Feeling Stretched???

 Are there days you feel like there’s no way you can take another thing? Like one more broken dish, one more glass of spilt milk, one more toddler tantrum, one more trip to the grocery, one more argument, one more slammed door, one more late for school day, one more overdue bill in the mail?

Do your prayers sound like this: Ok, Lord. I can’t take another thing today, I have no endurance, no strength and for sure no patience. Help! Please? I just don’t know what to do or how to do it anymore.

Mine have. 

If you will re-read that prayer in a whiney voice, add some tears and just imagine that I’m in the bathroom with the door locked and someone is knocking on the door, and someone is yelling from the other room that they can’t find something or other and another someone is yelling they are “going to be late, gotta go, see you tonight”… oh and while you are sitting there imagining that, see me sitting on the toilet lid gritting my teeth and my fists are clenched and white knuckled, and I’m looking up at the ceiling and thinking that prayer.

Oh and just to flesh out the picture – I’m not dressed for work, nor is my makeup on. Someone still needs breakfast- hence the knocking on the door.  And, the homework is the something that is missing. So I exit the bathroom to help with the homework search.  There is no time for a pity party.

I enter the kitchen.

It looks like a tornado just went through it- dishes and open boxes of cereal sprawled on the counter. The carton of milk is sitting out, the dishwasher door is open and the racks are hanging out. The closet door to the washer is open. There are clothes piled on the lid and the dryer door is open and the clothes are spilling out onto the floor into the kitchen. The dry cleaning is piled up by the door to take to the cleaners. The dog food is standing on the floor in the middle of the room and the cats rush toward me because they are hungry. {actually, it looked much worse most days}

I have about 5 minutes to slap on the makeup, throw on the scrubs and shoes, find the homework, thrust food into a hand and get everyone out the door and moving toward the car. Top all that off with the grandmother/mother call, at the exact wrong moment, who chose that second to rip my heart out with some well-honed comment that had been fermenting in her mind.

{That was before caller id and answering machines…. When you actually answered a ringing phone}

Now that’s a great start to a day.                   NOT.

There were times when I thought I was losing my mind. I was so entrenched – literally in the trenches. Holding my breath, constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop from the grandmother/mother.

I would get so bogged down in the here and now and develop myopia of the mind; I looked around and saw only what was on the surface. But those were precisely the moments that the Holy Spirit would pray for me because I had just lost the ability- I had no words left to describe the turmoil nor to ask for what I really needed at that instant. I was stretched beyond my ability.

Little did I know… But God did. He knew that He was developing in me an endurance and patience beyond myself. Below is a quote from Oswald Chambers that describes pretty accurately what was happening in my life.

“Patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says–‘I cannot stand anymore.’ God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands. Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” – Oswald Chambers

If you are there, being stretched beyond what you think you can endure or stand, open up your grip on whatever is in your hand and heart at this moment, look at that open hand, take a big deep breath and know that you can trust Him. He does not stretch us to the breaking point, but to the point where we can be most efficient for His purpose.

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” Romans 15:4

“For this reason ,since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption,the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14

  “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” Hebrews 12:7