Picture me standing on my rooftop (which I’d never really do because heights are scary!) screaming at the top of lungs, tears rolling down my face, tearing at my clothes, kicking up roof tiles, madder than an old wet hen on a snowy winter’s day. That would’ve been me on one particular gloomy day in January 2014 … if I’d had the nerve to climb on my roof. Well, and tear at my clothes that I spent good money on and kick up roof tiles that I don’t have the money to replace! No, I’d never really do this. But I was pretty stinking mad that day.
I’d love for all the little stories that make up the testimony of my life to involve butterflies and rainbows and cuteness and all things lovely, true and pure but I live in the real world just like you do. So ,many times, the stories of my life are going to involve the opposite of the things listed above!
Finding beauty in sticky situations. It can be tricky, but I believe that through every rough spot we face in life, God provides us with something beautiful in the end…..
In spite of the ick.
In spite of the trial.
Beauty from ashes.
Always…because He is faithful.
The end of 2013 was one icky mess after another. I got the flu… or maybe it’s evil twin… on Thanksgiving Day. And it liked spending time with me so much that it hung around for weeks. Like until just days before Christmas. I can’t remember the last time a seemingly “simple” illness hung around with such tenacity. I had a horrible cough for weeks and completely lost my voice for the good part of a month. I still couldn’t sing a note by Christmas Eve…which was quite tortuous for this girl who loves nothing better than to “spread Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear!” I’m still not sure why I chose to go to the mostly song-filled worship service on Christmas Eve since all I could do was my best Milli Vanilli impression . Remember them? Then 10 days before Christmas, while I’m STILL trying to recoup from the flu, I get a call from my son’s school that they’ve called an ambulance to transport him to the hospital of our choice. He’s severely broken his arm. They weren’t kidding. I’d post a picture of Noah’s arm for your viewing pleasure but you’d probably never come back and read this silly old blog again. It was hideous! He had surgery and spent 3 nights in the hospital. Shortly after this, we get a call that my husband’s dad had taken a fall and broke many ribs and punctured his lung. He was in the hospital awaiting surgery….one he might not recover from. Sadly, he didn’t. Two days after Christmas my father in law was finally breathing freely in the presence of Jesus.
This was just December. I won’t bore you with tales of job losses, extremely reduced income and other stresses that plagued us January through November!
Oh sweet 2014 please be kinder………
But the trials of 2013 weren’t quite over. January had a rough start with flooding in our house. Twice we tromped through little unwanted rivers in the back of our house caused by frozen, busted pipes.
And so we’re back to the opening rooftop story here. On that day, I found myself standing in my sons bedroom ankle deep in water for the second time in a month but this time I was in matching socks. Yes, I said matching! My day had started so well because we all know that matching socks is a victory. Especially when your dryer loves nothing more than to always eat one sock from each pair you own!! Now my beautiful matching socks were soaked in yucky flood water.
I closed my eyes , took a deep breath and made the calls I knew were next after a flood. Then I was mad again. Still in disbelief…..I’m pretty sure I went to bed that night wondering what in the world was going on. Why were we continuously being plagued with one challenge after another?
In my mind, I deserved a big huge pity party. Who wouldn’t after going through all we’d been through? I’d invite friends over to cry with me. We’d have cold pizza and hot diet coke. It would be a blast.
No sooner had I created the guest list for my pity party than I got a little nudge from God. A nudge to remind me to open my pity filled eyes and really see what was going on. Nothing had really dramatically changed from Flood One . Flood Two happened on concrete floors, a stripped down bathroom. The floor was mostly empty of all the clothes, books, and computers that were ruined the first time. We had a roof over our heads. We had heat, clothes on our backs, food in the pantry. And the livable portion of our house was still livable.
Just like that I was reminded of a few things…
- Blessings abound , even in the midst of turmoil. The faster I start looking for the blessings, the more quickly I’ll find them. The quicker I remember how greatly blessed I am…well, wet matching socks just seem so insignificant.
- The faster I turn to God with my troubles, the faster I feel better. I like to feel better. Who doesn’t?? Why do we hang on to anger, fear, uncertainty, etc. etc. sooooo long?
- I don’t have it near as bad as I think I do. Somebody slept in the cold last night. Somebody is begging for food. Somebody doesn’t have a penny to his name and only has what he can carry around in a bag on his back. Why is it so easy for me to fall into a pit of pity for myself when I have it better than a good majority of the world……misplaced water, concrete floors, ripped out walls, kids sleeping on the couch or not?
And those things were my BEAUTY…..in spite of it all.
As I stood in my son’s room on a patch of dry ground, I looked into the bathroom where water was still dripping out of the pipe into the house. There were already fans blowing attempting to dry things up as quickly as possible but the breeze from the fan was having a rippling effect on the standing water on the floor. There were waves on my bathroom floor. As I think back on that, a song came to mind. So I’ll close with the lyrics to that song and pray you too can allow your soul to rest in the embrace of the One who puts up with every pity party we indulge ourselves in and still calls us His own.
“So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine”……
”Oceans” by Hillsong United (chorus)