Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight .
Friend to Friend
I love being a grandmother. I absolutely adore our six grandchildren and work hard at finding any excuse to spend time with them. They are my greatest teachers.
I was visiting our son and his family a few years ago. It was late. Our son Jered was getting the kids ready for bed while our daughter-in-law Jodi and I enjoyed some uninterrupted “girl time” together. We met at the kitchen island and decided that a snack was in order. Jodi grabbed the crackers out of the pantry while I fished the pimento cheese and grapes out of the refrigerator. And so it began – the ritualistic gab session of two women simply catching up on life.
As we talked and laughed, our four-year-old grandson Jaydan wandered in for bedtime hugs and kisses and a reason to delay going to bed. Spotting our food, he quickly pleaded, “Mimi, I need a snicky-snack.” Being the wonderful mother-in-law that I am, I quickly looked at Jodi who nodded her approval before asking Jaydan what he would like to eat. Pointing at the pimento cheese and crackers on the kitchen island, he said, “I want that!” Jaydan had never eaten Triscuits or pimento cheese, but obviously thought it was high time that he did.
Jodi lifted Jaydan into a chair, pulled it up to the island, and handed him a cracker. Jaydan took a small bite, and with a grin and an appreciative smack, gave his serious four-year-old approval. “Mmm…good!” he said. Next on his late-night menu was the pimento cheese. He tentatively dipped one corner of his cracker into the cheese, raised the cracker to his mouth and inspected it closely. He then bravely took his very first bite ever of pimento cheese. It was a momentous occasion indeed.
Jodi and I watched carefully for any reaction. None came. Jaydan once again eyed the cracker, dipped it into the pimento cheese, and this time, he came up with an impressive lump of cheese clinging to the now soggy and slightly limp cracker. Turning the concoction over in his little hand, my brave grandson closely inspected the gooey, yellow substance one more time before slowly easing the cracker into his mouth and taking a big bite. Jaydan’s eyes widened and promptly filled with tears. He quickly spit out the obviously disgusting mixture and vigorously shook his head. A pair of beautiful but now accusing blue eyes met ours. Jodi and I were really trying not to laugh – which only made things worse.
Jaydan was obviously disappointed in both his grandmother and mother who were supposed to protect him from things like pimento cheese. Jaydan sent the silent but crystal clear message that the very existence of pimento cheese was somehow our fault. He then ceremoniously wiped the back of his little hand across his mouth and firmly announced, “No! I can’t wike it!” Translation: Jaydan Scott Southerland does not like pimento cheese at all! And judging from the look he leveled at us as he sauntered out of the room, that was definitely his final answer!
I sometimes feel that way about life. I don’t like it when things aren’t going my way and I am faced with a problem I cannot solve or a person I find hard to love.
When I was molested, I didn’t like it.
When my mother died after years of battling cancer, I didn’t like it.
When my husband went into cardiac arrest and almost died, I didn’t like it.
When I found myself battling clinical depression, I didn’t like it!
When the doctor handed me the diagnosis of scoliosis, I didn’t like it.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Sometimes, life just stinks!
For years, I simply plastered a fake but very religious smile on my face and pretended that I was strong enough to withstand whatever storm I was facing at the time. That strategy seemed to work for a while, but then the pain and helplessness would suddenly wash over me like a tidal wave, bringing me to my knees. I was afraid to share my pain and fear with anyone because then they would see me for what I really am – mortal.
Over the years, I have learned some important truths about pain and its purpose in my life.
God is not committed to my comfort, but He is lovingly committed to my character.
I need to let God be God in my life and choose to trust Him – no matter what.
I need to put my feelings in their place and choose to believe God’s Word instead.
Even when I can’t see the end of the journey, I need to be willing to take the first step in faith.
I may not always understand or even like God’s plan, but I can trust His heart and know it is for my good.
So the next time you have more questions than answers, more fears than faith, or more darkness than light, remember the truth that God really is in control.
No matter what you are facing, God’s got it!
Father, I love You! I may not always understand or like how You work in my life, but I want to grow to the place where I trust You anyway. When the hard times come, teach me to walk by faith.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Pour out your heart to your God, asking Him to uncover the dark places in your life. As He does, record them in your journal in simple, honest words. Each day this week, read aloud Psalm 40:1-3 and claim it as a certain hope from God’s heart to yours.
More from the Girlfriends
I am so excited to announce the launch of Friends for the Journey, a dream I have had for some time that is now a reality and part of my ministry. If you are a pastor’s wife, a women’s ministry director, a woman in need of encouragement, or someone who battles depression, I am now available to encourage and coach you via Skype sessions. You can find all of the information on my website or you can email me for details.