Author Archives: glmadison

I Crave Eternity

“The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27

 

I have not updated this blog in quite a while. In fact, I’ve greatly neglected it. Both of you who try to regularly keep up with this blog have not had a hard time doing so. And I feel you deserve an explanation. So here goes…

Just a few days before Christmas (it was happenly my birthday), we received a startling phone call. Someone in our family needed help and needed help NOW. My husband, being the selfless man that he is, took off in a hurry to attend to the needs of this individual.

And that was the day our lives were turned upside down.

Life, as we knew it, was gone.

I can clearly say that the past several months have been without a doubt some of the hardest and most challenging times of my life, my husband’s, and both of our son’s.

Yes, that one event did start it, but the tough times have been more than that one event. It has been a compilation of countless difficulties. I cannot even begin to list them all here. It just seems to be one thing after another, after another, after another. Just today my husband had an eye surgery.

And I am exhausted.

My husband is exhausted.

So are our boys.

We just want “normal” to return. We don’t want any more drama. We crave rest and time spent together as a family.

Recently a friend of mine asked me what good I can see that has come out of all this. The answer was not hard to find.

It has caused us to crave eternity more.

Sometimes life here on earth is not too bad. Things are going smoothly and we enjoy it. We enjoy our friends, jobs, spouses, schools, churches, social gatherings, homes, vacations, vehicles, and many other wonderful gifts the Lord has given us. And that’s okay. They are gifts from Him and He wants us to enjoy them.

 

But there can be a problem when we enjoy the gifts so greatly that we forget to delight and crave the Giver. Certainly, something might be wrong if we are so content here on earth that we have little or even no desire for eternity.

Looking back now, I’m afraid this is where I may have found myself last December when the phone rang. I was living with contentment.

Oh how I crave eternity now!

Often, I just want to go to bed, pull covers up over my head, and never come out. I just want to shut life out.

Ever been there?

Good, then you understand.

Dear friends, there is a reason why we encounter hard times. If everything were rainbows, unicorns, and flowers, would you really have any desire for eternity? Would you deeply want Christ? Would you long to bask in the glory of God forever?

There is no longer a “normal” at our house. We take each day at a time and as it is dealt to us. We are tired and we are weary. Things are very hard and difficult. At times we may even feel that we can’t go on.

But, we are terribly homesick for eternity.

 

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  1 Peter 5:10-11

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Dear Teacher

Dear Teacher,

I walk into your classroom and the first thing I notice is how inviting your room is. There is a small pencil box on each desk that is filled with sharpened pencils and a few crayons. A poster hangs on a wall with each of the student’s name and birthdays.  Under that poster is a large mat with different colored spots where each child will sit while you read them books. There is a wall lined with small hooks where each student will hang his or her coat and backpack. And this room is filled with all kinds of fun things – books, puzzles, toy cars, magnifying glasses, blocks, magnetic letters, and the list goes on and on.

And then I look over and see you. There you are, smiling and cheerfully greeting each student and parent as they walk in. You listen carefully to each student as they ask all sorts of silly and serious questions. You listen carefully as parents voice concerns to you. You are always gentle, patient, and thoughtful in how you answer.

I will leave.

Drive away.

For the next several hours you will be responsible for one of the most important people in my life. This is no small thing. And it’s not just my child, you have nearly 20 of them!

What a fabulous job you do!

I see the papers my child brings home. I notice how much his handwriting has improved. I am astonished by how much and how well he is able to read. I’m amazed by all the numbers he’s computing. He sings for me the songs you sing with them in class. He tells me about the science experiments you do every week. I eagerly listen as he explains to me why and how a plant makes chlorophyll. He now wants to go to Washington DC because you taught him about the Library of Congress.

You taught him all this.

You.

But that’s not all…

I know there is much, much more that you do.

You wipe snotty noses, tie shoes, zip zippers, apply bandages and clip fingernails. You settle arguments and break up fights. You discipline when needed and then gently wipe away tears. Just yesterday I saw you cleaning a boy’s glasses for him. And I know you added some money to one of your student’s lunch account.

Was any of that even in your job description?

You see, I have a unique look at your job. I’m a substitute teacher. I walk in when you’re ill, have a doctor’s appointment, or just want to have a day off to spend with your family. Because you are such an awesome teacher, you make my job easy. The children know when it’s time to settle down and listen, but they also know when it’s ok to talk and be silly. It is evident how much time you spend with that one child who struggles so much and how you utilize the child who always “gets it”. I can always find exactly what I need in your room because it is organized so well.

