Potholes and promises

Yesterday I woke up, my belly churning, head swirling and eyes burning with a lot of unhealthy emotions. Fighting the urge to crawl back into bed, I decided to take two of our three dogs on a walk.  (I took two, because it defies logic and exceeds my physical capabilities to walk three at once. The other one got his own walk later.)

On my walk, I cried, I lamented to God, and tried to dig deep inside me to see where all the turmoil was coming from, because honestly, I just didn’t know.

Do you ever have days like that? Weeks? Months, perhaps? When nothing you seem to do makes much sense, the direction you’re going seems dim and foggy, and you treat those you should be nicest to with the most disdain?

It was an Elizabeth-Gilbert-snotting-on-the-floor-feeling-sorry-for-myself sort of moment. I sheepishly admit I wasn’t in a snit about anything spectacularly tragic–just a culmination of a hard, hot summer of unexpected, unresolved conflicts.

I walked along, gaping at corn rows alongside me instead of at the road in front of me, and I fell flat on my face–and I do mean flat and on my face–after my foot caught in a pothole. It took  a minute to figure out which way up was, until my puppy licked a bit of feeling into my numb, plastered-to-the-pavement body. 

As I sat on that hot country road, the burn of two skinned knees, an awfully sore ankle, and two skinned palms broke through my daze, and I felt pretty darn broken. For a moment, I wondered if I’d be able to walk home. Not a soul was in sight. The road is not frequently traveled. And I didn’t have my phone with me.

After 1/2 dozen steps, I was just fine, except for the tears which had morphed into full-blown blubbering.

“I’m scared to death, Lord,” I cried. “That’s what’s wrong with me. I’m just plain scared.”  

I’m scared of the journey of life. Scared I’m not enough–for my husband, for my kids, for my extended family. Scared of the when’s-the-other-shoe-gonna-drop feeling that hangs with me,  a frustrating remnant of abuse and post-traumatic stress recovery. 

Yet there in the middle of that lonely country road–like the kind and gracious Father He is–I heard God say, “You’re right. You’re not enough. But I am. You do trip over silly things and into big holes. But I pull you up and out of them. You have and will continue to have days you fall flat on your face. But the thing about falling on your face is the only place to look is up.” 

Which is exactly as it should be.

So much awaits us in the moment we choose to direct our gaze toward the One who lifts people up; who pulls Josephs out of wells (Genesis 42:6) and who raises dead men from their slumber (John 11:42-44).

But You, O LORD, are a shield about me,

My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

~Psalm 3:3~

9 thoughts on “Potholes and promises

  1. Oh, Amy! I fell down with you and cried. The Father always gives us a hand up, doesn’t He? And we have the choice to stay flat on our faces or take His hand and get up. I knew you’d get up! Hope your ouchy boo-boos heal quickly and praying for your heart to mend as well. Blessings to you!

    1. I would’ve felt better if I’d been walking on an Alabama beach instead of the pavement, Karen, but crying with God is good about anywhere, really.

  2. For me, I’ve learned when I feel in a “funk” for no reason – discouraged and down – yet nothing has changed it is the enemy attacking me trying to snuff out the light that shines in me and to the world. Discouragement and fear are effective snuffers … is that a word? … anyway, I’ve learned to pray vehemently at those times for protection and for my mind to be renewed in truth and not give into the enemy’s lies trying to bring me down.

    I went through this last week. Most battles start and end in our heads.

    And to your point – if we focused just on our strength – life would be completely overwhelming. But we were never meant to walk alone but attached to, connected, united and abiding in God. When we do His power is mighty that flows through us and our lives doing beyond what we ask or think. Ephesians 3:20


  3. This spoke to me. Psalm 3:3 has helped me so much lately. The song version of it kept running through my head when my friend was ill in a distant land. I kept putting her name in it. I prayed it, sang it, said it. It gave me hope. She’s with Him now yet we don’t grieve as those who have no hope. Powerful word. Powerful God.

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