We are beginning to gain traction in our life. Mark has graduated to, ok days, bad days, and worse days. The fact that there is even mention of ok days is progress. This last month we even ended with money left in our checking account. As we make forward motion the one thing I find myself praying is “Lord, let me not forget where I have come from”.
I didn’t want to look back
I don’t know if you have experienced this, but when I have reached a finish line I want to hurl myself through the air to cross because I am ready to be done with the struggle. I have no desire to look back, all I want is to go forward. I want the promise land before me.
I have learned over my forty years that hurling myself over the finish line is futile because once I catch my breath, there is another marathon ahead of me. Each mountain that is removed or relocated means there is another one, often bigger than the last in the distance.
Instead of hurling myself over the finish line I am learning to look back at the past. To debrief the areas I successfully navigated by God’s grace, to look at the areas I may have hurt someone and need to ask forgiveness. To find the areas I now have a new understanding and can lend a hand to help others rise or at least know how to pray for them. To give aid as I navigate the future.
In debriefing the struggle from whence I came I give encouraging affirmations to my present self. Confidently looking at all I endured and successfully conquered. To give courage to myself as I walk through a new dark patch. Any journey we undertake, even with excitement is going to have an element of darkness. Any new undertaking will require new muscles, perspective, and sometimes skills if they have not already been honed for the task ahead.
One of the new to me reasons to have a debriefing of the struggle is to see the areas I allowed God the glory. You see my Chrisitanese prior viewed God as a magician that cleaned my bathroom. He would wave his magical miracle wand and a task would be done. So many times I would be left in tears as I shoveled the wet, heavy snow from my driveway. Angry Mark could not help and angry a rescue had not come. This was naive me. This was a moment I began to gain new understanding and insight into preparation.
God’s magical miracle wand
As I began to physically clean my bathroom and shovel the wet, heavy snow, I became bitter. I also denied God credit for my ability to shovel the snow. I was the one using my human strength to clean the bathroom and shovel. I was the one waking up at 6 am to get to work, I was the one making supper. I was the one surviving. Not God. Me.
I knew this thought process was dangerous. I knew it was not the truth. I began to pray and ask the Lord to change my thought pattern. To change my heart. Now, I see my relationship with God more like teamwork, rather than either him waving a miraculous wand or me doing a solo act.
The reality of fear
I live in fear quite a bit of the time now. The days I see Mark’s body going backward instead of forward into remission. Anxiety over never being able to go back home full time, Mark being too sick to work, and me having to take an even more dominant role in providing for our family. I am ok doing. I can physically do it, but it doesn’t mean I want to. What I want is to be home with our family. But, by the grace of God he is giving me peace and contentment (most of the time) in where I am.
Power of God’s prescence
In these moments of fear, this is where the greatest power of God being present in my life takes hold. I choose to trust him with my gaps. The weeks where my paycheck may not be enough, I physically confess with my mouth, Lord I am trusting you. Here is what is planned financially, I trust you to provide for it or change it to fit our budget. More often than not he not only provides, he is exceeding my expectations. Leaving me in a breathless, wow only God could have done that.
I learned to not leave the road from whence I have come quite so quickly. To allow God to lead me to a new road when he is good and ready. Not to miss a single learning moment. We are merging onto a new interstate. The cars move faster and it is a bit unnerving. I often ask God if he is sure this is the direction we are supposed to take. Sometimes he is gracious to pull me off into a rest stop to sleep, vacation, and then resume the course.
He makes my path straight
I know whichever course we take together God and I will clean the bathroom and shovel the driveway. Oh, by the way, this year I have a snowblower. So this year, God and I will snow blow the driveway. Sometimes it takes machinery to move a mountain. I get the Toro Snow Blower running then I say to the mountain move and it moves. With baby steps forward, I am relearning to tackle each day with the strength of the Lord.