My Journey Along the Narrow Way

Posts tagged ‘trials’

The Land of Broken Items, Part II…

Just a quick update about our sojourn in the Land of Broken Items.  Bud was here until Saturday morning when we dropped him off at approximately 6:30 a.m.  When he left, pretty much everything was in working order.  To add weight to my theory that there seems to be a disturbance in the force that the appliances can feel every time Bud leaves…at approximately 6:00 p.m. Saturday night, lightning struck the transformer that is at the bottom of our driveway yet again.  This in turn caused the thermostat for the air conditioner to quit working, as well as causing the computer to no longer recognize a mouse or a keyboard, and knocking the internet out in the area for over 24 hours.  It was quite funny to me that we couldn’t even go 12 hours into Bud’s absence when the Land of Broken Items came back with a vengeance.

It really would be quite funny if it didn’t test my patience so much.  I have a feeling that it’s that sanctification thing again…

 

My Other Half…

So when you’re not looking, life just moves along.   Mine mostly seems to be going in circles while I’m waiting for my husband to return to from Korea.  Every week I get up every morning at 7:00 a.m., get ready for work, go to work, work all day, come home from work, do laundry, do dishes, put medicine in the dogs ears, pay bills, try to decide if I want to cook, go grocery shopping, read my Bible….and on and on and on.

Usually I have to talk myself into doing some of these things every time I need to do them.  Mostly because I feel like I’m in a rut.  I don’t think it’s because I don’t like doing these things – some I do, some I don’t.  I pretty much think it’s because I’m missing my other half.   The pop in life is gone down to a fizzle.  The colors have all turned a little anemic.

I have gotten all kinds of reactions about missing my husband.  Most people ask me how I’m doing and how much I miss Bud.  But you would be surprised by the number of people who think I should be enjoying every minute that he is gone.  They think this should be one big party.  I’m not complaining about them, mind you.  I’m mostly confused as to why people would think that. 

I think a lot of it is people don’t have a concept of how long nine months really is in the scheme of everyday life.  The following things will happen or have happened already since Bud has been gone:

  • * His Dad has had chemotherapy and radiation.
  • * Brown Dog died.
  • * I had my 46th birthday.
  • * Joey had his 21st birthday.
  • * Valentine’s Day.
  • * Mother’s Day.
  • * His dad’s birthday.
  • * Spring.
  • * He will miss our 25th Wedding Anniversary.
  • * We will miss his 47th birthday.
  • * We will miss being with him on Father’s Day.
  • * He will miss his Dad’s surgery.
  • * He will miss Bella’s 24th birthday.
  • * He will miss his mother’s birthday.
  • * He will miss Independence day.
  • * He will miss ALL of Summer.
  • * He will miss both Memorial day and Labor day.
  • * He will miss approximately 72 Sunday church services at Morningview.

Those are just the big things.  And there is a big hole every time he misses something. 

Don’t get me wrong – I am SO grateful that God has given Bud this opportunity.  I am also sure that God is using this time to grow our family and each one of us.  I believe God is using Bud in a big way to witness to people in Korea and to provide leadership in the church he is attending there.  And for all that I am glad.  But I can’t wait until he is here with us again.  I miss him.

The Land of Broken Items…

So, after writing a nice post about waiting, I make everyone wait by not writing another  one for 6 weeks.  What a dirty trick!  Well, please know that it hasn’t been intentional and I’ll tell you why.

I have apparently fallen into the land of broken items.  It all started after Bud left.  I have said that I think the house and everything in it felt a change in the force when Bud left.  Seriously, we have had more things break and need repair than I can ever remember having at one time.   Just a short list of the things that jump out:

  • Leak in the pipe going into the hot water heater
  • Stove quit working – this was actually on its last legs before Bud left, but decided to give up the ghost.
  • Handle on the microwave broke off
  • Iron broke
  • Shutter on the front of the house fell off
  • Battery died in the Elantra
  • Valance fell down and, in so doing…
  • Broken window

I’m sure that we have had months of the same type of thing before, but I can’t remember when.  I’m sure usually it’s not such a big deal because Bud is pretty handy around the house and usually takes care of it all for us.  I miss his handy little self, right now!

And the thing is there are plenty of nice guys at church that can and will help.  Joey is also pretty handy and helps where he can.  And I’m not completely helpless either…a lot of this I took care of on my own.

I think what is so frustrating to me is that every time something like this happens, it shows me how much I miss my hubby being here.

Hopefully, our family is moving out of the land of broken items soon.

Just writing and then reading what I wrote above, I feel kind of bad even posting it.  In light of the fact that hundreds, probably even thousands of people right now in our state are doing without in light of the tornadoes earlier in the week, it seems really petty to mention my few broken items.

I know that I am really blessed to have all I have.  Even in my frustration when things break, I know that there are so many out there that are less fortunate than I.  My heart has been heavy for the last couple of days from thinking about all that has been lost by so many.  And not only material objects, but lives as well.

