Not the New Year I Expected

Have you ever had one of those days when you just wanted to have a good, old-fashioned, knock-down drag-out, meltdown?  I mean the kind that has you sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor with a box of Kleenex and some version of chocolate!  The kind where if you are asked to make a decision it causes a total brain-freeze?

Yesterday was just such a day in the making.  I awoke with the realization that every joint was stiff and in pain; I got up, took my morning meds, got some coffee, and sat down.  I heard something at the door, so I opened it to see what was outside, thought I had closed the door behind me, but evidently I let out my son and daughter-in-law’s inside-only cat.  I didn’t even realize this must have happened until lunchtime, when I hadn’t seen her all morning.  We went outside, looked around, called, but no Susie.  I had started some Italian chicken in the crockpot, so dinner was secure, I thought.  I took a short nap, and woke to the smell of burning Italian chicken.  How do you burn something in a crockpot that has plenty of liquid?!  I was able to salvage the chicken with some of the sauce.  After that, I went outside again to look for Susie.  Now, remember, when my joints are painful I am NOT supposed to overdo, but Susie . . .yes, you can guess — I overdid the walking so now my breathing is impaired and dinner is not going to taste great and Susie . . .I called my son at work and asked him to bring home rolls or refrigerator biscuits (what was I thinking, giving options!).  He brought home the biscuits, which — you are right — I promptly burned (even though I was checking them every 2 or 3 minutes; I came in the other room to sit for a minute because I was dizzy).  My family was so gracious — they really are great.  After dinner I took my evening meds and went to bed.

This morning I awoke to even more pain and stiffness than yesterday (remember the walk to try to find Susie?).  I decided to make some oatmeal to help the meds not upset my already queasy stomach.  I put the oatmeal under the water spout (which is also the coffee maker) and coffee poured in instead of water!  I took the coffee pods out, and then — I didn’t put it together correctly because hot water was streaming from everywhere! (remember, I haven’t had my coffee or my oatmeal yet, and I’m still trying to take my meds for the pain and stiffness)  I decided to start from “square one” and realized I had the incorrect filter in place.  I redid everything and finally got coffee with no extra water seeping from the machine’s pores.  I ate my oatmeal (the coffee flavoring wasn’t bad, actually), drank my coffee, took my meds, and decided this would not be a day like yesterday.  My husband called to check in and I calmly told him this was a pizza night, and I wasn’t getting anywhere near a stove or oven or microwave!

Now, what does all this recounting my miserable days have to do with anything?  Why should anyone even care?  My point is, that everyone has miserable days;  being a devoted follower of Jesus Christ in no way guarantees only carefree days.  The challenge is, what will you do with your miserable day?  How will I handle my miserable days in 2008 and beyond?

These Scriptures were brought to my memory.  Let them encourage you as they have me . . . 

“. . . He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”  (Hebrews 13:5,6 ESV)

God is there — in burnt chicken, in bad days, in pain flares, in fatigue, it doesn’t matter — God is there, and He will never leave.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  (Psalm 23:4 ESV)

Now, I’m not saying I was at death’s door, certainly.  My point is, even if I were, God would be there!

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by    prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.                  (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV)

I read this passage so many times, and am encouraged and challenged so much.  Oftentimes I find myself in a place where I just don’t think I have the mental strength or the emotional strength or the physical strength to go on.  The fact is, often I don’t — but that overwhelmedness is to remind me that “without Him I can do nothing” and I must rely on God and not on my own abilities.  The power that God gives is His power, and He raised the dead to life!

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6,7 ESV)

Ok, so I had to have a bird story in here somewhere!  If God knows every detail of every sparrow’s life, then God certainly knows (and cares) about every detail of my life.  He knows my miserable days.  He ordains them to remind me that I must trust Him and not rely on my own strength.  I don’t ever have to feel abandoned or neglected — God is always there, He sees everything, and He knows everything about me.  He cares so much for me, and I do know that.  I’m so glad He is faithful to remind me.

Thank you, God, for Your ever presence.  Thank you for caring so much for me.  Thank you for giving me Your Word, to remind me of Your constant love.  And, please — You know exactly where Susie is; would You please bring her home?

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