Tackling Tough Times Together

So, as I’ve shared my backyard experiences, I’ve shared Gardenias in the Garbage, Moving Messes, and Today, I’m sharing about Tackling Tough Times Together.

When Mama was diagnosed with cancer this past October, it was a tough time. As we prepared to go to Atlanta for her surgery, my sister called Mom and said this:

“Mom, we don’t know where this path will lead – it could go down one of two roads.  But whichever road we travel, we’re going down this road together as a family.”

We labored in prayer together.  Mama went in front of the church and asked for prayer according to what God’s word says to do.   She DOESN’T like to be in front of the church!

The thing about praying is that God says that we must pray but then totally, truly be willing to accept God’s will.  As Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, he BEGGED God to let there be another way, another path – and yet, He said, “Not my will but thine.” 

And God said no to him.  (See my 2006 post “When God Told Jesus ‘No!‘”)

So,  we love Mama!  We love her so much!  And yet, we must love God more than our own parents and so, with our gutts completely torn out (both hers and ours) we had to say, “not my will but thine.”

Huddled together like scared children at the feet of a powerful king, we clung.  We clung to God and his word and promises that

Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.””

 Isaiah 30:21
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

 Joshua 23:8
But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now.

Hold fast — cling.  Listen.  Know that He will be with us.   That is all we could do.

This was like when Kip and I and the kids worked in the yard.  One of us would be pulling and pulling on a big old tree.  It wouldn’t come loose.  Too many vines.  Too much mess!  No way!

And yet, if one or even better two of us, grasped a different place in the tree and we pulled together, it would come out like a toothpick stuck in wet soap.  Boy, it became MUCH easier.

Matthew 18:20
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

 Ecclesiastes 4:12
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken

God said in Genesis

Genesis 2:18
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

While ultimately when we pass through the shadow of death – it is US and our God — together — while here on this earth we need each other.  We cling to God first but when the tough times come, we pull together.

 When you have problems in life, you and your family have two choices:  pull together or pull apart.

So often when struggles come there is blame.  Finger pointing.  Whining.  Fussing.

Why do children totally mess up their parent’s legacy by fighting over what their parents leave behind?  What is more important, the legacy of their parents or the money that they can add to their account?

When my husband’s parents died, he got some things that he wanted and other things went to other brothers.  But the things were not what was important — Kip may have relinquished the call for THINGS but he kept HIS BROTHERS.

When Mom had her surgery and was awaiting being taken back – they only let two go back – we have three sisters.  We laughed, worked it out and all jostled over Mom, but, we KEPT our sisters.  We loved each other through it.  The last thing we needed was for us to fuss and get upset and upset our mother.

And when we got the news on December fourth.  Oh, the news!  The news that were far beyond what we could ask or imagine.  The news that meant that Mama would be our present for Christmas.  She would not be racked and riddled with chemotherapy or spend the holiday in some cold hospital – she would be our warm, living breathing present – still sore from the surgery but THERE.

I asked her to wear a bow on her head to represent that God in his infinite wisdom and most humbling mercy of all mercies decided to give us Mama back.  The cancer was completely gone – nothing left – no chemo, no radiation.  Just healing mercy.

Oh, so many prayers have gone up for so many people and it was their time to be called home to heaven.  We do not our would not presume that the prayers of their families were any less sincere or that ours were any more “holy” for there is NOTHING holy about us!  God has blessed us and we are grateful.

So, what I’ve learned is that when the rough winds blow – God means for us to tackle those though times together.

We aren’t meant to be alone and even if and when we are – we are still not alone – we have our triple braided cord that cannot break holding the threads of our very soul from being wiped into nonexistence:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We are held in a net of LOVE, compassion and caring that we cannot understand but cannot escape if we put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Oh, to be loved in this way is truly the greatest joy!

So, as you deal with the stickers and brambles of life – PULL TOGETHER.  Stick together. Love.  Cling to your God and to those God has given you to move through life with.  Do not pull a part – pull together.

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