Friday, December 11, 2009

Give Me a Sign

I'm going to start off this post with a tangent.
I love roller coasters. LOVE them. I've been on roller coasters in...

Wait... let's play a game! I will name the city, and you tell me the name of the theme park. Now don't get all serious and google's not like I'm The Pioneer Woman, giving out cool prizes. Although, if I were to give out a prize, it would be a photo of me: 7 years old, wearing a high-necked, short-sleeved, striped shirt and army green Toughskins, standing next to Goofy, in one of those neato little slide viewer key chains:

I spent about an hour looking for these and this is about all I could find! Unbelievable! Are these awesome little things just not on the planet anymore? And someday, that link is going to be useless because somebody's going to snatch those suckers up!

Anyhoo, I digress.

Guess what Theme Parks I've ridden roller coasters in, based on these cities:
  1. Anaheim
  2. Blackpool
  3. Buena Park
  4. Denver
  5. Portland
  6. Santa Clara
  7. Santa Cruz
  8. Valencia
Basically, I've ridden a lot of roller coasters, for an average Joe. They come in all different flavors: scary-fun, scary-unsafe, boring, fast, loopty-loop, free-fall, smooth and modern, old and rickety and what I like to call Neck-n-Back: the ones that give you a migraine and send you straight to the chiropractor. Then there's the ridiculous, portable Carnie Coasters, but I'm not even counting those.

And here ends the campy tangent.

By far, the most unpredictable ride I've been on yet, encompassing all of the above listed flavors, is the Vondercoaster. Being married, having children and becoming an adult (in that order, I'm sure) has been loopy, rickety, fun, unsafe, thrilling, noisy and suspenseful. My stomach has dropped to my toes on numerous occasions and I have consumed more soda and corndogs than I ever would have otherwise. Some people are on wilder rides than the Vondercoaster, I know. But sometimes the dips and turns seem really deep and sharp, and it's all I can do to keep from loosing my cookies.

The other day David came home between jobs (that's right: "jobs" --there's a sign of the times for ya), and we were discussing why the thermostat is set to, oh, 90 degrees or so and yet the house won't get above 56? Sure it's an old house and it's below freezing, but this isn't normal. We later learned that we just needed to clean out the filters. But that day I was so discouraged. After picking up the kids I was driving to the grocery store, allowing my thoughts to spiral down, down... I mulled over how hard things are, how just when we can't afford it both our cars are having problems, the roof is leaky, outlets keep failing and my mom is afraid we're going to have an electrical fire and the house will burn down. The furnace needs work, our poor little children are freezing to death...I'm thinking about the Hispanic family I delivered a meal to one Christmas, 15 people huddled under blankets without heat. They probably had food stamps...but no heat...was our food patronizing to them? I started to think (like I sometimes do) that things were getting too hard for us to handle.

And usually, when I get like this and things seems too dark and too desperate, I can manage to push and lift and heave-ho this heavy burden into the Lord's open, waiting hands, because for all our human efforts, it would take a miracle to keep us from unraveling completely. But today I doubted. I wondered if it was all too much, too fast. Too much unraveling to keep up restoration. Too many miracles to ask for... is that possible? Where does God draw the line at grace and provision and pull out the tough-love? (I'm sure there's a good lesson we need to learn somewhere here.) Have we already received too much?

And then at the intersection of a neighborhood full of construction, I look over at the stop sign-- the temporary kind on the ground in the middle of the street.

Do you see that? It has been graffitied with "everything will be okay". Of course, I started bawling right then and there in that intersection! "Okay, God. Okay," I said out loud. And that was all I could say as I spiraled back up in a fog of humility and relief.

That day, I got home to this email from David:
"I know it's very cold (26.2 F in Portland) right now, but please be thankful for that God is faithful. He is with us, and providing for our needs. Praise Him!... in a sweatshirt and jacket, as we figure out how we can make it warmer in the house."
Sometimes God speaks through my husband at just the right time, confirming...confirming.


I just got off the phone with David as I write this, discussing our van's leaky transmission and the Christmas tree on our front porch (as in, not in the house, decorated) and he reminded me that we are moving forward. It may be slow, but we are making progress.
And that is the definition of success to us.

"Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail."
Lamentations 3.21-22


Jamie Taylor said...

Thanks Wendy, this post has touched me in a way I can't explain. Merry Christmas to you and your family!


Renae said...

Thank you, Wendy, for sharing your heart.

Meanbean said...

Anaheim - Disney Land
Blackpool - no clue
Buena Park - MGM Studios?
Denver - no clue
Portland - Oaks Park
Santa Clara - Six Flags
Santa Cruz - Six Flags?
Valencia - ....six flags?

I have little theme park knowledge, I"m guessing most of those are wrong.

Meanbean said...

ok, now having read the whole post - I have a couple of suggestions to tide you over while you figure out a longer term solution for the heat thing.

If you can, cover windows or doors that you don't use often (say a drafty back door) with a blanket nailed up over it to keep out the cold, and the heat in.

Scour craigslist for space heaters for the rooms you spend the most time in.

Try to keep as many of you together in one room as possible, for the heat from all the bodies.

roll up a blanket or towel to shove against the bottom of your front door when everyone's in. That particular part of the door nearly always lets in cold.

Bring the brood over to friends' houses where you can hang out until you're ready to drop, then go home and crash. You'll be so tired you won't notice the cold because you're sleeping in your clothes anyway ;)

We'll be praying for you guys. Matt and I spent a very cold winter snowed in and holed up in one room of our apartment, because the pipe in the ceiling burst, the guys came out to fix it, cut a 6 FOOT long rectangle out of our ceiling (which was top floor, just below the roof). They determined all the insulation in the roof had been blown to the other end of the building by the huge storms we were having.

The next day it was too dangerous for them to get back over to us, and remained so for several weeks. We barricaded that room against the loss of heat, and spent those weeks in our bedroom with the tv, dvd player, lots of blankets and food everywhere.

*hugs* to you my dear friend.

sparkle carrot said...

Wendy, I Love You and I am with you so deeply in all you say. I am scared to ride the vondercoaster

Kathy said...

Hugs and prayers coming from my my way too:) I don't just sympathize. I empathize. I asked all the same questions this past month. Same ones.

Our rental got a new roof and our heater was filled with crud and the pipe deisconnected. We have had no heat. Now, we do live in southern CA and it only gets to low 50's and 40's at night but I worry and worry and wonder if we are in too far over our heads. Because apparently, in that corner of my brain parenting isnt tiring or scary if you have money:)

Thank you for your honesty and transparency and the amazing way that you share it. THANK YOU. Life is hard. SOmetimes too hard. I am so grateful for the way that you and David are working together. What a blessing.

Jen Gray said...

Life is a rollercoaster--love the analogy (or is it a metaphor? Shoot, I never could remember the difference).

I had a day like that where someone was wearing a shirt that said "just breathe." Ahhhh. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Good reminder.

Stay warm. Much love.

CeAnne said...

God is good at just the right moment we need Him! Are you coming to dad's Christmas eve?