I know that this recent tragedy makes me turn once again to God and thank him for his provision every day.  And maybe even thank him for the land of broken items…which in itself is a blessing that makes me realize how much my handyman husband means to me.

The Sovereignty of God…

Job is one of my favorite books of the Bible; mostly because it speaks a lot to the sovereignty of God. For example just read one passage where God Himself is speaking:
“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who sets its measurements? Since you know.
Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang
together and all the songs of God shouted for joy?
Or who enclosed the sea with doors when, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;
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When I made a cloud its garment and thick darkness its swaddling hand,
And I placed boundaries on it and set a bolt and doors,
And I said, Thus far you shall come, but no farther; and here shall your proud waves stop?’”

This is but one chapter…and Job has a lot more chapters just like it. There are not many places in the Bible that so clearly show the absolutely sovereignty of our Creator God.

When I read words such as these, I realize how very small I am. It makes me feel like the worm that I am. It also reminds me of how very trivial all these problems of life that I worry about actually are and how small and insignificant we really are. “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass: As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.” Psalm 103:14-16

In his book Future Grace, John Piper says, “The confidence that a sovereign God governs for your good all the pain and all the pleasure that you will every experience is an incomparable refuge and security and hope in power in your life.” Psalm 103:19 also says that “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.”

I agree with John Piper: What a comfort God’s sovereignty should be. And I realize that when I worry and have anxiety about the things of this world, no matter what they are, I am forgetting just who it is that I serve. This is the time that I need to go back and look at God’s own words in Job. I need to remember that God created the earth and all that is in it. How can anything I go through or any problems I have surprise Him? Or catch Him off guard? Or be too hard for Him to walk me through?

I was recently talking with a good friend and we were surprised to realize that our lives have had some very similar trials in them. One thing we both agreed on was that during these trials – trials that the world would say it was understandable to be anxious and worried about – we felt closer to God than we ever had before. He was right there…and we both knew He was caring for us during those difficult times.

This was so true that I can honestly say, when the situation was getting better, some part of me truly regretted that it was because I didn’t want to lose the closeness that I felt when I clung to God during those tough times. What that tells me is that I should cling to God during all times – the good and the bad. Again I go to Job who said, “…Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21

If I believe that the indeed the Lord gives and takes away (and I do), then anything I’m going through is no surprise to our sovereign God. It all comes from His hand. And if the trials are allowed by God, then the rescue will come from God as well.

And in the end I know that I will see the ultimate sovereignty of God as I stand with Job and all the other believers through the ages and say, “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!” Job 19:25-27

The Things of This World…

I know we are called to live in the world but not be of the world. And I really try to keep my mind on spiritual things rather than temporal things. But, due to the recent downturn in the economy, that seems to be getting harder and harder.DreamOfVanillaSky1024

I know it shouldn’t be, especially at this time. I need to be clinging to Christ closer then ever. But oh how my flesh struggles. I think about things such as paychecks, groceries, and house payments rather than prayer, grace, and mercy.

Do others struggle this way? It seems like we all put on the happy face and act like everything is alright when we in reality we are all facing the same fears and struggles inside. Why don’t we lean on one another, share our fears and doubts, and strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ?

I’ve decided to be the first to say it: we are struggling. Money is tight and things are tough right now. I’m sure our family is not alone in this.

I’m clinging to the fact that when we are struggling and facing trials, God is close to us. He is watching us and guiding us every step of the way. In Job 12:15, Job declares, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” I am declaring the same thing: Though He [insert current problem], yet will I trust Him. An example: Though He lets us struggle financially, yet will I trust Him. And honestly, I do feel better once I declare this.

I think the struggle between flesh and spirit we face is summed up well in the following excerpt that I read in Pilgrim’s Progress recently: “Yet present things are so close to our fleshly appetites, and eternal things so far from our souls; we are apt to yield to our carnal desires rather than wait for the satisfaction of the eternal.”

I don’t know about you, but this puts it in perspective for me. And I’m going to remember this, cling to Christ, and “wait for the satisfaction of the eternal.”

The Big Trip….

A couple of weeks ago I was simultaneously loading the dishwasher, putting clean dishes up, and wiping off the counter while Bud, Joey, and his friend Will were in the den talking and, in the case of Will and Joey, playing video games.

Bud was rushing me to hurry up with the dishes because he was ready to run to the grocery store and get groceries.

As is usually the case in our house, there were a couple of dogs thrown into the mix.

Our dogs believe that our dishwasher is an all-you-can-eat buffet that I’m too mean to let them partake in. They get so put out with me because while they are trying to lick off the plates, I find their long, long basset hound ears very convenient tools for getting them to move.

