Hold my head high, hands to the sky

Last week I ran over our cat. I had just returned home from taking the kids to school. She and the cat next door like to play “chicken” with the suburban as I turn into the garage, and, well, this time her seventeen year old (in human years) body caught up with her, not quick enough to dart out of the way.

My first instinct? Panic. I ran from the scene, rushing inside (without looking–yeah, call me the “chicken”) to call my husband who was out of town and could be no help whatsoever. He told me what I didn’t want to hear yet knew to be true: I would have to be the grown up and deal with it.

So I did. I felt like I was in one of those commercials: Looking to get away? Oh yes, I was indeed.

I called the vet. Somehow I got her in the suburban, listening to her cries as I cried myself the whole way to the vet’s office. From there, well, surely you can guess the rest.

Escape is my knee jerk reaction to any stressful situation. Just this week I sent my husband a text where I asked if he wanted to move far, far away with me. I am weary of this stage, this season. It is stressful and sometimes it hurts. I want to run.

[Note to my real life friends: we’re not. Moving, that is.]

A hurtful comment (or two), intended to be so or not, a trust issue with one of our sons, killing my cat–these “light and momentary troubles” (among others) have piled up on me to the point that I begin to wonder if I am indeed afflicted and crushed, perplexed and driven to despair, struck down and destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:7-11)

I know I’m not. I know the trials that I find myself under are not really trials. Really they are nothing–silly, actually–compared to the very real trials of many of my sisters and brothers in Christ around the world.

But can I just say sometimes I dread waking up the morning because I wonder what this day will bring? And that sometimes I want to escape? To hide? To go back to bed and wake up next year? That sometimes I want desperately to run far, far away?

Yesterday, as I was mulling over my various heartaches and my various escape options (which are few), my iPod began to play “I Will Hold My Head High” by Third Day from their Wire cd. As I sang along (and alone, you can rest assured I was completely alone), I pondered holding my head high when the night is closing in and turning whatever is thrown at me into a song of praise…

I was reminded of Paul’s words in Eph. 6:13 where he exhorts his readers that after they have done all, to stand and to stand firm. We wish it were not so, but life is difficult. We are engaged a battle. We will find ourselves afflicted and perplexed. The light and momentary troubles will feel anything but. We will want to run and hide. But the Lord commands us to stand and to stand firm, to hold our heads high, hands lifted high in praise and surrender, confident that all that comes to us comes by His sovereign hand.

I don’t want to run, not really. I want to stand despite my weakness, for His power is best displayed in the weak and not the strong. As difficult as it may seem to be, I want this season to result in “praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:7)

The One who has called me is faithful. He will do it. (1 Thess. 5:24)

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (2 Cor. 4:7-11)

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Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

25 thoughts on “Hold my head high, hands to the sky”

  1. I just want to come over and make you a pot of tea to go with some buttery cookies…then we could go have a massage escape. I’m glad you are looking up to the one who gets us through….

  2. I was just thinking how a cup of coffee together would be perfect.I, too, have been weary lately…and was also the victim of some meanness. Last night in Bible study, I was telling the girls that no matter what is going on in our lives, even when we don’t feel like praising, we are to do just that. It’s a lesson I need to learn myself.Hugs to you, my dear sweet friend.

  3. Running is my first instinct too, to flee as fast as I can…I so relate to your thoughts here.So thankful that when He calls us to stand firm, He’s right there beside us, holding us up and fighting the battles for us.I needed this today, thanks for putting your heart out there, it ministered to me today…and I’m praying that some idiot doesn’t come along and make you regret it 😉

  4. What you are experiencing, my friend, is the real Christian life. Real in that it is full of trials and temptations and even discouragement and disappointment and disillusionment.Even more so, real in that, in light of the trials and temptations; discouragement, disappointment, and disillusionment, Christ is enough and He will bring you to the point of remembering that every.single.time you experience these crushing times.God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

  5. But can I just say sometimes I dread waking up the morning because I wonder what this day will bring? And that sometimes I want to escape? To hide? To go back to bed and wake up next year? That sometimes I want desperately to run far, far away?Yes, you go right ahead. And I will be nodding right along with you. Had one of those days yesterday…

  6. I can relate. Troubles seem to have been piling up in my life over the last 3 months, totally out of my control. I’ve wanted to run away, too, thinking these things are just too much to bear. At the same time I think of people with cancer or even persecuted believers on the other side of the world, and know my troubles aren’t to that extreme. Still, they hurt.Somehow in the surrender, God makes a way for my heart to survive, and He brings peace. But only in the surrender.So sorry about your kitty. I have a few of my own and can relate to that hurt.

