If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. I used to squirm at the mention of that phrase, until I had to admit it’s often shameful truth. We mothers, make it our business to be in everyone else’s business. When one in our keep, which often stretches beyond the confines of our home, is hurting, mama hurts. And when mama hurts, she also ain’t happy. Before you know it, ain’t nobody happy.
The Dark Cloud
When Ian lost his job after only a few short weeks, he was understandably depressed. But it didn’t end there. An oppressive dark cloud hung over our home which for me anyway, seemed to suck the oxygen out of the air. Hard to breathe, life felt heavy. And the harder I tried to help Ian out of the pit, the deeper I made the hole for all of us.
Tell me I’m not the only one who has tried to fix someone she loves?
Failing to fix Ian did not slow my striving. Oh no. But clouded by darkness, my energy was negative; my creativity zapped. It’s no surprise that all of my well intentioned efforts were completely useless and even counterproductive.
I prayed… no ranted. “Jesus, I need you! I’m out of ideas what can I do now? I cannot keep living under this dark cloud.” Silence.
“If I don’t help Ian, who will?” Silence.
“With a demanding demeanor… Lord, seriously, what can I possibly do?” SILENCE
Finally after days of frustration, I sensed the Holy Spirit. His guidance was NOT what I expected, but guess what I heard Him say… wait for it…
”Go, enjoy Pickleball.”
In desperate need of an escape, I didn’t wait for clarification. I went. Under a cloudless blue sky, my spiraling thoughts were diverted to a hole-y yellow whiffle ball.
Is it pride that makes me feel indispensable as Ian’s mother and guardian? It’s true he doesn’t have the tools to figure out what’s next for himself, but why do I assume it’s exclusively up to me? Forgive me Lord.
The diversion that morning was exactly what was needed. Childlike play. And most importantly, I was able to look up and not see darkness.
But… there’s more.
I was randomly partnered with a new player Janine, whose carefree and infectious personality made up for her ‘newbie’ play. After our quick laughter-filled defeat we chatted while waiting for the next round. “I’m an elementary school art teacher,” she offered lightheartedly. “I’m all over the place, my memory lets me down, I can’t concentrate for long, so I only work part time. But, I’m so much better than I used to be.”
Somewhat guarded I responded, “I know something about all over the place, memory challenged artists. I’m the mom and guardian of a 25 year old brain injured one.”
And then the pieces began to fall into place. Janine, had her accident the year Ian was born. A traumatic brain injured peer with a shocking story, had been hand selected to cross my path precisely when she did. She was evidence of God’s compassionate concern for the details in my life. Not only a success story, but the perfect example of God’s ability to do immeasurably more. Our encounter was no coincidence, but rather a divine appointment, and arranged specifically to encourage me.
But… there’s more.
More than the gift of a long-overdue reset, the Holy Spirit provided some critically timed revelation. I am NOT indispensable. And…forgive my directness, neither are you. The way I see it, that inevitable truth is by design. In spite of what we may think, it is not up to us to make it happen.
The fact is, God had been working behind the scenes. But because I was unable to imagine a next step without my own sweat and tears, I had boxed Him in. Because of my limited imagination, I was limiting Him. Thankfully, the Lord busted out of my box and over the next week I could only watch in confounded amazement at the Lord’s immeasurably more…
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Now out of the way
You won’t believe what happened within days!
- Ian interviewed for a position in an elementary after school program
- Was offered the job that day
- Hired by a contractor with a special grant for underfunded schools gave them flexibility
- The position was created around Ian’s skills.
- Ian gets to teach elementary school kids art for two hours each afternoon
- Pickle-ball Janine offered to be Ian’s personal experienced advisor.
Ian has been in this dream job for only a few days, but the dark cloud has lifted.
I have no idea if it will last as Ian’s abilities will definitely be stretched. But… next time I whine about wondering what is next … you have my permission to remind me of God’s faithfulness. As cliche as it sounds, this life of faith is a journey not a destination.
Dear Sovereign Lord, Faithful you have been and faithful you will be. I confess that too often I attempt to solve my problems in my own strength and then turn to you as my last resort. Thank you that it’s not up to me to make “it” happen. Please help me to remember that I’m NOT indispensable. I’m so grateful for Your abundant grace that gives me chance upon chance and wants to bless me with immeasurably more. Lord, help me to welcome Your complete reign in my life. I love you, Jesus. Amen.