Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hard Things

Most of us, given the opportunity, would avoid doing the hard things. We tend to like comfort, ease, and little to no difficulty in our lives. But sometimes we are faced with two choices, neither of which is a preferred option, and even describing one as the lesser of two evils seems significantly understated.

If you know me personally, you know I tend to live in a bubble. My bubble is 5 miles around. I go so far north, south, east, and west, and don't like to go outside my bubble except on rare occasion. Why? I don't know. I am sure there is some lie I am believing about why I don't like to go farther but at this point I have no idea what it is.

Typically this is the worst when my kids are in school. I always feel a need to be within arms distance, just in case. And, if I have to be farther away, it best be early so that I have plenty of time to accomodate for unexpected circumstances that might interfere with my ability to get there at the time I need to pick them up. Believe me, you can't make this up.

No one else I know lives like this. Certainly no one in my family. I've gotten slightly better over the years but I am no where close to an uninhibited point of taking full advantage of the time my kids are in school to be able to go places or do things. It's so sad. Sort of. I get a lot done in other respects which makes 'home' easier.

That said, yesterday my kids were off. We went to see my friend that recently relocated to a secure, safer environment for her memory problems. First, this was way outside of my 5 mile rule. Second, this involved major highway driving. Third, I haven't driven this road myself in more years than I can count and the last time I was on it, my husband was driving and I probably had my eyes closed freaking out because it's fast and there are semis. Going the speed limit was difficult let alone those that were not happy with the fact that a rule follower was in front of them and they did not feel any particular affection for obeying the posted signs.

When we got there I was relieved. Except I realized I'd have to do it again in less than two hours and in reverse.

But I had a choice to make. Do the hard thing and see my friend OR avoid the hard thing and endure not seeing my friend.

You would think that would be it. Except it wasn't. Because reality set in of what she really needs. Locked doors. Limited access. Comprehensive routines. Clear expectations. And it was hard. Really hard to see.

As if that weren't enough, others I saw were indicative of what her future could likely be. That was not only sobering but incredibly difficult to accept.

But here's the deeper question: After all the prayers we prayed, am I willing to accept that this situation equates to God feeding the birds?

Matthew 6:26 says Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet Your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (NIV)

Several weeks ago I took the man-child to a student ministry event. While I wasn't thrilled to see that someone left a partial slice of pizza in the grass, I smiled at the bird eating it thinking of this verse. And I can't help but think that my friends new living situation is the exact same thing.

God knew where she would need to be.

God knew the parameters that would need to be in place to keep her safe.

God knew the type of people she would need to be surrounded by in order to thrive as best as she can.

And as painful as it is to admit this, He also knew the physical distance that would have to separate us for both her benefit and mine. Because if she were closer, I would be there all the time which would be extremely difficult on me and make an adjustment for her much harder.

And so we have two birds, given exactly what they need, for the reasons they need it. And in the process I am being stretched to not only deepen my trust in God's provision, but to have my bubble get a little bit bigger. (Honestly it felt more like it expanded to the point it would almost pop, especially considering the pain in my hands from white knuckling the steering wheel driving there. This is a great indication of my husband's ability to love me well since I am like this as a passenger, too.)

We might not like the food being served up, but either way, if it's coming from God, it's the provision He's sending. And considering He knows the hunger in us that most needs satisfied, maybe we could just start giving Him the benefit of the doubt on the menu choices He presents.

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