Thursday, May 21, 2015

God gives us WAY more than we can handle

This morning I found myself simultaneously cooking 4 meals. Lunch for the husband and 2 kids, dinner for seven, chocolate granola bars for tomorrow's sale, lunch for our 20 person church. At one moment, my son asked me a question about his math problem and my daughter couldn't remember how to spell cylinder. While none of these things are monstrously stressful, the overwhelming few minutes of multi-tasking led me to a common motherhood mantra:

"God doesn't give me more than I can bear."

I whispered this "truth" to myself a few times as I stirred the peanut butter. Then I caught myself. I was comforting my mind with what feels like to be a Biblical truth but in fact is just a cute saying. While it might give me comfort in a moment, the truth is that it's not actually in the Bible. And if it's not in the Bible, I probably shouldn't be holding onto it with tight-fisted hope.

My hypothesis is that people are thinking of the verse that says,

"God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear." (excerpt from 1 Cor. 10:13)

There is an important difference between the reading of these two verses.  The second verse is a glorious promise that we will never be crushed by temptation. God is faithful and will always provide a way of escape. He never leaves his children strangled by temptation.

In contrast, if we give into the idea that God doesn't give us more than we can bear, then when things get overwhelming we will look to eliminate tasks or people rather than introduce the strength of the Lord.  We will throw our arms up in the air to surrender and decide that never again are we having people over for dinner on a Tuesday night. Inadequacy and stress will capture our minds and we will forge our own defeat. At this point it's
important to frame inadequacy not as a defeat, but rather a rally call for the Lord to resume control.

Motherhood is a prime time to feel relentlessly self-sufficient. Rarely in a day does someone come up from behind you and offer to fold that laundry while you sip tea. Most of our day is wrapped in self-sufficient tasks that require us to man up. While our tasks require independence, the placement of our heart requires just the opposite. Our hearts need to lean into dependence on a Redeemer who has already claimed victory over every ridiculous sin our minds can think of.

God absolutely gives me more than I can handle. He gives us 5 children, homeschooling, cooking, working, being a wife, tragedies, broken arms, cultural missteps, frustrating land lords, and people who cut in line.

Feeling like we are sinking reveals that we have been swimming on our own for too long. The Lord wants to give us WAY more than we can handle so that we can see him show off, not just just show up. We need to treat God as not just our superhero that swoops down to save us in the nick of time. Instead, God is a King who has sent out an edict that says, "Don't worry, I've got this."

And that's a promise worth holding onto.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Being Pile-Driven by a Blind Masseuse

When you look at the price and decide that a $10 hour long massage sounds heavenly, you need to be prepared for the very earthly aspect of blind massage. There is no diffusing jasmine and new-age pan flute lulling you into pampered bliss. As you walk inside, you are greeted by young men forming loogies and old women yelling about their boils. There's no spa to it. You get a massage because your muscles are broken. That is all.

The first indication that this will not be relaxing is the fact that everyone is dressed in a white overcoat and are referred to as doctors. Most of the hour is spent with them commentating on much improvement your body needs. I once had a blind massage man who kept squeezing my arms and telling me it was obvious that I didn't exercise.

These amazing men and women have either complete blindness or severe sight loss and a very heavy hand.

After you lay down and situate your face in that bed hole the game begins. I explained to the doctor that I had tweaked my neck the night before and she replied, "Well, this is going to take at least an hour."

She took her sledge hammer thumbs and started working on my neck. It was so painful that my hands went numb. I tried avoiding unconsciousness by reminding myself to buy eggs on the way home. I couldn't let my pain eek out because I wanted my neck fixed. She was pushing so hard on the back of my neck that I inadvertently started humming as she violated my vocal cords.

The pain on the left side of my neck started to ease as I began to rhythmically breathe loudly like I was some sort of race horse anticipating the starting gun. My palms were sweating and I realized that I had been chewing on the bed sheet that was pressed against my face as I lay in the bed hole. Sometimes there is brief yelping as if you've stuck your foot in boiling hot tar.

At one point, I channeled my inner "Rudy" so as to not roll off the bed and run out screaming of the room. If Rudy could play football for Notre Dame, I could endure the rest of my massage.

It was now time for my lower back. She employed both her elbows and was poking me with her index finger as she made her way down each side of my spine. I'm pretty sure I felt my non-funcionting right kidney start working right there on the bed.

Then comes the rub/pound combination. This is how most Chinese massages end. They rub your back as if to console you. Then she does the traditional chop chop to your spine, pats you twice like you're in the locker room and tells you, "You're good!" Then you're on your way. Well, you're on your way if you are still able to use your legs to support your body weight. It took me about 2 minutes to get blood moving back into my legs. I took a dizzy exit to the cashier, paid my $10, and walked out pain free!

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