Monday, October 21, 2013

A Monday Offering


Monday morning and the weather matches my mood. Gray. Drippy. Can meteorological conditions be grumpy? This girl says they can be.

It's a morning when every start was false, one where all I can see is the sticky cup-holders in the van, the crumb-covered counter-tops, the left-overs rotting in the fridge. My eyes are fixed on every mistake, ever scribbled wall, every tiny disappointment.

I have a hard time knowing where to see God on mornings like this. I wish it weren't true.

I have trouble keeping my footing in a life that is increasingly less mine - isn't this what was asked of me? Then why does it feel so hard some days?

I think about what C.S. Lewis writes in Screwtape Letters, and it makes me mad. Not in a holy way. I'm adrift in this sea of Satan's charms, the way he worms his way into my head, my heart, my hands.  I try to offer grace, but yield to personal justice, so ready to rest a red-hot while in all that I'm owed. I try to pray when I want to cry, and find myself singing the theme song to Inspector Gadget instead. And all along I thought that was just me. If the devil wears the disguise of a cartoon I watched 25 years ago, what else is he capable of? How at-risk am I? Why can't I overcome?

I think about what my pastor said yesterday, that Christians are fond of repeating the line, "God never gives you more than you can handle." "It's not true," he says. "He does it all the time."

And I tear up again, because it's hard to feel weak and incapable. It's no fun being mean. I default so often to the tired place of martyrdom where I feel I'm owed a break, some help, a little kindness. I want thank yous for every single thing I do.

And all the while, I whine to God that this beautiful life He has handed me is too hard. That's the point, Shannan. He says this with a little smile, His eyes kind and wide, and I find myself sliding down the bench a little closer to where He sits. He tells me again that He understands all my feelings so I rest my head on His shoulder like a child. He made me small like this. He has His reasons.

I miss the olden days, those glory days, when my life felt more story-book, less scattered.

But I know I'd never go back if I could.

So this is my offering. This is what I have to give today, and I hand it over with blood-shot eyes.
I don't always understand, but I trust You. I don't always obey, so I need You.

44 comments:

  1. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

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    1. Dang you, Jo Jo! Don't you know I'm in a vulnerable state??! *sniffff*
      XO

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    2. Your pastor is right: He never promises to give us more than we can handle, but He does promise not to let us be tempted beyond what we can bear (I Corinthians 10:13). Sometimes I wonder how much of a difference there really is between the two phrases. I'm sorry it's a hard moment. Sometimes when I'm having one, I play a game with myself called "What Could I Do for Free or Very Very Cheap That Would Make Me Feel Better?" The instructions are pretty much wrapped up in that there title. Maybe you could try this (I plan on it!): http://www.upworthy.com/a-photographer-persuades-strangers-to-do-something-really-odd-and-they-totally-love-it

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    3. I am OBSESSED with this! LOVE. Thanks for sharing it, B.

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  2. Tears are prayers, too, Shannan dear. In fact they are so precious to Him that He bottles them up...every. last. one. It would seem that I have this knowledge so readily available today because I think this must be the way of life for many. I had an entire week like this last week...and honestly, I've not gotten much further along today. But that's okay. At least He is hearing me out, one blubbering tear at a time. Hugs to you, sweet Friend.

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    1. Thanks for that reminder, Dianna. I've heard that our tears are so precious to Him that He bottles them up, but I had forgotten this. It's a comforting thought.

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    2. What Lynn said! :)
      LOVE my community here. I don't know why, but it warms my heart so much to see you guys "talking" to each other.

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  3. Shannan,
    You are writing about my heart this morning as well.

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  4. Shannan- LOVE your blog, the only one I "READ":)) Since, August, my Ac died ( new one needed), oven died ( new one needed), rat infestation in my attic (YUK)), leak from upstairs shower into my den downstairs ( that happened twice), Kitchen floor destroyed during an installation , two dead goldfish that we had for years and the worst one, my Mom passed away 4 days before my birthday:( and then when I thought we were done, I had to call the fire dept because my refrigerator was burning! Yep, you guessed it, new fridge on the way. I think this is WAY more than I can handle..holding on by a string trying to smile and stay positive.

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    1. Oh, I have lived this! I chalked it up to God reminding us He's the boss of our $$. (I always thought there might be a "better" way for Him to teach this lesson. Can you believe He puts up with me??!) :) Hang in there, Sister!

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  5. Shannan Thank you for this post, it exactly what I feel and have been feeling for awhile. It nice to see it put in words.

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  6. I belive God doesn't give us more than we can handle. We just think we can't handle it. This too shall pass.
    xo

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    1. Nowhere in scripture will find it says 'God doesn't give us more than we can handle'. Responding to another's pain with platitudes is not helpful. It merely adds another burden to the pile.

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    2. I'd like to give Deb the benefit of the doubt and say that I don't think she intended to add burden, I think she was trying to encourage Shannan that she thinks Shannan *can* handle it. I understand what you mean, too, Carol Rose. When people are in pain, platitudes don't really help. However, I don't think that people who respond that way mean harm. I think they just don't know how to relate or how to respond to the pain the other is experiencing. Or perhaps those words were truly, sincerely, helpful to them in their own time of pain. I do agree, though. God doesn't promise to never give us more than we can handle, but he does promise to never give us more than HE can handle and therefore he promises that we will never be given more than we can handle WITH him. As Paul says, "I can do all things THROUGH Christ who gives me strength." I can't remember who said it, but I love the quote that says, "Lord, I simply can't take another step. But if you will lift one foot, I will lift the other."

