Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nut To the Head

So, if you have been reading my blog for any length of time at all, you may have heard me say that God lovingly hits me over the head with a 2x4 sometimes. I figured it was finally time to explain.

I am a recovering strong-willed child. Any of you with me? “Hello, my name is Caroline.” And the group says, “Hellooo Caroline.” I grew up as the baby of the family, the only girl, and my parents divorced when I was young – so I learned early how to dig my heels in and stay there. 

My Mom lovingly (ha!) tells the story of how often I would answer her with an emphatic “NO!” as a very young child. Of course she would quickly reply, “Don’t you tell me no!” Well, as you can imagine, it didn’t take long for me to pick up on that too. I would ask for ice cream for dinner or something completely reasonable like that, and she would say “No!” to which I would quickly and sternly reply “Don’t you tell me no!”

Needless to say, my back end was sore more times than I can count, and I got to know some of my favorite teachers in detention. Friend, it is what it is. 

But, now, years later, you find me now a smidge wiser and not much more mature. Thankfully my earthly parents and my heavenly Father love me just the same. I often tease that God whispers to some, speaks sternly to others, but with me, it often ok, pretty much always takes a loving 2x4 to my head to get my attention.

Pretty much all of what I blog about stems from moments just like this. Whether He is convicting me of sin or reminding me of the promises of His Word, it is often a 2x4 just the same. 

Tonight was just such a night. 

Except this time, I felt it – in more than just my spirit. I felt it on my big ol’ forehead. 

You see…friend, I have to tell you something. If you have known me for very long at all or have been following my medical drama of a roller coaster for the past four years, you know I have been waiting for one of two things - a miracle or a trip to the Mayo clinic. Miracle or Mayo, I was fine with either one. Whichever God decided.

Well, friend, for now, He has picked one.

That’s right…








You read that right – God has orchestrated the entire thing. What took me three years to try and complete and yet still fail – He did in under three weeks and succeeded. Don’t worry, I will be telling you ALL about how I got accepted in another post soon. In fact, I will be updating you a lot in the next week or so, because that’s right…

Not only did they say “Yes we will take you as a patient.” But they also said “We’ll see you this Monday!”

As in six days from now.


Shock doesn’t begin to cover it. 

I liken it to that feeling you get in life when something big happens that you have been anticipating…

I can’t wait to get married! Oh how I love him – I wonder when he’ll propose. Aww, look all my friends are getting engaged….and then he does it. He is on his knee, you are staring at your hand and all of a sudden it hits you. This is for real.

You can’t wait to have a baby. You love kids. You’ve been married for a while now, and it seems right. Aww, babies are so cute. That is going to be so fun someday! Then it happens – there are two lines and not one, you feel sick and your belly grows and then it hits you, you and you alone have to push this thing out of your body. This is for real.

Well, friend. This. Is. For. Real.

I will spend the next few days frantically trying to spend good quality time with my babies, planning out their next week, trying to arrange travel, lodging, bills, etc – and constantly picking my chin up off the ground. Like I said, shock just doesn’t begin to cover it.

A friend asked how I was feeling about it. Hmmm, good question. Thankful. Shocked. Scared. Hopeful. Nervous. Grateful. Sad. Happy. Just to name a few. So, yes, I’m pretty much a basket case at the moment. Shocker.

Which explains the 2x4 moment I experienced. Now, in the past, I have never actually “felt” pain in my head region when God lovingly gets my attention. Tonight, that was not the case.

It took a few hours to process the phone call I received today. Ryan and I hadn’t even really gotten to sit and talk about it…which makes it weird. Nothing seems totally real until I share it with Ryan. But, here I was looking out at my backyard, listening to my kids play and then all of a sudden, every emotion a person can feel just flooded out of me like the boiling water does every single time I make mac-n-cheese. Holding it in was not an option.

I excused myself from the yard, walked to my neighbor and best friend’s yard where my amazing recliner chair was positioned and called her from my cell phone. I simply asked her to come outside. Poor thing didn’t know what she was getting herself into. None of my closest friends knew when they signed on, poor things. She came out and saw that I was already crying. Thankfully she didn’t run in the other direction. And then it all just came out – 

“What if the doctors can’t figure it out?”

“I’ve never been that far away from my kids, and never for that long either.”

“Aaaand if we go this soon then we won’t be with the kids For Trunk or Treat, Halloween, celebrating Ryan’s birthday…”

“This is going to cost a fortune!! There is NO WAY we can make this work!?!”

