See Him There.

new-years-day-2910931_960_720New Year, New You!

By the time of this writing, most of us have either forgotten or given up on the sincere resolutions we made for the new year.  My only resolution was to spend New Year’s Day brainstorming and planning and working up the courage to actually, eventually resolve something.  But nothing went as planned on New Year’s Day.

Our two eldest kids left at 5AM to fly to Atlanta for the 2018 Passion Conference.  They called us early in the morning to let us know they’d landed safely.  That was the end of things going smoothly for them (and me) on January 1.

Long story short, the only funds available to them was their dad’s debit card.  However, Marissa used an incorrect PIN one too many times and locked that card.  We called CapitalOne customer service to unlock the account only to discover their CREDIT services department was open on the holiday but not their DEBIT department.  The card would be useless until the next day.  What’s in YOUR wallet?

The kids were meeting friends whose flight was significantly delayed.  Not being old enough to secure a room on their own,  they planned ahead and reserved the accommodations through a 21-year-old friend.  Her flight ultimately didn’t arrive until much later in the evening, after the conference began.  They had nowhere to go. They had no way to pay for food, transportation, or lodging.

Did I mention they were 860 miles away from home?

I spent the entire day trying to help.   I was eventually able to successfully wire some money to a check-into-cash type place in what the kids would call a “sketchy” part of town.  The knowledge that Jake was walking alone in the dark from sketchy neighborhood to his hotel with a couple hundred bucks in his pocket was disconcerting, to say the least.  Do you see how even the solution was causing me anxiety?

I didn’t enjoy my holiday.  But do you know what?  The kids did. This was an adventure. They were far away from home and finding their way.   To quote Marianne Williamson,

“Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called “All the Things That Could Go Wrong.”

During their downtime, they played cards. Once Jake got the money I wired, the hotel clerk INEXPLICABLY allowed him to check in and–pay with cash.  They later walked to Philips Arena, sang their heart out with Crowder and Passion Band.  Levi Lusko encouraged them to worry less about the things of this world and instead focus on the world to come.  🙄

Then they crashed at their hotel after an exciting and inspiring night with thousands of other college kids.

But when I laid my head on my pillow that night I thought of how I had wanted to start the year off “right.”  New Year, new me.  Instead, I just felt like same old, same old.  Same old life of stress and worry. Same old reluctant acquiescence that I’m not in control of anything. Same old responding with fear instead of faith.  That sense that It Will Never Change.  and I Will Never Change.  I’m tempted to despair.  Oh, mercy.

In mercy, God brought words to my mind. Old words. Lyrics.

“When Satan tempts me to despair…”  Then what?

Oh, had I been tempted to despair!  Tempted so well I dove right in.  Headfirst (because it starts with my thoughts) and swimming in it, submerging my heart! In years past, I’ve been known to stay in that pit and wallow.  I don’t want to wallow in 2018.

“When Satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within; upward I look and see Him there who made an end of all my sin.”           (Charitie Lees Smith)

What should I do when tempted to despair under the weight of an entire day worrying about my kids’ “helplessness”?  Look upward. See Him there.  See Him where? There on the throne.  Sovereign as He’s always been.  See Him where? Walking on the water, defying fear and gravity.  See Him with the mourners, the broken, the sinners, the anxious.  Bringing the dead back to life.  Saying, “Fear not.”  See Him working all things out for good.

See Him in a hotel worker’s willingness to give the kids a room.  See Him in their joyful hearts, whiling away the hours playing cards in a hotel lobby.  See Him in their safe flight.  See Him in the hearts of my kids whose highlight of the entire year is attending a conference of Jesus-loving and Bible-believing young adults.

If I don’t see Him and I look simply at the initial circumstances of New Year’s Day, 2018 got off to a pretty abysmal start. I spent the day fretting instead of trusting.  Not my finest hour. But I can’t let Satan tempt me to despair.  Tomorrow is another day…His mercies are new every morning.  See Him there.  Where?  See Him in the sunrise.  As always.

Happy New Year.

2018-01-01 at 07-09-40-2

Sunrise, January 1, 2018.

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