Because I’m such a mean person and won’t let them lick the plates, they think they have to race over to the dishwasher and get as much licked as possible before I start grabbing and pulling.

me n beauSo there I am…in a hurry as usual, trying to get a multitude of tasks done at once, and not paying attention. I opened the dishwasher to put a plate in and Beau the basset hound comes flying up behind me to get a lick in.

This actually was a great strategy for Beau since he usually isn’t one of the ones I have to yank out of the dishwasher. Therefore, I didn’t have a clue he was lurking around. I turned around to wipe the counter and he was right there….between my feet. Down I go as only a big girl can!

And there was no recovery of my footing, no flailing arms, just down to the ground.

I landed flat on my back. Straight onto the tile floor. And it was loud too. Beau sauntered by me and didn’t even miss a beat. He didn’t even bother to pause or check to see why I was on the floor…he just walked on by.

Bud came running around the breakfast bar and I’ll have to hand it to him, he was doing a pretty good job of looking concerned and not laughing. I, however, was hysterically laughing as I laid there. As were Will and Joey. Of course, Bud couldn’t hold out for long and starting laughing as well.

Bud got me up and we went ahead and went grocery shopping. I will have to admit that on the way home I got stiffer and stiffer. I was what the old people call “stove up” for a few days but not worse for wear.

I really hope the next time I take a Big Trip I’ll actually go somewhere else besides the kitchen floor.

Summer, Here I Come!

Since it’s almost officially summer, I was thinking I would kick it off by writing about an incident that happened last summer at the lake.

My friend Cindy and I had decided to spend a girl’s weekend at the lake at Cindy’s lake house. Since her husband, Avery, was working, we took Cindy’s three dogs with us. One of the dogs, Mabel, was under a year old at the time. She is a boxer so she is really stubborn and hard-headed.

Mabel

Mabel

Just to tell you how hard-headed this dog is I need to tell you what happened that morning. Cindy and I were piddling around outside and we brought the dogs, including Mabel, out to run around and swim in the little inlet they have on the property. Usually if all three dogs are swimming in that area they will stay right there.

Well we turned our heads for just a moment and when we looked back Mabel was gone. Of course we were in full “freak-out” mode because Mabel is actually Avery’s dog and now we had gone and lost her! So we ran all around looking for Mabel. We were really concerned because Mabel has this bad habit of swimming out into the lake way too far. I finally decided to get in the truck and ride down the road a ways seeing if I could spot her. I got to the end of the road where there is a boat-storage place or something of that nature and low and behold there was Mabel – swimming in the middle of the lake following a flock of ducks. Of course I yelled at Mabel and I swear she just glanced my way quickly and then turned her head away from me and started swimming even harder. I about yelled myself hoarse before I finally got her back on shore.

When I brought her back to the house, Cindy proceeded to beat her butt and then attached her to the chain secured to the house so she couldn’t go anywhere. Mabel was so mad at Cindy…she wouldn’t even look at her and completely ignored her the rest of the day

A few hours later, Cindy and I decided to get in the lake and just float around on floats. Cindy had her other two dogs, Molly and Watson (who are both Jack Russells) on a float with her. I was floating on a noodle and decided to get Mabel and let her swim too. It was really funny because she would only come to me and was still ignoring Cindy.

So I got Mabel and put her on the noodle too. Mabel has these ridiculously long arms so she knows how to sling them over the noodle and hold herself up and float. She was facing me and we were just chilling there floating. Every now and then she would put one arm around my shoulder and just shoot Cindy these ugly glances.

As we were floating along, I felt something graze the back of my thigh. I was trying to figure out how Mabel’s tail had gotten around my leg when it happened again. This time, however, it didn’t just graze my leg; it bumped into it and then rubbed my leg as it swam by. From the amount of time it took to go by, I realized this thing had to be around 1 ½ to 2 feet long! Well of course I went into pure panic mode and let out a scream….which was a BIG mistake. As soon as I screamed Mabel began to climb up my body. She was now in full panic mode as well!

So there I was, trying to swim as fast as I could to the dock and Mabel was steadily trying to climb up my body and sit on my head! I was freaking out and she’s freaking out and what was Cindy doing? Laughing so hard she was crying. I finally make it to the dock, which was in reality only about 5 feet away but it seemed to be about 5 miles. We got up on the dock and Mabel runs one way and I go the other. My upper body was now covered in scratches and gouges where Mabel has gotten me with her toenails. And Cindy? She was still floating there laughing so hard she can barely talk. Finally, she can get some words out and what does she say? “I’m so glad I was in the lake because if I was on the dock I would have wet my pants laughing so hard!”

Wow…what a friend. And good to have for help in a crisis….NOT!

As I am writing this, we are getting ready to go to the lake for the day with Cindy and Avery. And, I know two things: I am probably going to get the willies when I get in the lake and swim AND Mabel is NOT floating with me again! Other than that: Summer – Here I Come!