Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Puzzles, perplexes, frustrations and then there is God!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do you like jigsaw puzzles? I do, well, sometimes. I don't like the ones that are all one color. That is way to tedious for me. I need something that is challenging but not so detailed I can't get it done in a day or two. But when you open the box all the pieces pour out on the table and you start to organize them. The ends pieces in one pile and the middle pieces in the other. Each piece uniquely fits into some unknown piece. You place them in groups too if you can. You are hoping to find those pieces that relate and fit together.

Life can tend to be that jigsaw puzzle. Some problems you pour out on the table and try sorting to piece it all together. You know God holds the box with the picture but you can't quite make out the different lines and shapes that color that picture into your life. So you start putting things in different piles to see what might fit together.

For the last several months I have been trying to put together this puzzle of explaining God's plan for Olivia. I have hit that table more than a thousand times trying to get the right pieces to fall into place to help her understand how this life isn't always easy. We don't always get the road travelled well but, we get the road less travelled. That being angry with Doctors, or God…while is understandable is not healthy and will eventually lead you down a path of bitterness and unforgiveness. Discussion after discussion. She sits there listening. I know she is thinking "great! I got it! This is lecture 4,780!". She listens and most of the time is respectful but you see that in her eyes and head this is not getting to the heart of the problem. My words are only correcting actions not attitudes and definitely not heart motives. Her head understands but her heart is covered with the muck and the mire of disappointment, pain, emotions, and never ending struggles that seem to have a promise of hope and yet those hopes get dashed.

Then one day I do something completely unrelated to this situation. I have no idea why I was frustrated but that frustration led to a big piece of the puzzle that will unlock that girl's mind and open her heart.

I accidentally walked into God's plan. I was not praying and had an epiphany. I was not reading the Bible and the Holy Spirit whispered the answer to me. In fact I was completely in a frustrated place. It totally came from my frustration rather than a Godly place. I will insert here that I have been concerned and praying about this problem for a while so I can feel a bit better about the situation. The sad thing is that it was still my frustration that allowed me to see what God was doing. (insert a V-8 moment here).

So on to the problem of the day! Olivia loves to read. She has a passion for reading. I always approve the books she reads but I try and encourage her to branch out and read other things. She seems to get set on a series and will not put it down until she finished the whole series. When she is enveloped in a book she loves, that is all she talks about. That saying "you are what you read" characterizes Olivia to a tee. I do understand that most kids have so many other outlets going on and she is captured inside her room but still it makes me crazy at times. So, the other day she is going on, and on, and on, and on about a book she is reading. Oh, did I say she was going on and on…as a Mom I hope you get the implication. If you have girls in your house, really at any age, you completely understand. Girls are chatty. So, as she was telling me about the dragon book she was reading, the conquering hero, the size and shape of the creatures and the complete plot of the book, all 600 pages, I asked her about a devotional she was supposed to be reading each day. Of course she had forgotten, had been tired, had left it in the car and the list went on and on. I had purposely bought that book for her to do a daily devotion so she would be pouring in some about God each day. Did she not understand I was trying to help her with that anger problem she has been having? Did she not get that God was not going to talk to her if she spent all her time with those stupid dragons? Oh, did she not know that Mom was not trusting God at that moment but trusting Mom to help her? The answer to the last question…neither one of us got that point. Shhh…don't tell Liv the answer to that question because I was the only one privileged enough for God to show that answer to me.

The girl had promised me she would read the book. She had promised! I was so frustrated. In hindsight, not because she did not read the book but because I was desperately trying to open her mind to a more world view. The book had several stories about other kids that had gone through some devastating stuff and God had walked them through it. She was not getting it if she didn't read them. It seemed those other books were such a hindrance. I was hopping mad on the inside. So out of frustration I find my favorite book, besides Oswald Chambers, "Hinds Feet on High places". If you have never taken the time to read it…you will regret it. I search the whole house to find my copy and I march into Olivia's room and announce that she will not be able to read anything else until she finishes this book. I knew she would immediately jump on it and start reading so she could get to her next book in the series she is reading. That would fix that problem. She would have to read something about God. The book is set in a story manner like the Chronicles of Narnia so I knew she would not be "brow beat" by reading something too boring. But at least I would know that she was spending time, kinda, with God on her own. Insert here that obviously that might have been the point but God was using it in so many other way.

The funny thing. I forgot the significance of the story. I had forgotten how the story weaves the role of Jesus in our lives. How, when we are afraid and having to walk through the hardest valleys, He is there. His role is there to love us, to help us, to walk with us up that mountain. I had forgotten the whole premise of the book actually. I was too busy concentrating on getting a book I thought she would read than realizing the impact it could have.

So, as we are walking through the Suwanee Square I ask her about the book. She is telling me that the character names are weird but that she can really relate to the main character "Much Afraid". She also talks about the The Great Shepherd in the book and how that is Jesus. She starts talking about the things that Much Afraid is going through and how that is exactly what she feels and understands. When I wasn't lost in my own thoughts about what God was doing, I was mesmerized by the depth of understanding my daughter had. It was truly amazing to hear her talk. Then it hit me. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

There I was, standing stunned with my mouth wide open, realizing that Olivia's main problem was not anger at all. Her main problem was fear. And without me even realizing it, God was answering my prayer. He knew all along that the explosive volcano spewing out at times had nothing to do with being angry. He knew her more than I ever could and had the answer for her all along. He just needed me to step out of the way and let Him work. That moment of realization walked me into a few new places as a Mom.

One, Olivia was taking that next step of independence and two, it was time for me to start letting go a bit and let God do His work in her. That she had reached that age of accountability in some area's and that He was able to reach in and be her God, her Father, her Teacher, her Comforter.

In that split second of a moment, my little girl grew into a young lady. Most importantly, a young lady of God. She had always gotten it. The anger was never the problem. It was the fear of walking through those dark valleys over and over. Through this book I know she will start seeing the wonder and amazing grace of God that will help her. I just pray that I step out of God's way and learn to be her guide now. But that transition is awfully hard.

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