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Going Forward is Back There

Ever notice that things tend to go wrong at the worst possible time? My dog never gets sick when I have a few extra bucks in my pocket that aren't spoken for. He gets sick when my check engine light is on, my semi-annual payment for car insurance is due, the bills for the endoscopy I had at the hospital are coming in and my kidlet is unemployed and could use some help with groceries for my ridiculously cute grandson. My take on that phenomenon? Sometimes the worst possible time is ultimately the best timing.

I have mentioned before that I love earthquakes. I love severe weather. I like it when lightning strikes so close by it makes the hair on my head and arms raise slightly. I love it when the rumble of the earth moving wakes me up in the middle of the night. I like to see the rain come down in sheets. I don't like it that people get hurt or lose their property. I am not sadistic. Having lost all I own in a flood I know the feelings of emotional bankruptcy that come with the destruction of every item in your home. You can replace a television but you cannot replace the letters your mom wrote you when you were a kid being raised away from her. Or the ceramic your child made for you in school. No, I don't like disaster part of spectacular natural phenomena. I like knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not in control when the earth is moving or the wind is howling. I cannot direct the lightning bolts to hit a little to the north where they will not disrupt my satellite signal or better yet spare my life. I don't chafe at the authority of the Almighty when these things are happening, I marvel at it the way I should all the time.

As I look back at the big events in my life that were difficult, I am learning to be as amazed by God's power in their timing as I am by how easily He sends the wind or moves the earth below my feet. Who but God could take me from losing my aunt/step-mother, being diagnosed with cancer, losing my father and being laid off from a job I loved, move me across the country and give me a home to own? I couldn't afford to own a home where I lived and worked in California but God could send me across the country and make me an unemployed home-owner. I never thought I would own my own home. It surprises me still. Once I realized it would happen I had great plans for what my life would look like. I didn't much appreciate that my plans for being here were thwarted. I planned to get a job to pay for work on the house to get it just the way I wanted. Jobs were scarce and when I finally got one I was injured and rendered unable to work. Certainly not my idea of a good time. In fact, I am just beginning to get over feeling sorry for myself.

I decided a few weeks ago that I didn't want to end my life as a bitter aging woman who lived holed up in her house. Was I really aspiring to be the cranky woman at the end of the road who yells at kids and refuses to answer her door when the bell rings? It may sound trite but I found myself saying, "If you want something different, you have to do something different." Of course that thought had no sooner been given credibility than the new challenges arrived. More medical problems. Already limited by neck and back pain that require constant monitoring, re-positioning and ameliorating with medication; the new medical challenges are a mystery and come with overwhelming exhaustion. I have been tempted to return to my pity party. What good is a useless old woman like me? What possible contribution can I make to the world..... it would be very easy to return to that old habit. So I've asked God for something different. Not different circumstances but a different way to look at them and maybe something different to look forward to. He answered that prayer by having me look back. Back to all the times He's been faithful and to recall all the ways His timing has been perfect. He has given me an incredible life. One full of circumstances most folks will never see. I have been a spectator, I wouldn't have chosen any of it had I known what was coming. And yet the sum total of all those things have brought me to a place of knowing Him in a way folks living ordinary lives never could. I survived all that occurred back there to bring me here. Considering this I realized that my going forward with confidence and doing something different was dependent on remembering and embracing God's sovereignty in all that happened back there.

I still have my moments of wanting to stomp my foot and shake my fist, but looking back at the tapestry of my life and seeing how He's stitched everything together is enough to stop even a hard core fit-pitcher like me from being arrogant enough to be testy with Him. I am learning to take a deep breath and to consider that maybe, just maybe, all these inconveniences happen at once so I can know that I am helpless to change them. I have no husband to rely on, no ability to rescue myself. I can't orchestrate when my check engine light will go on, but I can hope in the One who is meting out each circumstance. Suddenly the vet bill isn't too large and the check engine light isn't a disaster. It's my opportunity to depend on Him. He's the One who has placed me in Kentucky, a disabled woman with knowledge in disaster management and biblical counseling and has opened up a way for me to use both as a volunteer, able to contribute when my body cooperates and pray for folks when it does not. He's the One who has numbered my breaths and called me to His service. He's the one that will see to it I have a car if I need one. He'll see that my needed house repairs are done. Jesus did not willingly bear my sin so He could toy with me. God always equips all those He calls in time for the job they have to do. Esther can have her royalty, I have my own set of skills, wisdom and experiences to be used for such a time as this.

“For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay." Habakkuk 2:3






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