Bring on the trials!
Really James. Come on. Seriously?! Who likes to face trials and troubles and challenges? Not me. And then when trials do come, consider them pure joy. That’s crazy talk.
I do wrestle with this passage of scripture. But since I’m in the midst of living it…. (not by my choice!) I am learning its truth.
Here is this passage in the Message translation. James 1:2-4 2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Yesterday I finally got through to the insurance point of contact at Lovelace rehab hospital. (after leaving 3 messages) Without going into all of the detail, I was furious. Wires were crossed at every possible juncture. Ian’s new secondary insurance is insisting on “no lapse of care” to still cover therapy. And now, when we learn this, there are no convenient therapy appointments available. The scheduler actually suggested appointments at 8am and 4pm in the same day, with therapists Ian has never seen. (30 min drive each way) Poor Brittany, the scheduler, just doing her job, like a lamb to slaughter, received the brunt of it all. Not one of my finer moments.
Thankful I’ve acquired the exception approval, (a lapse of care won’t be a show stopper for future therapy coverage) so today I’m breathing easier. Brittany and I spoke again. And I apologized. She definitely witnessed my true colors. What brings out your true colors?
I’ve experienced my fair share of trials over my life. And God has been present at every turn. Still, NOTHING brings out our true colors quite like trials. I believe that is the point of this passage. Under pressure, our faith muscle gets a work out. And our faith needs more than one day at the gym. Clearly, God has more work to do in me. But I am counting on his promise that one day I’ll be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
We are in the perseverance phase of Ian’s recovery. It takes grit, and endurance, and motivation and grace. Lots of grace. For all of us. Most days the goal is quite simple… keep on keeping on. Persevere. As I see it, Recovery for Ian boils down to 3 major challenges. First, we have no idea where the finish line is which makes determining pace and sustaining motivation tricky. Second, we don’t know what “full recovery” looks like. Optimism and hopefulness is paramount, but accepting certain things may be necessary, but which things? Third, Ian is 22 and I’m his mom. Being 22 and dependent on your parents for daily life, just plain stinks. Especially when you’ve tasted independence and cruel circumstances took it away.
Challenge # 3 is definitely the biggie. God certainly has worked many miracles to bring us to this point… but without exaggeration, peace in our home is probably the biggest miracle of all. Thank you God. Thank you for the umbrella of grace that hovers over our home.
I love playing doubles tennis and play it often. It is especially fun when all four players are at the net and quick hands and fast reactions are tested. Often during a fast, back and forth point, the natural response is to hit it right back to the person who hit it to you. Sometimes though, the most effective strategy is to simply disengage. In other words, resist hitting it right back where the ball came from. And instead change things up.
A brilliant strategy and I’ve taken it from the tennis court and into life. Maybe this perseverance phase is teaching me something. I recommend you give it a try. It works like this. Someone or something hits the ball right at you. They flip your switch or trip your trigger. You are irked. You can fight or flight. Sometimes, of course, the fight is necessary and worth it. But 9 times out of 10, it isn’t. For example here is my list accrued in 24 hours.
- Ian changes the radio station to Alt Nation and turns up the volume. Disengage (do nothing, say nothing)
- “I hate living here.” Disengage. (do nothing, say nothing)
- I see a political post on facebook. Disengage. (do nothing, say nothing)
- A driver cuts me off. Disengage. (do nothing, say nothing)
- The woman ahead of me in line at the grocery store forgets something and makes me wait. Disengage. (do nothing, say nothing) .
- Some well meaning person offers unwanted, unhelpful advice. Disengage. (do nothing say nothing.)
Here’s the thing. Disengaging may seem weak and passive. For me, it is just the opposite. For me, disengaging is not natural; ask my husband 🙂 It takes strength and focused intention. I do not have it mastered, not by a long shot. But I am enjoying the rewards of this new discovery. More Peace.
As my faith muscle does some light weight reps with the little annoyances of life, I am counting on it being in better shape when it’s needed for the bigger storm that’s brewing.