Possible. That’s my word for 2017. Funny because 2017 has been absolutely Impossible. From my mom’s stroke, to dear friends facing cancer, marital issues, parenting issues and everything in between, to my own body failing me on countless levels, it’s safe to say I will never forget the beginning of 2017, just like I will never forget February of 2013 (our first lice experience, and then some) . . . it’s going down in history, and I mean down.
If I listed all of the things that have fallen apart since January 17th, you would be crying from laughter at the end of it because it’s absurd. It is absolutely absurd.
I haven’t got a clue as to what God is up to in my life and the lives of those around me. It doesn’t make sense to my human eyes, or to my aching, overwhelmed heart.
About a month ago at a worship night, our pastor gave a special word to our congregation. He said, “You have everything you need for what’s next.” I was on the verge of returning to Canada to help get my mom situated back at home and I was really scared about what it would entail. I took those words to heart and leaned hard on them as I flew to Canada for the third time in three months. I had no idea that things were going to get so much bleaker after I got back home.
Being with my mom was hard work, and emotionally draining. Her new normal is very hard. It’s hard on her to carry out, and it’s hard to watch. But she is a fighter and I am so inspired by her tenacity and determination. She is capable of so much more than she thinks she is, and she proved it to me over and over again every day that I was there, Even in the midst of her broken moments, wondering, “How am I going to do this?” she was actively doing that which she was worried about.
There was a lot of pressure on me as well as I tried to make life more livable in her home, positioning and preparing things to be easier for her to reach, eat, and accomplish, with only the use of one hand. Scheduling, planning, meeting with healthcare people, it was all SO much to take care of, but as tired as I was by the end of it, I felt like I had been useful, and I felt like I had kicked butt at things I’m not usually very good at. I guess I really did have everything I needed for that. But then what about what was next? It didn’t even occur to me to consider it.
I’ll spare you the details, I promise you don’t want them, but I swear it’s like Job and I are hanging out together these days. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But maybe he’s waving at me sympathetically from a big cloud in the sky? Sigh.
The biggest, most important thing on my plate right now is a retreat that I’m speaking at on behalf of my mom in just about 3 weeks. That’s a whole story in and of itself for another time.This morning I was working on one of the talks I’ll be sharing, this one will be alongside my mom as we talk about how God has used this stroke and our experiences in the hospital.
The theme for the retreat is “Brave” and let me tell you, I felt anything but brave during those awful days. I didn’t feel brave while I was with her last month either. But as I was writing the other day, the story of Moses and the battle of Amalek in Exodus 17 came to mind. It’s that famous story about Moses and his tired arms. As long as he held his arms stretched out over the battle with his rod in hand the Israelites would triumph against Amalek. If he lowered his arms Amalek got the upper hand. He stood there so long that he couldn’t hold his arms up any longer, and others had to stand beside him and hold them up with their own strength so that Israel would have the victory.
I’ve never felt more like Moses in that situation than I have during the last three months. Sometimes I feel more like I’m being held up on a stretcher than anything else, but the point is that Moses was exhausted and weak, and he could have just given up. Can you imagine the pressure he must have felt, knowing that the entire battle hinged on whether or not he could keep his arms up? People’s lives depended on him. His nation’s future depended on him. That would be enough to make me run for cover. But Moses stood his ground, and when he needed the support for his arms, it was there. He was brave. He showed up to his fight, and he knew he had to stay there in order to get the victory.
I hesitate to say that I now see that I was brave too, but I think that’s what God is trying to show me. That I am capable of much more than I think I am, and even as I feel like I’m falling apart and wondering, “How am I going to do this?” I am doing it. I am standing with my arms lifted over my battle, and God has provided support for my arms when I need it, and He will continue to, until we are victorious over all of this garbage I’ve got going on.
This is what I wrote this morning that I wanted to share with all of you:
Moses didn’t allow the battle to go on without him even though he had no strength left. God sent people to him to support him and see him through the fight, and God has that for you, as well. Whether it is His supernatural presence that comes and lifts you up in your weakness, or it is actual people He sends to come alongside you, He will not leave you to be defeated by your enemy. Your act of bravery is to continue to show up. Continue to watch the Lord overcome on your behalf, and as you do, you’ll see just how much more capable you are than you thought. When God is for us, who can be against us? No man, no evil plot against us can stand in the face of the Creator of all things, and you need to know that He is actively fighting on your behalf, even when you can’t see it.
You may not feel brave, just like I don’t. But we’re still here. We’re still standing. We will not be defeated, and our God will supply all of our needs. In Him all things are POSSIBLE, even the seemingly impossible battle that faces us.