“Where the heck is Minnesota anyway?!”

She let me emotionally throw up all over her for a minute and sat down next to me under her beautiful oak trees. It was about then that I said something to the affect of “Why is God letting this happen now??...” – and then BAM! at that exact moment a huge ok, so maybe it wasn’t exactly huge acorn fell sixty feet from an oak tree and hit me square in the forehead.

I could not possibly make this up.

Now, I like to think I have a fairly high tolerance for pain. But, this seriously hurt! It took me a second to blink a few times, shake it off and then say “OWWWWWWW!!!!” Then we both lost it. We laughed so hard at the fact that God had just literally hit me over the head this time. No figurative 2x4 this time sister, He knew this called for more. That simple little acorn sent the questions back toward me from my beloved acorn maker – 

“Has this not been exactly what you have been asking for?”

“Have I not broken through all red tape and policies and procedures to make this happen for you so quickly?”

"Have I not provided for you every other time you couldn't make something work!?!"

“Halloween, really? Isn’t that your least favorite holiday of all? Shall we wait until Christmas?”

“Have we seriously not gotten past the fact that I MADE your children – I think I can handle looking out for them without your help for a week.”

Darn that acorn. And thank you God for that acorn.

Friend, this is happening. In less than six days, I will be freezing my hiney off in a state that I honestly could not point out to you on a map. (I know to just go north for days, until I meet a Canadian, then turn around and go back south about two blocks.)

I get this news and within hours – who have I become? Yep, you guessed it. God knows that my maiden name is not Sanders. It is Israelite. 

The Red Sea thing was great, but where the heck are we?!!

I’m lost and hungryyyyy. 

Oh ya, that miracle you perform each day is nice and all, but I’m tired of manna.

Ugh, quail again!?!

Where’s the bottled water? This stuff’s bitter.

I’m not going that way, God, those g-g-guys are g-g-giants compared to us!

UGH! I really disappoint myself sometimes. But, thanks to that little acorn, I am back. I am ok. And friend, I’m headed to MinnesOHta. :)

May I encourage you along our journey that God loves you. He is in control. He can handle your drama. He is worthy of your everything. He is faithful. He is good. His promises are true. 

Friend, be thankful for the acorns. Thank Him for loving you (and me!!) enough to send a nut to the head. How could a loving God send an acorn like that? Hey, it coulda been an anvil, friend. Just sayin’.

Psalm 145:3 “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.”

Psalm 33:4 “For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”

Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Enemy Tree

As I may have mentioned before, our home sits on almost an acre and is lovingly surrounded by fifty foot trees. I love it. Let me rephrase that; I love living here. Our home was built about the same year I was, so therefore I mentally have a very long list of things that don’t work and are frustrating to me. But, I love where we live. The kids spent the better part of today playing in the yard, making “dirt & berry pies”, riding bikes in the cul-de-sac, and just generally having a blast. 

We are blessed.

I am typing that for you to read every bit as much as I am typing it for me to read. You see, friend, I need to read it. I need to write it. I need to recite it. I need to remind myself of it. Often.

You see, tonight, after church I escaped left my other four family members and went outside to be by myself. I was done holding in all of my frustrations and feelings and I just flat out needed a good cry. So, I had one. 

And as I looked up at the glorious trees that canopied almost the entire sky in my vision, I was startled. I mean it, I almost jumped. The trees that I so genuinely depend on to play for me their leafy symphony as God blows them to and fro in the wind – were dead silent. It really kind of freaked me out for a moment. I glanced to the left and to the right and couldn’t see one single leaf moving. Not a one. In fact, I had an entire conversation with myself in my head that happens way to often about the whole thing. 

Me: “What in the world? How can they all be so still?”

Myself: “Seriously, there has to be like 30 trees here not moving at all! Weird.”

I : “I better count the trees I can see because I am sure my prediction is way off and when I write about this I want to be accurate.”

There were 71 trees. I actually sat and counted every single tree in my limited vision that were standing there, almost mocking me with their utter stillness.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. 

Wait, what is that?!? Is that the rustle of leaves I see?

Ah, of course. The enemy tree.

Our sweet next-door neighbors have a tree that is, how shall I say, from Satan not my favorite. Nestled among the hundreds of varieties of oak trees in our cul-de-sac area, there, in their yard stands one above them all. 

A cottonwood tree.

This cottonwood tree stands a good twenty feet taller than every other tree on our entire street. It is just one tree, but it is a mighty one. 

I hate it.

