Friday, March 27, 2015

The Other Half of the Story

"God never gives you more than you can handle," she says, "so, you will get through this somehow."  Hearing this profession, quoted as if from Scripture, gives me pause.  It reflects a certain perspective about God and His expectations of us.  If He never gives me more than I can handle, then He must expect me to handle it, right?  I've marched to that drum - expecting to pull myself up by the bootstraps, keep a stiff upper lip and press on (or whatever other "encouraging" can-do slogans Nike or the Queen of England want to pitch in here).

When you think about it, when the deep stuff hits the fan, it's really ALWAYS more than we can handle.  Way more.  God allows more than we can bear.  He knows we are weak.  The truth is whenever we can handle things, we often do so without a second thought about Him.  When the tide starts to rise, we reach out for help.  I'm not saying we only draw near when trouble comes, but we sure have a desperation that is hard to come by on sunnier days.  There's just something about a trial that strips us down and helps us look inward and upward. 

Life wasn't designed to be "handled" and certainly not handled on our own.  We weren't intended to bear our own burdens, solve our own problems or work out our own difficulties.  God wants us to come to Him, to depend upon Him {and others} and grow in the process.  

This week has been full of doosies. I'm on a personal learning curve in motherhood.  As our children grow, we must grow with them.  Each stage of parenting requires new skills.  Just when we get really good at what they need and how to go about things, they change and we have to adjust.  Parenting never runs on auto-pilot.  We have to engage and be willing to go through huge emotional ups and downs as we walk with our children through life.  The biggest challenges for me have come as I learn to let go and entrust my  children to God.  Sounds simple enough, but in reality I find I want guarantees from God ... I want assurances they will be okay before I really let go and trust.  Unfortunately trust doesn't work that way.  By its nature, trust means stepping out into the unknown and believing we won't fall.  Letting go of my children doesn't mean I abandon my role as their mother or set aside boundaries and limits.  It means letting go of the outcomes of my parenting and being impervious to their reactions to those boundaries.  I can only go so far laying the foundation and then they have free will as to what they do with what my husband and I provide.  This is a hugely hard pill to swallow.  Horse-sized, if you ask me.  I've gagged on it several times along the way, but I'm getting it down bit by bit.
I have to, for their sake.

You see, motherhood is a great investment, but it is an investment in a person.  We don't get to own them or determine their path.  We rear our children so that they will go on and have their own lives, still connected, but completely separate from ours.  As much as I enjoy watching my boys become more dynamic, more interesting and more themselves, grief has surprised me at each passing season. 

You may not be a mother.  I bet you still have something in your life which has some claw marks on it from clinging while God is asking you to release. 

Pull up Pinterest, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram and you are flooded with images of life going well.  Picture perfect living explodes across the screen.  Celebrations, smiles {along with great lighting and Photoshop} sometimes shed a falsely biased glow over the lives we see from the outside.  It can start to feel pretty lopsided - maybe THEY are handling what God has given them.  Maybe I'm the only one who ever raised her voice at her children or skipped a shower and just washed up with a baby wipe or fed the kids cereal for supper.  Maybe I'm alone in this imperfection and weakness.

So, we decide not to share the other half of our story.
We tuck it away behind our own posts of goodness and all-American dreams come true.

Trust me.  Behind every one of those enviable posts lives a real person with real problems, trials of their own, an occasional broken heart and learning curves that take their breath away.  Behind each of the golden moments, real people are living real lives with real struggles and their own fair share of both good and bad days.

We all know this, but sometimes it just needs to be shouted out again ... We aren't perfect - not one of us.  Do you remember in the Wizard of Oz, when they finally come to him, all eager to get their wishes met?  The curtain is pulled back exposing the wizard for what he really is ... just a man from Kansas.  Life can pull back the curtain on us, and it should.  We aren't super-human.  We don't need to be

Right now, as I sit processing the emotions of this week, I'm acutely aware of the need I have for God and His power, love and comfort.  I'm learning afresh that life isn't a relay race, where God passes me a baton and expects me to run the next stretch without Him or others beside me.  I'm sharing my burdens with others and asking for their help.  To say that is hard is an understatement.  As humbling and awkward as it is, I am reaping great benefits by letting others pour wisdom, prayers and words of hope into my parched heart.

