I had a rough start to my week. When I arrived home on Monday after a stretching day at school, all I wanted to do was relax with a cup of tea. The grader had gone by during the day and had left a three foot snow ridge at the end of my driveway. I did not have the energy to shovel the driveway but I was unable to get my car into the garage and it needed to be done.
One of my daughters was going through anxiety concerning the upcoming exam week. I knew I needed to be with her, but I had to get the driveway clear. I shoveled for 30 minute intervals , then I would go inside to connect with my daughter. After I was warmed up, out I went again to attack the ridge.
In the beginning, I was praying that Spring would come and melt the snow. I felt I needed an immediate miracle. When that prayer wasn’t answered, I got a little more desperate. I sent a text to a friend to pray with me. I was beginning to lose hope and was overwhelmed with the task. Her encouraging advice pointed me towards Anne Voskamp’s blog aholyexperience.com. (If you are in a dark spot right now, you would be encouraged by her words.) God didn’t answer my prayer the way I hoped He would, but He gave me strength for the task and He gave me an encouraging friend to walk with me. I kept throwing big snow blocks off to the side and after three hours of exercise, I had a clear path into my driveway.
As a parent I feel overwhelmed by the task before me. It takes careful planning to meet the physical and emotional needs of my daughters, but its the spiritual needs that look so huge. As I threw each block of snow to the side, I was picturing myself throwing aside the schemes of the Enemy that work in my daughters lives. It feels like an enormous mountain but God loves them way more than I ever could and His plan is to bless them. I didn’t get the miracle of an early spring, but I did receive an amazing peace that God is leading me along the path toward Truth.
I am glad that not everyday is so challenging, but it is in the challenges that my relationship with Jesus is strengthened and I feel His love more powerfully. As I travel on the path of life, I want to be the kind of person who loves authentically and clears the path for those who walk behind me.
Last Sunday was pizza night at our house. I put the ingredients into the breadmaker. I checked a few times to make sure I had the right settings and I sat down eagerly anticipating the fluffy pizza dough ready in two hours. As I was relaxing, I recall thinking that breadmaker didn’t sound right, but I pushed it to the back of my mind hoping for the best. When the beeper went off indicating that the dough was ready, I asked J to prepare the pizzas. Within seconds came the call, “Mom, you put too much flour. There is flour all over the bottom.” I went to investigate and to my disappointment I realized my breadmaker had let me down and had not completed the dough making cycle. I have no idea how to fix a broken breadmaker so I put it in the box and carried it to the garage to the pile of “I don’t know what to do with this”.
On the way to the garage, I thought over the last seven years: to the first time I used the breadmaker, to the time I forgot to change the setting to dough and came home to a huge loaf of almost baked bread, to the night I thought it would be such a good idea to have fresh bread in the morning so I set the timer and then laid awake at 3 in the morning listening to the noises of the machine and to the time when I got home to find my breadmaker balancing on the edge of the counter because the vibrations had caused it to ‘walk’. My relationship with my breadmaker wasn’t always great, but it did teach me a few lessons and I did have some good tasting bread.
I sometimes treat my human relationships with the same disregard. On my journey, I have met people who have lightened my load and others who have been like toxin to me. I tend to run away from toxic people and disregard any relationship I have with them. Mentally, I put them in the “I don’t know what to do with this” pile. I’m torn between my belief that all people matter and have a special purpose and the need to protect myself from being hurt. As I reflect on this, I come to the conclusion that when I was a child, I needed protection and guidance in regards to my relationships. Now that I am an adult, I should be mature enough to balance others needs with my own. As I travel on the path of life, I want to be the person who looks for purpose in everyone I meet and to be willing to grow in my relationships.
I just noticed the toilet is leaking. That is not a problem I can leave in the garage. I will need to call for help. Even as I write this, I am aware that even though I want to be a positive, purposeful person, I am not capable of becoming who I want to be in my own strength. In order to be the person I want to be, like the author of Psalms 69:32 I will have to call for help. “The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.” I’ve asked God to help me understand a few of my more difficult students. Instead of running away, I am going to stick around and see how God works in my life.
How is God working in your life? Leave a comment and we can help each other as we journey on the path.
Earlier this week, I drove to pick up my two daughters. It was a bitterly cold day with temperatures hovering around -45 degrees celsius and I had an hour drive. Those kind of temperatures scare me and I would much prefer to stay inside under a warm afghan, then be out on the highway in a vehicle that could freeze up. It was already dark outside as evening was approaching. I don’t do well driving in the dark because I have depth perception challenges and I don’t see very well out of my right eye. But my daughters needed a ride home and I was the only one who could go and get them.
I sent a text to my sister who lives almost 2 hours away telling her where I was going and what time I was expected back. Even though there was nothing she could do to help, it felt better knowing that someone else was aware of my little adventure. After warming up my car, I headed out on to the highway. With my hands gripping the steering wheel, I kept track of the landmarks as I passed them. I talked to myself “I just have to make it to the stop sign, then I just have to make it to the turn-off and so on.” I was aware of every slippery patch of ice on the highway and of every time I slowed down when the snow ruts made my car bounce from side to side. I was aware of how the moon peeked out from under the clouds. I was acutely aware of the lights from other vehicles passing me. I could feel my adrenaline rush, how my stomach was doing cartwheels and how much tension I was carrying in my shoulders. Each time I reached a landmark, I thanked God that I was okay.
I reached my destination in time to pick up my daughters and we headed home. On the way home, I was aware of the snow that was falling and blowing across the highway, but I was not consumed with anxiety because I was listening to my daughters tell me of their exciting weekend. I drove the exact same route home, in the same frigid temperatures and the same highway conditions as I had going there, but somehow the dark didn’t seem as overwhelming.
As I journey on the path of life, I often feel overwhelmed by the obstacles along the way. I am aware of how afraid I feel and carry the tension in my body as if it is an extra limb. I brag to others about how challenging life is and how I am a survivor. But I want to be more than a survivor, I want to experience all that living on this earth has to offer. It is when I focus on my daughters or my students that I find the strength and wisdom to navigate through the valleys and over the mountains along the path. When I focus on those around me I experience the same tensions and feelings as when my focus is on me, but the struggles and challenges don’t feel so burdensome and life feels more like an adventure.
Where is your focus? Feel free to leave a comment and we can journey on the path together.
We are all on a journey moving through the cycles of life. My journey has taught me many lessons that have empowered me to heal and to help. I would like to use this blog to encourage others to walk with me so we can share what we are learning.
Many of my life lessons have been taught to me through single parenting my two chosen daughters. I will call my seventeen year old , T, and my fifteen year old, J. I have also been an elementary classroom teacher for thirty years. Twenty of those years were living and working in First Nations communities. I have learned most of my survival skills from the children I have raised and work with on a daily basis. I will post each Sunday, what I have learned throughout the week. I enjoy the sense of community and affirmation I receive when I read of how other parents and teachers navigate the bumps and slippery spots on the path of life. I am excited to learn with you.
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