Today’s blog post will not be for the faint of heart nor the person with limited reading time. The more I thought the more that poured out on the page so if you are not in the mood for some real transparency along with blood and guts honesty you might want to wait until the next entry. You see I am kicking around the idea that I am believing the lie that if I appear to be anything other than self-sufficiently serene then I am less than the Christian woman I “should” be. And when I kick around an idea for me, I usually take the liberty of kicking it around for you too. I’m quite certain that I am going to have a difficult time articulating what I have been pondering so I am praying that God will take my muddled thinking and turn it into something that really speaks to your heart because I think, for all of our differences—jobs, spouses, children, hobbies—this may be something that we have in common.
There is a question that I’ve heard myself ask quite a few times over the last few weeks when I have been encouraging others who seemed to be hesitating to share and offering all kinds of disclaimers when their struggles finally fell out of their mouths. The question I asked was this:
“When we make our trials seem small,
do we inadvertently make the One
who sustains us through them seem small?”
The sweet sisters I was chatting with were afraid to share what they were going through because they didn’t want their honesty to be misperceived as whining, complaining, or not trusting in the goodness of God. I’ll be the first one to say it’s always necessary to examine our hearts, but I’ll also be the one at the head of line shouting that God gave you those sisters at your side to do life with—Don’t steal their blessing!
Apparently, God allowed me to pose this question and explain it with such gusto to my friends so I could really feel the impact of the words when He brought them home to roost. Funny how He does that; lets me think I’m conducting the class and then shows me that I’m the student in the corner with the cone shaped hat sitting on top of her head.
I know that I should be in party mode right now. Life really is good. Britt has returned to Florida and is absolutely gushing about the trustworthiness and sweetness of her God. Brett has been released from the hospital and, though the whole thing is new to us, we are both working hard to make the new tube and accompanying equipment feel at home here on Lakeside Drive. So, you would think that the celebration would be in full swing? Well if you did . . . you would be wrong. Brett is processing all he has been through as men do (by that I mean in a way that no one without a Y chromosome can possibly understand) and I am processing things the way I do (and by that I mean in a way that is perfectly rational and to be expected). I’m being humorous but suffice to say, the “process of processing”, has been anything but. This is where the blood and guts are going to start spilling so if you are thrown by human frailty now is when you will want to go check your e-mail or update your facebook status.
Ok, if you’ve decided to keep reading here it is: I know that I should be celebrating and walking on air right now, but instead I am cranky, fatigued, and emotionally overwhelmed. Someone commented to me about Brett’s time in the hospital being a “mini-vacation” for me. Another person thought it may have given me a chance to get some rest. No, I was not on vacation nor did I get any rest. I am still exhausted. My nerves are frazzled and my body physically aches from sleeping on that hard couch-type deal at the end of Brett’s bed. On top of those things, I am embarrassed because I am not responding to the situation with graciousness and a quiet spirit. In fact, I think it would be safe to say graciousness and a quiet spirit are not even residing in the same county I am.
I can hear my body language speaking volumes and my mouth isn’t being too quiet either. I’d like to be kind, to be sweet, and to be upbeat but instead I am standing at the intersection of self-absorbed and cantankerous with my hands stuffed in my pockets refusing to move. And, as if all of these things needed an exclamation point added to them, anytime I am by myself this great conglomeration of feelings decides to leak out my eyes and slide down my face.
But still, nearly every person that has made contact has received the same type of response . . . . “We’re getting settled in” . . . “Brett has been through a lot” . . . “Our own bed was nice” . . . all of those responses are true, but they aren’t exactly honest. They don’t invite anybody in and they certainly don’t let anyone know the battle raging in my heart. If you had been one of those people, how would you have prayed for me after we talked/texted/messaged? Would you have prayed for me at all or just thought things were swell?
In comparison to others I know, the challenges on Biddinger Boulevard are small. I have not lost my child. I have not stared cancer in the face. I have not wrestled with the decisions surrounding the care of an aging parent. I have not . . . . . you fill in the blank with your personal heartache. I have not walked through the fiery trials God has called you to endure. And still I wonder, even though the specifics of our challenges are different, might our responses be the same? What in the world has convinced us that we must cloak the depth of our need in order to be strong Christian women?
I’m certain that the answer to that question is as widely varied as we are. Your answer will be different than mine and both of our answers will be different than the sister reading at her computer down the street. But this is what I’m sure of, no matter what has convinced us of this, IT IS A LIE! God has not only given us Himself, but He has given us others to wear the hands, the feet, and the heart of Christ in our midst. He has resolved to involve! He has sent you friends to fight the battle, see the fatigue, and to lift you up as you walk through it all. It’s Who He is today and it’s who He was yesterday.
Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands. “So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Exodus 17:9-13
God didn’t expect Moses to pretend the battle was small or hide his need. And He didn’t expect Moses to just grit his teeth and gut it out. God knew the magnitude of the battle and how hard it would be so He sent Moses’ friends to the top of the hill with him. When he got tired, they were there, exactly where God had called them to be doing the good work He had prepared in advance for them to do. They didn’t think Moses was less of a man of God because he got tired and his arms grew weak. They brought him a place to rest and took up their posts—one on one side and one on the other—and they entered the battle together.
Girlfriend, don’t turn away the ones God has resolved to involve in your life. Let them know the fight is too much, that it has been going on too long, and the view from the top of the hill is overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to tell them that your arms are tired and you just need to sit down for a while. Beloved, our trial is not small nor is the One who sustains us through them. He has planned since before time began to send our us our “Aaron” and our “Hur” to give us a place to rest, to take up their posts– one on one side and one on the other—and march into battle with us. Let’s not choose to go alone.