When we are up to our necks in alligators, there are a couple of important things we need to know:
Our opinions and judgment calls don’t change anything; and
We will need help to make it to safety!
This has been a season of alligators and valuable lessons.
It began in January, when the Lord warned me of an approaching trial that would be like none I had experienced before. Whew! He wasn’t kidding. He’d never given me a heads-up before. I’m thankful that He chose to do so this time. I doubt things would have gone as well without this info.
At the time, my hubby and I were taking a class at our church on mentoring and discipleship. The instructor, Jim Bailey, gave excellent training. So good, in fact, that the Lord wanted us to really ‘get’ it – to practice what we’d learned.
Application, it seems, was very important. Not only did He give us people to mentor…He asked us to let them stay with us. No “two-hours-per-week” sessions for us, but around the clock “Tami, you need to learn how to do this!” We were given three adults and three small children…then five kids…with two more kids part time!
I can tell you this, for sure: People in crisis are not always easy to live with!
Further, when life is interrupted and we are asked to set aside everything in order to be available, it feels like a free-fall. The only thing within our grasp is the wind rushing past us – which, I discovered, is the Holy Spirit!
At first, the tendency is to kick against the thing – work lays unfinished, our “tidy little life” is no longer ours to run.
After a while, though, it becomes easier to let productivity go – and focus on relationships instead.
I wanted to have opinions about our new residents, to judge their cases, to straighten them out. God sent them to me so I could fix them…right? Wrong!
Shhh! was all the Lord kept saying. Just love them.
This became easier with time, as well, and made possible more peace than I would ever have thought possible. (Ever been around an opinionated person…whose thoughts about you were not complimentary? It’s amazing how quickly we can build walls to protect ourselves. We are unwilling to receive anything that person has to say.)
Oh…my opinions and judgments turned out to be mostly wrong! I would have done a lot of damage had I voiced what I ‘thought’ I knew to be true!
Cowardice loomed large during this time as well.
I didn’t want to do or say anything that might make people not like me.
Yeah, that definitely had to go! At the end of the day, if God was pleased with me then I was content.
I learned the word, “Enough,” and that I had a right to use it for the purpose of maintaining my home as my sanctuary. After all, I didn’t have anywhere else to go.
Boundaries are beautiful!
Joshua 1 is a pep talk between the Lord and Joshua. In the third verse, He tells Josh, “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, just as I promised to Moses.”
Read that: “You’re headed into the Promised Land, my child. It’s filled with giants. There will be battles; but every place where you put your foot down and say, ‘Enough,’ that territory is yours to claim.”
The other important point is that when we’re surrounded by pressing matters, we dare not try to be the Lone Ranger.
We need the support and encouragement that can only come from other people.
Thankfully, although we’ve only been at our new church since January, I’ve made several good friends, in addition to the dear friend I’ve had for a few years.
Friendship is something new to me. In the past, I’ve been ‘relationally challenged!’ We moved so much during my childhood – and then again as an adult – that I never learned how to maintain a friendship. Sad, but true.
Every week I meet with one or two of them just because we enjoy one another’s company! We don’t have an agenda, which is a weird concept to me, but one to which I am growing accustomed.
On particularly heavy days, I can shoot any (or all) of them a text and ask for prayer. Once in a while, I’ve run things past them to get input. Because they are godly women who are after God’s heart, they speak life into my situation and point me in the right direction…back into Abba’s arms. I love them all dearly.
As I suspected, all the “wax on, wax off, paint the fence, and sand the floor'” training (Karate Kid) I received was indeed preparation for a much larger trial…the ‘granddaddy’ of them all. That’s where I am today. Thanks to the lessons learned over the last four months, I am able to deflect blows that would have taken me out last year. Muscle memory was well-developed, thanks to the Lord’s thorough training program!
Today I heard from the Lord that this season is over. What a relief!
Thanks to all of you for your prayer support. Christianity is about community – life together. Your prayers and words of encouragement empowered me to continue on when I had no strength left. Words can’t begin to express my gratitude.
Because of what we’ve been through, God prepared us for the issue at hand. While I am not at liberty to give particulars, just know that these captives are being set free. Although the process is in the early stages, we begin to see a little more light every day. God is so good to us!
In conclusion, when surrounded by alligators remember that our opinion of them doesn’t make them go away…or fix them; and that we’re not going to make it to safety alone!