Friday, May 24, 2013

Tornadoes this Side of Oklahoma

Trial and tribulation doesn't always come in the form of tsunami waves and tornado winds.

In the world we know as real-life and day-to-day monotony, our struggles and strains are the simple moment-to-moment, breath-by-breath ordinary what's-the-big-deal issues. They're the little irritants that side swipe us throughout the day one-by-one with no respite in between. And some of us simply call them Mondays:

1. running behind schedule
2. arguing children in the backseat
3. a long evening of homework
4. one too many grocery store stops on the list
5. a depleted bank account
6. that stack of unpaid bills
7. unfinished chores
8. clogged sinks and hair filled drains
9. unbearable physical ailments
10. minor aches and pains
11. the coffee pot overflowing at 5:30am
12. that phone call from the school
13. a flashing red engine light
14. the almost empty, out-of-date milk jug in the midst of preparing mac-n-cheese
15. four bald tires
16. the report card
17. an eleven-year-old growing too fast and all of a sudden having nothing to wear Monday morning (and his nothing to wear is far unlike my nothing to wear)
18. a vacuum cleaner that blows dust about the house
19. the drawer that needs fixed- for several months now
20. a job that just keeps taking more than it gives
21. poison oak
22. waiting expectantly for a missing cat to come home
23. a bad hair day (admit it, it's distracted you more than once)
24. the number on the scale or the size on the tag
25. ph levels in the pool
26. a rebellious child
27. dusty book shelves
30. failing at people pleasing
31. far away family slowly losing a loved one
32. a hubby who works graveyard
33. and then volunteers during the day
34. and then thinks he can survive off of 5 hours of sleep
35. a small list of discouragement that could continue endlessly.

But praise God it doesn't!!! Seriously, I had to make myself stop. It was getting depressing. Because honestly everything on this list I've either experienced or am experiencing.

Did you feel like some of them weren't worth mentioning? I did. Number 11? Really? Does it truly deserve a place on the list? YES! Because if you're up at 5:30, then I know you need coffee. And if the coffee pot overflowed all over the counter rather than into the pot, then you know you needed coffee to fix the coffee mishap. But you didn't have any coffee. Because it overflowed all over the kitchen. And now what? Can you really read your devotional, and intercede without a cup-a-joe?

And then we turn on the radio. It echoes of school shootings and school buildings collapsing on helpless children. We feel guilt and shame. We experience anger and mull over questions. Why are those parents being subjected to this? Why them and not me? What if it were my child? Lord, help me to be more thankful!

And our trials begin to look so insignificant and selfish. We place them next to the worst of tragedies and what appeared overwhelming is only a minor diversion; a small distraction compared to the grandest of nightmares.

But is our nightmare any less frightening simply because another's is more terrifying? Does one mother's plea in childbearing pain lessen another's merely because her pain cuts deeper?

The struggles and wrestlings you are going through do not evaporate when devastation hits on the other side of the country. You are a mom going through trials of your own. She is a mom facing heartache you've never been asked to bear. Both are moms. Both are struggling. One mama's unbearable anguish doesn't lessen another's. It only reminds us that life is hard in Oregon, Oklahoma, India, and in the seats of our own kitchen tables and minivans.

Have you ever noticed what Jesus said would choke the Word He puts in us? Is it the devil? No- "the cares of this world." It is always our little worries.
~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

We watch the storms of the desert roll on in gruesome destruction while stumbling over the bumps of Oregon's dirt roads. We walk them and run them, and we trip over them. They're not being torn up by raging wind, but they're tearing up the knees of moms falling face first over misplaced Legos and piles of clean laundry thrown into careless heaps on the floor.

And when we can't pay that water bill, we can remember the God who separated the sea and split the rock. Seriously, water has never been an issue for the one who spoke it into existence.

Casting our care upon Him because He cares for us is knowing He's mindful. He's paying attention. He's thinking and considering your anxieties and apprehensions. He's aware of the unemployed one feeling rejection after rejection. The one wanting only to give up and believe the lies. And massive tempests and colossal currents do not lessen His thoughts toward you. Our God is never so engaged with another's affliction that He disregards your distress.

Take it to Him, sisters!

The Lamb who died to save is the Shepherd who lives to care for us. ~Our Daily Bread

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