How often are we tempted to throw up our hands in frustration and declare to whomever may happen to be standing near enough to hear, "This is just TOO Much!"?
That phrase is often accompanied by, "I simply cannot believe this!" And the ever popular, "What were they thinking?!"
I've been tempted to fly headlong down that pathway many times. But especially this past week with all the election chaos going on I found myself asking, "Just exactly how much is TOO much?"
Let me start out with a picture of this adorable kid, which will help you smile in the evaluating . . .
This was taken of Andrew Ryder who turned 1 year old in August. Isn't he just squish-ably delightful?! (That was, of course, a rhetorical question.)
Andrew is number four on the Smith lineup of children. He is the bonus blessing which Meagan and Nathan joyfully welcomed into their little tribe. People often react with shocked expressions when told they have four children and that the last two boys are only 13 months apart.
Sometimes people even respond, "Wow! I don't know how you do it. That would be Too Much for me." And yet somehow with God's grace, Meagan and Nathan carry on; usually choosing joy and smiles.
|The Smith Family|
Now, please don't misunderstand. They are both very hard working individuals. Nathan works long hours for the Publix Corporation in Lakeland. Meagan is a stay-at-home mom who also nannies and runs a business on the side. They both volunteer in several areas of our church. Their life is one of constant motion.
The above picture was snapped a few weeks ago. It happened very quickly before everyone broke free and took their loud selves dashing off in four different directions. This picture gives you a better glimpse of their current reality . . .
|Date night - 2020|
Last night, Frank and I offered to stay with the children after they were in bed so Nathan and Meagan could take a little ride. We had started a movie and they both sat down to watch with us a few minutes before leaving. This was the state of things after about 20 minutes. (Made me smile, too.)
Meagan asked me last week why I thought she was feeling so overwhelmed. I almost laughed out loud before I realized she was totally serious. So I took a moment and ran down the quick list of why I thought "overwhelmed" might be a legitimate feeling for her.
Sold their home. Bought a home. Glitches of a new build. Moved in to two bedrooms [with parents] while waiting for house to be completed. Babies kept waking each other up sharing the bedroom with Meg and Nathan. No sleep for anyone. Noah sent home from school as a classmate had Covid. Oh, wait! School became virtual for two weeks, so he had to be kept on task while she simultaneously wrangled three little boys 2 and under. All the while making decisions about what to purchase for the new home . . . on a tight budget.
Whew! Now, that would be too much for my plate. However, their unsettled life seems to be a perfect picture of the things we're all currently facing.
As I've talked with different friends, many have been asking, "Why do I feel so overwhelmed? Why does everything just feel like it's Too Much?!" Maybe you're wondering the same thing. (You may also be wondering what my point of encouragement is today.)
I think it's found in a simple truth Frank often rehearses for me. When we start feeling overwhelmed by life, we must remember God's promise to provide Grace equal to or greater than the trouble.
Years ago, we read a story from the life of Corrie ten Boom whose family hid Jews during the years of the holocaust. The Nazis did eventually discover their attempts and arrested them all. Corrie was the only one of her family to survive the concentration camp where they were sent.
In the story, Corrie told of expressing her anxious thoughts to her father during the earliest days of their work. She was afraid it was all just too much.
"Papa, I don't think I have the courage I need if they come for us." Her heart was seeking comfort from her father. His profound answer to her has carried us many times.
"Corrie, when we travel on the train when do I give your ticket to you?"
"Just as we get on the train, Papa."
"You don't need the ticket before we get on the train, do you?"
"That's how it is with God's grace. When you need the courage, He will give it to you. You don't have it today because you don't need it yet. So don't worry, little one. When you need the grace and courage, He will give it to you."
Don't you think that truth is appropriate for you and I today? Life right now (especially here in the United States) could be overwhelming. A Pandemic. Lockdowns. An Election. Great Uncertainty. But there is also GRACE available for us if we will simply lean in to the One who so lavishly provides.
May I echo the words of Corrie's wise father for you today, Dear Reader? When you need the courage to speak up or to remain silent, you will have it. When you need the grace to keep moving forward, it will be available.
Don't give way to worry, fear or anxious thoughts. This moment in history is not Too Much for you and I to navigate, if we are trusting in Christ. We were born at this time for a purpose. Let's choose to Embrace the Grace available and step into the roles assigned to us.
Grace to match and exceed every need? Now, that is just Too Much, isn't it?
If you'd like the Embrace the Grace family to pray with you during this time, just leave your name or a short request in the comment box. We will gladly pray with you for the courage you need.