointment.
This is all I have to give as I watch my husband bear an incredible weight career-wise.
This is all I have to give as I wait.
This is all I have to give as I clean up explosion after toy explosion.
This is all I have to give when date-nights with my husband are few and far between or non-existent.
This is all I have to give when my emotions are about to have the better of me.
This is all I have to give when the pitcher has been poured out dry and it feels like there is nothing left to give.
This is all I have to give when I wonder if this move was messing things up for my little boy.
And just like God, He showed up in a big way in the middle of my mess. Sometimes we need that time-out to re-group and to see clearly. I cried tears of disappointment while family dumped a lot of love and words of truth on me. My mother-n-law reminded me that sometimes we need to learn to let go. What on earth does that look like I had cried. In the middle of disappointment I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the concept. I was in a low, low spot. Come Monday and God used a most timely phone call from a new friend to speak to the depth of my mommy and wife heart that needed some renewal. She pointed out that I had expressed I felt like I was swimming through life and she reminded me that sometimes instead of trying to swim we just need to let go. I was instantly reminded of a time when I got to go river-rafting in Central America down mild rapids. Not rafting with a boat either. Body rafting. Our guide had been down the river a million times over and knew all it’s curves, bumps and rocks. He knew just how to position your body and allow it to flow with the current and which directions to steer that were safe and would allow us to free-flow. I remembered struggling at first and in that struggle being dragged along a rocky bottom or bumped and bruised needlessly against rocks. I struggled to watch and take the lead of our guide. Instead of floating and gliding along as he did I was a bumping and bobbing mess among the rapids. Until I dropped my arms to my side, put my head back, relaxed and floated. I remember how exhilarating it had felt to be amazingly lifted away from the rocks and floated and twirled softly around obstacles and down the waves. It was a moment and sense of utter freedom. That’s what letting go looked like, felt like. I knew that in the storm and raging river that is the unknown of our life right now I had to let go. It was no different than when Peter stepped from the boat in a raging storm and walked on water. Peter walked on water when His eyes were pinned on Christ. He walked on water when instead of being governed by fear and wrestling the physical impossibility of water-walking he let go and let God. When he looked down and away, well, that’s when it became a downward spiral back into raging waters. The reality is that we are limited in our human frailty in what we have to give, but God is not. When we are weak, He is strong. God is an ever-present source of strength. He is a foundation and an ever-present help in time of struggle. He will never leave us or forsake us. TRUTH. The truth that although this is all I have to give, God gave all so that in Him I am complete and anchored to Christ. He sees all, knows all, and this, yes even this, was filtered through His very strong and very powerful hands. The same hands that set the foundation of the world in it’s place and raised His beloved son from the grave. Those same hands anchor and hold me fast. Over the rapids, through transition, through mundane days and glorious days. He is constant. He is secure.
I am learning that when this is all I have to give, I need to let go and let God. Sometimes that means falling on my knees in prayer. It means turning my questions into praise. It means seeking His face. It means taking clenched hands and slowly opening and letting go of all I’m trying so desperately hard to control. As I drove home my circumstances had not changed. But something in my perspective and heart had. And just like God, he brought a song to the radio that has always ministered to me. It’s the same song that helped pull my husband and I through infertility. The flip side of those hard days was that I was now listening to that very same song as my little boy sat in the back seat trying to sing along in his unintelligible toddler little voice. There is a flip-side to every storm. A fulfillment after the wait. That song, Blessings, by Laura Story is just as relevant now as it was then. It’s a beautiful reminder of God’s faithfulness and purpose in the hard things.
“Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise”
Someday I will be sitting on the the flip-side of this storm. I may even be sipping a cup of coffee and staring out our living room window at the new cherry maple tree that my husband, son and I just planted. I’ll be reminded of blessings indeed. I’ll think back to these present days, hard days, when He taught me to let go. I’ll see the evidence of His strength in abundance. When this is all I have to give . . . GOD.