I felt so weary. The road stretched out under the headlights as the windshield wipers rubbed and swished the slushy mixture off the windshield. In the back seat, the girls had refused to fall asleep and were restlessly playing games in the dark.
My heart seemed to pulse in my ears. I gripped the steering wheel and kept vigil on the road, determined to get us home, safe and sound, in one piece, and in time for Micaela to get her medicine without having a reaction.
I look back on those hours now, and I still hurt. Did you know, I couldn't even pray? Thankfully, I had friends and family covering us with prayer as we traveled, but I was so upset with myself that I couldn't even ask God for more than protection and forgiveness for my mistakes. I felt like the road and the weariness were mine to accept, to bear, to wear.
I was still hurting hours after we got home and the girls fell asleep. Micaela, blessedly, did not have any seizures even though she received her medicine so late. I sat in a chair in the living room and rocked, refusing to go to sleep, keeping vigil on the baby monitor as she slept. It was, after all, completely my fault that the medicine had been forgotten at home and that we had canceled her sleep study when we couldn't have it filled or compounded at a single pharmacy in Albuquerque.
These days, I make it a point not to wallow in my mistakes, but to pull myself up and learn and move forward. However, my friend, this one was harder for me. Probably because I have all the systems in place to prevent this mistake. Honestly, I still can't figure out how this slip-up happened except that I am human...oh, so, human. And, that realization, that mistakes happen even when we feel completely squared away, is humbling.
A few of my friends pointed out that God will have His plans for Micaela and all of us, and the mistake was no doubt part of His plans. Perhaps it wasn't the right time for her sleep-study. Perhaps there was a different technician that needed to work with her. Or another reason we have to go back to Albuquerque. I don't know.
But, I had a choice. I could either continue to shame myself and drown in all the things I should have done, or I could simply remember that I have given my life to God.
I really can't be my own shepherd. I still need God. I need Him to guide me, to protect me. I need to take refuge in Him, not just from the world, but also for comfort as I grow. I need to trust Him with the way the road turns in my life, and not shoulder the burden of it all.
I grin as I admit that I am just a simple sheep, prone to wander in stubborn belief that I know where all the green pastures lie. However, really, God knows exactly what we will need before we even ask. He takes His shepherd's crook, and redirects my steps because I have surrendered.
Once you were like sheep
What Leads Me to the Pantry (or the Refrigerator)
I have a “witching hour”, a time of day where I become angry and restless. My feet lead me to the pantry where I stare at the contents and finger bags of things that my stomach doesn’t want but my mind craves. Do you know what leads me there? One. Simple. Thing. My task list.
Now, I need for you to hear me. I love time management strategies, organization techniques, and planning tactics. I love a beautifully orchestrated to-do list paired with a gorgeous schedule. However, 19 out of 20 times, all that planning leads me to the pantry at the end of the day.
Why? Because all the planning in the world will never compensate for the unexpected. There is the phone call from a hospital or a request from a family member or simply a complication to a task I thought would be easy. Then, at the end of the day, I look at my plan and completely trash myself. I expected more. What I got done wasn’t enough.
I am my own worst task-master.
Right now my church is doing a Bible Study by Louie Giglio called “Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table”. As I work through the book I am forced to face the fact that I try so hard to be my own Shepard. It isn’t because I don’t trust God, it is more a lie that the enemy fed me that I should know how to do this without God. As if God needed me to be self-sufficient in order to be less of a bother to Him.
Have you ever stopped and really thought about your opinion of God? Several Christian ministry leaders have made the connection of us viewing God, our Heavenly Father, the same way we view our Earthly father. For me, this is spot-on. I have an amazing Earthly father. He has always served his family well. He is a hard worker, giving everything to his children and even caring for my mother as she passed away from multiple sclerosis. However, I always felt deeply that I added to my father’s burdens. I strived to work hard and be helpful and “good” so his life wouldn’t be so difficult. It is an attitude that carries over into my relationship with God.
It is both ironic and sad, because the God that created the universe does not need me to be perfect. He is not given to exhaustion or resentment because of any of my faults. He is the perfect Father. He has asked to give everything to me--guidance, protection, provision, and love--and it is His good pleasure to do this for His children.
This lent, I have been asked to give God my task list. It is a symbol of my belief that I could ever hurt or disappoint my God by my imperfections. He can have my to-do list while I truly rest and trust His love for me no matter what did or did not get done that day.
So, tell me this, what is leading you to the pantry these days?
If emotional eating is something you would like some help working on, consider signing up for my free weight loss class. I would be honored to coach you. https://mailchi.mp/88cc1c3e9b98/weight-loss-from-the-soul
A couple weeks ago we went over to a neighbor's house. Micaela was terrible. She was into everything and screaming, "No!" to everyone about anything. It was awful. I winced as her behavior escalated and what should have been a pleasant visit morphed into a frustrating experience for everyone.
I left the home of my sweet friend determined to never, and I mean NEVER, take her out in public again. At home she was back to her sweet happy little soul. She played with her baby doll and gave hugs likes she hadn't just impersonated a Tasmanian devil half-an-hour before.
I know it is silly and even unreasonable, but I was so mad at her. Why couldn't she just behave? Why couldn't I count on one hour of my life in public that wasn't a disaster with her?
The thoughts in my head were headed to a dark place.
I've went there before.
It is too easy to fall into a place of hopelessness and anger and fear. Thankfully, I have a plan in place for these moments. I grabbed my Bible and my journal and headed to the bedroom for some breathing room.
After some time alone and a lot of prayer, I realized that the predominate thought was one of wanting to give up. I wanted to be done trying. It just seemed impossible. This stems from the years I've spend working on goals with Micaela that take other children months, weeks, or even days. Some of these goals, like behaving well outside of the home and potty-training, we are still working on.
God whispered into my soul, "My plans will not fail. But they will happen in MY time."
Change takes time, one of the most precious commodities of all. But God's plans will not fail. And, if I trust that, suddenly it doesn't hurt so much for change to take so long.
All of my frustration and fear stemmed from the idea that change wouldn't happen at all. I had taken my eyes off of God's power and goodness and focused instead on what I am able to do without Him.
Strength and peace flowed back into me. I left the bedroom and gave Micaela one of the soul-deep hugs that she has been blessing me with for years. I felt her little body relax and hug back, as if she had been missing the mamma that could love her in the moment.
Such a crazy lesson to have to learn so many times. Change takes times, but if we let go of fear and trust God's plans and goodness, we will have the strength to keep going.
I know you are there too, my friend, there is something that hurts. Something you want so badly to change, but it is a long time coming. When you consider giving up, are you afraid of something? Afraid you are wasting time? Wasting hope? But, is this change worth fighting for?
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"...and God was already there with me."