I am sorry for using that word, but if you had allergies like I do, and like my children who have obviously inherited them from me, do…you’d say the same thing. 

Once a year the lovely tree sheds its “cotton” all over the stinkin’ place. Now, obviously it isn’t real cotton, that would actually be useful. This thing, however, spends weeks sprinkling white, fluffy seed thingys all over our yard, house, cars, toys, etc. It riles up some kind of awful something in my allergies and it generally kicks my tail. Clearly, I am not a fan. Zyrtec ain’t cheap, y’all.

So, here I am out in my beloved yard, trying to find some solace, some comfort, some refuge from the storm…and the only tree waving at me is my enemy tree.

Then God lovingly hit me with His Sovereign 2x4, like He so often does. This is just how I feel right now.
Friend, I’ve got to tell you that I feel like I am being attacked in almost every area possible right now. In my health (duh!). In our finances (don’t even get me started!). In my marriage. In my attitude. In my relationship with some family members. In my body image. (again, don’t even let me go there!) In my relationship with my kiddos. In just about every area, I have just felt attacked lately. If any of my best friends bail on me, I may just call it quits and dig a hole to live in. I have felt, at times, that God is just sitting up there letting the enemy take his shots at me and He isn’t doing a dang thing to stop him. 

I feel in my heart, at times, like my trees showed me tonight – the only one I saw movin’ is my enemy.

Have you ever felt like that, friend? 

Like no one gets it?

Like you’ve done something awfully wrong by God’s eye but you can’t for the life of you figure out what it is?

Like every other single stinkin’ person in your world is driving around with buckets full o’ blessings and you would be happy to just get a Dixie cup’s worth?

Well, friend, I can relate.

We have just one enemy, but friend, he is a mighty one.

Now, I want you to know that the reason I am typing to you right now is that blogging is one of the avenues God gives me to fight off that enemy. While you may think I’m an idiot (and I’m sure this would be the very first time-ha!) I am admitting to you now that after I finished my little solo, weepy, picnic dinner, I picked up my Bible study and said out loud through tears, “Satan, I don’t care if you see me crying right now, cause you sure are stupid if you think I’m letting you win. Jesus reigns in this house and in this heart, so go away!”

Friend, we can do this. 

I don’t know your story. And while I do admit that I have no boundaries share a lot, I guarantee that you don’t know all of mine. But, God does. He made you and He loves you. He made me and thankfully He still loves me. I am blessed. And if you are sitting at a computer right now, in an air-conditioned room with clothes on your back and a full belly – then, friend, you are blessed too. 

Satan would love nothing more than for us to feel like we don’t have enough. He would love to turn our hearts sour and bitter at the same time. He would love for us to feel helpless, hopeless, cheated, worthless, alone and afraid. That would flat out make his day. So, you and I need to remember that we are in a war against him and fight against those feelings. We need to get out of the slippery pits of our self-“pit”y and get to higher ground. We need to be patient and wait for that cool, refreshing breeze of God’s grace to come in and rustle the leaves in our view in just a way that they sing a beautiful song over us. Take a deep breath and just wait. He is faithful. He will come. 

And, I’ll be honest that I don’t have one more solid thing to say, so I am just going to leave you with some Truth that I think might actually do you and I some good instead of some ol’ silly thing out of my selfish mouth. Soak these up sweet friend – I know I will.

Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, because He who has promised is faithful.”

Psalm 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Psalm 68:19 “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

Psalm 29:11 “The Lord gives strength to His people. The Lord blesses his people with peace.”

Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.”

Psalm 37:5-6 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

Isaiah 58:11 “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

Psalm 46:1-2 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth give way.”

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all of your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Psalm 31:24 “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all of you that hope in the Lord.”

1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise , glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Psalm 34: 17-18 “The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them, He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Romans 8:31-32 “What then should we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how would He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”

Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the Lord. He turned to me and He heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to my God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Don't Blow Kisses To Your Poopy

Ok, perhaps I may have repeatedly mentioned lately that we are done potty training. Like, for real done! Ok, so maybe I wrote an entire blog about it – “The Girl Who Cried Poopy”, but hey, this is a big deal. When you’ve been clipping Huggies coupons and lugging multiple kids up on top of a changing table two, or three, or ten times a day for seven years, and then all of a sudden you aren’t anymore, it’s a big deal! But, let me be clear that our potty drama isn’t over.

Kids still have accidents.

A couple of mine haven’t been, how shall I say, the most proficient wipers. God bless Spray “N Wash.