But at the end of the day, I close the door and leave. You still have papers to grade and lessons to plan.

Last week, when I got some tissues out of your closet, I noticed several boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes and Capri Suns. I know what those are for. Those are the birthday treats you provide for the class if a student wasn’t able bring treats on his or her birthday.

You paid for those yourself, didn’t you?

I wonder how much money you spend on our children.

You have provided a great deal to our children. And education? Yes, of course. But so much more than that. You have also provided safety, security, kindness, problem solving skills, fun, and topped it all off with love.

As a parent, I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate this. And I know you do it because you love the kids.

My kid.

My treasure.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for being an awesome teacher. Thank you for not doing just what is required, but doing so much more. Thank you for loving on our children. Thank you for investing in their lives.

 

Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Week!

 

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Because Parenting Is Hard

Being a parent is hard.

It is fun. It is thrilling. It is rewarding. But it is hard, heartbreakingly hard.

Both my boys started back to school just a few weeks ago. My oldest son began 8th grade and my youngest son began Kindergarten.

And my Mommy heart was breaking. My hands wanted to wrap around both of them for dear life and not let go.

And so I prayed. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed and I prayed.

It was still hard.

My youngest son came home his first day and absolutely loved it. He could hardly wait to go back the next day!

But as the days pass, his excitement has dwindled. At times he feels lonely. He knew nobody going in and most of the other kids already had friends.

Every day when he comes home I ask him who he played with at recess. So far he has responded that nobody wanted to play with him.

I fight back tears.

I want to run to school and ask – no, beg – those kids to please not be so mean. Pease don’t be exclusive.

He is such a nice boy. Why on earth don’t they want to play with him?

Parenting is just plain hard.

At the same time, my older son announced to me that he has decided to run for student council president.

“Do you need help making your poster?” I ask.

No, he’s already done that.

As the time nears for the candidates to give speeches and the students to vote, he warns me that he doesn’t have much of a chance:

“So-and-so is running and he is much more popular than I am.”

“So-and-so is running and she is the only girl. All the girls will vote for her.”

Again, my heart breaks because I know how much he wants it and I can’t get it for him. There is absolutely nothing I can do.

He would be excellent at it, I know.

I ask if he needs help with his speech. I ask if he needs help with his campaign. But he informs me that he’s got it.

I cringe.

Not because I don’t believe him. I believe that he thinks he’s got it, but I’ve also seen him comb his hair in the morning. And he tells me that he’s got it when it’s sticking straight up right on top.

“It doesn’t matter anyhow. Nobody’s going to vote for me” he says.

And I want to cry.

I look at him and all I can see is my sweet toddler with blonde hair and chubby cheeks holding on to his blankie. I don’t care if he’s nearly a foot taller than I am. He’s still my baby and I hurt because he’s hurting.

He, too, feels alone.

I want to hold him on my lap and love on him.

I want to pick out a band-aid to cover the hole in his heart.

And so I pray. I pray and I pray and I pray and I pray.

If only parenting weren’t so stinkin’ hard!

But here’s the problem, folks…  God is still in control. As much as I love my kids, He loves them more.

It’s true that I want to hold them, care for them, and never let anything bad happen to them. What parent doesn’t?

But my children are people too.

God is just as much in control of their life as he is in mine. To think that I am in control of any of this is just plain pride on my part.

Sometimes I need reminders to peel my death-clinching-grip off of them and to place them safely in God’s hands.

All I can do is to point them to Christ.

And what if I was always able to fix things for them? Well, they would never know their need for Him. They would never have a desire or hunger for His Word. For His saving grace. They would never get to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding or the great depth of His love. They would never know Him.

And if I, as their parents, never showed them their need for Christ, if I never pointed them to Him, reminded them of His sovereignty, then I would have failed as a parent.

And so I pray. I pray and I pray and I pray and I pray.

And I work on trusting Him with my children and rest in knowing they are securely in His hands. He is there all the time. I am not. I cannot.

And I find peace and comfort in that.

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior” – 2 Samuel 22:2-3

And, in case you’re wondering, my son did get voted in as president. But I was reminded to trust Him again when a teacher sent me a text saying, “Your son just gave an awesome speech!”

