Overwhelmed?

“Just one more thing and I’ll explode!”  Have you ever told yourself that?  Are you dealing with those feelings right now?

           While I am not sure I am quite to that point right now, I certainly feel like one of those plate spinners, running around a stage trying to keep every plate spinning for fear one will crash.  Even as I write this, I am prepping a computer for one of my daughters.  That’s after doing some clean up in the garage and a busy day at work.  Somehow, I hope to fit in a workout before I go back upstairs (from my basement writing cave).  I also need to sell an old car, remodel our powder room, hang new blinds and a few other things I am sure I have forgotten.

            Sounds crazy, I know.  The saving grace in all this is that I know that my stage is padded so if a plate falls, it won’t break.  What I mean by that is that I have taken the time this week to be with my wife and kids.  I haven’t come down here every night to write (that should be obvious by the lack of any recent blogs).  I also managed to get my pre-conference submissions completed and mailed (for the upcoming Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference).  I also know that if I don’t get stuff done, life will go on – maybe richer for the experience.

            That thought brings me back to an experience 12 years ago.  I was moving to Colorado from the Philadelphia area.  My ex-wife had decided to move away with my 7-year-old daughter.  My choices were an ugly, expensive court battle or move.  For my daughter’s sake I chose to move.

            My furniture was mostly junk so I gave most of it away and stuffed everything I could into and onto an old minivan.  I started out on a cold and wet late October evening knowing I needed to be to work in Denver by November 1st.  Five hours and 230 miles later, my world came flying apart along with the connecting rods in that poor minivan’s engine.

            Imagine, if you will, it was 10pm on a Friday night, 30 something degrees and raining, and ten miles from the nearest exit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Smoke was billowing out from the engine of the vehicle containing all my worldly possessions.  To say I was stressed is like saying the surface of the sun is hot.  By the time I got the van towed and settled into a quiet motel room, I had a simple prayer that I repeated like a broken record.  “Lord, I’ve got nothing left.  It’s all up to you now.”  I fell asleep with that prayer and I woke up with that prayer. 

            I’d like to say that God swooped in with a brand-new van and got me safely to Denver. Instead, God provided a mechanic and a used engine and 4 days of forced rest while I waited for it to be completed.  The van got me to Colorado a day late and more rested than if I had made it through on time.  I was blessed with a patient employer and landlady (I had to dip into my rent money for the van).  Then I was blessed with new friends who provided furniture (that money was gone too) and Christmas décor. 

            It was crazy for me to leave a good job to stay near my daughter.  It was crazy to try to move across the country in an old and seriously overloaded minivan.  And it was crazy good how God blessed me in the long run for making those decisions.  Twelve years later, my daughter has grown to be an awesome young adult.  I am remarried to an amazingly godly and beautiful wife who brought three kids that I have the privilege of helping raise. 

            My Christian writer friends are probably expecting me to quote Romans 8:28 and write about God working those things for my good.  That’s true, but right now life is kind of crazy.  Maybe I’m crazy – Crazy for writing.  Crazy for helping raise 4 awesome kids.  Crazy for teaching kids and youth at church with everything else going on.  That just points me to my favorite verse of the Bible – 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) – “If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God.”  All I can say is, to God be the glory. 

           Let the plates fall.  Catch the important ones.  Spin the less important ones again as time allows.  And when it gets impossible, lean on the grace of God and He will get you through, bringing hidden blessings along the way.

Now to grab the plate of a workout and give it a quick spin…

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