Friday, October 22, 2010

"Dear God. This is Linda. I need a miracle."

I remember this time last year as if it was yesterday. Halloween was approaching, and my heart was as sad as it had ever been. My life seemed in disrepair, tattered, disassembled and I was asking God:

"What do I do now?"
"How will we all get through this heartache and pain?"
I was so sad that I couldn't hear the answers.
Everywhere... relationships that mattered to me seemed to be in chaos.
My heart felt like it was shattered.
I tried to hold on to the old adage that things could only get better. Perhaps we would, with God's grace, get through this awful passage.
I wasn't sure we would. It was the dark night of the soul.

One vivid night, when I had cried more than I thought possible, I asked God for a miracle.
I told Him that I was powerless to change everything and that only He could bring us through this heartache on every front. I remembered the old quotation,

"Don't tell God how big the storm is, tell the storm how big God is.

On my knees and broken... 
I told the storm that the God I loved and had committed my life to at age 16, was bigger than anything it could throw at me or my loved ones.
I told the storm that I didn't know how God would make things right, but with all of the faith I could muster, I was going to trust that MY God could do miracles.

I remembered another quotation:

"There are only two ways to live your life- one is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

I was going to believe that everything was a miracle and that what was happening would get turned around. I was going to believe, with every cell in my body, that God could make things right on every front....heal every heart, give every relationship a new beginning.

Was it possible that God could do exceedingly, abundantly above all things I could ever imagine?
Was it possible that God could turn this pain around and bring new hope and healing?

I chose to believe He could, even though I couldn't imagine how.
All of my cards were on the table. I was helpless. I gave it ALL to Him.

It is now one year later.

Another Halloween is upon me.
I am teary as I write this post. It is not my place to tell all of the stories, but it is my place this morning to praise God for answering the prayers of this grateful woman.

*I could NEVER, EVER, in a thousand lifetimes have imagined the great work God would do in the past twelve months.
*I could NEVER, EVER have imagined where we all are now.
*I could NEVER, EVER have imagined the healing and changes that are happening every day.
*I could NEVER, EVER have imagined that my heart would be lighter and my faith would be stronger.
*I could NEVER, EVER have imagined that God's grace would be the start of miracle after miracle...and they just keep coming.

So this morning, as I drink my coffee with tears streaming down my face, I remember when I whispered the prayer, "Dear God. This is Linda. I need a miracle."
And I am grateful beyond words because He answered that prayer!

God Bless! Love Linda

Friday, October 08, 2010

LIFE LESSON #626: When You Fall Down, Be Gracious, and Get Back Up Again!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to learn "Life Lessons" from my grandchildren. One of my most recent lessons came from my grandson, Jacob. Jacob loves to run and last year improved in each cross country race he was in. He ended up going to the All-City cross country meet. While Jacob wasn't the fastest runner last year, he went to all the practices, worked hard, and made steady improvement. Bert and I went to his races and were so proud of his efforts and sportsmanship.

This year, when cross country season started, once again Jacob went to all of the practices and worked hard. At his first meet of the season, he came in 12th. He did that with a terrible side-ache. Yet to get to All-City, you have to be in the top ten. So he was excited and nervous about his second meet.

At the second race, the Balboa runners got to be in the inside lane. I saw Jacob ahead of time, and he was smiling, relaxed, and encouraging his pal Caleb. As the race was about to begin, Bert and I were on the far side of the track. We heard the gun go off, the yelling and screaming followed, and we saw the runners come around to where we were. Caleb was in front. He is one gifted runner. Other runners went by, but no Jacob. The week before he had been toward the start of the pack. Finally we saw him, diligently running, but at that point way behind. We wondered what had happened. He finished the race, gave a great effort at the end, and knew he wouldn't be going to All City this year.

Later, after we got to his home, we heard that a boy had fallen down at the first turn and Jacob had tripped on him and fallen as well. He knew he could quit. He chose not to. He knew he probably wouldn't make All-City this year since he was way behind. But as he told me,

"Nana, sometimes you just have to run the best race you can, even though it doesn't turn out the way you wanted. I just did the best I could."

Jacob hadn't made excuses at the end of the race. He wasn't all angry and upset that he didn't make his goal. He wasn't furious at he boy who had tripped and fallen. He just did what he could, even though the circumstances were hard.

Ah...a "Life Lesson" out of the mouths of babes. When you fall down, just get back up again and do the best you can...and be gracious in the process. :)

I have had some not so easy "falling down moments" in the last several years. Sometimes I have been so disappointed in how
things have turned out, how I behaved or how other people have behaved, that my internal serenity and peace has been disrupted. I didn't feel one bit gracious in how I handled the disappointments.

More truthfully, I have allowed those circumstances to unhinge me. When I look back, I have wasted time, effort, and energy in the should-a could-as. I have, at times, held on to those hurts and regrets. I have, at times, been haunted by them. I have replayed and replayed what I said and did and what they said and did. I had a hard time letting go of what felt like a personal failure.

When I grow up...I want to be more like Jacob. I want to not beat myself up when I have done the best I could do. I want to
let God's peace and spirit fill me up so I can let go of old hurts. I want to be washed clean from irritations and resentments.
When I fall down, I want to be gracious as I get back up again. I want to be satisfied that I did the best I could...even if the outcome isn't what I wanted.

As Bert and I were ready to leave the track we turned and saw Jacob with his best buddy Caleb. Caleb had won the race. Jacob had his arm on Caleb's shoulder and grinned at his best friend. He was truly happy for how well Caleb had done and was able to put his own race behind him. He was disappointed, but happy for his friend who had done so well.

Thanks Jacob, for once again teaching your Nana some important "Life Lessons!" Love you buddy and I am SO, SO proud of the wonderful young man you are becoming!

God Bless!
Love Linda

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