Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thy Will Be Done

I've been updating my son's blog for him  and it got me thinking. (His birthday is this weekend, so he is much on my mind.  This will be the second birthday that I haven't been able to see him.)  He was writing about our visit, just a couple weeks ago.  One of the things we talked about was adversity...go figure.  It seemed to be a good topic, considering.

We were saying how wonderful hindsight is.  It's always 20/20!  Looking back at a hard time, it's always easy to see the blessings and the good that came to you because of that particular experience.  It's easy to feel grateful then.  But what about DURING?  How do you feel during the hard times?  For me - I am not happy. 

Now, I have an unusual way of looking at trials.  I admit it. 

I actually CAN express gratitude during the dark times because I know (if I listen and trust the Lord), it will ALWAYS turn out better than it was before the trial.  I've been through enough of them - I DID learn that fact!  I will never say "why me" again.  I've whined enough in my younger years; I'm not doing that now!  I express faith in His wisdom and love.  AND I have been known to tell Him I don't see the purpose at this point, and I'm not enjoying the experience.  But I always end with "Thy will be done."  And I always end up on higher ground than when it all started.  Sometimes I am a little skinned-up and emotionally bruised, but they were lessons I needed to learn  - truly.  I am always grateful on the other side.

My son has been studying a series of tapes about learning to become spiritually centered.  He shared the idea that to be spiritually centered, one should be happy DURING the trial, as well as after.  We had a good opportunity to examine that idea. 

My husband and I had big car problems during our trip to visit my son.  The van was in the shop five days and the repair bill was in four figures.  It looked like, in the beginning, that I might not be able to make my visit with my son happen at all.  My son asked if I was happy during all the stress of the situation.

I told him no.  I told him that I had told the Lord that I trusted Him and that I knew there was a reason for this.  I didn't have a clue what that might be.  I told Him, "Thy will be done."  What I learned was that I didn't really mean it.  In my head, somewhere, I was thinking - "He knows how much I want to see my son.  He knows how much this visit means to my son.  He will make it possible for me to see him." 

The first day that didn't happen.  I believe that the Lord never closes one door without opening another one somewhere - and I was LOOKING for that other door!!  But it wasn't there.  We ran into road block after road block.  No - I wasn't happy.

I went to bed in tears.  I realized that I might NOT get to see Matt.  I remember that I had said "They will be done" in the morning.  I accepted and released.  I felt peace.  The next morning, the whole picture changed.  We were able to get a rental (don't even ask my about why we couldn't get one the day before!!) and I got to visit.

Matt knew all this when he asked if I had been happy in the process.  I realized the limit I had put on my accepting God's will.  Matt shared that the tapes talk about this very thing.  He said when a crisis arises - you should imagine the worse possible outcome.

For him, when I didn't show up on Saturday for our first visit; he knew that wasn't in my character.  I would never just not show up.  But he had no way of calling us, to make sure we were okay.  He knew we were driving a long way and there is always the possibility of an accident.  So - he imagined the worse possible outcome:  there was an accident and we had been killed.  Then he thought how that might be a blessing.  He remembered that Tom and I had been sealed.  He had been born under the covenant.  We were an eternal family.  Though he might miss me here on earth, he could have me forever.  With that reassurance, his worst fears dealt with, anything that developed after that, he was ready to handle.  So, I was late - but I was there.  His spiritual self helped him through a scary time.

So on my side - the worse possible scenario was not getting to see Matt.  I was not wiling to accept that possibility on Saturday.  I SAID I accepted His will - but REALLY it was only as long as it matched MY will.  I learned an important lesson.  To accept His will means to be at peace with even the worse eventuality.  To release and submit.  I have never been good at that.  Ask my husband!  But I going to get better.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Break Out the Sparkling Apple Cider!

Mark this day in your journals!  Today - for the first time in almost 12 months - MY STREET HAS BLACKTOP!  Asphalt, before my very eyes!

Now, we have not had to deal with the inconvenience that long.  We only moved in two month ago, and were told by the public works guy that it would be finished in two to three weeks.  The bugger lied.  For the past month, we haven't even been able to drive up to our driveway.  They had open trenches all the way down our block, that they never worked on. 