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10 Things Not To Say To A Woman Who Has Miscarried

 

I have had miscarriages.

Five of them to be exact.

Each one of them was different. Special. Heartbreaking. Painful.

Losing the fifth one was no easier than losing the first.

I blamed myself. I had failed my babies. My body could not provide what they needed. It was my fault.

I was not able to provide another child to my husband. I had failed him.

I could not produce a brother or sister for the one child we did have. I had failed our son.

My heart was broken.

Both, the emotional and physical pain seemed unbearable.

And really, the only other person to go through this with me was my husband. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I didn’t want comfort from other people. I craved it very much. But after the first, I heard such hurtful things said by well-meaning people that I chose to not tell again. Here are a few of them:

  1. “At least your baby died now, before it was born.”  I didn’t want my baby to die at all and especially now. I wanted to feel it move in my belly. My husband wanted to lay his hand on me and feel him kick. Most of all, I wanted to hold him, to see what he looked like. Even if he had passed away after one month, I still would have gotten one month. I would know if my baby was a boy or girl. I would know what color of hair he had, how big his hands were, watch him yawn, and rock him to sleep. This comment is hurtful because I feel like this was the worst time to lose him. Some time is better than no time and I’m the only one who seems to understand that.
  2. “Something was wrong. That’s why your baby died.” What I will hear you say is “Something is wrong with you. That’s why you lost your baby.” I feel guilty enough. Please don’t compound that.
  3. “You are healthy. You can have more babies.” Here’s the problem, I don’t want another baby. I don’t even want to think about another baby. I want THIS baby. I am already in love with THIS baby.
  4. “At least it’s not a real loss.” What do you mean it’s not a “real loss”? It’s not “real” just because my baby never took a breath outside of the womb? I still don’t understand this one. There was a life there. A heart was beating and now it’s not. What is not “real” about that?
  5. “You can try again soon.” This is not the same as #3. The last thing I want to do right now is rush into another pregnancy. I need time to morn this loss and for my body to recover.
  6. “You’ve already got one.” Believe me, this is not comforting. My baby was an individual. It’s not about numbers anyhow. It’s about life.
  7. “It’s just a miscarriage.” No, it’s not. You’re not the one involved so you can be detached. I have known about my baby for some time and have already come to love it. I cannot just shrug it off and go on.
  8. “Don’t talk to So-and-So. She is newly pregnant.” What? Miscarriages are not contagious. Hearing about another woman’s miscarriage is not going to induce your own. But talking about it can open up space for women to discuss their fears. And, if anything were to happen, she would know she was not alone. There is another person out there who understands and is going through it too.
  9. “Be happy for others who are pregnant.” Someone very close to me was pregnant at the same time when I lost my first baby. A few different people reminded me to “Just be happy for them.” It felt very dismissive of my pain. I was incredibly happy for them. I took comfort knowing that in a few months I would still get to smell that new baby smell and count little baby toes.
  10. “So-and-So’s miscarriage was worse than yours.” I don’t remember entering a contest. But miscarriages are terrible. Period. End of story. I need to be able to grieve as I see fit and not worry about how it stacks up against the experience of others.

So what should you say or do?

While it is true that there is nothing you can say to make it better, just knowing you care is comforting. Give her a hug. Cry with her. Pray with her. Send her a card just to let her know that you support her. Be a friend.

The farthest I got with any of my miscarriages was 16 weeks. Other than my husband, my sister was the only other person who knew. When I suspected something was wrong, she drove me to the doctor’s office. She held my hand during the ultrasound. She cried with me when they confirmed there was no heartbeat. She sat on the bed with me and just held me as we sobbed together. There was nothing to say, nothing to do. But knowing that she was with me, supporting me, and loving me was exactly what I needed. I will NEVER forget the tenderness and gentleness she showed me on such a painful day.

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Farewell, My Friends

A year ago I sat out with a small goal: Keep a blog showing how God’s Word applies to everyday life. Show that it is not outdated. Show that it is for us. Show that it really can be read, understood, and practiced.

It was never my goal to have a deep, theological blog. Because that’s just not me. I just wanted to share God’s Word and encourage others in their daily life.

But about six months in, I found the challenges of keeping up a blog regularly to be quite daunting, especially for someone who is not a particularly great writer. Coming up with new things to write about proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. Putting my thoughts and ideas into words that another person can read and understand is not easy.

