Saturday, August 28, 2010

Counting My Blessings. Literally.

Yesterday's post is so down, so sad ... But it's real. However, in it's reality it is depressing. Just knowing that my list of "things" is longer than even what is listed here ... It saddens me to be so burdened. Sometimes I feel like I've got a whole luggage set full of heavy crap and forlorn broken-ness attached to my shoulders. Sometimes I feel like I'm dragging that luggage set behind me, while I try to push a tractor trailer down the street. Alone. In the rain.

But then I look down and see that the wheels are moving. It's hard. Life is hard. And sometimes, I just HATE it. Sometimes I hate having to carry the burden, having to push the trailer. Having to be alone in the rain.

But then I look down. The road is wet, but the rain keeps me cool. It reminds me to seek the Son. Not just the warmth and the brightness of the sun ... but the warmth and brightness of the Son. I don't have to move the trailer by myself. In fact, I know that God is there with me, that he sent his son Jesus before me to do the hardest of the work. To spare me. I know that God watches over me. I know that while I may not be able to see the Son right now, it is not because I am alone. It is while I am behind the trailer and pushing with all my might, that he is front of it, strapped to it. I know that while I push with all my strength, he pulls with all of his.

And the only reason I carry the entire luggage set by myself is because I haven't put it down lately. I haven't said to him, "Hey Jesus, help me carry this stuff, man. It's heavy and you're totally stronger than I am. So come on dude, lend a hand."

In fact, he offered to help. In the 11th chapter of Matthew, in verse 28, he said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." And I've been like, "No, it's ok. Since you're the one pulling this thing, the least I can do is drag the baggage."


Picture this.

A woman who is old and has suffered much walks a path beside a man who is old and has suffered much also. The woman is broken, her back wasted and crooked. Her muscles are weak and worn out from overuse and lack of rest. Her mind is jaded and her health is failing. She has suffered almost more than she could withstand. She is cynical, perhaps just slightly bitter ... like tea that was brewed too hot for too long. Her resolve is cracked, her hope flagging. She drags her baggage behind her, and as they walk, the baggage seems to grow and she is burdened heavily. She walks a little sideways, so that she can use both hands to maintain her grip on the useless pile of torn and beaten bags that drag through the dust behind her. In the bags are the worst of her memories, the most weighty of her sins, and the harshest of words that have been spoken to her. The harsh words that she has spoken to others are stored there as well. She hates the bags, but drags them along because each memory is like a gift from someone else. Unwanted, perhaps ... but a gift nonetheless.

But the man! In spite of all that has been done to him, all that he has endured and seen ... He stands tall. Not necessarily proud, but tall. Strong. Humble, but confident. You see, all this time, he's been through so much ... but for the most part, he was connected. He CHOSE to remain connected to a source that restored his strength, that lifted his hope, that repaired the damages in his heart. Jesus did not carry along the burdens of rejection. He did not haul around the pain of insult. He did not weary himself even under the burden of death.

Long ago, he offered to help her with her baggage, but she denied him. "No, thanks," she said. "I got it, I'm ok." So focused was she on her burdens that she did not noticed him slowly letting go of his. He didn't carry all his "stuff" ... he let it go, trusting that it would someday be provided again, when it was time He longed to share this certainty with the woman, but instead he walked patiently beside her, slowly so that she could keep up under her burdens. And he waited for he to lean on him, to need him enough to cry out for help

I have spent some time lately thinking through all of the potentially horrible things that are going on in my life. I have thought about how my family would be able to survive without income, without a car. I have wondered how my family would be affected by the possible loss of my mother. I have wondered if this is why God allowed the Army to send Private Ryan home for now ... so that I would not feel so alone. I have been lugging heavy bags down the path of my life, by myself. I have been racking my brain for answers, for solutions. For "salvation" perhaps, from the current crisis.

"How can I fix this?"

I really need to change my focus. Think about God, think about the way his Son is here, think about how well he understands fear and anger and confusion. And remember the blessings that he has sent to me, in the same timely manner that he has always followed. Maybe I just need to count my blessings, and remember.

  • Private Ryan is working hard to deal with the car situation, and may be able to have it resolved better than we had hoped for. 
  • I have people who love me that I can turn to in crisis. I am so grateful to my best friend Jessica for never failing to ask how I'm doing, just when I need to vent. She hears me out, she gives advice, she dishes out tough love when I need it, and reminds me to be patient when I need to. She helps me to stay real, and gives me a great sounding board for when I'm suffering and just need to run my mouth.
  • I have good Christian counsel when I need to be reminded of my faith. J is a great friend from the past who has recently re-surfaced in the most timely way. He always makes me feel better and never fails to get me laughing again.
  • My children are beautiful, healthy, and smart. My little girls are like candles in the darkness that sometimes envelops me ... Lately I have been saying that I should have named them Faith and Joy instead of what I actually named them. I mean, I like their names, but Faith and Joy are incredibly appropriate for little girls who have restored those things in my life. When I had Teenybop, I was young and dumb and didn't know anything about being a mother, but I was prepared to learn and wanted the best for her. It wasn't long before God called me back into the church and I know that he used my Teenybop mightily in that process. Having her in my life has restored my faith in a God who loves me and has never failed me. And Joy ... Piglet came into our lives at a time when so many things were going wrong, but we have always found joy in her big blue eyes and her quick giggles. She is hilarious, and she loves to make us laugh. She snuggles us when we need it, and her antics keep us on our toes. In darkness, I lean on her shiny, silly personality for restoration of joy. Together, they are an unstoppable force when my spirits need lifting.
Hmm. Maybe it isn't so very bad right now after all. While I know there is work to be done to resolve the problems we have right now, I also know that if I remember these things and go day by day (or minute by minute if needed), I will see God's provision, and I will see peace once again.