I know I've posted this picture before but I still just love it and the Lord brought it to my mind again so here it is along with the story of how the Lord brought it to mind again.
A few weeks ago the kids and I had been struggling with some things for awhile, and it really seemed like no matter what we just couldn't get them resolved. The longer we struggled with them the more divided by all of it we seemed to get and the worse those problems got too. Some of it was individual kind of issues, some was issues with each other and some was just a combination of hurts and worries from outside of home that seemed to be crushing our efforts to reach out to the Lord with the rest of the stuff. It had gotten to the point of nearly every word one of us said to one another provoked either anger or tears even though none of us had cause to be angry or hurt with each other.
Finally I had just had it with fighting with the kids and watching them struggle so separately and watching all of our own individual "stuff" divide our family because of bad attitudes and hurt feelings and just the stress of it all so I did what I have always done when we have to air out our family stuff and get fresh breeze so to speak.... I threw the kids in the truck and went for a drive through the backroads. I did that thinking that it would be like usual, we would be pretty much trapped together for awhile with no choice but to talk it out and deal with all that was going on.
The day started out with all the normal "oooh look there's an elderberry bush blooming" and "we have to come back here in a few weeks, that's staghorn sumac blooming" and all of our normal chatty 'in the car' kind of talk. But then I stopped for gas and one of the kids who wanted a drink had forgotten their water bottle and their money but because they were still sore over something silly with the other kids was too full of hurt and pride to ask for help from them. I had just reached the snapping point so I quietly got out of the truck and walked over to the air machine pretending to put air in the tire I got down on my knees and asked the Lord for help getting all of this stuff within my family dealt with ...... and when I got back in the truck, HE got in with us!! Right there in the gas station parking lot me and the kids all bowed our heads and asked HIM to help us work out all of the junk we'd been carrying around with us for so long and to help us find the solution to all those burdens that were dragging us down as a family.
Quite awhile later ...... so much later in fact that people were staring at our vehicle full of crying shouting people and the Lord .... we left the parking lot still crying and shouting and riding with our most cherished friend in the midst of us all. Life in the truck for the rest of that afternoon was just a whirlwind of blessings, each of us seeing so clearly the solutions to the things we had been holding onto and carrying around for so much longer than what we had needed to. The kids began apologizing to each other and to me and tearfully to their Daddy on the cell phone. Still shouting a county away from where we started and still being more blessed than any of us deserved we saw so clearly that the whole root of all of the problems that were weighing us down so badly was simple.
It takes empty arms to hold onto the cross! When we were so busy worrying over all of our "stuff" and stressing over what to do and how to handle xyz situation we were holding onto that junk instead of holding onto the one thing that could change either the problem or the person with the problem. It truly felt like Jesus himself was sitting right there beside each of us as each worry or problem was spoken and prayed for HE just said "okay, I got that one" and took it from us!!
We all felt such sweet relief from all the worry and tension we had carried and vowed to each other to never again allow such junk to keep us from coming together to the Lord. Afterward it all seems so simple, but walking through it wasn't. Life truly is like I told the kids that day though, you can let situations and circumstances and worry hold you down because that's what you hold onto or you can reach up to the cross of Calvary and let Jesus lift you up, but there just isn't any way that any of us can do both. We all were so amazed that the Lord just met with us that way but I don't think we should be, I think if we are really truly seeking him to the point of just setting EVERYTHING ELSE ASIDE.... there HE will be.
You know what though ...... HE stayed on with us and even today we are seeing HIS hand reaching out into our lives to lift burdens and calm fears and worries. Little things and big things alike if we hold onto HIM and trust HIM then HE can take care of those things for us. And I just can't tell you what a blessing it has been to see the kids still carrying HIM with them and getting blessed even now by the things that the Lord did for us that day.
Our family now has a secret sign for "let it go and hold onto HIM"...... nope, I'm not telling you what it is but your family can make their own. It brings tears to my eyes to see the kids flash that to each other across a room when they can sense that one of the other kids is having a hard time. But then there are the answered prayers too.... so many times over the last couple of weeks we have welled up with tears over a sudden answer to a prayer that we thought had been forgotten. Things that we really saw no solution to and desperately wanted resolved suddenly fixed with not a speck of effort from any one of us. And one of the best blessings of all has been watching each of the kids just draw up closer to the Lord through it all! GOD IS SO GOOD!