But the most difficult thing for me is finding the time to write. It just isn’t there. I have spent many hours on each blog that I have posted: writing, editing, rewriting, correcting, finding the perfect picture, making sure I’m not taking a verse out of context, checking grammar, etc.

All of this is to say that this will be my last post. I will be shutting down this blog in a few days.

I want to thank each of you who have stopped by to read a few of my thoughts. Some of you have emailed me, talked with me personally, or sent me text messages. Thank you for doing this. I cannot even tell you how much I appreciated your encouragement. Without it, I would have felt all the time I was spending was in vain and probably would have shut this down a long time ago.

There are many ways you can spend your time and I want to thank you for spending some of it with me.

If you are reading this, farewell my faithful friend. It has been nice growing with you, searching scriptures with you, and sharing thoughts with you. I do pray that this blog has not only encouraged you from time to time, but also showed you that God’s Word is still relevant, He is still on the throne, and nothing happens outside His control.

Sincerely,

Gerri Madison

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Lessons From A Prayer failure

 

Today I sat down to pray. My prayer started off something like this, “Dear Lord, I thank you for the opportunity to come into you presence again today… Did I get that load of laundry started yet today? (No, no! Back to business!) As I was saying, I am in awe that You called me to Yourself and that I get to call you Father…  I really need to get this floor vacuumed. (No, no!)

Does this ever happen to you or am I the only Christian who has a problem with my mind drifting during prayer? Why is it so hard to focus when we pray?

While I have not found any great way to quit daydreaming, there are a few ways I’ve found to focus my mind better during prayer. In fact the reason I’m writing this today is because I need to be reminded of them myself.

The first and most simple way is to vocalize your prayers. I’m not saying that you have to shout them from your roof top or even say them loud enough another person could hear you, but simply moving your lips can help keep your mind focused. Even the amount of energy you will spend putting your thoughts into words and sentences will often be enough to discipline your mind and keep it from drifting.

One of my favorite things to do is to pray over the Scriptures. That means that you are connecting your prayers to your Bible reading. There are a lot of great strategies out there like the One Year Bibles. Just find whatever works for you but always read it slowly and carefully. The truths you will encounter could very well be the basis of reflective praying. You can also do this with some of the better hymns. I have prayed over “It Is Well” thousands of times. (Please know that hymns are NOT a replacement for the Scriptures but can be helpful in prayer life).

Another variation of this is to look through the Scriptures to find verses that support your prayers then pray those Scriptures back to the Lord. When I was petitioning the Lord for my youngest son, I remember praying a prayer that went something like this, “Lord, we desperately want another child. Your Word tells us that Sara, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, and several other women were barren. Yet, you opened their womb and gave them children.” Then I would read the Scriptures that told the story of each of these women and end with asking Him to add me to the list with these ladies.

Something else that may be helpful, and my husband uses regularly, is to develop a prayer list. It can be quite difficult and daunting to pray faithfully for a large number of people and concerns without some sort of prayer list. Our church puts out a prayer list weekly as many churches do. This can be a great beginning place but certainly you will want to add to it other people and concerns of our own acquaintance. This is sure to be updated weekly as your church’s prayer list is updated.

Another excellent discipline in praying is to enlist a prayer-partner. That is someone that you meet with regularly, say once a week, go over prayer concerns together and then pray together. This will most likely prove to be a very intimate time with you and the other person. And intimacy in one area can very easily lead to intimacy in another area. So always make sure that if your prayer-partner is not your spouse, that it is someone of the same sex.

I have been fortunate in the way that I have been able to be pray-partners with a couple different ladies in my life. The first was when I was a freshman in college. Another young lady, who was a senior, invited me to pray with her. This quickly became a weekly meeting and continued on through the rest of the semester. I learned much more from her discipleship than words can express. We still remain very close friends today.

Prayer can be hard and frustrating. Still, a wandering mind is no excuse to not do it. How are we to have a relationship with the Lord if we never communicate with Him? I do hope that I am the only Christian that has a problem with a drifting mind, but I really don’t believe that I am. I have practiced each of these methods at different times and they each been of great help. I do pray that they will be of some help to you too.

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Because Freedom Comes When We Burn The IOU

 

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“What is it, Lord?”

There’s been this battle off and on over the years. Sometimes it seems gone, then it wells up, wild again, snagging my stability and dragging me down into the mire to wallow … then drown in my own self-pity. And it’s ugly.