I'm leaning on God - literally crying out to Him at times.  I'm remembering, when I am weak, He is strong.  His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Someone once told me, "God is a gentleman.  He won't force Himself on you.  If you want to run the show, He'll step back and let you."  I think some of that is true.
Running the show is tiring.  Letting go is hard.  He remains present.   

This post won't be my all time favorite.  It may not even "generate traffic."  I'm sort of under the heap right now - living out the other half of the story - the one that never makes it onto social media because it isn't about how to bake the perfect pie, decorate your mantle just so, or parent with finesse.  I decided to write this anyway, because maybe like me, you need to hear the other half of the story sometimes.  Maybe you need to know you aren't alone.  Maybe you need that curtain pulled back on my life so you can have the courage to let yours be drawn open as well. 

It will pass.  I'll make it through.  Just for tonight I didn't want to paint it other than it is - momentarily difficult, painful and reaching up to Jesus.

I can't handle all that life will dish at me, but He can and always will.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I would love to hear from you.  If you are struggling or celebrating, I want to hear the other half of your story.  
Feel free to comment here or on the Hearts Homeward Facebook Page.  
Let's encourage one another and remember together we are never alone. 

Linking Up With:
 Fellowship Friday 64 & Burdens

9 comments: said...

Bless you, milady, as you work through the other half of your story. It is all we can to to hold tight to Him. May you be truly strengthened and renewed in His peace and grace as you step in the light He gives each day. Touched by your solemn and honest post today. And, encouraged.

Jessica West said...

Wow God works in Truely amazkng ways. He led me to this post from my facebook first thibg after a long hard day with my son who has adhd

HeartsHomeward said...

Just hearing the word "milady" cheered my heart this morning. Thank you so much, Kathy, for popping by Hearts Homeward and giving me this sweet word of encouragement.

Barbie said...

I think I spend way too many hours engrossed in the lives of others through social media. And you are right, it all appears perfect from my perspective. I've walked through hard seasons and haven't quite come out the other side. I know from experience the load can be unbearable at times, but I am so thankful for the promise that I will never be left alone. His yoke is easy, His burden light. Hugs to you my friend!

HeartsHomeward said...

You are so dear to me. One of the reasons is that you have let "the other half of your story" be known. You have continued to reach upward and outward towards others while sharing the real pain of your real life. I am so thankful for the promise and reality that God is with us. He is very much in and around all that concerns us. Thank you for the reminder and for your friendship.

Jeannie Pallett said...

I am birth mom and marvel at the wisdom you Moms walk in. I stand amazed at you and salute you. (visiting from Grace and Truth) I am thankful we are given more than we can handle for the stretching involved in reaching Jesus, even His hem builds such strength and character in us as women. And the seasons? They just seem to blend as He changes us from one degree of glory to the next, each season enabling our roots to grow deeper and stronger in our God.

HeartsHomeward said...

Thank you, Jeannie. I love the reminder you gave - "the seasons blend as He changes us from one degree of glory to another." I'm hanging onto that today. What a blessing you are - and this fellowship we find through one another. You are welcome to come by Hearts Homeward anytime.

Krista Sprankle said...

Trust me. Behind every one of those enviable posts lives a real person with real problems, trials of their own, an occasional broken heart and learning curves that take their breath away.

That is so true! I absolutely love what you shared today. It's resonating with me on many levels.

HeartsHomeward said...

Thank you so much for letting me know this resonated with you. I really was feeling crummy and considered skipping my weekly "date" with myself to blog. Then it came to blog this - the real. I always blog sincerely, but I don't always share the hard stuff when I'm still knee-deep in it. Your comment encouraged me. Come back to Hearts Homeward anytime.