5.24.2011

God only gives you what you can handle

How many times have you heard that phrase? How many times have you said it? Over the past two years especially, I've heard that phrase more times than I care to count. And I have to tell you...I think it's junk.


I really do.


And here's why...if God only gave us what we can handle, there really wouldn't be much on our plates. As a whole, humans are rather unprepared for the crap that life slings at them. I mean, honestly...think about it. Can you possibly prepare yourself for the loss of a loved one? Nope. Can you prepare yourself for a devastating car crash? A financial debacle? Your child becoming ill? A house fire? (Ok, you can kind of prepare for the house fire in terms of escape routes, fire extinguishers, etc. but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about your house burning to the ground, taking everything you own and hold dear - outside of your family members and maybe the cat - with it)


You really can't. You can TRY. But how it plays out in your mind is NEVER close to the reality of it all. But I'm off track here. Getting back to God only giving us what we can handle. I think it's bunk.


Because if He only gave us what we could handle, we wouldn't need HIM.
I think he INTENTIONALLY gives us more than we can handle because it forces us to rely on him. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day."


"...I had nowhere to go..."


The little things in life - the ones we can handle - we don't think we "need" God to help us in those things. We get so full of ourselves and our abilities to handle the junk that comes at us each day that we turn a blind eye to the possibility of bigger troubles rolling our way. And I think God uses those to get our attention and remind us that we really cannot handle it without Him.


Two years ago, I thought I was all that and a bag of chips. We had made it through our first deployment and were gearing up for our second. I had learned a lot through that first deployment - lessons I planned to put to full use for the second go-round. I had plans and I was going to make them WORK. We'd pay off bills. We'd save some money. We'd do x, y, and z while MacGyver was gone. My house would be clean. The kids and I would enjoy our last adventures on the island while Daddy was off flying missions in Iraq. I'd get to spend some quality girl time with my friends whose husbands were also deploying. We'd take a hop or two back to the mainland to visit family. And then, MacGyver would come back, our family unit would be complete. We'd wrap up our time here in Paradise and PCS on to the next chapter of our Army life.


I could handle that.


The only things out of that entire list above that actually happened was the part about saving money (out of dire necessity) and the fact that our family unit is still complete. Which is an incredible blessing, in and of itself...one that outweighs every other thing on that list. Ten times over.


But God gave me a challenge that I had no possible way of handling. I was wholly and utterly unprepared for it. I never saw it coming and it knocked me so far back that I doubt I'll ever get back to the place I was before June of '09. How do you "handle" your husband being in trouble so deep that you literally cannot see a way out? How do you handle a CID agent telling you that you face criminal charges of your own and that CPS might very well take custody of your children because of that? (scare tactics...I know) How do you handle watching every single thing you've worked for your entire adult life disappear in front of you? How do you handle being so scared that you cannot breathe?


You don't.


You can't.


I couldn't.


Have you ever been in an earthquake? We take for granted that "terra firma" means "firma" all the time. In an earthquake, there is a mental disconnect - a dichotomy of sorts - between what your brain thinks it knows (the ground is solid and unmoving) and what it is experiencing (the ground IS moving). This was an earthquake of sorts only it was my life that was shaking all around me, not the ground. Nothing was solid. Nothing was as it should have been. Nothing was trustworthy or safe. There was nothing on this earth that I could rely on in those moments. Nothing.


I had friends - wonderful friends - telling me that it was going to be ok. As much as I love them, I wanted to yell at them that they were full of crap because no one knew, especially at the start of all of this, that any of this would be anything close to "ok". Like I've said before, I'm used to being able to pull strings and call in favors. I'm used to being able to put people in contract with the right resources for the situation and get them moving toward a solution. But I had no strings to pull. No solutions to point toward. I was left with my faith.


Up until that time, I was basically paying lip service to my faith. Yes, I believe in God. Yes, I believe that He has my best interests at heart. Yes, I believe. But those are words, not actions. I don't think there was ever really a time in my life prior to this that I've ever had to fully rely on God for anything. Or ever cared to. I could handle it all myself. But not this time. I've spent more time on my knees in the past two years that in the other 37 combined.