You think I’m exaggerating? That’s how it feels, right? When something slide-tackles us we go from sure-footed faith to flat on our backs in one fell swoop.

It was this that I was hashing out with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His perspective, my sin, what the root was–you know, all that ugly heart stuff that has to be worked out.

His answer: Burn the IOU.

Oh … that.

Just the day before I had read Matthew 18. Here Jesus tells the story of the master who forgives his servant a massive debt, equal in today’s wages to about eight million dollars. That’s a big debt! So after this debtor has been forgiven this insane amount, he goes and finds someone who owes him a pittance (relative to the other debt it’d be equivalent to about thirteen-thousand dollars) and …

… seizing him, he began to choke him saying, “Pay what you owe.” (Matthew 18:28)

This picture is etched in my mind whenever I think about forgiveness. Whenever we hold a grudge against someone, it’s like we are seizing them and choking them, saying with our hearts and attitudes, “Pay what you owe!”

Whenever we hold on to unforgiveness, we are that man, seizing and choking those around us because we can’t just let it go.

Forgiveness burns the IOU.

Whatever it is that someone owes you, forgiveness takes their IOU and sets it on fire. Burns it. Destroys it. Lets the person go free.

But here’s the thing, sometimes we’re the ones who wrote the IOU.

What I mean is, sometimes that person doesn’t even know they are “indebted” to us. So often we have expectations of others, what they “should” give us, what we expect from them, what we want from them, and then when they inevitably fail us and don’t deliver the goods that we expected (love, acceptance, kindness) we write ourselves an IOU and clutch it, white-knuckled, holding onto that grimy, tattered IOU because we think they owe us that love, that acceptance, the kindness.

The picture isn’t pretty, is it? I don’t want to go through life clutching onto an old ratty, wadded up IOU, inwardly demanding that person pay me my due.

BURN THE IOU.

As long as I think that another person owes me acceptance and love, I’ll be miserably clutching that IOU.

But freedom comes when we burn it, release the debt, let that person free and we will find …

That we are free as well!

Jesus says some wild things about forgiveness, friends. We do well to take them to heart and consider any way we are clutching old IOUs. Chances are, we wrote them ourselves.

Jesus clutches no IOUs.He paid our debt with His blood when He said, “It is finished.” Paid in full.  More than eight-million dollars, a lifetime of debt, more than could ever be paid. He did this for us.

I don’t need to seize, choke, demand. I can forgive, let go …

And burn the IOU.

 

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“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6:14-15).

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Because Death Is The Ultimate Healing

 

My four year old son and I were playing downstairs today. “Mommy, will you show me that sewing machine” he asked. He was pointing to an old one. One that I’ve never used.

The one that belonged to my grandma.

She passed away more than four years ago. I looked over at the machine and realized that since my father gave it to me, about two years ago, I have never even taken the case off.

“Sure,” I said to my son.

I knelt by it, unsnapped it, and lifted the case off. There was the machine that my grandma sat by for uncountable hours. My grandfather bought it for her in the 1940’s. She clothed herself and her family with this machine. She made matching dresses for my sister and me with this machine. I have many clothes for my Cabbage Patch Kids made at this machine.

Memories came flooding back.

I sat and stared at it. Nothing is more “grandma” than this sewing machine.

It even smelled like her.

A small piece of her fabric was left under the needle. Bobbins were filled and a spool was in place. Her measuring tape lay under the wheel.  Just like she left it.

I stared more. Tears filled my eyes.

Then my son asked, “Mommy, who did this belong to again?”

“My grandmother.”

“Why does she not need it anymore?”

“Because she died, Sweetie.”

“Where is she now?”

“She is in heaven with Jesus.”

“When we go to heaven will we see her?”

“Yes.”

“Will we take her sewing machine to her?”

I’ll admit that I did smile at this question. “No, it is not needed in heaven,” I responded.

My son went on playing but I sat there and continued to stare at that sewing machine. I couldn’t help but to feel the sting of the loss. It just hurts so badly!

There aren’t even words to tell you how much I miss her. It is too deep.

I spent much time at her house as a child. There was little as fun as being at grandma’s house. We always baked chocolate chip cookies (my favorite), played Old Maid, went for walks, and listened to stories from her childhood.

When it was time for my parents to pick us up, she and my grandfather would sit outside in their chairs while my sister and I ran around and did cartwheels, flips, handstands, and whatever else we were capable of. They clapped and made such a production about it that we were sure we were both Olympic bound.

