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Learning to Trust

The winding line of traffic ahead of me was long as I slowly came to a stop.  The red light was so far ahead I could barely see it.  I sat there uncharacteristically patient.  It had been a good morning, and I was excited for my day.


Then something caught my eye in the rearview.  Curiously, I looked back only to see a car barreling toward me at 45 mph.  In that instant, I knew there was nothing I could do to keep from being hit.  As I quickly turned forward to brace for impact, my last thought was, This is going to be bad.

Crashed car

Moments later, it felt like I woke up from a weird dream.  Everywhere hurt. I was covered in water, which confused me (I would remember I had the top off of my water bottle later).  I struggled to breathe, to stay conscious.  My legs felt like they were glued to my seat.  But I also could tell that nothing seemed broken or out of place.  I immediately thanked God and my guardian angels for keeping me alive in what I would later learn was a 4-car crash, with me as the sandwich in the middle. I felt grateful. 


I would spend the next week in bed, sore and achy everywhere.  I saw all the work piling up, the mounting list of tasks I couldn’t get to.  I know you work through all things for the good, Lord, I thought.  Help me see what the good is in this.  All I could land on was maybe God wanted me to be more aware as I drove.


Fast forward almost one month to the day.  It felt so good to get back in the saddle with work and at home!  I wasn’t caught up, but close.  I felt good enough to not have to cancel the ski trip I had planned months earlier, reasoning I would not ski any of the rougher, bumpier runs.  The first two days of skiing felt great!  I stayed on groomed runs and had a blast attacking the slopes.


Then came day three.  I started down a run that I’d already done twice.  Feeling confident, I flew down the mountain, fast and free.  To my left, I noticed another skier gradually moving in my direction as we both skied down the slope.  He kept creeping my way.  I am likely going to need to stop.  No sooner had that thought crossed my mind when I came upon a group of skiers stopped on the mountain.  While they were not in my way, they did block my view.  By the time I passed them, that other skier had moved over quite a bit in a very short span of time and was almost parallel to me. If I continued forward, I would wipe us both out!


While I am a fairly accomplished skier, there was no way I could stop that fast.  I tried, but I wiped out badly. The pain in my left leg registered loud and clear.  Figuring my leg was just sore, I tried to ski a few more runs after my wipe out. But after that my body forced me to stop.  The skiing didn’t hurt; the moving everywhere else with my leg straightened did.  The next day I would discover that I didn’t just hurt my leg, I actually broke it. 


Though the leg pain was less intense than my car accident, my restrictions were greater. I had to use crutches for 6 weeks, putting no weight whatsoever on my left leg.   I had to ask for help.  A LOT of help.  Several work tasks were off limits for me, forcing me to delegate even more.  Only this time, I felt angry. 


Really, God?  I questioned.  I don’t see the good in this at all.  Clearly you’re trying to get my attention, but for what?!  I really don’t understand, and I’m tired of this!


My son’s wedding was a mere 8 weeks away, and all I could think about was if I’d be able to be escorted down the aisle by him and do our Mother-Son dance.  I prayed a lot, cried a lot.  Finally, I got out my bible and started to listen.


I started with the story of Job.  Job lost everything: his home, his children, his livelihood, his health.  Still, he didn’t curse God.  He questioned God, yes.  But not once did he blame or curse.  That convicted me.  As much as I had been under attack, I knew it was nothing compared to Job’s challenges.  Or even my own past challenges I’ve been through in my life. 


And where did Job land after God spent three chapters (that’s a lot!) reminding Job he’s not going to always understand the plans and purposes of the Creator of the Universe?  Listen to Job’s response:

I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.  Nothing and no one can upset your plans.  You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’  I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head.  You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.  Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’  I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!  I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!  I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”


Humbled, I looked down at my hands and very intentionally clenched them into two tight fists.  Then I slowly opened open them again, palms upward.  Releasing.  Surrendering my need to know and understand. 

“Forgive me, Papa,” I quietly whispered.“I may not understand, but I don’t need to.  Having the answer doesn’t change the outcome.  Help me be at peace.”   

And I was.  I rediscovered my joy, no longer bound by my circumstances.  While I still can’t exactly say why the Lord allowed these things to happen, I am seeing some of the good that is being worked.  I have been much more humble, willing to ask for help. Watching people so readily jump in to lend me a hand, even total strangers, has warmed my heart.  It’s been a good reminder that there is still so much compassion and kindness out there in the world, despite what the media may say.


I am walking again.  While I may not dance the night away, I will be able to walk down the aisle and dance with my son on his big day.  These are all blessings, not guarantees.  Nothing in life is guaranteed.  Even as I write this, I am fighting through sickness.  Once again, God is slowing me down.  Challenging me to get my sense of purpose and joy from my relationship with my Creator versus what I do or how I do it. 


Only this time, I am content.  I may not know the answers or even all the lessons in what I’m going through yet.  But one thing I do know: God has me.  He doesn’t need me to do.  He doesn’t need me to understand.  He just needs me to be.  To stay in communion with my Creator, the caregiver of my soul. 

FOR FURTHER THOUGHT: I think one of the most challenging times for most of us is when we don't understand the why's behind our circumstances. As much as we know that control is an illusion, it sure is an illusion most of us stubbornly cling to!

Whatever is going on in your life, whether it's a season of joy or hurt or somewhere in between, God has you. What the Lord most desires of you is to spend time in communion together. To be honest about where you're at, open about your thoughts and emotions. Not just the good thoughts, but the bad and the ugly thoughts, too.

Once you completely open your heart, you're ready to listen. Job had to talk to God A LOT before he was ready to really listen. And ultimately, God responded to Job with grace and blessing.

So this week, consider spending time with your Creator genuinely sharing. Afterwards, spend some time reading scriptures that remind you of what's true, like Psalm 37. Remember who IS in control. In doing so, you'll find solace and strength in the assurance that, regardless of circumstances, your Creator holds the ultimate authority and guides you with grace and wisdom.

PRAYER: Lord, your thoughts are not my thoughts, nor are your ways my ways. When I don't understand, help me to trust. When I'm in a season of easiness, may I not take it for granted. When I'm in a season of difficulty, may I yet praise your name. Help me to take note of the good all around me, remembering that every good thing I see comes from above. Thank you for being the creator of goodness, of peace and joy. May my eyes seek you above all else. May I fight to bare my soul before you. May I remember today and always that being in relationship with you is what most matters. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.


Barb Lownsbury

Barb is a speaker, author, and entrepreneur. She has Bachelor’s Degrees in International History and in Education, and a Master’s Degree in Education. She has spoken at conferences and taught classes throughout the U.S. about faith, relationships, leadership and courage through trial. Her book, Using What’s Broken to Boldly Shine, is a powerful read of transformation through trial. Her blogging is focused on giving people encouragement and strength for their personal journey. Barb serves as the Executive Director for The Dented Fender Ministry while running a successful real estate and development company. She currently resides in Dayton, Ohio with her husband and blended family of seven.


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