To say that things have been difficult lately, would be an understandment. It’s that time of the year….the homeschooling year is coming to a close and the “natives” are getting restless. One last three week stretch here of portfolios, testing, and finishing extracurriculars, and our summer will start.
But mentally,…..I’m done. Completely ready for the nearest beach, some sun, and always…a cocktail.
Add to that the recent health issues of the hubs, the struggles and pressure of having a traveling software sales husband, and all the extracurricular activities of the children, and I was completely overwhelmed. I was sitting amongst piles of laundry that beckoned, and food stuck on pots and pans that I had no energy to get to. For the first time in a while, no glass of wine or chocolate dessert was going to push me in the right direction.
For the first time, in a long time, I was completely depressed.
Maybe you can relate. The tears just kept falling….”pull it together, Tammi”…I would say to myself. I would be picking up endless barbie shoes, kids’ clothes, and pieces of “art” that the children had created….and I would be crying. I would be driving in the van to soccer and the tears would be falling. The children were beginning to see past the “no big deal” and “I’m just laughing so hard” routine I was trying to pull off. I was a tired wife and mother who was feeling no relief. I was pulling late nights trying to get everything done, and yet all I wanted to do was lay in bed and sleep. I wanted to forget about spending a “date night” at the hospital for the latest round of pneumonia….I wanted to leave the room rather than watch my husband struggle to breathe through his coughing fits. However, I also wanted help. I wanted another person to “adult” with me.
However, it was a Friday at our bi-monthly co-op that my “house of cards” started to crumble….
And just like a flimsy deck of cards…there was no warning.
The flood gates opened…and I couldn’t stop. Maybe it was the call from the hubs that the doctor wanted to run some extensive tests on him that day….maybe it was the long nights I had endured in a row…..or maybe it was just my own need to be “done”. I’m not sure of the catalysis but…surrounded by all these moms and women that I admired and loved, I couldn’t control the tears from falling. I tried everything…play with the little babies; tease the middle schoolers; clean out the van…but nothing I did would make my face look less red and swollen or make the tears stop falling. I’m a pretty “open” person…I love to make people laugh and have a good time. However, I don’t like to cry in front of others. I don’t like appearing “weak” or “out of control”. But on this friday, that wasn’t an option…those tears just kept coming.
Several of these women pulled me aside and lent me their ear as I reluctantly poured out my heart over my recent troubles. Afraid to venture too far, they allowed me to share what I needed, not what they wanted from me. They were Christ to me. I watched as my sisters -in-law kept just the right distance, to keep me from crumbling. These ladies were another one of my “cards”. People who I had placed in my life who I valued. I valued their opinions as mothers; I valued their friendship and their wisdom. In HIS Wisdom, the Lord had allowed me to feel crushed when I was the most supported. He had surrounded me with woman who truly knew me and what I needed at that moment. His “loveletters” to me continued. On the following Sunday, when I waved to one of these ladies across the pew at church, God had already placed it on her heart that she would deliver dinner to my house on Monday night…..all I had to do was “confirm” it when I showed up at HER church on Sunday.
We all juggle with our own house of cards. We spend years putting each “card” in place…carefully stacking each one. Finding time in our lives, and in our schedules for our family, our careers, our vacations, our workouts, and our friends. We make time for our hobbies; live out our faith; and continue to be present to those who love us. As we stack card upon card, we are building a little mental house for ourselves. We look at our little house and how “pretty” it looks…we take pride in what we have created.
However, if we look closely, we can quickly see how flimsy it is. How every card depends on the stability of the other. The shifting of one card can send the whole deck crashing down. With this reality, comes action. When one card falls, we jump to grab it and control the whole house from tumbling. We fear this “crumbing” of what we have created.
For the past few years, I have been creating my own house of cards. I blog often about the family traditions we hold dearly; the humorous shananigans of my brood of five, and the adventures that we embark on. We enjoy good eating, and clean living. Our family motto of “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” hangs proudly in our home. But recently, I have been feeling the shifting of a few of these cards, and it’s really scaring me.
The hubs has been dealing with some health issues over the past five months and this has definitely been a “shifting card”. As overwhelming as this can be, my thoughts are drawn to Peter when the Lord called him into the water.
Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” – Matthew 14:28-33
Peter felt that feeling of “shifting cards” as he was walking on water. He felt “unsafe” and “unsure”. However….he trusted. A few days later, I found myself struggling again so I took the children to a nearby lake for a small picnic break on one of our busiest days. We had a 45 minute window to fill, and I figured hitting the lake on a beautiful day would busy the kids and allow me to clear my head. “I don’t have much time…but a few minutes will be good.” God in His Infinite goodness, blessed me with this vision…….:
And I heard the words:
“And when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.”
And I felt an overwhelming breeze envelop me, and a peace flow through me.
Sometimes, God calls us out of our every day to speak to our hearts. To find him in the beauty of creation. As I stood there watching my children wade through the lake, I was overwhelmed by the peaceful tranquility. The same water that brought fear to Peter was now bring peace to my soul.
But..isn’t that what God does?
He takes our fears…and turns them into blessings.
He frees us….unburdens us….
He takes those tossed up and spiraling cards, and shows us how to create a new house of cards. He creates us anew…..
What cards do you see falling or shifting? What control is God asking you to relinquish?
Lord, help me cling to your words, “You of little faith, why did you doubt”? Help me to trust that you hold my “house of cards” and that only in you can I place my trust and allow you to shake up those cards to build me a better house of cards.