Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pickles and Promises

I'm an old soul. I love old movies, old TV shows, old houses. Now that we live in Mayberry, I've deemed it necessary to brush up on my Andy Griffith Show knowledge. Have you seen the pickle episode? The short version is that Aunt Bea's homemade pickles aren't exactly on the favorites list for Andy, Barney and Opie. At the end of the episode, Andy and Barney try to decide what to do with said heinous pickles. Andy reluctantly exclaims, "We'll do what we shoulda done in the first place... Learn to love 'em."

I'm not sure if this is proof that I'm crazy or that God can really use anything to teach me a lesson, but I indeed learned something with that statement.

I said in my last post that we can't get out of the valley. I've been in this season of intense anger. This song played at church on Sunday. In the midst, I found myself raging on the inside. "I trusted you... and look what happened." I proceeded to list all the things that make me angry; as if He didn't already know.

A few days later I heard Andy say that line. "Just learn to love 'em."

Learn to love it.

I can spend all this time complaining and adding extra knots to my burdened shoulders, but it doesn't change anything. I can worry about my husband and my babies all day long if I want to, but it doesn't do any good. I can yell and scream at my Creator and try to claw my own way out of this freakin' valley, but that doesn't mean I'll get out.

As Christians, we're called to praise Him in the storm. To be thankful for trials and hard times - - valleys. That seemed a little bizarre to me until recently.

But the idea is not that if we praise Him, if we're thankful, that it will change any of the circumstances. What happens when we change our mode of thinking and focus on Jesus? What happens when we notice the good things and focus on the blessings instead?

We just learn to love the valley

Tuesday, August 12, 2014



I've been bombarded with that word lately. THIS song has been on unintentional repeat. I'm pretty sure I hear it every time I get in the car. The thing is, we can't get out of this valley. Everything good that happens comes with an overwhelmingly hard sliver of crap. Every time we think we're making our way up the mountain, we slide right back down where we started.

I'm tired.

I look at myself in the mirror and I know I've earned those dark circles. I feel the invisible bruises; I carry the burdens; I see the scars.

"It's just a season" they said. "It'll come to an end" they tell me. "It won't be like this forever" they mutter. Really? What about the things that won't end? What about Sandbox demons we are constantly fighting. What about those conversations about whether or not Lexi will be here to see her twelfth birthday or asking if she can get your lungs if something were to happen to you. How about wondering if Ben will ever go to college or live on his own.

Those things don't go away.

Things like cancer and car wrecks and family issues and depression. You can fight those and you can win. There's an option to beat it. There's hope that you'll get there. There's hope that there's light at the end of the tunnel.

We won't win this shit. We can't beat Down syndrome or CF. There is nothing to win. We've tried crawling up the mountain; we've even tried sprinting. We can't get up there. It doesn't go away.

Maybe I'm a little angry today. I'm not sorry.

Do I have hope? I don't know.

Maybe my hope has shifted.

There's a difference in hope and faith.

Webster says hope is to want something to happen or be true. But faith? Faith is knowing that it's true.

I have hope that I'll sit and chat on a front porch one day. I'll sip my coffee and reminisce about the old days. "Remember all those years ago when life was really hard? Remember when we never thought we'd get here?" Hell, maybe we'll still be in the valley then.

I don't even have hope that it'll end. I'm not sure what I'd do if it did.

Oh, but faith? Oh I've got faith.

I have faith that even if we stay in the valley the rest of our lives, we won't be alone. I have faith that Jesus is holding my hand, sometimes pulling me along because I can't even move without Him. I have faith that this is a story He's going to use to make Himself famous because, in the end, it's not about me anyway. I have faith that we'll keep moving even if it never ends. 

Who knows. Maybe my front porch will be in Heaven and I'll sip coffee with Jesus. Maybe I'll look back at this post and realize faith and hope go hand in hand. I'm not there yet.

But wherever, whenever; there is faith.