Last fall my husband and kids participated in the Tough Mudder (Want to know what a tough mudder is? You can read more about it in my post “Proud of My Tough Mudders.”) The very last obstacle was a doozy. There were wires hanging down in an area that you had to run through. Some of the wires had an electrical charge so if you touched it…you got zapped.
My kids got ahead of the group they were with and somehow managed to get to the last obstacle alone (most of the time a whole group went through at the same time). My son ran through, but my daughter took a different approach. This is her standing in the mud with the wires all around her.
The very first wire she touched zapped her so she decided she was going to go through very carefully. There was an emcee at this last obstacle and he got a big kick out of this. When the wire shocked her, she stopped and the emcee proceeded to announce the following:
“Uh oh. Something happened with the little one out there. She stopped. Wait…she is scrunching herself up as tightly as she can and trying to walk between the wires. Isn’t that adorable! It’s like she has cat-like reflexes. Meow, meow.”
Yeah…he was a bit obnoxious. Let me tell you if looks could kill that guy would have been in the mud. My daughter was definitely giving him the evil eye (smile). You see…after that first shock she had a choice to make. She could have stepped back out of the mud pit and quit. But to finish well, she had to get through the electrical wires. A few steps in she still had the option to turn back. She could back track her way to where she started, or she could move forward and continue to where people were cheering her on to the finish line. For her, there was no turning back. She made it to the finish line…without getting shocked again I might add (smile).
A few weeks ago one of our pastors spoke about “no turning back.” He talked about those moments in our lives that are difficult. During those difficult times, we have a decision to make. Do we move forward with Jesus, or do we turn back to our old ways of handling things? I haven’t been able to get this out of my head. Those moments in life that test our faith. So, I decided to think about what those moments were for me:
- When I was 10 years old, mental illness struck my family. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I knew that something had changed. It was difficult, it was frustrating, and I had moments of great guilt because of that frustration. At the time, I really didn’t know how to deal with it so I internalized it. Why would God let this happen to someone I loved?
- When I was 16 years old, my grandfather died of a heart attack. He was my buddy. He would talk to me for hours about gardening, how different things worked, history, his job. He taught me how to fish. I still miss those times with him today. Why God did I have to lose my grandfather when I was so young?
- When I was 17 years old, my grandmother died of cancer. Our family found out that she was sick and six weeks later she died on her 60th birthday. She was in a coma and unable to come to my high school graduation. She died two days later. She was like a second mother to me, and the loss was hard. It seemed that people I loved were being taken from me. Why was God allowing this to happen?
- Starting at 21 years old, I had to deal with a family members alcoholism. Phone calls in the middle of the night, suicide attempts, homelessness, children in jeopardy…the list goes on.
- When I was 27 years old, an illness took over my body and now 20 years later I’m still dealing with it. Instead of living my life…many days I feel like I am surviving life. Why God?
- When I was 28 years old, my mom had a brain aneurysm while playing with my children. She died the next day at the age of 50. Not only did I have to deal with my own grief, but I also had to deal with the grief of my son who was 3 at the time.
These were all moments that caused me to question God, and question my faith. Was I going to keep moving forward trying my best to understand the plan God had for me, or was I going to give up on Him and turn away?
- When I was 40 years old, I found out that my son was gay. Anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts had taken over him. This tested my faith the most, and I questioned it…big time. But the hardest part of this moment in my life was the fact that it caused other people to question my faith.
I don’t share these moments to say, “Oh poor me…look at all that has happened to me.” We have all been through trials. It’s more to say, “look what Jesus helped bring me through.” Like my daughter stuck between all of the wires, I had decisions to make along the way. Do I give up? Do I turn back and go to what I know instead of facing what is unknown? There is “muck” behind me, and there will be “muck” ahead of me. But do I want to face it alone, or do I want Jesus to walk through it with me? Do I want him cheering me on at my finish line? Or do I want to try to go it alone? I choose Jesus…because he loves me…and love matters.