People have failed me. Institutions that I thought would support me have not. Friends that I thought would be there were not. Lifelines that I thought existed were not as strong as I would have hoped. These were some very tough lessons to learn. But I have never been forsaken. And through all of this, I have been blessed in ways that are immeasurable. I know I've discussed that before but I'm reminded of it on a daily basis now, which is it's own blessing as well. I took things for granted before that I no longer do.


The next time you find yourself getting ready to tell someone that God only gives us what we can handle, think about what you're saying. There really should be a caveat attached to that - He only gives us what we can handle WITH HIM and THROUGH HIM.


I'll step down off my soapbox now. This was just something that's been a burr under my saddle for a while and I needed to get it out.




Pau.




- hfs

7 comments:

SGT B said...

Don't forget, believing in God is only half of the equation...

God believes in you too...

Homefront Six said...

How does it wash with a loving God? I think it washes completely. I'm not saying He pushes us down the stairs to teach us how to fall. But I do think that He allows things to happen to us so that we do not fall under the illusion that we can rely completely on ourselves and not on Him.

Equating His love with the love of a parent doesn't quite work. Because His love for us is bigger than my love for my children - even if my human mind cannot wrap around that (which it cannot...there is nothing on this earth I love more than my children and, in my mind, no one loves their children more than I love mine so comprehending the fact that God loves me more than I love my children is tough for me). It's bigger than we can comprehend and it is eternal.

And, while our God is a loving God, He is also a jealous God (see the second commandment) and wants ALL of our love and attention. All of it. So, in that sense, relying upon ourselves provokes His jealousy. In order to teach us that lesson - to rely completely and solely upon Him - he allows us to face the consequences of our actions as well as facing situations that are not of our doing. But I believe it is all designed to glorify Him, not to punish or burden us.

And yes, ultimately you are right in that God lives up to the gift of freedom that He gave us. And that harkens all the way back to the Garden of Eden when sin first entered the world. (Thanks, Eve. Thanks, Adam.)

Sgt. B ~ Thanks :) I'm glad He does because there are days *I* don't!

Barb said...

Well said - and since I can't possibly know what that is like, I can only say that I believe in you, too :-) Always have, and glad to know that you and God were able to get you through the last two years.
And immeasurably happy that the family has been intact through all of this. All else can follow from that. {Hugs}

Leigh said...

Love this.

Susan Katz Keating said...

I'm honestly not sure where god comes into this, but from reading your post, I do draw one conclusion. You are at least as strong as I sensed you were when I met you at Milblog. Keep going. You've got what it takes, and much, much more.

Homefront Six said...

God comes in to this right here - I do not have what it takes. Not in this instance. Every instinct I had was urging me to run; to run in the opposite direction and not look back. Or to curl up in a ball and stay there. I reached the end of my rope and fell off the last remaining fibers about 6.6.09, after some clueless JAG officer/lawyer type told me that my best bet to save myself was to start ferreting away cash, divest myself of any joint accounts/holdings and look into divorcing my husband.

I have never been so devastated as I was that day. And the only thing that got me through it was my faith that, even in the midst of this craphole of a situation, God had it in His control. That, even though *I* could do nothing to affect the outcome, HE could - and WOULD! And did.

Our future is still very much up in the air. But the worst-case scenario is no longer devastating...just inconvenient. And every time I would start to falter in my belief that God was in control and looking out for my best interests, He would make himself known in the smallest of ways...just reminding me that He was still there, even though there were days where it sure didn't feel like it.

Were it not for God's strength IN me, I'd still be curled up in a ball in the corner.

Susan Katz Keating said...

I believe in god, but am not sure how much our various travails are on the heavenly radar, if at all. I go back and forth on that one. But I have gone through some things I should not have come out of, and cannot explain how I did. I very much understand the instinct to run like hell, or to curl up in the little ball - and what it takes to resist those powerful impulses. I am truly horrified that you went through all that. And really, really glad that things have improved. There is a reason for all this. If not now, someday... you will know what it is.

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