This week has been quite the week for me. What started out last weekend as a fun weekend at the state track meet - sleeping in a hotel (that is huge for our kids because it only happens like once a year), swimming, going for a wagon ride etc. ended up with a fever and throwing up and going home early. That turned into hand foot and mouth disease for two of my kids - blisters in their mouths and on their hands and feet. Then midweek we got a huge rainstorm which resulted in a puddling basement and a huge mess (I won't say we were flooding because we weren't wading through the water, just splashing). I spent most of the day trying to dry things up, get laundry done from all that had gotten wet and trying to move furniture so that it didn't get ruined in the water. We ended the week with pink eye. Along with all that I was dealing with other things that were draining me emotionally and physically. By yesterday afternoon I just wanted to throw in the towel and walk away.
Years ago when I was in high school and we were moving somewhere, we were in the garage trying to sort through boxes. One of my brothers gave me a box to hold while they looked through another box. Then they gave me another box. Then it became a game. Let's see how many boxes Emma can hold up before she gets squished. So they started piling more boxes on. Luckily, I was near a wall so I leaned up against it with bent knees and I was able to use my legs to help hold the weight of the boxes. Eventually though, even with the help of the wall, I ended up on the ground with a pile of boxes on top of me (however, I did hold a lot more than they ever thought I would). That is how I was feeling this week. I felt like I was up against a wall with box after box being piled on top of me as I slowly slid to the floor. It felt like no matter how I braced myself, the weight was still dragging me down and there was nothing I could do.
I went through the normal, faithless questioning. Why me? Why do things have to be so hard? Why do I have to deal with this right now? Why can't I just get a break? I will admit, my weaknesses were all showing through! I was grumpy. I was sleepless. I was stressed. I was unorganized. I wanted to fight. I didn't want to be the nice one. I didn't want to be the peacemaker. I didn't want to care.
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on my mood, I did care. I can't stand fighting. And, I know too much to allow myself to walk away. I have been blessed too many times to throw in the towel. I have felt God's love too many times to blame Him or be mad. I have felt Him guide me too many times to think this was all a waste of time.
I read a quote from Ray Pritchard. He wrote a book titled, "Why Did This Happen to Me?" I have not read the book, but I saw this quote and it spoke to me. He says: “Sometimes we will face things for which there is no earthly explanation. In those moments we need to erect a sign that reads, ‘Quiet: God at Work.’ Meanwhile, hold on, child of God. Keep believing. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Let God do His work in you. The greatest tragedy is to miss what God wants to teach us through our troubles.”
Life is full of challenges, trials, hardships, hurt and pain. We have to experience these things in order to learn and grow. It is not God leaving us alone. It is Him trying to help us increase our faith, live to our potential and become like Him. We need to be quiet and let Him work. It is hard. I am not very good at it. I always seem to throw a fit before I settle down and listen. I especially like his words, "Meanwhile, hold on, child of God." I am His child. We all are. I think of my own children. Would I ever leave them alone? Would I ever put them through unnecessary pain or trials? No. However, do I protect them from everything so they cannot learn? No. I allow them to learn and grow through making decisions and letting them face consequences. I allow them to go to school where some one may say something mean to them. Then I bring them home where it is safe and teach them. I help them become stronger. I teach them to be kind to others and empathetic and caring. I love them. I cannot protect them and have them learn what they need to learn. You can't learn to ride a bike without falling off once or twice. I have scars on my knees to prove that :) I can hold the bike steady for a while but eventually I have to let go so they can do it on their own.
Our Heavenly Father does the same for us. He is there, holding our bike steady, but eventually He has to let go and let us ride. When we fall, He is there to help us up. He has given us the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to help heal our skinned knees and bruises, to ease the pain and to help us get back up on the bike again. Just as my children come to me with their burdens and trials and hurt, we can go to our Father in Heaven. This knowledge is what keeps me from throwing in the towel. The knowledge of His unending, pure love. The knowledge that I am not alone. The knowledge that I am His child.
In 2 Corinthians 4:17 it reads, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;"
These trials that we have, as overwhelming and real as they are, are truly but for a moment. The eternal glory waiting for us far exceeds anything that we will experience here in this life. As I sat on that garage floor, weighted down by all those boxes, it took only a few minutes for my brothers to get them all off of me so I could stand back up, freed from the weight. Our trials here are the same. They may cause our strength to be challenged. They may knock us to the floor. But they are just for a moment and if we reach out and ask, He will lighten our load and give us the strength to endure so that we may one day rest in His eternal glory.
So my thoughts as I begin this new week - Quiet: God at Work. Psalms 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God."