My sons get to pee in the grass outside (in our own huge, treed, private backyard, calm down people, it’s not like I let them do it in the Target parking lot), therefore my daughter is convinced she should get to as well. So, she tries. Often.

Our drama will continue, I am convinced, until the potty drama is replaced with puberty drama. God help me.

So here I was barely sitting on the seven inch by seven inch plastic Dora stool in the kids bathroom (where I belong, apparently) as my darling baby girl was going potty. Sort of. She still hasn’t fully recovered from the “crying potty” tendencies mentioned above, but she has gotten a lot better. Sometimes she still insists she’s gotta go – but we go, we sit, and she’d don’t go. 

This was one of those times.

So, I am sitting there balancing on one hiney cheek watching her flail her arms around like a symphony conductor as she sings her own little mixture of “Jingle Bells” and “You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag” at the top of her lungs. Sometimes you can’t help but just look at her and laugh.

This was not one of those times.

I was ready to get back to the Rangers playoff game that the three men in my life were not pausing for me. For the record, they had paused it the other hundred times she “had” to go. They were done. 

So was I.

So, I am trying to lovingly encourage her to speed this potty train up, but she was happy to just sit and sing. Once I was convinced she wasn’t going to go, I told her Mama was going to go watch the game and I’d come back and check on her in a minute. Right then, she pooped. I swear the girl can do it on command any hour of the day, when she wants to – and not a second before. 

I cheered, made silly faces and generally made a spectacle of myself praising her for her “accomplishment”. Then, I was ready to wipe and go. Not Abigail.

Abigail: “Mama, look at all that poopy! WOW!”

Me: “I know big girl, you did a great job! C’mon, let’s go…”

Abigail: “It’s gigantic!”

Me: (Ok, how do I answer this one?) “Um, yes it is darling, it sure is. Ok, let’s wipe and be all done.”

Abigail: “Can I just touch it first?”

Me: “The poopy?!? NO! Absolutely not! It’s yucky! C’mon we are all done.”

Abigail: “Ok. (sad face)”

Me: “Abigail, its poopy darling, we are supposed to flush it.”

Abigail: “Ok. (sad face)”

Then, my sometimes sweet 2 ½ year old baby girl leans waaaay over with her face toward the potty and waves her sweet chubby hand, 

Abigail: “Bye poopy!! BYYYYYEEEE!!!” As she waves and blows kisses to the poopy.

Me: “Abigail, don’t blow kisses to your poopy. It’s gross. Just let it go, and let’s go wash our hands.”

This is where God hit me. I totally blow kisses to my poopy. 

I mean, obviously, I don’t literally blow kisses to the toilet; that would be weird. But I sometimes act like I miss the sin in my life – same thing, different name. 

Philippians 3:8 tells us “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (NIV)

Do you know that the Greek word for “rubbish” in that verse is skybalon, meaning “any refuse, as the excrement of animals, rubbish, dregs, all things worthless and detestable” and further research found that “this word is often used to describe the remnants of menstrual rags”.

I could not possibly make that up. 

Friend, we are to count it all as rubbish, except for knowing Christ Jesus, our Lord. 

And while, I personally feel tempted to stop a bloke at the diner and request a scone and a spot o’ tea after typing that, let’s try to focus. 

Hebrews 12:1 helps us Ok, me to focus – “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

It, too, tells us to get rid of our sin. But, take note, it also tells us to get rid of every encumbrance as well. An encumbrance for those of you Ok, me who don’t know exactly what that means, is defined as “something burdensome, useless, or superfluous” (Fyi, I got tickled at the fact that this word can also mean “a dependant person, especially a child”, but no, for the record, you may not throw them out!)

And in case you got stuck like I did at what exactly  the word superfluous means –  it is “being more than is sufficient or required, excessive, unnecessary or needless”

Wow. I would say there are quite a few things out there that fall into these categories that aren’t really sin. I mean, I doubt you and I are robbing banks, smoking crack, or cheating on our spouses – or I sure hope not! But, there are plenty of sins that are entangling - envy, pride, worry, jealousy, self-righteousness, just to name a few. So, here we are being asked to throw aside every sin and ALSO every other thing that is excessive, useless, or that hinders us. Hinders us from what, you may ask? From following hard and fast after Jesus, friend, that is what. 

I have to be honest and say that I am getting pretty tired of how muddled it all is getting. Christians are starting to look a lot more like the world – and I’m over it. 

