Running on Empty

You know that phrase, “God never gives you more than you can handle” ? I am going to go on record and say, Bullcrap. That is not true. 

Looking back at my life I can see times when all of my reserves have been full. I have had a lot of margin in my life: lots of stored up energy, an overabundance of grace and peace. And then there have been times when I have been completely drained dry, nothing left to give. I would compare those times to kind of like putting $5 of gas in your tank every day and then having to commute to work and run to the store, and every night, the tank is empty and you wonder if you can make it to the gas station with what you’ve got left the next morning. And you hope you can dig up another $5 for the next day. 

Sometimes God throws jobs and challenges at us that are more than we can handle. 

Giving birth to ten children within a sixteen year stretch of time, was more than I could handle. Raising ten kids was more than I could handle. Having various homeless families and couples live with us over the years was more than I could handle. Taking in foster kids was more than I could handle. 

I find myself in a place now, where the phrase, “Give us this day, our daily bread.” really means something to me. I am in daily need of sustenance. Daily. Yesterday’s bread is gone and used up. I need more today. The phrase “My grace is sufficient for you..” has heavy meaning. Sufficient means enough, adequate. Note, it does not mean overflowing abundance. It’s just the right amount, none left over. Each day I need a new dose of that grace. 

I have learned what living on empty means. It’s kind of like doing math all day. Here, you get 10 units this morning. Dealing with that conflict subtracts 3 units, running errands subtracts 2 units, stressing about bills? Minus 2. If we run out of units, then we shut down the day. Turn on the tv, take a short nap, go get pizza for supper…There’s some addition going on as well. Read your Bible in the morning? Add on 3 units. Shut the door to my room and do something peaceful and solitary for fifteen minutes, Plus 2. 

And each night, I collapse into bed. Not dead. Haven’t completely failed at life yet. We’re still taking steps forward. The daily bread was provided. The grace proved to be sufficient. 

God is still on his throne, and his hand is still upon me. And I will sleep and do it all again tomorrow, leaning  heavily on my God. 

And I pray that somehow my life will bring glory to God. That somehow this season of desperation is also a season of great fruit, a season of big growth, a season of close intimacy with God. 

And I realize that despite the fact that I am living on the edge, it can still be a place of peace. Today my bible reading was in John 16. Verse 33 stood out to me,

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

This old hymn comes to mind…

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Alan Jackson

What a fellowship, what a joy divine

Leaning on the everlasting arms

What a blessedness, what a peace is mine

Leaning on the everlasting arms

Leaning, leaning

Safe and secure from all alarms

Leaning, leaning

Leaning on the everlasting arms

What have I to dread, what have I to fear

Leaning on the everlasting arms?

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near

Leaning on the everlasting arms

Leaning, leaning

Safe and secure from all alarms

Leaning, leaning

Leaning on the everlasting arms

I’m not dead yet

So, this happened last night. 

broken

I’m typing one-handed so this is going to be short. Life has been tossing some curve balls. This happened at the end of yesterday, the day I dealt with head lice, my husband’s resignation from his job, and trying to keep track of a traveling older child who was going cross-country. Throw in a couple other major headaches I won’t mention, and that sums up Esther’s not-so-great, not-so-wonderful, drama-filled day (to paraphrase the children’s book).

 

As I was fretting, I imagined myself on a wind-tossed sea, drowning. Kind of like Peter trying to walk on the water. And I was reminded that, like Peter, I just needed to keep my eyes focused on Jesus. 

 

So, that’s what I’m trying to do. 

 

Being thankful helps. I’m thankful my parents came today so I could go to the clinic and get my wrist fixed up. I’m thankful for prescription strength lice shampoo. I’m thankful for a gift card from a friend that let Andy and I have a date night last night. And thankful for teens that can babysit. I’m thankful for safe travels for my oldest. Thankful for my old purple house and all the crazy life it holds. Thankful for groceries in my fridge and the violet night sky. Thankful for my blog. Thankful for my friends. I hope that all you readers can have an equally thankful, blessed evening.