Lately, the idea of “What if?” has been constantly on my mind.
I’d never moved to Nashville?
My dad had gone to the Dr sooner, and more frequently, than he did before getting sick?
There was no such thing as homeless people?
I’d married the boy I thought I NEEDED to, at 22?
Certain other people KNEW how much they annoyed me? (ha!)
We gave as much of ourselves to others, as we expect others to give to US?
I had the chance to make a difference in someone’s life, and instead, I was focused on something else?
We ALL unplugged our cell phones, laptops, etc for ONE NIGHT and instead, focused on those we love?
We did one thing, everyday, that scared us?
Parents loved their kids actively, instead of financially?
I started volunteering at the Children’s Hospital?
As you can see, not all of my thoughts have been extremely deep, but they have bounced around, none-the-less. So many things upset and anger me, especially when it comes to children. A few years back, I heard about a 13 year old boy who was changing a tire for his mom, on the side of I-24 just outside of Nashville, when another car, with an intoxicated driver, hit and killed him, AND NEVER STOPPED! Thankfully, a car behind her, followed her, while on the phone with police, and she was eventually caught and charged. Possibly, the worst part of this incident, is that the boy’s mother and sister were standing in front of the car when it happened, and saw the whole thing. If there is anything worse than losing your child, it’s WATCHING it happen, and being helpless to do anything to stop it. Even though it happened a few years ago, that story stays with me, and I often think about the family left behind.
Just the other day, I witnessed a father SCREAMING at his daughter because something had fallen out of her backpack, which the little girl had nothing to do with, and telling her to zip it up all the way – which again, was not her fault. She couldn’t have been older than 7 or 8, and she just looked at him like “I’m sorry”. It broke my heart to hear the exchange.
I’ve witnessed adults curse at their children, or in front of their children, in the middle of Kroger, and I am the first to say, kids can be annoying and bothersome, at times. Especially when you’ve asked or told them to do something multiple times and they haven’t paid attention, or complied. I GET IT. But, you know what? Those kids will remember the harsh way you spoke to them much faster than they’ll remember something nice you did for them. I speak from experience. Sure, I have TONS of happy memories with the various families I have worked for, and was extremely blessed to have a strong Christian upbringing, with 2 parents who loved the Lord, and each other, with all their being. However, I can come up with and talk about fights with my sister, and words we said to each other when we were 9 and 5, or 6 and 2, JUST as easily as I can remember amazingly wonderful times we have had together. Don’t believe, just because kids are kids, that they don’t pay attention. I’ve been told, reminded, asked and corrected by children MANY more times than I care to count. They LISTEN. Especially when you think they aren’t, Ha!
These experiences have made me stop and think of my family’s friends who were unable to ever conceive, and who ultimately adopted. I think of my sweet friend who had to give her baby boy back to the Lord 10 days after he arrived on this earth. I think of my sweet “boyfriend”, who, according to doctors, wasn’t even supposed to be here, and who is as healthy as can be. Just as much as an amazingly HAPPY moment can occur, an unspeakable, sad, discouraging moment can come to be, just as quickly. Treasure these kids. Make the most of the moments you have, because you never know when you won’t have them, anymore.
I have struggled with many obstacles, in my personal life, that have caused me to question God, on an almost daily basis. (Sidenote: I don’t think it’s wrong, at all, to QUESTION God. It IS wrong to doubt Him. There are many times I don’t understand His ways, but I ALWAYS, ALWAYS trust that He has the entire world in His hands. Even my tiny, little corner) There were many times since I moved to Nashville, I didn’t understand why financial independence was so much of a struggle, for me. I have always worked hard, tithed, given money to missions, and I am not a frivolous spender. Yet, it seemed for years that MY bills were growing bigger and bigger, each month. Why was MY house hit by lightening, and not the annoying neighbor down the street? Why did it seem all my younger friends were already married, and I was 36 before it happened, for me? Let me tell ya, it is sometimes hard to muster up true enthusiasm for friends who got what I so desperately wanted, for so long. But ALSO let me tell you, it was equally hard to watch some of them struggle in their marriages and relationships right after I got married and was floating. Why did I have to go through difficult experiences with people from my past who intended to harm me, in more ways than one? Why do people in my life still welcome them into their lives, willingly? Why did MY 2 cousins, uncle, all 4 grandparents, and father all have to die, in just a little over 4 years? WHAT IF they were all still here?
It is then, after ALLLLLLL my complaining and attempts to prove that I knew SOOOOO much better than my Creator (why didn’t He just let me have what I thought I wanted and needed?!) that I hear the tender, sweet voice of the Lord, whisper “My child, I couldn’t let someone else’s house get hit by lightening. They don’t believe in Me, like you do, and they’d have totally crumbled under that experience. I couldn’t let you marry the person from your past, because the dreams and the goals you have for yourself would never have been reached. Instead, I have prepared your heart, and the heart of your beloved for each other, and you are (most days, ha!) happier than you ever dreamed. Your friends have their own obstacles they face with their marriages, jobs, homes, families – some of which no one else even knows about. I allowed you to go through situations in your past, with certain people, because I knew you were strong, and capable of walking away from them, even though they’d never have walked away from you. You are stronger than you realize and are capable of much more than you see with your eyes. And your precious father? Well, had he not walked through that valley as he dealt with cancer, you’d have never spent as much time by his side, because you had your life and he had so much going on, in his. I gave you the gift of knowing he would have a limited time left here on this earth, which enabled you to say all the things you wanted and needed to. You were able to say goodbye, and many others didn’t have that gift. Your father’s death brought so many people back to me, who had wandered away. Your father is here with me, welcoming each person into the pearly gates with a joke, a smile, and open arms to hold the children who arrive much earlier than their families. See, child, I DO know what is to come, and nothing happens without my allowing it to. What if I didn’t hold the world in My hands? Your life, and so many other’s lives, too, would be spinning out of control. Continue to trust Me. I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Ok, Lord. WHAT IF I let go, and just let You? Ok, I will keep trusting.
WHAT IF you did this, too? My, what a different life we would all have, if we simply trusted Him.