      Shannan, I'm so grateful for your family's story. Thank you for sharing the good and the bad days with us. Both are an encouragement and a gift for me.

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  7. Shared on Facebook because this is too good not to. Here in NJ, picking up what you're puttin' down.

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  8. Yeah, if this God guy doesn't give people more than they can handle, I'm not sure who I am dealing with day in and day out. He absolutely gives more than we can handle. Love Him for that because I am sure I would push him way out of the picture if I didn't need him so much (and I do... but He pushes His way back in, thankfully).

    Glad I'm not the only mean, martyr grump who needs Jesus really, really bad out there. :)

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  9. I have enjoyed your writing for a long time, but never commented before because I didn't think I had anything helpful to add to your already wonderful messages. *Smile* But then today you wrote, "I miss the olden days, those glory days, when my life felt more story-book, less scattered. But I know I'd never go back if I could."

    Thank you for putting into words the way I sometimes feel as we walk this path that Jesus is calling us to... the one that took a turn we weren't expecting!


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  10. Thank you, Shannan. The Lord used you today to once again whisper a message He's been repeating to me all weekend - "You cannot do this. You need Me!"

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  11. Yes to it all! So good to be reminded to simply give God everything and trust in his goodness on the hard days, weeks, years.

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  12. Your pastor said what I always say...so glad to hear it backed up from a pulpit. Gets on my nerves when people say that. Also, they've put on themselves lots of stuff they are blaming God for putting on them in the first place. God will let us die...is that "more than we can handle"?
    Hope your day improves immensely...I love gray days because they call for candles, popcorn and music!

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  13. Hey Shannan! First time commenter, short time reader here. I'm attending Hope Spoken this Spring and have started following all of you who will be there sharing with us. I'm so glad to be introduced to your blog. Thankful for kindred spirits who love New Girl and wear clothes from so long ago that fashion has found a way to bring them back into what's hot right now. I can really identify with your post today. So often I play the martyr in my day to day life when my focus slips. Thanks for sharing. It's true that it is amazing what Satan will use to remove our attentions from God. Amazing.

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    1. Oooh...I cannot wait to meet you! Promise you'll track me down? Reference #newgirl. haha

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  14. You said it so well and I LOVE what your Pastor said. It's true and it brings us closer to Him. Feeling you today. Hugs!

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  15. I could cry, you are describing me....{sigh}

    thank you Shannon for writing this...:~)

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  16. I needed this so bad, you just kept me from saying something I would later regret, let it go and let God! Thanks for all you do with letting Jesus speak through you:).

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  17. i soaked in every last word...
    and i agree with every last word.

    what a blessing you are...
    sharing...
    and in return helping so many.
    like warm understanding hugs!

    wow.
    i need to read again.

    so very grateful we can come to Him... lean... and lean BIG...
    He'll see us through.


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  18. i soaked in every last word...
    and i agree with every last word.

    what a blessing you are...
    sharing...
    and in return helping so many.
    like warm understanding hugs!

    wow.
    i need to read again.

    so very grateful we can come to Him... lean... and lean BIG...
    He'll see us through.


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  19. I hope your day has ended with a more peaceful heart! May your rest tonight be deep!

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  20. I've heard it continued that He gives more and more until you learn to lean on Him. So scary, right? I'm with you...this:I chalked it up to God reminding us He's the boss of our $$. (I always thought there might be a "better" way for Him to teach this lesson. Can you believe He puts up with me??!)

    My dialogue in the shower with God was so embarrassing when I didn't think I could pay the bills just Friday and He replied, "Ask me." I said, "Fine. Pay the bill. Whatever." I went to make a deposit for a measly $35 I found in an old birthday card (and was overjoyed) only to check the mail and see a check for way more than I could ever expect and had no idea was coming. Did it pay the bill? Oh yeah, about four times. Who in the world do I think I am?!?

    You put your words together so well and we can all relate. Thank you for your open heart and open mind and for being WILLING to put that out there. You truly amaze me.

    ~Amber

    P.S. Sorry if that's way too much for a comment... I'm questioning whether or not I should have hit publish!

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    1. OF COURSE you did the right thing by hitting Publish! Thanks for sharing. God is so sneaky and good!

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  21. Oh I know ALL about those kinda mornings. I think the only thing that makes it worse is adding our shame to the mix. Way to keep your focus in the right place.

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  22. me too,
    me too,
    ME TOO!
    i so love you.

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  23. You're not by yourself on this one.

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  24. Oh my. You have such a gift with words. Truly. Hugs and thanks.

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  25. I'm praying for grace & peace to fill your life today, Shannon, and that God's work would be evident in you and the lives around you.

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  26. In my struggling moments, these thoughts are what I feel but can't articulate. Thank you for taking your time and talent to bring words to those feelings.

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  27. I just love reading what all the girls have had to say. Every single thing about this post has been a blessing to me. We all need each other that is for sure and certain.

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