Can We Be Done Now?

I’m sure you’ve noticed that nothing ever happens in a vacuum.  When something big happens in our lives we can’t just focus on that one thing. There are still a zillion other things to attend to.

This week we were reminded of the saying, “when it rains, it pours.”  You have a picture of that already, don’t you?  You can immediately think of a time when it seemed so many things were going wrong at the same time and you wanted to say, “can we be done now?”

I’ve said that to God several times in the past month. And, yes, it’s okay to say that to Him. He can handle our frustration.

So our focus for the past week or two has been to get a handle on the new routine we must keep. Medications schedules, giving shots, and logging information to keep track of blood sugars, blood pressure, and weight. It sort of feels like I’ve become the nurse at the hospital taking vitals at shift change. My mother would be proud that I’ve finally followed in her footsteps and become a nurse.

But even though we are trying hard to focus on these details, we can’t just ignore everything else. While we were in the midst of this life crisis, something else happened.  Tax day.  Yep, we missed it.  And we had bills to pay and other deadlines to  meet for the new business.  None of those things went away just because we were facing this difficult situation with Randy’s health.

And then there had to be just one more thing.

Our son in Iowa called to see how his dad was doing. And, oh-by-the-way…the cats we left in his care when we moved are both in their final days. One can barely move now and the other one is in congestive heart failure. Granted, they are both 14 years old, but did this have to happen NOW?  “And,” said this long distance son, “I just found termites in the house.”  Our house. In Iowa. Termites can be expensive. And did I mention? My husband hasn’t worked in over a month. Translate that to no paycheck.  And, termites can be expensive.

Can we be done now?

This is the time when a person must choose to fight despair. It’s the human response to allow hopelessness to start moving in. But our response as Christ Followers must be a different one.

To be in despair can also be called “downcast,” which means just what it sounds like. To look down, to be depressed and discouraged.

Instead of becoming downcast, the scriptures tell us to look up. God is still watching over every detail. Now is the time to look up and set our eyes on the One who holds it all together.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 43:5) NIV

Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, he calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing. ( Isaiah40:26) NASB

I Found a Rock

We are slowly getting back to normal. Or perhaps it’s really a new normal. At any rate, today, since Randy isn’t driving yet, I took him to a client’s office. It was his first attempt at getting back to work and his plan was to work 4 hours which left me with a large chunk of time to fill while I waited for him. My plan was to go to a nearby library, one of my favorite places to spend time. But since it was such a beautiful morning, I chose to go to a park on the water for a while first.

I walked toward one of four benches facing the water and as I prepared to sit down I spotted a brightly painted rock on the bench. This was a meaningful find for two reasons.

First, there is a pay-it-forward sort of movement becoming very popular in Florida. It may have started on the Space Coast and has now made it’s way to the Gulf Coast. People paint small rocks and then place them in public places to be found by others. The idea is to brighten someone’s day in just a small way. If you find a rock you can move it to another location or keep it and then replace it with a rock you have painted or found elsewhere. A pretty simple but fun activity. I was excited this morning to find my first rock! I envision painting rocks with the grandkids and putting them in places around Clearwater.

The second reason finding this rock was meaningful to me is that it triggered a string of word pictures and if you know me at all… well, let’s just say that word pictures are my native language.

So, this rock I held in my hand immediately spoke to me about Who my rock is.

“There is none holy like the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.” – 1 Samuel 2:2

“For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? ” – 2 Samuel 22:32

In the tumultuous season we have been in, I have felt pretty battered by the waves of life. But for the rock on which I stand, I would have surely drowned.

And the painting on this lovely stone shows the colors of the rainbow. In spite of the fact that the rainbow symbol has been hijacked to serve a different meaning, the original rainbow was a sign of God’s promise to never destroy the earth by flooding again.

So as I sat by the water, with this smooth colorful rock in my hand, I was reminded that God is my Rock. He is a promise keeper and He will never let me drown no matter how it looks from where I stand.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”  – Hebrews 10:23

 

 

Life’s Uncertainties Are…Certain

Some days my mind tries to return to our life 4 weeks ago. Working on projects in the backyard with the family. Going to the beach on date night. Just doing “normal.”

In just 4 weeks, too many changes. So many uncertainties.

But even when so many things happen at once, and you get the feeling things are spiraling out of control, there is one simple truth to consider.