And when my parents pulled up in their car and we climbed in the back seat, we would always turn around to look out the back window. And there would be my grandma and grandpa, standing at the edge of their yard, waving good-bye to us. I can still see them.

I sure do miss them!

Death stinks, doesn’t it! If you have ever loved someone who has passed away, you know how difficult it can be. How lonesome you feel and the void that is left.

But for my grandmother, her last couple of years here on earth were not pleasant. She was in and out of the hospital. Life became a struggle for her. Because first one thing was wrong with her health. And then another thing. And then another thing. And then another thing until she took her final breath.

And now she struggles no more. No more pain. No more rides in ambulances. No more tests. No more pills. No more falls. No more sleepless nights. No more cramps. No more swelling. No more injections. No more of any of that.

Because death is the ultimate healing.

When someone passes away, I often hear “So-and-So lost their battle with cancer today” (or whatever the affliction may be). But here’s my problem with that: If they are truly a child of God, they didn’t lose their battle. They were finally healed.

It may be true that my grandma had congestive heart failure. It may be true that she had pneumonia. It may be true that she was diabetic. And it may be true that she had several other health problems. But she didn’t lose her battle with any of it. She was finally healed of all of it.

As a follower of Christ, this is exciting to me.

I don’t yet have the health problems that my grandma did, but I’ve had problems. I’ve had the flu many times. And head colds. And chest congestion. And issues with my sinuses. And migraines. And an intolerance to gluten. And pneumonia. And spider bites. And many other bumps and bruises. The list could go on and on.

But I hold onto the promises of Scripture. And take comfort that one day I will be like my grandma and be healed of all of that. No more any of it.

Because I will join her in the presence of the Lord where sickness and disease does not exist. And I, too, will finally be healed!

 

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

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The “What If” Game IS A Dangerous Game To Play

 

Saturday was a busy day. It was raining when we headed out to watch my oldest son compete in the conference Scholar Bowl tournament at a nearby school. In early afternoon, as his team finished and we left the school, it had begun to lightly snow. But we were on our way to another school so he could participate in a basketball tournament. As soon as this tournament was over, my husband left to take him to a third school where the high school varsity teams were playing (he keeps stats for the girls and boys team) while my younger son and I headed home.

By this time, it had been snowing for several hours. Snow was beginning to pile up. Road crews were out working but they just couldn’t keep up – it was coming too hard and too fast.

My son and I walked in our home and I fell on the couch, exhausted from the day but mainly from the drive home. It was stressful. My road had not been touched yet and I was slipping and sliding everywhere and my youngest son was in the backseat. What if I had slid off the road? He could have been hurt or even killed.

I’m so glad that my husband is such a good driver and is so careful that I don’t have to worry about him.

Then my phone rang.

It was my husband and he had slid off the road.

Another family that we knew stopped, picked our son up and took him onto the ball game.

But my husband was still stuck on the side of the road and needed help. I called a friend who lived nearby. He willingly and happily went to help my husband. Our friend was able to pull him out but within half a mile my husband slid off two more times. Finally, the friend just brought him home.

This evening we went to get our truck. It’s a small Ford Ranger without 4 wheel drive. Not much good in the snow. It took us nearly twenty minutes to get it out of the driveway he had left it in.

While driving back home, I couldn’t help but to notice the sides of the road. It was lined with steep drop-offs. Yet my husband and son slid onto level ground.

But what if they had slid off here instead?

What if the truck would have rolled?

What if it had crushed the cab with my husband and son inside?

What if… What if… What if…

Tonight as my son and husband went to sleep, I kept praying and thanking God for the protection that He had given to them. I thank Him for always taking care of my family when I cannot. And I just wanted to watch them sleep and hold them close, having been reminded of what a treasure they truly are.

But when it is my turn to go to sleep, my mind turned to the “What if…” game.

For me, personally, it is worse at night when I’m trying to go to sleep. That is when my mind really starts working and going crazy. I suppose during the day I can keep busy enough to not think about it. But at night, well, the night makes up for the day. That means more worry and less sleep. That results in a more tired and stressed mom/wife. Believe me, nobody in my house wants that!

