The past two weeks have been a challenge to say the least. Last January, My Seminary announced that they would be shutting down the satellite campus that I attend. The campus was not financially feasible and the main Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota decided that the students attending the satellite campuses could finish their degrees on-line through the main campus.
As a result, I am taking my last five required Seminary classes as distance classes on-line. One of them is my last Greek class- the third in a series. Because I had a pretty difficult time with my first two Greek classes, I have avoided the third one like the plague. Bad choice. Now- I am faced with taking it on-line (not the best way at all to learn a language). In addition, I was required to take my last history class at the same time. I usually try to take only one course at a time because I work full time as a preschool teacher. This time I did not have a choice. I had to take the classes as they were offered or I would be jeopardizing my chance to graduate this May- (yes, after eight years, I will actually graduate this May).
Suffice it to say- I am overwhelmed. At the same time that all of this is going on, my Mother’s dementia is clearly getting much worse. She is virtually unable to process language anymore. She cannot understand what people are saying to her and she cannot put words together that make sense. Her reasoning ability is going. She is losing her sense of time. She wanders and paces around the house. She is restless and irritable. By the grace of God- she attends a wonderful Senior Center during the week but on the weekends- she is frustrated and bored. She no longer can read or watch TV. The weekends are the time that I need to focus on my studies and it is very, very hard when she is pacing around the house bored. I have caregivers who come for three or four hours at a time on Saturdays but three or four hours in the midst of 48 hours of restlessness is not as helpful as you might think……
So this “perfect storm” of stressors caused me to melt down a little last week. I took my eyes off of Jesus and instead looked at the wind and the waves all around me. My Greek homework was too hard. I had forgotten a lot of it during all the years that I avoided taking the third course.(duh!!!- Language Major in college should have known this!). The history reading was too much. My mother was pacing and following me around the house wanting me to take her shopping for new shoes. I had to work long days at the preschool. I gave in to fear and exhaustion and weakness. I yelled. I cried. At one point, I actually went to the computer and tried to drop out of my classes- which would have been disastrous. Oh yeah- did I mention it was also my birthday and my Mother had no idea that it was my birthday?? I Hope nobody reading this ever has to experience that feeling because let me tell you- that feeling sucks.
Luckily, my friend Jesus looked upon me in the middle of this mess and reached out to me. He sent some really good friends to encourage me by phone and e-mail. He sent a friend from my new church to text me everyday with study encouragement and prayer. He sent another awesome friend to help me take my mother shoe shopping. He sent my co-teacher and supervisor to help me by taking me off of the schedule at work for a good portion of the end of June and most of July- allowing me days like today- where all I have to do is study. He had lots of friends send me encouraging Facebook messages for my birthday. He sent me some awesome inspirational Gospel songs on my Pandora radio. He sent me lots of hugs and encouragement through my husband. He sent me a loving Mother-in-Law who took me out for dinner on my birthday and who treats me like her own daughter. He sent me a faculty mentor who is a pastor and a friend and who can tutor me in Greek if I need her to. He even sent me the answer to one of my Greek problems in a dream…..How cool is that ?????
Even though I took my eyes off of Him- He helped me anyway. Because that is the kind of Friend that He is. That is the kind of Savior that He is. He sees me in my brokenness and fear and reaches out His hand to pull me out of the wind and the waves. He has done this SO many, many times for me before. So here is my question: Why do I doubt that He will do it again???
In my favorite devotional, Streams in the Desert, here is a portion of today’s reading: (based on Matt. 14:29-30)
“In this passage of Scripture, we see that Peter’s sight was actually a hinderance. Once he had stepped out of the boat, the waves were none of his business. His only concern should have been the path of light shining across the darkness from Christ Himself. …….When the Lord calls you to come across the water, step out with confidence and joy. And never glance away from him for even a moment. You will not prevail by measuring the waves or grow strong by gauging the wind. Attempting to survey the danger may actually cause you to fall before it. Pausing at the difficulties will result in the waves breaking over your head. ‘Lift up your eyes to the hills'(Ps. 121:1) and go forward. There is no other way.”
So today I start a new week. I am not going to look back at my failures of last week. I am going forward. I am going through. I will fix my eyes on Jesus- and know with confidence and joy that even if I do stumble and take my eyes off of Him- He will be there to help me.