21 Dec 2016 2 Comments
If you’re anything like me, when it comes to the problems and challenges that life hurls at you, you immediately find yourself going into “fix it” mode. Let me get honest and say that there are those occasional moments of difficulty when I’d rather bury my face in a blanket, and just stay there until whatever it is passes; but for the most part I’m a problem solver. I try my best not to be a human who sits on the sidelines of life, and laments about all of my miseries. Those people just suck the energy out of life, and the older I get, the less patience I have with them. Don’t get me wrong, there are days I’d like to complain and whine, and have people say, “Poor you”, but that’s just not really what I want to put out there into the universe. I’d much rather be someone who can look a challenge square in the face, point my finger straight at it, and say, “I’m coming after you!” While this sounds like a good idea on the surface, I’ve realized that this is a condition which can have both positive and negative results. How?… you may be asking. I’ll explain.
It may sound noble to want to dig in and start solving the problems of the world right away, but in doing so, it can be easy to make hasty decisions in our desire to tunnel through. There have been situations in life that are set before me, in which I just know instinctively (God) what I’m supposed to do. Other situations take a bit longer- more weighing out, more talking to God before the right decision reveals itself. But what about those other times? The times when you are in the middle of something confusing or complex, and you simply have no idea what you are supposed to do. I feel it’s safe to say that most of us have found ourselves in this predicament more than a few times in our lives. It’s like you wake up in the middle of a dense forest, and there are a number of paths you can take. Which do you choose? How do you know which is the right one?
As a Christian, our default in all things should be that we turn to God first. There are over sixty Bible verses that speak specifically to us waiting on the Lord. One of my favorites is:
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”
I recall very clearly one of my biggest lessons in learning to handle complicated life decisions came in the midst of my divorce. There are SO MANY decisions you are having to make, and needing to make them in a relatively short amount of time. The pressure I felt was often overwhelming, as every decision that I made had a direct effect, not only on my own life, but also on the lives of these two little beings I love. I remember that somewhere around life decision #458 at that time, I called my mom, broken, and just said, “I have no idea what I’m supposed to do.” In that moment she gave me what I consider to be some of the best advice for living that I’d ever received. She very gently, and matter-of-factly stated these words, “When you don’t know what you are supposed to do, you do nothing. You wait.”
Okaaaay?…. I wait? Has she met me? Is she aware that my entire life is a ticking time bomb of deadlines these days, and I don’t really have time to sit around and just wait? The idea of waiting goes against what my natural instincts tell me to do. The bulldoze through part of me didn’t like the advice she was sharing, and immediately started with the all the “but what if…” that I could think of. She knew me well enough to know that I’d need some further convincing, and so she told me that God has a perfect plan for my life. He is guiding me everyday, even on the hard days when life gets so loud that it’s difficult to hear His voice. She explained that when we make decisions which are in line with God’s will for our lives, we are given a peace about those decisions. So, if our soul is at unrest over something, that means the decision hasn’t clearly been revealed yet, and to just sit back, relax, hold on, and pray. Okay. I get it now. I’m going to maintain a holding pattern until God speaks to me so clearly that there’s no denying what He’s telling me. A bit of a scary prospect, if I’m being honest, but one which I think will challenge me to grow myself in faith… in having faith in Him.
I know several people at this very moment who are facing an obstacle (or obstacles) which seem insurmountable. I know how scary it can be, and how lost you can feel. Your body and mind get weak from all of the thinking and worry. I’m writing this today to offer encouragement. You, my friend, are far from lost, and far from alone. This mighty God we serve is your strong tower. He is your resting place. He has all of the answers that you need to all of the problems that you have. Today, I’m giving you the permission that you need to give yourself- permission to set it all on autopilot, and maintain a holding pattern. This is the time that you should dig deep into His word, and be having daily dialogue with Him about what the plan is going to be for you. Quiet your world. Listen to what He’s saying to you. Don’t feel forced or pressured into making decisions which you may one day regret. Our deadlines and time tables are not obstacles for God. He works things through in His perfect time. Your responsibility is to stay up, keep circling, and be patient until He gives you your landing instructions.
Happy flying! Be blessed!
18 Dec 2016 9 Comments
Today, I have a sick child. Ava isn’t feeling well, and we left church early, so my mom could take her to her house. She put her in a bed, so I could run out in the car and get the things she needed.
When I returned to my mother’s, there is my child, snug as a bug in her grandmother’s bed. She’s buried up to her eyeballs in a comfy blanket, and is lying still as can be on my mother’s heated mattress pad. All in all, not a bad situation if you’re sick. My mom is catering to her. I am catering to her. All is right with the world. After all, isn’t all any of us really need in this world is to know that there’s someone out there who is going to take care of us? This is a perfect segue for me to bring in the fact that our Heavenly Father, ultimately, is the One Who will always take care of us. It is always He Who will meet our needs. But for today, I’m talking about humans. Those angels right here on Earth who are placed in our lives to cater to us when we have our own needs.
Once I knew that Ava was safe and secure in bed, had been given the fluids and meds that she needed, my entire body- mind and all- just wanted to shut down for a bit. I made myself a place on a couch in my mother’s room (within eyeshot of Ava), found my own comfy blanket, and allowed myself to just turn everything off for a moment. For this rare, fleeting instance I wasn’t going to be mom, or teacher, or friend, or sister, or any other hat that I wear. I was simply going to be “Amanda”, and I was going to let myself get the rest I’ve needed.
It struck me, as I was attempting to tune my mind off of the everyday static, just how blessed I am to have a mother’s home to go to where I can let the stressors of the everyday world just wash off of me the moment I enter the threshold of her home. Home. That’s the key. It is in this feeling (this sense) of “home” that I am most at peace. An important aspect that I’ve learned over the years is that HOME doesn’t have anything to do with a location. Home is not an address. It doesn’t matter if my family is residing in Fort Smith, AR, or in Rogersville, TN, my home is truly where they are.
It is at this home that I would return from weekends at college- armloads of laundry to do, and parents who were eager to see us. I could rest here like nothing I would ever experience at school. Too many friends, dances, nights, and classes to really be able to let oneself completely relax.
It is at this home that I would bring newborn babies. Tired, frazzled, and feeling exhaustion like I’ve never known, and I could hand over these little loves of my life to people who loved them (almost!) equally as much. I could lie down, and close my eyes, and recharge my completely drained battery.
It is at this home that I would return during the darkest days of my divorce, and be able to just rest, cry, and know that someone in the other room had my best interest at heart. Regardless of what was happening in my personal life, I never had to worry about being alone. As long as my family is here, I’ll always have someone. That’s a good thing to know.
It is at this home that I would spend the last few months/weeks/days/moments of my father’s life. What should, on the surface, be a difficult space to enter into because of the insurmountable levels of loss experienced on that January day, is a complete place of peace for me. Ironically, it is because of the insurmountable levels of loss experienced on that day, paired with the peace and love that burst into every corner of the home… filling the walls, and the air, and all spaces in between with the sweetest of memories any human could ever be fortunate enough to have. Immeasurable love abides here.
It is at this home that even now, as I type this, my mother (without a word) sets down a cup of hot tea beside me and walks away. I realize how blessed I am. I am so thankful for this home which has been provided for me, my children, and all who enter into our world.