Jen’s Gem: God is with you in the beginning, middle and end.
The last few weeks of summer have been a whirlwind, which is why you haven’t heard from me in a bit. From a horrific case of poison ivy to my daughter’s sprained knee to a mammoth tag sale, I feel like I haven’t come up for air. But what’s more compelling than the actual events is how I dealt with them. Spoiler alert. Not well.
I started out like a champ, handling my daughter’s injury with calm and strength as she was carted off by ambulance to the ER. The next day when I awoke with my eye nearly swollen shut from the poison ivy, I drove to the doctor’s office with ease noting to myself that a dose of steroids would have me back in the game in no time. Beginnings tend to be easy, yes?
Fast forward one week and that’s when it got a bit messy. Steroids weren’t working. A couple of mysterious blisters appeared on my daughter. Tag sale was looming. Daily activities as a mom, freelance writer, and homeowner became more difficult each day. (It’s pretty hard to type when your arms are full of blisters. Can you say contortionist?)
Everything Is Really OK
I really was ok. On the surface, I knew that I would get through these challenges. I knew that God had my back and He’d speed along these momentary discomforts and I’d learn some valuable lessons afterward as I always do. I knew this but I didn’t know it. There’s a difference.
Knowing things intellectually is not the same as knowing them in your heart. I’ve spent the last several years diving into the Bible and other books learning more about my Christian faith, attending Bible classes so riveting I don’t want to leave, and building my relationship with God with daily prayer and conversation. I’ve seen the progress I’ve made. I’ve seen the miracles He’s done for me and my children. I was standing firm in my faith, until…
Life threw me too many curve balls and I’m doing the ugly cry in the doctor’s office. I’m good with one or two hiccups. I know how to handle those with ease, but a tsunami of hiccups? Let’s just say there’s work to be done.
You Can Hit the Curve Balls
Here’s what I’ve learned about God during this process. He’s there in the beginning, middle, and end. I knew He was there from the start. I knew He’d be there at the end. What I forgot was that He was there during the middle. The messiness. I tried to handle it myself forgetting that He could’ve done a much better job.
But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Because God loves hot messes. It’s where He does His best work…if we trust Him to do so. If we keep our eyes on God from the beginning, through the middle, and all the way to the end, He will not let us down. It’s impossible. It’s not who He is. He finishes what He starts. Maybe not in our timeframe (and for Type A++ people like me –definitely not in my timeframe!) but eventually it all turns out fine. God takes what was meant for harm and turns it into good. Every. Single. Time.
I think many people are feeling ‘swervy’ right now between the weather disasters, the political climate, and even in their own homes. They’re trying to reconcile all of these happenings and come up with solutions on their own, but as I’ve learned, this only results in stress, overwhelm, and likely a few ugly cries.
How to Unswerve
Take a step back. Note the hot mess du jour but do not dwell on it. Be grateful for your blessings – of which there are likely many. (P.S. If you can’t think of any, just consider what our neighbors in Texas, Florida, California, and the Caribbean are dealing with.) Pray and then listen. God has a message for you. He’s waiting to talk to you.I found that upping my morning prayer time brought peace to my heart. Writing in my journal was a big help. Keeping a devotional by my laptop comforted me when I was feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Beginnings are easy. Endings can be joyful. It’s the middles that can trip us up. But you don’t have to go it alone. Do what you can do and then let God be God.
He’ll knock those curve balls out of the park.