Nothing like that “final straw moment” coming at you out of the blue. That was me. At karate. At least I was in the “mom role” in the parent section and not on the mat myself in class. I’d like to have a long talk with one particularly really good friend at the moment. But since she is quite busy with life, I figured I’d just blog about it instead.
It’s been a bad week. Really bad. Preceded by a related bad three months. Preceded by a not really but somewhat related bad three months. Preceded by a crazy three months. Preceded by all else that 2020 entailed. All in all, there has been a lot of change and upheaval the past year for the world and for me. That’s not to say there hasn’t been many amazingly great things mingled in with all this bad, but I’m definitely experiencing a time of clear testing in a very specific area. And this week I experienced a significant bad in that area. Then the final straw came. “Read through chapter seven by tomorrow,” the karate instructor announced to the class, which included all four of my kids. My oldest has read this post and doesn’t understand why that would be a final straw. But isn’t that exactly what final straws are? They don’t make sense. If we were calm and doing fine, we’d continue to be doing fine in the same exact moment. But because we are experiencing hurdle after hurdle, that final hurdle can be itty-bitty, but it is a hurdle nonetheless. With my knowledge in the moment, it felt impossible and completely out of my control for my kids to read through chapter seven.
Praise God for friends He puts in our lives who can catch us as we fall (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). And I was definitely falling fast. I could feel it in my body. It has been awhile since I’d felt like that over something so small and it took me by surprise. But a friend was there and caught me well. We both could clearly see this was a final straw moment and that reading was not really the issue at all. She graciously shared with me that a ketchup packet had once been her final straw. I found great comfort in that. The hurdles don’t have to be big. They just have to appear at precisely the right moment.
Though so much in our lives is beyond our control and we are fragile and limited and living in a cursed world, hope has not been extinguished. We have a promise that all things will work for good for those who love God. (Romans 8:28)
You don’t see the good? Me either. We walk by faith. Perhaps we’ll glimpse the good now and then, but often we simply must wait for a future revealing of the good promised.
Several years back I had a series of bad events. At the time, I was dying inside from the searing emotional pain. But about a year ago, I told someone I needed those events in my life. I could finally see that clearly. I’ve repeated that same process at least two other times.
Now I’m in a new series of bad events. I don’t see the good yet. I’m not seeing that I need this current pain nor do I want it. But when the final straw happened, I recognized it for what it was. And that is progress. I trust one day in the future I will see clearly that my current pain was required. For now, I walk by faith believing Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
What must that glory be like?!
We’re in the middle of the story. Keep on keeping on. Life hurts. Get up and keep going!
By the way, my kids soared over the itty-bitty hurdle. Life lesson: Keep jumping the hurdles and when the final straw suddenly appears, try to recognize it for what it is, lean on those friends that God places perfectly in your life, and keep going. Final straws are just part of the journey. Keep going!
And if you don’t feel you have any final straw moments, ask those closest to you. They might be able to clue you in to one…like I just did for my husband who thought he doesn’t have any final straw moments.
“Really, Babe? What about….?”
“Well, I thought about that but that was a real issue,” he quickly responded.
“Really though? Was it?”
Yeah…my guess is we all have final straw moments. When they occur, see it for what it is and keep going!