“…Thus far the Lord has helped us.”-1 Samuel 7:12
There are moments in my life when I look back and can see how God in His perfect yet mysterious way provided through. Helped me endure. Comforted me when I was overwhelmed and teetering on the edge of sanity. I couldn’t say it right away, but in time I was able to whisper from my heart in gratitude, “Thank you, Lord”.
1 Samuel 7 we read about the Israelites returning to God, Samuel telling them this is what we must do and this is how we acknowledge our God has surely helped us. The altar was built, and he named it Ebenezer, Hebrew origin meaning ‘stone of help’. It was a moment they chose to mark with great significance, honoring the God who helped them. I have not personally done something this significant in terms of a marker in my life that physically symbolizes God’s help for me. But I recognize moments in my heart where I have been marked by His deliverance. It is something only I can see and fully experience, reminding me of how good my God has been to me. We have this foundation-Jesus Christ! He lived, He endured unfathomable things for our sake, He was brutally killed on a rugged cross, buried in a borrowed tomb and then raised to life so that we may have salvation full and free! How many times do we in our human nature, allow some awful life experience to suddenly render us forgetful of the very power that lives within us? We have it, at ALL times, the ability to call upon the Lord and EXPECT His mighty Hand to save us. He is able to care for us in EVERY moment of our lives, and yet we fumble about, trying to grasp at something tangible the moment life goes sideways on us.
I remember when my son Bailey was a baby, he had been so sick. Three bouts of bronchiolitis, and the wheezing kept coming back even after treatment. He wasn’t nursing well, and he was so fussy, and I was sleep deprived from having a new baby and a 3 year old, and I was pretty much on the edge of having a complete breakdown physically and emotionally. It had all fogged up my clear vision of my God, my Provider. As his condition rapidly deteriorated one day, we called 911, which resulted in an ambulance ride to the hospital, which then resulted in a positive test for RSV and admittance for treatment. The days that followed would be very difficult as we watched our baby boy struggle with this virus, nurses and doctors doing all they could do to get him healthy again. It was terrifying for me to realize in that season just how incapable I was, but how CAPABLE my God is! There was no quick fix for this. We had to take him home on oxygen, continue doing breathing treatments, and schedule nurse visit weekly to check on him and ensure his breathing was steadily improving. We also had to start taking him to a Pediatric Pulmonologist for check-ups in addition to his regular well visits with the Pediatrician. I researched RSV, respiratory conditions, Asthma, and anything else I could read to understand my son’s health condition. I was not an expert by any means, but I was prepared with questions and soaked up what the doctors told me every time we went for a check up. My son was not going to die from this, but he was definitely going to be challenged by it. As he improved, I was able to sleep better, and I was able to re-connect with my God, my Sustainer. He was there with me all the time, but my human condition, my inability to release my worry for my son, somehow kept me from knowing that. I had to literally hit rock bottom, to know full well the Solid Rock supporting me the entire time.
“Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’ve come;” (-Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Robert Robinson)
In a way, my son Bailey was my Ebenezer for that season of my life. I discovered my foundation in Christ once again as I watched God work in and through my baby boy, and as a result, He did a necessary work in and through me.
There will be experiences throughout our lives that will threaten to permanently shake us from the STRONG foundation we know in Christ. I would not wish this experience I lived through on any parent, but I am thankful for what God did in spite of it. He brought us through it, and taught us through it. He is good and faithful, yes, He is.
‘I've had moments where I thought I wouldn't heal, or untangle myself, or get a better view of myself and of them. I've had long periods of time where I've felt flattened by an experience, but I have always been able to rise again. And that's what makes me resilient. My resiliency is mine. It is the only unbreakable part of me and is what makes me capable of Love even with a mountain to climb.’ (Stephanie Moors, Yoga Lifestyle)
This current season of life is proving to be one of the most unpredictable I’ve experienced. As Ryan and I edge ever closer to the big 5-0 in a few years(I think we should celebrate this one with a trip to Hawaii, don’t you?!), we are learning how to let go of some things and to embrace some things that life is handing to us. Maybe in a few more years I’ll be able to open up more about these “things” but for now, I'm gonna do my best to share the process with minimal details.
I felt for the longest time in my life, my happiness and my confidence came from knowing I was loved and accepted by my family and my friends. If someone was upset with me, hurt by me, angry with me, well, I couldn’t let it go. Especially if it was a reaction to something I tried to do to help. I’m a helper. I really like to help, and when I see a need, I want to do everything I can to make it better. Sometimes, help is welcomed and appreciated. But sometimes, it is met with a boundary line drawn in the sand, and a reaction that leaves me feeling deeply wounded. It’s hard not to take it personally, because my intent was misunderstood. I’m heartbroken, because I realize right away I’ve overstepped and perhaps gone too far. I’m left with this crippling feeling of regret for having ever said anything at all and immediately analyzing everything I said and did to deserve that reaction. This is the point in the emotional spiral, when I am so thankful God makes His presence known in me. As my hands go up and I realize how helpless I am, His grace and mercy come over me. And I realize, I can’t do anything more, but He can do far more than I and already is at work in that situation. I know I’m going to trip over myself many times in this life, try desperately to do the right thing, and perhaps try too hard to fix something that isn’t mine to fix. I’m thankful for a God who loves me and knows the intent my heart, in spite of my tendency to go a little too far sometimes. I am thankful for the loving and affirming accountability by those in my immediate circle of support, because without them, I’d be stuck in the mess of it a whole lot longer.
I’ve had moments like this one that resulted in a relationship drifting apart, losing touch with that person entirely. Still others that resulted in the necessity for space immediately, but a mending came years later. I know my experience in this current season, like seasons in the past, will only serve to make me far more resilient to face what is yet ahead. I believe we all have opportunity handed to us to improve upon ourselves in every experience, but especially the most difficult ones. We can either let it sink us and define us, or we can take from it what was learned and use it to move forward.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
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