F! Time for another re-test.

I have this reoccurring nightmare.  I’m at my current state in life (five kids, married etc.), but somewhere, some government bean counter, has determined that I didn’t meet my high school requirements.  Therefore, I have to go back to high school and complete one more year!  It doesn’t matter that I have this life; I have to go back in addition to living my current life.  It has all the typical, back in high school dream stuff, can’t find my locker, when I do, I can’t remember the combination, late to class, can’t find the class etc.  Where it becomes the nightmare is, it’s the last week of school and I have not done anything all year long!  I’m not prepared for the final exam and I have not completed the report, research paper, or whatever long term project that’s due!  So, I’m going to have to go back and do it over again!

I had that dream again the other night.  I began to think about it and wonder why as an adult I’m having this dream.  It’s not like I’ve seen or talked to someone from high school and that’s what triggers it.  I can not pinpoint any real trigger as to why I’m having this dream.  Then something hit me the other day.

The last eight months of our life have been pretty challenging.  I feel like we’re being bombarded by lots of things, from lots of different angles.  Sort of like playing ping pong, me against 50 people.  I’m playing everyone at the same time.  They all have their own ball, and some of them are playing with baseballs or softballs instead of ping pong balls.  I can’t keep up!

Anyway, the other day I completely lost it and didn’t handle things in a graceful manner at all!  (I heard a talk once that compared an overload of stress, to a book that has no margins on the pages.  It’s hard to read, and keep up with what the book is about, without margins.  He said stress is the same way.  If our margins are forever shrinking we might lose it over the littlest thing, something that wouldn’t normally bother us.)  After I lost it, and calmed down, I thought to myself “Why are things so hard lately?!  Doesn’t God see that I’m at the end of my rope?!”  Then I thought “we’ve had challenges just as hard if not harder in the past.  I didn’t handle them with grace, maturity or a grateful heart either.  Maybe the challenges are about me learning something.”

Maybe like my reoccurring nightmare of never finishing, God is testing me.  With each test that I fail, He deems it necessary to test me again and again until I get it right.  If that’s the case, I better get it right soon!  At the rate I’m going, those ping pong players are soon going to be pelting me with soccer, basket and bowling balls!

Max Lucado says “Your pain has a purpose.  Your problems, struggles, heartaches, and hassles cooperate toward one end—the glory of God.  In my heart I know this!  I know I should be offering up my pain, heartaches and struggles for others who are suffering and for the glory of God.  And, I should be an example to the world, that with God’s help, even the most difficult things in life can be handled with strength, grace and a cheerful, grateful heart.

A good friend posed this thought, if God is timeless; can’t we go back after the fact and offer up our suffering?  Even though we may not have handled it well the first time, can’t we ask for forgiveness and offer it up now?  I don’t know, that gets into the logistics of how God thinks and works and He assures us in the bible that our ways are not His.  I guess I can hope.  Even though I blew it, if I’m truly sorry for my ill behavior, and offer it up now, that He will use it for His Glory and the suffering of others.

I have a fear, that like my nightmare of having to repeat 12th grade over and over, I am going to be tested repeatedly for a long time.  I think I’m just going to have to learn the hard way, for like my kids, I see myself as stubborn and set in my very bad habits.  I am grateful though, that I have a loving Father who doesn’t lose patience with me.  One that will test me repeatedly until I DO get it right, so that one day I can be with him in paradise!

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