I am in NO way saying that I am perfect. Trust me. In fact, don’t trust me. Just sit with me for two minutes a little while and you will absolutely realize that for yourself. But, I am saying that the One I serve is perfect, and He does want us to be like Him. Right now, uh, oh confession time, I am struggling with my childish behavior I display in the carpool line. I will not even get started about the entitlement so many luxury SUVs, and crazy minivans have in my kid’s school parking lot. They cut you off, won’t let you in, break the traffic laws, and the completely ignore the school’s pick-up procedures. It irks me to no end. And I don’t deal with it well most of the time. I make snarky remarks to my friends about them. I judge. I get upset at these people I don’t even know. But, I admit, I’m feeling convicted about it. So, this is an announcement to my two buddies who share this struggle with me. For me, it stops here. 

So, how does this apply to you, friend? Well, that is between you and God.

You know the TV shows you watch. So does God. In fact, He watches them with you!

You know the thoughts you have. So does God. In fact, He knew you’d have them before you did.

You know the music you listen to. So does God. Once again, He hears it with ya.

You know the motives you have. So does God. You can’t fool Him, friend.

“But that is my guilty pleasure!” I hear so many people say. Ok fine, it’s your choice to feel pleasure, as long as you accept the guilty verdict as well.

Aw, c’mon Caroline, say something funny, would ya? Don’t get all up in my business about this stuff. Friend, if you are feeling convicted, it sure ain’t me. I promise. I’m just writing a blog. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict. (John 16:7-8) You can ignore me and click off this page. I wouldn’t ignore Him, though. Trust me, I’ve tried.

I had a friend once tell me that God told her to give up Diet Coke. I giggled, as I sipped my Route 44 Diet Coke. Then I looked at her. She was serious. “Why would God care if you drank Diet Coke?” I asked her. “He wants me to put Him first and be willing to give up anything. That includes my caffeine I think I need to get through a day.” Hmmm....I guess, for her, this was something of excess, something unnecessary. And God had made it clear to her. 

Now, friend, before you go start a picket-line at Starbucks, please hear me, that aside from sin laid out in the Bible, the other stuff, the ‘grey stuff” (meaning, neither black or white) is between you and God. He flat told me to give up my favorite TV show. Did I obey immediately? Nope. But, eventually I couldn’t shake the feeling that every time I was watching it, I was hurting God because I was choosing my happiness over His holiness. I haven’t seen an episode in over a year. I’ve missed it. I’ve blown kisses to that poopy, for sure. I hear others talk about it and I remember how funny it was and how much I enjoyed quoting all the re-runs. Then I remember how it felt to know I was honoring God. That’s all I needed.

Friend, I hope that’s all you need too. 

Flush that junk down. Be done with it. Don't be sad to see it go. Wash your hands and move on.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"But I The Only One"

School Holidays. Fun, aren’t they? For some, yes. For others, no. For me, it really just depends. You see, we are a house divided. No, I don’t mean that I cheer for the Longhorns and my man cheers for the Aggies. We are far cooler than that, Go Tech! What I mean is that my kiddos attend school in one school district and my husband works in a different one. So, if it happens to be that there is a random holiday approaching, like Flag Day or Columbus Day, I have to check the calendars to see if this will be a joyous holiday or not. 

This time, it is not. 

For some reason, the school district my husband works for has decided that the staff didn’t need any sort of break whatsoever, yet the students would receive both Friday and Monday off. Clearly I am not bitter. So, here we are, as a family, not being able to enjoy the only main perk of working in education – scheduled time off together. 

I, however was excited to get to have a day with just me and my kids. I was even more excited that I was feeling well enough to endure handle such a day. Granted, my kids are inching their way ever so slowly toward independence and so I can, for the most part, just sit back and watch them play for a little while. Key words, for a little while.

Today, we are recovering from the torrential downpour we received over the last few days. Thankful, for sure, but muddy all the same. I am in no way one of those moms who can’t handle my kids being dirty. I am all for it. We live on about an acre of land and are surrounded by trees everywhere, so I am all for my kiddos going out there and just having a ball with sticks and mud and bugs. Oh my!
They loved it. They had their “play clothes” on and just had a blast jumping on the wet trampoline, playing baseball, pretending to be spies, and digging in the dirt. Yes, this sounds like “boy stuff” to some, but I guarantee my little Ms. Darling was right there in the middle of it with her big “brudas”.

The morning was lovely. Cool breeze. Partly cloudy sky. Perfect. 

