Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On Being Tripped Up

When you're 5 you think you can conquer the world with your superhero mask and cape. When you're 13 you  realize you know more than mom and if they would only listen life would be a-okay. When you're 18 you know for a fact you're smarter than your parents and feel equipped to take on anything! Then when you're 27 you (hopefully) have been humbled by a few life experiences and finally understand no one knows sh*t, including you. I think we're all going in cycles of being know-it-alls then having the world stick out its foot to trip you up.

Back and forth. 
Back and forth. 
It's a cycle. 

(Or am I the only one in that cycle?)

Regardless, that's a pattern in my life. Just last night I told my husband how great is was I don't have to continuously bombard my three year old with "Do you need to pee?" all day anymore. Yay, go me! Rockstar mom! I thought. My current self sits here shaking her head. How naiive I was. Just 30 minutes ago, there I was, cleaning up a lovely pile of you-know-what from my son's rear. Tripped up. Humbled. Again.

So what really got me writing today is this "thing" I learned of recently and have been praying and praying and praying for. This news was one of those times the world put its big fat foot in my way and sent me (and many others) flying helplessly in the air off our safe, little path. I landed, off track and stunned, not sure what hit me. 

Why? But we had it all planned out!? We know what's best, trust us. 

This can't be right!



That's when the humbled part of me said stop right there and pray. My wise friend reminded me this was no surprise to God and we have to trust in that. And so we are. Except that part is hard. And many of us just don't want to (myself included). It's called FAITH. Trusting whole-heartedly with what you can't see. I can hear God's booming laugh right now as I tell him what I think is the best outcome. 

Haven't we all been there as parents? You're small child whines, "But mom I promise I will still eat every single bite of my dinner if you just let me have those warm, gooey, browniesssss. Please please please! I promise!" 

(Insert the booming laugh)

It's only when our children grow a bit older and wiser do they begin to understand why we did what we did. And said what we said. And parented how we parented. 

With God, it's the same. Only after the storm do we (sometimes) understand. We finally say "Ohhh okay, that's why" or "Okay now I get it." 

The rainbow shows up after the rain, right?

But let me emphasis the "sometimes." Because sometimes, and maybe more often than not, we never get an answer in this life time as to why certain things happen. That answer might be one God reveals only when we've made it to our final destination. But by then, will it even matter? 

When my mind can accept that truth, I feel at peace. The kind of peace the Bible talks about that transcends our understanding. And let me tell you - it's amazing. BUT, like I said, it's a cycle. You think you know, then you don't. It's a good thing we all are tripped up at times because that's when we are reminded how much we need a Redeemer. A Savior. We need to continuously be humbled throughout our lives to have a real relationship with God. Throw pride, and knowledge and control out the window and kneel, hands open, before our great Father. 

You lose your life to gain it, with God. 

Last week I drove home from my doctor appointment, O'Ryan in the back, feeling proud of myself. There had been an emergency situation in the doctor's waiting room while we were there. My awesome self jumped up before anyone else to take control before the doctor stepped in. During the whole ordeal I stayed calm and sent silent prayers up to God. I handled that situation really well, I thought, as I slowed down at the red light.

I noticed a 50-something, scruffy homeless man limping past the stopped cars. On a high still from how I helped the lady at the doctor, I grabbed my last bill in my purse and rolled down the window. Right as I was going to say "God bless you sir" the man's eyes lit up! He exclaimed, "Wow! Darling you look like a glowing angel!" 

Flustered, I thanked him. I saw he was wearing a rosary over his beat up jacket. 

"Now you go to church right honey?"

"Yes sir," I quickly answered.

"Good. Good. Remember, Jeremiah 29:11! That's what keeps me young!" (or at least I think that's what he said) he told me with a joyous laugh.

I rolled down the back window so O'Ryan could wave to him and he told me to always do things that keep you feeling young. Wide-eyed, I said I would. That was it. He danced to the next car, laughing an infectious laugh filled with a joy that could only come from above. 

Good going God, I thought as I shook my head smiling. Just a moment ago I had felt so sure of myself and trusted in my own thinking, words and actions. Ha! What a joke. There I was thinking I would help him. Not the case. God worked through my new friend to show me what true, real, blind faith looked like. That guy had so many things stacked against him and his situation. He didn't care! He had the unfailing love of His Father and that was surely enough for him. And how highly contagious his joy for life was!

Tripped up yet again. 

And I am so so thanfkul for that. 

Despite my dance move of one step forward and two steps back I tend to do, I am learning to view my dance a bit differently. It's beautiful actually. And meaningful. I see purpose. And growth. And an explosion of faith. Like my friend Tanya recently said, "Often our waiting room is God's work room." He can take the dirty, filthy junk in our lives and polish and scrub it clean. Then we are complete, needing nothing. That's where God can do His best work, in the messy, messed up parts of our lives. He takes a twisted pile of metal and transforms it into a perfect sculpture. 

So, if you can, be thankful for your trip-ups. I believe with all my heart that's when God is up to something. And it's much bigger than our heartache or the fall. 

Here on Earth we only see a stroke. 

It's God, brush in hand, who is painting the most beautiful and loving picture we could ever imagine. Trust in His work. Because it's always perfect.


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