Sometimes you just need someone to tell you the truth. You need someone to get into your face, look you in the eyes, and tell you how they feel about something they’ve noticed in your life. I’ve never had this happen to me before…at least, not until today.
But before I come to the crescendo, I’ll start out with the beginning beats, the first measures of today. First of all, I am so insanely glad Mom listened to the Holy Spirit and came yesterday to get me instead of today. When I looked out my window this morning, the roads were absolutely covered in snow and more of the white stuff was still falling. It was obvious how our traveling would’ve gone if she had done other than what she had.
I finished the book of Daniel this morning. The last chapter is titled The Time of the End. It refers specifically to the Tribulation, the second half of the rule of the Antichrist. After the Rapture, when God comes and harvests all of the believers both dead and alive, a time period of seven years called the Tribulation will begin. A man will rise to power, proclaiming world peace and enamoring all who know of him. He will be extremely powerful. For the first half of this time (about three and a half years) there were will be peace; the world will prosper and people will flock to follow the Antichrist. But then, when the second half begins, it will literally be hell on earth. The Antichrist will become a dictator of sorts, killing Christians and forcing people to wear his mark, or else they won’t be able to buy or sell things (Revelation 13). In this chapter of Daniel, it is foretold that “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time” (12:1), referring to the Tribulation. But following that verse, Daniel is reassured that he and his people and whoever has their name written in the book (that is, the Book of Life, where the names of all believers are written), will be delivered. It is also revealed to Daniel that not everyone will be saved. “Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand” (12:10). This vision, I think, was the easiest to understand as far as prophecy is concerned. I get the fact that some Christians don’t like digging into the technical, historical, factual part of their faith, but look at it this way; so many people who believe other things don’t actually know why they believe what they believe. Some feel they can’t question their belief system just because it’s either been in their family for so long, because it’s all they know, or because they just “like that way best.” Why do you believe what you believe? Be willing, despite how uncomfortable and strange the prophetic and technical side of the Bible may be, to dig into the base of your faith; be willing to learn about and question why you believe what you believe. Trust me, it’s important. Better yet, trust God, that He gave you this information for a reason.
My mom and I had a great conversation this morning about how sometimes the Bible is difficult to understand. She talked about passages written by Paul about how the world was crucified with Christ. This is a concept that is hard to comprehend, that is, if you really try to comprehend it. Sometimes I feel like we’re trapped, as growing children of God, by our own humanity. Concepts like the Trinity, the crucifixion of the world with Christ, prophecy, and even some symbolism cause a sort of mental block to form in the brains of many Christians. I know the Trinity is one which, just trying to piece together the way three can be one but different all at the same time, makes my head hurt. But I guess God wouldn’t really be worth worshiping if we could totally understand Him. 🙂 Besides, learning and challenging my brain is fun 😀
I spent most of the day reading The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis. So far it’s very interesting and, thankfully, relatively new to me. Some of the concepts I’ve seen in other books I’ve read, such as the argument of traditional values being placed in the category of objectivity rather than subjectivity, which I’ve seen in Saving Leonardo. C.S. Lewis also refers to Taoism, which I learned about in-depth in World Literature…my college education is already paying off! 😀 Anyway, it was cool to read about Taoism in another work, specifically by a Christian author, and know its origin along with its dynamics. Yay application!
At one point I was outside, running around in the snow, throwing it in Jimmy’s face as he shoved some down my scarf…it was a little cold. I talked to Mom while she shoveled snow. It’s funny; she never asks anyone to help her shovel snow, and even when I offer she always says no, because she sees it as her workout. I love how she finds little things like walking, shoveling snow, or even playing Just Dance with Gracie to take care of her body. Maybe she’s where I get all of my weird idiosyncrasies from.
Around three o’clock, Dad, Jimmy, Gracie, and I head out to drop Gracie off at her friends house and to stop at Wal Mart. When I step outside, ready to get into my father’s truck, I take a look at the roads and immediately think of a million reasons to not even leave the house…actually, it’s really just one reason: traction.
We pile into the truck, my father telling us we probably won’t get far because his tires need to be changed. My brain freezes up, but I trust my father’s judgement instead of arguing.