No matter what has happened since yesterday, or last week, or last month, there are really no more uncertainties than there were before. You may have just thought of some new ones, or perhaps you are just suddenly more aware of them. Those uncertainties of life were always there even if you hadn’t seen them before.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the balance between believing that “ignorance is bliss“, and being so “informed” that you struggle all the more with worry.

Faith comes somewhere in between being ignorant and being informed. It’s the place where you realize that you cannot know the future (and that’s a good thing), but you know enough to want answers.

And the only real answer is…God knows.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” – Isaiah 43:2

When the Future Looks Nothing Like What You Expected

We’ve had a couple of rough weeks. While it seems the initial crisis is over, the truth is, our lives took a ninety degree turn from the direction we thought we were going. We can never get back on that old road.

I have been reminded frequently in these two weeks that God’s plan is definitely NOT the same as my plan.  My plan seemed to make sense.  This new plan uses a completely different set of rules. Or maybe it uses no  recognizable rules at all.

Just the weekend before all of this started we were happily working as a family on a book project with a fast approaching deadline. Randy hadn’t been feeling quite right physically but we didn’t see anything that would have been a red flag.  He was tired at the end of the weekend, but then we all were.

Randy had just started his own business two weeks earlier. It has been the plan since we moved to Florida 15 months ago.  The pieces were coming together and we were excited to finally see this dream taking shape.

Then the bottom fell out.  Or so we thought.

What we thought was just some quirky health issues turned into a 12 day hospital stay and a diagnosis of cirrhosis that shattered our carefully laid plans.

One of the things we do as humans is that we project our present into our future without really knowing anything. We think we have an idea where we are going but we really don’t.  And what we think the future looks like actually puts us in a box.  It makes us stop looking for other avenues and possibilities. It makes us get comfortable with our little picture and how it’s supposed to look.

As the days in the hospital began to stack up, I had a lot of time to just sit and think while I watched my very sick husband sleep.  One of the things I realized is that what we thought was an illness that threatened to shut down the business before it even got started is really opening the door to new possibilities that we hadn’t even thought of before.  God keeps showing us things from a completely different angle than we had been looking before.

It has made me think of the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis(Chapters 37-50).  All the terrible things that happened to Joseph, God used for good. And God knew ahead of time that all of it would happen. He had a plan that no one else could see.

So at this point in our new journey, we are holding on to that scripture that everyone likes to quote.

For I know the plans I have for you”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (HCSB)

It has new meaning for us now. We can look to the future and remember that God is already there. He has already made provision to get US there too.

Is God up to something in your life that doesn’t look like you expected it to?  Take a deep breath and just trust Him. He knows exactly what He’s doing.

 

Navigating in a Strong Current? Better Let God Steer

A week ago I wrote this on my Facebook timeline:

I came to the beach this morning to walk and pray. Now as I sit on the rocks listening to the rhythm of the waves, I am reminded that our lives are in a rhythm of their own. The ebbs and flows, the ups and downs. I can look to the East across the channel from where I am sitting and see the hospital where Randy is and I can look to the West and see nothing but water. I am reminded that the God who could create the vastness of the ocean can handle whatever is going on in the building behind me. God is good.”

At the time, I was only seeing the building in the distance.  Later as I looked at the picture I took, I could see something I had missed.  The sign said:  “WARNING  deep holes and strong current.”  Rather ironic in light of the week I’ve had.  It has certainly felt like we’ve been in danger of drowning from the deep holes and strong current that have tried to pull us under each time another doctor came to give us another round of bad news.

As the week passed, day after day, I tried to keep my perspective positive. At one point I was sitting in a waiting room alone, watching the patient update screen to see when Randy would be done with another test.  I was restless and feeling more anxious the longer I waited.  Finally I changed seats and looked out the window.

From where I sat I could see the same bridge from the other side.  If I looked closely,  I could see the rocks where I took the photo just a few days before. As I looked across the water I remembered what God had said to me that day. I remembered that He has it all under control.

Now as I look at both photos I can see an even greater truth. Though I didn’t actually have to find my way through the dangerous waters to get from one place to the other, God did take me through the difficult challenges that these days have brought.

I sense God whispering to my heart, “I have brought you through rough waters before. Look back and remember My faithfulness and trust me with the future.”

Psalm 42:5 “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.”

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”