We had to park at the end of the block and walk in and out.  On trash day, everyone had to pull their trash cans to the end of the street and line them up.  Good exercise, admittedly, but a hassle when you are trying to buy groceries and get them in the house.  (I know...whine, whine, whine...)  (I'd give you cheese with that whine, but I'd have to carry it all the way down the street......oh wait...not any more!!!)

It's been another one of those "you don't appreciate what you have until you loose it" experiences.  Who knew what a blessing it was to be able to drive our fully-loaded van up into our garage and unload it at our leisure?  Another thing to add to my Grateful List!

Never Believe in Coincidences (Or "Doing Hard time" Part 2)

When I last posted we were in Arizona, on a Saturday night, and Sunday looked very bleak.  How symbolic, huh?  The Saturday before the Resurrection must have seemed very dark, indeed.  Well, we are safely back home...with our non-ailing car...and another testimony of the power of faith under our belts.

To continue the story:

I went to bed, after talking to my oldest daughter.  I shared my pity party with her.  I kept hanging onto the thought that I HAD said "Thy will be done." in my prayer about the car.  Turns out my heart wasn't really in it, it seems.  I would accept His will, but I wasn't HAPPY about it.  (That particular point is very important.)  Tom and I had thought of ONE more possibility of renting a car that night, but we couldn't do anything about it until morning.  I went to sleep with the feeling that things were going to work out.

I learned later that my daughter and her husband prayed VERY hard that night on our behalf.  I came to terms with the possibility that I might NOT get to see Matt.  If my one little hair-brained scheme didn't work, I would let it go.  But not until I had tried all options.  I felt I needed to think "outside the box."  The local agencies had plenty of customers for their limited supplies of vehicles.  They didn't need to work with me.  I considered that the renting rules might not be so strenuous at the airport car rentals.  They have plenty of cars.  So, I took a taxi to the airport as soon as their counters were opened and found a FABULOUS deal at a rental agency called Fox Car Rental.  Forty-five minutes later, I was DRIVING back to the motel in a Toyota Camry!!  Suddenly - everything was solved!  We had a car until ours would be finished.  I could see Matt half a day on Sunday and a full eight hours on Monday!  Tom could make his pilgrimage to Bass Pro Shop and Cabala's.  Hallelujah!!

I flippantly write that now.  It was MUCH more powerful at the moment.  I truly did feel like shouting Hosanna!  And I feel it was more than my faith that helped the situation.  I feel it happened because of the faith of my kids in praying on our behalf.  My faith that night was a little tattered.

The car continued to be a headache.  What had died in the van was it's car brain.  ECU (Engine Control Unit - read that "computer").  They ordered, received, and installed a new one.  Car still wouldn't run right.  It DID start now, but ran like a wheat thrasher.  (Never heard a wheat thrasher?  Count your lucky stars!)  They wanted to know if it had sounded like that before it broke down.  I assured them it had NEVER run badly.  They were running out of options and were of the option that it was an "internal engine problem."  Really?  They said we should tow it to the dealers - after we paid them $1200.  The car is only worth about $1500-$2000 to begin with!

We had NO idea when or if the car was going to be fixed.  We were tired and just wanted to go home.  We decided that we would rather RENT a car, go home and wait for news at our own house.  We called the repair place Wednesday morning and told them to "button it up" and we would be sending a tow truck to take it to the dealership. The manager asked if we would give him one more hour.  He wanted to put two guys on it and have them go over everything one more time to see if they had missed anything.  After five days, what difference did one more hour make?  We agreed, knowing that one way or another, we would be sleeping in our own beds that night.

About an hour later, the manager called.  Our car was perfect.  We could come pick it up.  (You've GOT to be kidding!????!)  He wasn't.  Seemed they missed checking ( or whatever) the coil.  The coil had a dead spot in it and it was what shorted-out the old computer.  They replaced the coil - and ANOTHER  "Hallelujah" moment!!  Life was beautiful!  The sun came out (Boy, Howdy!  We were in Tempe!!  It is out with a vengeance!)  And we hit the road!

I WILL go visit Matt again.  But hell will have to freeze over before I DRIVE to the greater Phoenix area again!  I shall fly  - and rent a car.  A lovely, air conditioned, late-model, RENTED car.