Tough Circumstances

purplecrocusOne of the biggest disadvantages to publicly sharing my success at getting one area of my life under control is that entirely too many people assume that every area of my life is well in hand.

So.  Not.  True.

First of all, there are only so many aspects of life that truly can be controlled.  I mean, we always have a choice of how we respond to circumstances, but we sometimes have little say in what those circumstances are.  Illness, weather, other people’s actions, death, etc. are all punches we just kind of have to roll with.  Rolling smoothly and with grace comes through maturity and with faith.  Some situations are more difficult to do this in than others.

Then there’s the fact that I just don’t have it all together.  I may look like I have it all together.  I may even act and sound like I have it all together, but it’s just an illusion.  Trust me.  And, I don’t even really mean to convey that I have it all together.  I mean, I even posted on Facebook about the time I had driven almost the entire 30 minutes to the vet only to realize that I had left my dog at home.  See?  I’m not trying to impress anybody.

Having said all of that, this week has been one of those weeks that have me wondering if I can keep my head above water. Some of the responsibility is totally mine, like the fact that I wrote a speaking engagement down on the wrong square of this month’s calendar.  If it had not been for my host sending me a “what else do you need for tomorrow’s meeting” email last night, I would not be fulfilling my obligation there today.  I’m very thankful that she did so, because I have been looking forward to this time with her and her friends.

Another issue that is totally mine is that I procrastinated on getting feed for the calves, cows and chickens until they were pretty much out.  I therefore had to go get some this morning in the midst of rumbling thunder and flashing lightening.  And, because we got so much rain yesterday, I could not drive the 600 pounds of grain out to the barn for fear of the truck getting stuck.  So, I had to load all of the feed, 150 pounds at a time, into the wheelbarrow to get it out to the barn.  My upper body strength is not my greatest asset, so this was not a fun (nor particularly graceful) task for me.  It especially stunk when I began emptying a bag of cow pellets into the chicken feed barrel before realizing that I had the wrong bag of grain. Yeah…that was fun.

Usually, I use my in-home slave labor to help with these tasks, but they’re all under the weather.  My oldest has a yucky cough and sore throat.  My middle has an upset stomach and no appetite.  My youngest has Fifth Disease and feels like he has a horrible case of poison ivy from his scalp to his ankles.  Even looking at the poor kid makes me want to cry.  He has suffered through this for a week, and we have no idea how much longer it will last.  He’s been a trooper, but he is miserable.  I can’t even hug him, because the slightest touch sets his skin on fire.  (Okay, now I am crying.)  Illness is one of those things we often cannot control.

Then, there’s death.  A good friend of our family went to be with Jesus this week.  I honestly can’t feel too badly for him; he is where he has lived his life wanting to be.  When I think of his family, though, my heart aches.  I know they’ll be okay, but I also know that a little piece of their hearts went to heaven when Steve did.  (More tears.)

I have a strained relationship within my family that grieves me deeply, and it has been bugging me again this week.  This wound has been a source of heartache for years, and I sometimes wonder if there will ever be healing and restoration.  And, to be honest, I cannot even imagine what healing and restoration would look like in this relationship.  It’s a tough one for me.  I have tried to do what God has called me to do in this situation, but I know I’ve failed.  I sometimes doubt and I sometimes struggle to forgive, and I always feel like I am just not enough.  There are seasons when I have a better handle on my emotions and I do a better job of trusting and loving.  This week has not been one of those seasons.

I share all of this because my past experiences have taught me that this, too, shall pass.  I feel like I am in a hole right now. To be honest, I kind of want to go back to bed.  I kind of want to go into my closet and cry and kick and eat chocolate cake.  I kind of want to focus on the tough spots instead of on all of the blessings.   But, that would not be realistic.  It would be out of balance for where I really am and for what God has truly done in my life.  Today, just like every other day, is a gift.  It is up to me to use it wisely, out of the abundance God has given me and according to my true priorities.

Lord, please open my eyes to see the road you have laid out for me today.  Help me to not focus on the edges which are shrouded in darkness or on the thorns that catch hold of me as I pass.  Put strong arms around me to catch me when I falter, and strength to continue when I am tired.  Make me faithful in sowing seeds along the way, just as You have been faithful in hiding Your Truth in my heart.  Thank You for loving me enough to see in me something worth saving even when my soul is shrouded in doubt.

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