Surprisingly, we make it to Gracie’s destination. We can’t make it up her friend’s driveway (most people live farther up from the main road on the way to Norwich and therefore have longer, more treacherous drives), so I get out and walk Gracie up the drive to the house. When I return to Dad and Jimmy sitting in the truck, I decide to speak out against going to Wal Mart, especially since we’re going for me (I wanted to buy all of the Christmas party ingredients today). But my father replies with “it doesn’t really matter.”
I wasn’t sure where to go with that.
I stay silent as we fishtail our way along Route 8, not going above forty-five miles an hour, snow flying at the windshield and plows passing by every few minutes. We make it into the Wal Mart parking lot, but only just. I admire my father for his ability to maneuver the truck as it slides and spins all over the road…but this keeps me from offering to drive, because, let’s face it, I’m pretty sure we’d end up in a ditch with me screaming like a school girl if I was behind the wheel.
Okay, in and out as fast as possible, I think as we trek through the snowy lot. I buy everything I need as Jimmy helps me cross things off my list. Dad goes off and does his own thing. We check out together and head to the truck. As I push the cart through the snow, swerving and being met with great resistance, I’m entertaining the fear of not getting home.
As we slide out of the parking lot, I realize I’ve forgotten an item on my list but don’t dare ask my father to turn around: we’re already out of town. But as we go up the first hill on the way home, the traction (or what’s left of it) on our tires fails and we begin to slide backwards. I try not to panic as the truck shimmies closer to the gully on the side of the road and cars pass by us awfully close. My father finally backs the truck into a driveway and turns around to go back to Wal Mart. I know exactly what his plan is, though I’m not sure it will work. Regardless, I sit quietly and talk to God, asking Him to help us get home or to give us a place to stay overnight if we have to stay in Norwich. Surprisingly, I’m not worried at this point; I’m just quiet.
We get back to Wal Mart, but not without almost running off the road and sliding all over the place (my father maneuvering the vehicle quite skillfully). Jimmy, Dad, and I step into the auto center part of Wal Mart and negotiate with the mechanic at the desk about new tires. Regardless of how worrisome this situation should be, I tell Jimmy I’ve forgotten something and go to buy it. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to get the thing I needed without having to bother my father.
About an hour later, we set back out onto the dangerous roads, not sure if we’re any better off with our new tires. We make it up the first hill that proved to be such a difficult obstacle before hand; I prayed the entire time, having complete faith that we’d get home one way or another. In fact, God calmed me so far as to help me fall fast asleep in the passenger seat as we completed the ride home. When we pulled into the driveway, I couldn’t believe I’d fallen asleep. Normally during those kinds of situations I would be gripping the door handle, my heart would be in my throat, and I would be absolutely freaking out. But, like always, God totally stabilized me.
This is where the day became climactic. While I was doing the dinner dishes, my mom was talking to me, when I began crying because of something she said. I had been trying not to, but it hurt too much. She confronted me then about a struggle, an evidence of bondage she’d seen in my life and was certain everyone else saw. She held nothing back; she didn’t worry about hurting me; she just wanted to make sure I realized what I was doing, what I was trapped in. Sometimes it takes someone else’s words to reveal a lie you’ve been telling yourself for so long. Well, her words did.
God has been working on this in me for some time, that is, when I let Him in. Some people find it to be an odd struggle, but to me it makes perfect sense and yet no sense at all. My mother continued to tell me I needed to just let go and relax and allow myself to be free from this bondage. I told her I’ve tried and tried and I just don’t know how. But, honestly, I do know how; I’m just afraid to let myself. I know this is a bit deep, a bit weird, but it’s God. I’m not going to tell you I have no struggles, that I’ve got my life together, that I’m nineteen and on my way to change the world. Truth is, I have many struggles that stem from one glaring one, my thorn, to put it in biblical terms; I’m a mess; I definitely do not have my life together. But there is one thing that is solid in my life, one thing that gives me hope of freedom, and that is the love of God.
Talking to my mother, despite how she meant her words, made me feel like I had to “fix” myself within a certain time slot…despite how long it’s been, how long this struggle has been going on, how far I’ve come in defeating it through my growth in Jesus Christ, it’s still going to take a while for me to be completely free of it. It’s not one of those things that you can just wake up one morning and see that it’s fixed. It’s moment-by-moment, step-by-step, day-by-day. God can defeat this struggle in me, and thank God He allows me to struggle, that He’s so willing to save me from myself.