The Twinge

Food poisoning. 

If you have ever been in such a predicament, you know all too well the feeling of fancy-freedom one moment and then in your mid-merriment enters an intense guttural pain bringing one to a fetal position.

“THE TWINGE OF DOOM”

There was a time as a little girl at a waterpark I was excitedly walking towards the waterside and in my excitement stepped on a HORNET.  Twinge of doooooom. 

I’ve also experienced “the twinge” deep in my heart. Maybe you felt something similar before… It’s like a of a swirl of sadness, rejection, and hurt. Food poisoning of the soul or a sting to your heart if you will.

I had a moment like that recently. I was out at the park having a jolly old time with my son, laughing and smiling and enters a friend that just a few years prior suddenly unfriended me on social media and also in “real life” for reasons I just never knew because she made it clear by her ignoring me and my attempts at reconciliation that she was done with me. I made peace with that. I forgave her. I prayed for her and asked God to bless her. I assumed the best. I let it go. 

In that moment at the park when it hit me who she was, I went from excitement to seeing her to dread. I suddenly felt flush with the embarrassment of rejection and prayed, “God give me courage and the strength to be kind and talk to her if you open the door, even though everything in me wants to pretend I don’t see her.”

And so, I rounded up my godliest Pastor-wife grin, ready to say a warm hello of reconciliation to the unfriender I had now just locked eyes with just a few feet away.  And low and behold, just as my lips were transitioning from smile to words, she looked away, and what seemed to be in slow motion, she spun on her toes sparkling with confidence and flipped her hair behind her and she SPEED walked away in the opposite direction. Well, maybe not exactly like that. 

As I sat in the cloud of dust from her getaway, I thought, “Maybe she just didn’t see me. I was too slow in gathering my courage. Maybe I try again if she comes back.”

If the truth be told, that 180 degree turn of hers brought back feelings that I didn’t know were there. Yucky feelings that could’ve ruined my day. “Twinge of doom” feelings that pointed to a greater response in me than I was anticipating.

 And then it hit me. The twinge. The stinging lies of the enemy trying to pull me down and steal my joy. “Maybe she really just doesn’t like me…maybe something is wrong with me. Maybe I’m just a failure at being a friend.” Lies. 

I have taught countless hours on emotional wellness, self-awareness, identity in Christ, rejection, etc. But in that moment, I toyed with those lies. Those lies toyed with me. 

Hearing a lie is one thing. Believing a lie is another. We act on what we believe. And at that moment I believed I was a loser. And I felt all twingy doomy. 

We left the park, and I couldn’t shake it. I fought back tears. I prayed. I built myself up in truth, I talked to a dear friend about it. And I forgave again. And asked forgiveness for the accusations and offense in my own heart toward her. Because Lord knows, those stored up offenses will turn even the sweetest person into a bitter person. And that gives you wrinkles. I really don’t have time for unnecessary wrinkles. 

And so, there has been no sweet resolution to this unfriendly situation. If I run into her again, I’ll be ready and willing to accept her even if she chooses to continue to keep me an un-friend. 

I’m keeping my joy. And when God brings her to mind, I will pray He blesses her. 

Blesses her really, really good. 

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Back Seat Driver

It was a few hours past the evening routine of “bath, pjs, water jobs (brush teeth, potty, wash hands),
story time and bedtime prayers. Enter 10 year old back-seat driver (who shall remain nameless). He was shouting directions at his mother (who may or may not have been yours truly) and telling her that she wasn’t taking the right way.

This sleep deprived boy was also one who happened to know nearly EVERY highway path to his house from any direction possible. Obsessed with highway systems, he knew the fastest routes and whether he needed to go north, south east or west. Let’s just say deviating from his ideal route of Autistic precision doesn’t include a gracious “re-routing” like GPS would often provide, but rather endless reminders and escalating revolts that the driver was not selecting the best possible route. His route selection.

While the little genius is often CORRECT, he doesn’t always see the reasons WHY the said driver (also a very reasonable mapper and EXCELLENT driver, might I add) would choose an alternative route. He doesn’t know of the road closures, the congested traffic, accidents, etc.

He only knows what he sees.

And in the fury of his exhaustion on that late night drive, he screamed to his beloved mother through a slobbering of hot, angry tears, “I am going to steal your seat and drive a different way! I can get us there better than YOU!”

Isn’t that just precious? (Sigh.)

But how many times are we like that darling little back seat driver who shouts out to God, “But we need to go a different way! I don’t want change! I will fight you and scream at you until I get my way and I’m not letting up. This way is not BEST. This way isn’t the way I would take! I’m going to be the driver not YOU!”

Been there. Done that. I’ve chosen to do things without considering God.

I’ve said through my actions at times, “I don’t like your timing, God, so I’ll do things my way.”

It is a temptation when we face difficult situations to go in a way that seems like the best way.

Maybe you can relate to some of these common mis-directions:

-The job stinks so you start looking elsewhere when you KNOW it is where you are supposed to be.

-Waiting for a God’s best spouse for you takes too long so you compromise and start opening your heart to people who don’t have the same values as you.

-Money is tight so God is the last on your list instead of the first like He once was.

-The God-given dream in your heart is taking too long so you stop taking the necessary steps to prepare yourself…and let the dream shrivel.

There are countless times in our lives when we may be tempted to take our own route, especially when the pain is intense. In those moments of intense despair, anger and frustration at His navigating our lives, we can either turn TO Him and trust Him, or like the 10-year old and his thirst for control, we can push God out of the way and grab hold of the wheel, and seriously delaying or ultimately crashing the destiny He has for us.

I am walking through a situation right now that involves complete trust in Him. I feel like that 10-year old at times, and He lovingly reminds me that He knows it is hard that I can’t see what He is doing, but once again, He has His BEST in mind for me and my family even in difficult situations. These are a few of the scriptures that provide me a sense of calm
when I am tempted to throw trust to the wind and stay angry, hurt and frustrated.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭

Cry out to Him. Tell Him your dreams and frustrations with His driving.

It won’t change His love for you.

He can take our tears and our anger. But the peace comes when WE let go of the fight. Fall at His feet and cry it out. I’m talking ugly cry if you need to.

Ugly. Cry.

But at some point, to have peace, you gotta choose to rest in Him. It hurts to let go of our plans and dreams and give it to God. But it is the ONLY way to have peace when we stop shouting directions at Him and simply let Him give you His best way.

Eventually that darling sleepy 10-year old “GPS boy” did relax. He got home and had his night-time routine a few hours late and climbed into his cozy bed let his momma kiss his squishy little cherub cheeks as she tucked him in with “extra blankets and extra love.”

And his mom lived to tell about it.