I'm here! At least I think I am....My life is such a blurry of activity these days that I find it hard to know where I am at any given moment, or how I got there. ("Blurry". It's my new word for today. A combination of blur and flurry. I had to go with the combo because I am far too busy and in too much of a hurry to type both words out.) Trevor can vouch for the fact that I don't always know where I am, or where I am going. I took him to the clinic this morning before school to get a tetanus shot (no injury, just required). Afterwards he asked if we could go to McDonalds. I said sure, made my way across the highway and proceeded to pass McD's entirely. He said "where are you going? McDonalds was back there..." Chuckle. So I turned around, ordered his food at the drive-thru and then proceeded to drive right past the cashier window. I said "what is WRONG with me today? I have no idea where I'm going!" Trev said "I can tell!" More chuckling. Wow. Can you say brain clog? As much as I hate to admit it, this is nothing new for me. My boys have seen me do things like this many times so it's not exactly out of character for me to miss a turn now and again. But it takes the Howard kids by surprise (they'll get used to it). Even with all that confusion, I did manage to remember where the highschool was, make all the appropriate turns to get there, and dropped Trev off at school safely before going to work.
I don't know if this has anything to do with that, but I had a terrible dream early this morning. The kind of dream that feels real and when you wake up you are so thankful that it was just a dream. I won't go into details of what I dreamt about, but it entailed one of my boys falling into a deep hole and I couldn't reach him to get him out. I woke up and even before I opened my eyes, the first thing I did was pray for God to remove that image from my mind. To take my thoughts captive, as it says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 "... take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." I have no doubt that because I prayed that prayer, God delivered me and protected me from being tormented by that dream all day long. I have had dreams like that before, not exactly that scenario, but with a similar theme: my kids are in danger and I cannot reach them to save them. It is my worst nightmare (and probably is for most parents). Satan knows my weak areas, and my biggest one is fear. I don't know if satan has the power to give us bad dreams or not, but he certainly knows what causes me to fear, and uses any chance he can to stoke the fires of fear in my heart. He uses whatever weapons he can to cause us to stumble, to become ineffective for God, and there is nothing in my life more paralyzing than the fear of something bad happening to my kids. So I really have to be careful, and take my fears to God regularly, especially where the kids are concerned. As they get older and more independent, my ability to keep them safe seems to be fading. Kyle and Hope want to ride their bikes around and go to the park with their friends, Nick wants to play injury producing games like football, Vinny wants to stay home alone sometimes instead of coming to the store with us. They are old enough to do these things, and we let them. But I am still prone to worrying...what if they forget to look for cars just this one time? What if the house starts on fire during the hour that we are gone to the store? And Trevor has a new girlfriend at school already....which at 15 brings with it a whole plethora of things for me to worry about!
If I allow it, all of these worries and fears can accumulate in my heart and mind and become a burden that I was never meant to carry. As I have so many times before, I realized anew this morning that I need to go to God daily, every single morning, and lay my burdens at the foot of the cross. To cast all my cares upon Him. I don't want to give the impression that I am a complete mess! I'm not! Life is busy, yes, but we are doing fine - more than fine! We are blessed beyond measure, and as I take my eyes off all of our busy-ness and embrace all of the running to and fro without complaining, I see - we see - how truly blessed we are with this life that God has given us! But even in the midst of the blessing, I am still vulnerable to fear and allowing the burdens of everyday life to pile up. And it can be so easy, as I allow myself to become busy and distracted, to forget to go to the Source of my strength. To drink daily from the river of Living Water. When I try and do life on my own without God, I may keep up for a while but life always outruns me. And as I get further and further behind that's when the desperation and fear begins to build and I become overwhelmed. Distracted. And I miss the turn into McDonalds. But when I quiet my heart and listen, I can hear the voice of Jesus whisper in my ear "where are you going? I'm back here..."
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30