Back when my daughter, Catherine, was eight we had a travel van. It was state of the art, with an overhead TV and VCR player, a CB radio, leather interior and wall-to-wall carpet. It was nice and roomy and top of the line in those days.
On this day I pick Catherine up from school. Catherine is the third of four children in our family with a strong opinion that she is not afraid to express. Though I call Catherine my daughter, she is really my stepdaughter. From the beginning this child challenged me with every word I said, direction I drove, clothes I wore and food I cooked, and today she challenged the “put on your safety belt” rule.
Today she had made up her mind that she would not be told what to do. As she took her seat in the very back of the van, I reminded her to fasten her seat belt.
She nodded, yes, and then wrapped her arms around her waist so that no one could see the belt, or lack of belt.
Not long into the trip we needed to make a fast stop. As I hit the break, I heard a “swoosh” sound. Turning around I see that Catherine has involuntarily slid out of the chair and is sitting in the middle of the floor. I guess I forgot to mention that I had put Armor-all on the seats that day.
“Are you all right? I thought you were wearing your safety belt.”
She is unharmed, but her big blue eyes were twice their normal size.
Desperately trying to contain the laughter at the surprise we were both feeling, I turned quickly to face the front, and suggested that she make sure her safety belt is pushed in all the way.
The challenge of caring for a difficult child or stepchild may seem at times more that we can survive. I lined up my scriptures, and prayed not just for her, but for the family. The next few years until Catherine went to college were very difficult.
We all have seasons of doing more than we think is possible – think about a new mother without an older woman to encourage her, new mothers with twins, single mothers with teens, or working mothers with children to raise and elderly parents to care for. Then add in to the mix a woman who has all of this going on while struggling to keep a marriage together.
Can you identify with any of this?
There have been times in my life when I prayed until I was blue in the face, unable to breath and used up all the Kleenex in the box. Where was God? He said He would never leave or forsake me, but I am looking and I am not seeing Him!
I have heard it said that God will not give us more than we can handle. I cannot find this precept in scripture. What I have found, is God calling ordinary people to step out of their own ability and do extraordinary things – things that could only happen when the living God is working through someone who is open.
Opening ourselves allows Christ to stand in the spot of “I can’t do this any more” and “It is finished.”
It is in this place between the sorrows of the problem and the answer from God that we see God’s glory in ways that could not be seen any other way.
Stepping into that for which we seem ill-equipped also strengthens our faith when we see God opening doors that we could not open for ourselves.
God has frequently placed me in situations where I had no choice but to cling to Him with all my might and trust Him. In return, He took me to places in Him, and in this world, where I could never venture on my own. It is in the area between our own limitations and God’s mighty answers that we see our ideas of Christ change and where we begin to grow in our faith and in our likeness to Christ.
There have been many times when I cried out to God and said, “Stop the planet, I havehad enough and I’m getting off, now!” But, that is playing right into the enemy’s hand.
Our enemy, Satin, would love for us to quit praying and stop fighting for our families,
friends, country, and churches. He would love for us to give up. That would make his job a lot easier.
He comes in and whispers things like, “Why do you believe?” “ Did God really promise that to you?”, “You are going to look like a fool in front of everyone when it never happens”, or “You need to do something else and quit looking for God to handle everything.”
The truth is that we should get up and try our best, leaning on the God to work throughour weak, frail state and let Him accomplish His miracles through us. When we are weak, we are less likely to try to “help” Him. Remember 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Last week Catherine who is in her twenties now, called from school, finals were going on
and things with a young man that she was seeing were not working out as she had hoped.
“Diane, I’m so stressed out! Would you please pray?”
Before hanging up, she says, “Bye, I love you.”
Staring at the phone, speechless by the gift of love, I hear the Lord whisper to my heart, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
A partial excerpt from String Of Pearls.