You can probably relate. Maybe you haven’t been in this same exact situation, but you have probably been in some sort of a frightening situation. And you have been left wondering “What if…”

While I am certainly not proficient at this and still need lots of practice, I would like to make a suggestion on how to deal with the “What if…” game. Even though the weather was bad and my husband and son slid off the road, God still looked after my family. As much as I love them, God loves them more. Even as precious as they are to me, they are more precious to God. So instead of playing the “What if…” game, I am going to say to my mind, “No, I’m not going to allow you to go there. Instead I am going to thank the Lord that He did not allow that to happen. I am going to thank the Lord for His sovereignty, love, and grace. I am going to sing praises to the Lord.”

Playing the “What if…” game is a dangerous game to play. It totally discounts the Lord’s sovereign will. In the Lord’s sovereign will, He allowed our truck to slide off in a relatively safe place. He did not allow our truck to roll or the cab to be crushed. So why do we allow to let our minds dwell there? That is not honoring, glorifying, or praising the Lord – the very thing that we, as His children, are called to do.

Colossians 3:2 tells us “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Basically, that verse is telling us to think of things that are eternal and praise the Lord for them. It is telling us to trust God. It is telling us to think of Him in ALL things. Don’t worry so much about the “What if’s…” because those are not things that are eternal. He has already taken care of them.

We all have deep, dark places that our minds want to visit from time to time. If we allow them to dwell there, they can very easily lead us into a depression.

These are real fears. I’m not taking away from that. Yet, we cannot allow our minds to reside there. In fact, the Scriptures tell us not to. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “…Take every thought captive to obey Christ.” That verse is speaking of the importance of training our minds for Christ. And it sounds simple to do. But it is very difficult and challenging.

Consider this; we are all training our minds for something. So what will it be? Self-pity or admiration of the Lord? Praise and worship or fear and terror? Unbelief or praise? Fear and fright or trust of His faithfulness?

 

“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73:28)

 

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Everything Else Can Wait

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight as I lay down to snuggle with my son we visit for a few minutes before sleepiness comes sneaking in around him. I can see it in his eyes and feel it in him as I notice his body relaxing.

But my mind has jumped ahead. I’m wondering how much longer I need to lay here. Because if I try to get up too quickly, he’ll wake up. And there is a list a mile long of things I need to do:

Clean the windows.

Wash the dishes.

Wipe the counter.

Clear off the table.

Scrub the sink.

Pack my sons lunch for tomorrow.

Fold the blankets on the couch.

Put toys away.

Sweep and mop the floors.

Do the dusting.

The list goes on and on.

And when all that is done I need write another post for this blog, send a few emails, find a pair of pants that are long enough for my husband and order them, and send a couple thank you notes.

Without even thinking about it, I suddenly realize that I am becoming overwhelmed and I am still laying here with my son. My sweet, sweet, precious son. This is supposed to be a special time. A beloved time. A time just between the two of us and I’m not enjoying it at all because I’m too anxiously anticipating all that my evening will hold.

He is sleeping soundly by now.

I prop myself up on my elbow so I can watch him more closely. I love the way the dim light falls on his face. He really is a beautiful child. He lies there so peacefully, so calmly. I look at his long, dark eyelashes, his chubby cheeks, and his small hands. I watch his chest rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall.

And then, all of a sudden, it hit me…  It will not be like this forever.

There will be a time when his cheeks are no longer chubby and his hands aren’t quite so small. He won’t beg for me to stay just a little bit longer because he won’t desire that anymore. He will only be little for a little while.

There will be a time when the hours will no longer run quite so quickly out in the day. When I no longer struggle to find time to clean my house. When the house is quiet enough during the day that I can write all the blog posts that I need to. When I read a book during the day free of distractions and interruptions.

Yes, my house will probably be a little cleaner in a few years. The content of my blogs will be put together much better and more thought out. And I’ll be able to attend a few more Bible studies.

But my home will be empty of children.

And then I am reminded of Psalms 118:24, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Just moments before I had not been doing this. I was not rejoicing but allowing sin and selfish desires to overwhelm me. I had neglected to treasure this fleeting time with my son that was ordained by God. I had fallen into the temptation to trade it in for worry, anxiety, and anticipation.

No more!

I will cherish this time.

Big deal if the dusting doesn’t get done. Who really cares anyhow?

This blog can wait another hour or day to be written.

So I decide to take the time to rejoice in my day, in my moment. I stay a little longer, hold him a little tighter, and love a little longer. I choose to treasure the child that God has entrusted to me.

Everything else can wait.

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