Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The ol' ark trick, eh?

I am so glad I posted all of that about nervous breakdowns and grilled cheese and what not. I know that I am not the only person with problems. I think a lot of people say that to people who are feeling extra weighed down as a brutal way of saying "shut up" or "quit feeling sorry for yourself" (as if telling someone those things wasn't already brutal enough). Of course, no one thinks they are the only one with problems or even that they have the worst ones. Sometimes it is just easy to be overwhelmed with what's going on and you feel like the guy that God forgot. I find that the thing that snaps me out of that is the opposite of "get over yourself." I am so glad that no one told me I wasn't the only one with problems or that I should "just (something)." Instead, so many of you have said, "Hey, it's no big deal. We eat grilled cheese (or whatever) a lot too!" And then I start to wonder what your life is like that you have crazy nervous breakdowns or no time to get to the store or no desire to turn on the oven yourself. And I tell you what, I am overwhelmed with everyone's life at this point! I am realizing that it is so common to go through times of just trying to get through the day, trying to make ends meet. I want to win the lottery so I can help everyone with their rent or their mortgage or their tuition or their student loans. It is such a helpless feeling to see real needs and have no way to meet them. And I thank all you vulnerable and encouraging people for the compassionate and gentle reminder that I am not the only one with needs. It is easy to feel like that one guy that God forgot, but when you think of it as the whole Church, families all over the world with all kinds of needs, you know he isn't forgetting his entire Kingdom. I confess that my faith has been just strong enough to get me to Worship and to the Lord's Table lately. My prayers have felt a little bit like they might as well have been addressed to the tooth fairy and answers have seemed like snakes when I asked for bread. I know we have all been there. I am actually encouraged, in a very odd way, to see that so many of you face the same struggles and real obstacles. It is a blessing to me that you are still faithful. It is easier to trust God to work in others' lives than in my own for some reason. I see a hurting family that I love and I know God loves them and will take care of them because they are so precious and want so much to serve Him. Sometimes I don't see that when looking at my own situation, I think maybe I am messing everything up for my whole family. Maybe I am the Jonah that needs to be dumped overboard! And I feel frusrated because unlike Jonah, I am not aware of any type of open rebellion, I am not trying to flee. It feels like an unjust punishment. (Also, I have issues with having been made a scapegoat before so please excuse the irrational and dramatic leaps in my logic!) George keeps reminding me that our trials are not punishments.

Our pastor talked about John Calvin's thoughts on Noah's Ark a few weeks ago. He was more concerned with unity in the Church, but the idea was that God's provision for his people then was the Ark and now is the Church. We romanticize the Ark with the Fisher Price figurines (which we totally have and love) and nursery bedding or whatever, but in reality it was crowded and super stinky and "suffocating," I believe was the word. Yet that was God's provsion. It really left an impression on me and had me start thinking about his other provisions throughout Scripture that we romanticize now but would have not been so the thing we were looking for were we there at the time. God gave Sarah and Abraham a child very late in their lives. We recognize that as Him being faithful, but I'm sure Sarah at a hundred years old was like "Great! I have to carry and deliver a baby now!?" I mean, I'm sure she was overjoyed, but during that nine months of pain and then labor, she probably was kind of wondering why it had to be so late in life. I am pretty uncomfortable at twenty eight; I can't imagine doing this at a hundred. Jonah was saved after being thrown overboard, but he was swallowed by a fish. Imagine the stink in there. And I'm thinking he didn't have room for a raft like Pinnochio and Geppetto, but more like he was squished and suffocating too. Then he had to be vomited up. God provided and kept him from drowning, but it wasn't a cruise or anything. Even Mary was provided only with a stable to give birth in and a trough to put her baby in for rest. There's probably a pretty big difference between my heart and Mary's heart, but I would certainly start to wonder if maybe I didn't have some of the facts wrong because it certainly wouldn't seem like God was caring for His only Son. In none of this do I mean to be disrespectful or anything like that. We have the rest of the story with these examples and can see, to the point of romanticizing the stories, what great things God was busy doing. He was being faithful and He wasn't punishing anyone (well, except Jonah, I guess). Where we don't have the rest of the story, it is easy to feel pretty doubtful and forsaken. And though where we live for the next year and a half (or whatever your family is going through) doesn't have nearly so much of an impact on the Church as did the preservation of the line of the Messiah, I think we can trust God to be just as faithful.

4 comments:

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

Abby,
I drew so much encouragement from this post, meaning literally you have given me courage. Girl, trust me, you are not the only mama that feeds her kids grill cheese or has a break down in front of them. But there is something special in sharing our weaknesses and trials because it sortof weaves us together. I really hope and pray that things will be easier for you. I read a quote by Tennessee Williams today, "Security is a sortof death." I couldn't help but think, "Only a MAN could honestly think that!" The whole spirit of adventure and thrill of the unknown is just not ideal in the female world! Anyway, praying for you!
PS We had nachos and apple slices for dinner tonight. Not fancy nachos...chips, meat, cheese and salsa. Do you know why? Because I didn't make it to the store today!:)

lauren said...

We had sloppy joes tonight Abby! :) And my husband made them and we didn't even have a side. I was just too tired to make anything else!

Your go to is grilled cheese...ours is mac & cheese. I can't tell you how many times we've eaten from a box this summer. But you know what? My kids would rather have that than anything else and my husband sees is as being frugal, so really why do I ever bother with meal plans? hee hee...

Bec said...

Abby,

Just a general comment about enjoying your blog. I'm not a big blog-hopper, but I check in with yours from time to time, and it is insightful and highly entertaining- not to mention aptly named.

Since I only recently discovered your site, I went back and read a few posts from the archives today, and I sat here at our Powerbook (yes, once you go Mac, you never go back) and laughed like a fool over the story about the evil cupholder-cursing-Big and Tasty Combo #2 incident back in the winter. Hilarious!

Blessings to you and yours.

P.S. Also discovered the link to the AU baby mobile. Love it!!!

sara said...

Abby,
McDonalds tonight!
And our weekly cheap and easy would be a jar of Ragu and noodles. (I add italian sausage and spinach for fancy evenings)!

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