After resting and watching them play, I was able to make lunch and then hang out a bit more before naptime.  Now, I have heard fables of people whose children nap well past the age of three. I believe in that about as much as I believe in unicorns. It ain’t true.

My darling baby girl, who is two-and-a-half, going on sixteen and has been telling people that since before she turned two, was having the most fun of all. Whichever way her big “brudas” were going, you were bound to see her little pink self following just behind. She flipped with them on the trampoline. She chased the bad guys away as a secret spy. She even squished right between them to each her lunch. But, then it was naptime.

The time of day when, once again, we are a house divided. In our house, there are two groups of people. One, those who nap…and two, those who don’t nap. Ok, I’m adding a third group…three, those who wish they could nap, aka, ME! 

So, as the boys were asking if they could turn on the hose and turn this whole digging in the dirt thing into a mud-ball fight, I was announcing to sister-friend that is was “night-night” time. This went over like the plague. She. Wasn’t. Havin’. It.

Normally, it is tough enough to have to leave the crowd and go nap. But, today? Today, the day filled with outdoor fun and dirt and playing? No way. No how. 

She pitched a flat out royal fit. Like, a real one you see those “other” kids throw in the middle of Target when Mama walks right past the dollar bin without stopping. This was that type of fit. 

We have very little tolerance in the Holzberger household for fit-throwing. 
My kids know –
Me: “What is that fussing gonna get you?”
Them: “Nothin’”
Me: “That’s right, say it again.”
Them: “Fussin’ gets ya nothin’”

But, she wouldn’t hear of it. She didn’t care. I even had to bring up the dreaded “Sassy Spray” option. This is simply a spray bottle with vinegar diluted a bit with water and sprayed in the mouth when a bad word comes out or extreme fussing and yuckiness. Don’t judge, it works!

She finally calmed down a bit and said, through big crocodile tears, as I carried her upside down into the house, 

“But, I the only one!”

Bam! God’s loving 2x4 to my head. I realized friend, that I am waaay past due for some Sassy Spray. 

Can you relate? 

Do you have times where you feel like you are the only one dealing with a thing?

You’ve worked at the company for ten years and some other cuter, thinner chick comes in and her productivity numbers blow yours out of the water. She gets the bonus. You get the shaft. Again. You go back to your cubicle and realize you really are the only one. 

You’ve been single for about 34 years longer than you would have liked to be, and your fellow 25-year-old single friend met who the man of her dreams last month calls you up to tell you the good news, “I’m engaged!” You go buy a carton of Blue Bell ice cream and realize you really are the only one. 

Whether it be your waistline versus her size four pants. Or your scrimping budget vs. her newly remodeled home.

It doesn’t matter. You feel like you are the only one having to deal with this junk.

The enemy loves it when we think that way, friend. But, I’m here to tell you that it just ain’t true. Whenever you start drowning in the pool of selfish thinking, the enemy wins. 

Here is your life preserver friend – YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE! 

I’m not even talking about the huge scheme of things like world hunger and epidemic disease. I am talking about even just looking in your very own neighborhood. I can almost guarantee you that you are not the only one. Maybe none of you reading know what it’s like to be like me and have to lie down on your couch for week after week or month after month as the world spins around just fine without you I it. But, I bet you know pain. I bet you know loss. I bet you know more disappointment that you would care to admit. 

The Bible says that Satan, our enemy, comes ONLY to “steal, kill, and destroy”. (John 10:10) That is what he is here for. He will steal your trust by replacing it with fear. He will kill your dreams but convincing you they won’t happen. He will destroy your self-image with every magazine cover you walk by. It is what he does, people.

Let’s stop this, shall we? Let’s stick to the Truth that we know. God has a plan for us. (Jer. 29:11) He will never leave us. (Hebrews 13:5) No temptation we face is new. (1 Cor. 10:13) And He actually finds joy in you! (Zeph. 3:17) He loves us so much that He guarantees that nothing can separate us from his love. (Romans 8:35-39)

This is true. That other junk is nonsense.

Before we get too caught up in a grown up fit, let’s stop and choose to be thankful. Yes, be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:8) and for all things. (Eph. 5:20) Trust me, it ain’t easy…but He never said it would be. (John 16:33)

Don’t lose hope. (1 Peter 1:13) We can do it with God’s help. (Phil. 4:13) And we can do it without earning us some Sassy Spray, too! 

Try not to get caught up in your own little world. Great song to enjoy by Matthew West - "My Own Little World"

My prayer for you today…
Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”