Thursday, April 16, 2009

Roller Coaster Ride of Emotions

Have you ever wondered why God gave you so many emotions? I sure do.

I often find myself on a roller coaster ride of emotions and I’m amazed at how quickly I can shift from one extreme to the other. Today is one of those emotional days.

As I type, I’m sitting in an airplane at 38,000 feet in the air. Renee and I are traveling to California for a women’s event which has been in the works for almost a year. I’ve looked forward to this day for so many months and spent the last week planning out all the details for my time away.

Today should be a day of nothing but joy, excitement and big expectations. However, there’s more that lies beneath the surface of my smiling face. My emotions of excitement and expectation are forced to share their space with others in my heart. Ones called uncertainty, sadness and regret.

Although I’m headed to California today, my 80 year old father is headed to the hospital for a Cat-Scan. This test will determine how much cancer is in his body. My father was diagnosed over 2 years ago with Lymphatic cancer. All last year he went through treatments. He has had 6 months of remission but today the doctors will check to see if the cancer has returned.

Although I’m headed to California today, my 76 year old mother is headed to a nursing home where she will become their newest residence. She has been sick for a very long time and my father has lovingly and sacrificially taken care of her each and every day. Although their love for each other has sustained them though many challenges in their marriage, it’s not enough to free her from the disease that holds her body and mind in bondage.

Although I’m headed to California, my husband is headed to Florida for a long week of work. Due to the bad economy, he has been without a steady job for over a year. We have prayed that God would provide some work for him in our community but that has not happened yet. Instead he will be away while I’m away, leaving our two boys with friends for the weekend.

My mind and emotions are so torn. Although I want to be right here, on my way to sunny California, a part of me really wants to be home with my two boys since my husband is away.

I also wish I could be with my father, driving him to the hospital and sitting with him as he has his test and gets the results from his doctor.

Then there’s my mom. I long to be with her too. To comfort her during this very difficult and confusing time. To calm her fears and hold her when she cries.

So many thoughts and emotions are swimming around in my brain. I feel very overwhelmed yet I know exactly what I need to do with all those thoughts and feelings.
I need to take them to Jesus and ask him to help me - to process each emotion separately. I need to surrender my thoughts, fears and concerns to him. I need him to remind me that there is nothing the two of us can’t handle together.

He knew in advance that I would be in California this weekend, ministering to a large group of women. Although these unexpected events were a surprise to me, they were not to Him.

I can rest assured in knowing that he ordained this day and weekend for me before the foundation of the world. That he is taking care of every detail and although I can’t be with my family right now, He is!

Believing these truths places such peace in my heart. I don’t have to worry about the what if’s and the whys and the unknowns? He has gone before me to make the rough paths smooth. (Isaiah 42:16)

I have learned that I can only find true comfort and peace in him alone. He is my source of strength and stability. He is my rock and my shelter when I need to find refuge from life’s storms.

This doesn’t mean that I dig my head in the sand and pretend like all the circumstances of my life will go away. It doesn’t mean that I turn my back on loved ones and think that they don’t need my help. It means that I walk in confidence knowing that Christ has carved a path before me and that he is by my side every step of the way.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Interstate Angel

I remember it as if it was yesterday…

I was 9 months pregnant with our youngest son and on my way home from an appointment which was in downtown Tampa. I was traveling on Interstate 75 at a high speed and following a open bed dump truck. Something from the back of the truck flew out and was headed right for my car. I didn't have time to react. All I could do was brace for the impact and pray that this flying object wouldn't hit my windshield. Thankfully it didn't but instead it hit the ground and I ran right over it.

The result was a major blow out. I was able to hold onto the wheel long enough to pull off to the side of the road. After I gathered my thoughts, I looked up and realized I was in a very bad section of town. The closest exit was about 4 blocks away. I would need to cross over 4 lanes of cars, at racing speeds, just to get on the right shoulder of the interstate.

I decided to stay put and call my husband, Keith at work. He was about 45 minutes away but I felt it would be safer to just wait for him and not try to find a pay phone. I reached for my purse to get my cell phone. A wave of fear came over me when I realized I didn't have it with me. No phone. No Keith. No rescue.

Plan B was now my only option. I got out of the car and waited for what seemed like an eternity to cross over to the other side of the interstate. I kept thinking to myself "how on earth am I going to make it to the other side with my big 9 month belly flopping around in front if me!" The cars were flying past at top speeds and way too close together. I began to loose hope in crossing over at all. With tears welling up in my eyes, I silently cried out to Jesus and said "I need you.... RIGHT NOW!. Please come and rescue me!"

Less than 60 seconds after I whispered those words, a beat up utility truck pulling an open bed trailer pulled onto the shoulder of the road right across from me. A middle aged man got out, grabbed what looked like a large old tool box and ran across four lanes of traffic. As he came towards me, I noticed that his trailer was full of tires.

Upon his approach, he asked me where my spare was. I showed him and he immediately began to change my shredded tire for the brand new one that was securely stored away in the trunk of my car. He didn't say a word as he worked and I didn't either. I was still in shock as to what had all happened and still wondering how he was able to cross the 4 lanes of traffic so effortlessly.

When he finished I offered to pay him some money for his efforts. He responded with a simple "no thank you." I told him that he was my miracle that I had prayed for and said "you must be an angel". He just looked at me, smiled, and said "you have a nice day now."
With that, he darted back to his truck and drove off. I was to never see him again.

As I drove off, I thanked God for answering my prayer. For sending this unlikely stranger at an unexpected time to rescue an unnerved me!

I'm so thankful that he's my constant source of stability and strength. That I can rest secure in him because he shields me all day long. This story could have ended a lot differently. In fact, when I think about all the possibilities, it gives me a funny feeling in my stomach.

What about you? Have you ever been in a situation where God rescued you from a really bad situation. I'd love to hear about it.