  7. I too have recently the desired to run, or escape, or just not "face the music" as they say. And then the Lord convicted me that all I really need to do is fix my eyes on Him.Your post is beautiful and timely. We were watching a movie last night called Peter & Paul (about Peter & Paul in the Bible) and it was encouraging… and slightly funny… when Paul & Barnabas were sick & feverish and complaining. Paul says something about being sick and discouraged yet not defeated. I'd have to go look for the verse. Paul is played by Anthony Hopkins and it was funny in the way he said it. But encouraging that Paul had so many troubles and hardships in his life yet kept on keeping on. What an example for us!Sorry to ramble on… Praying your burden is lightened today as you look towards Jesus for the strength to hold your head high.

  8. Verrrry sorry about your cat. It really does all seem crushing in this season. I know though that you’re seeking what is He teaching you in these days, and how He is quickening your heart to hear His voice. There is so much wonderful blessing to come from this season.Holding your hands up high is the quickest way to grasping His hand. Sending prayers and kindred spirit affection for you.

  9. It is encouraging to hear of your struggles and your decision to daily (maybe moment by moment:)) to trust Him. His awesome strength is displayed in your time of weakness! May He be glorified in your vulnerability, friend.

  10. Oh how I understand. You are speaking straight to me. I haven’t been feeling like myself lately either. Sometimes, I feel that when it rains, it truly does pour. Please know you are not alone and I pray that I can be brave and face my troubles head on when in reality I, too, want to hide. Praying for you.

  11. And when you have done everything, to STAND. I love that verse. Sometimes, it’s all you can do to buckle your shoes, plant your feet in the sand and stay upright as the hurricane-force winds blow. Great post, Lisa.

  12. Oh Lisa, thank you for sharing your heart…I do understand..this was beautifully written and felt. I love how you are yielding to the Father. And I so relate to just wanting to run and start fresh. But I am so glad that God steadies us during these times of heartache.

  13. But can I just say sometimes I dread waking up the morning because I wonder what this day will bring? And that sometimes I want to escape? To hide? To go back to bed and wake up next year? That sometimes I want desperately to run far, far away?I’ve shared my story with you via email recently regarding our ‘move’ to a new church and the ‘changes’ that brought to our lives. I too felt the same way you stated in the above quote. I will tell you ~ with God as your anchor ~ it does get better eventually.I am praying for your family.

  14. I’m sorry about your cat (and all the rest…)I have that same tendency to want to run. I’m praising God for the comfort of His word. Praying for you, my friend.

  15. I’m good at running. Hiding. Pretending the real world doesn’t exist. Not so good at facing difficult things with grace, faith, and praise.Thanks for the encouragement, spoken from the midst of your own difficult circumstances. Praying for you.

  16. LisaThank you for sharing….I’m deep in the trenches right now of all the same issues.I hurt inside so deeply over some things my family is experiencing…the only way to describe it is that I feel it down in my gut! It’s so hard!This whole last year has been out of this world crazy. I actually cried last night and said the same words to my husband….Are we supposed to leave? Is God wanting us to move or be ready to move? WHAT? What is it!?!I could sure use some skywriting!andSome serious direction.I know many can relate to this…but some of the deepest wounds can come from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.So sad!

  17. ohhh, Lisa, I’m sorry about your cat. I’m sorry for how it turned out and I’m sorry for you having to go through that with your husband out of town. You know what? As I was reading your story I thought that it was sweet of God to take you through that “alone” without your husband, so that God could show you that He is in the business of handling difficult circumstances. I think God allows those hard things to happen to show us afresh that He will never leave us or forsake us … that we are carved into the palm of His hand … that His mighty Right Hand holds us fast.It’s good to have you blogging again!

  18. I feel ike I’ve been “struggling along” more than usual these past few months. But there is always light at some point… My mom ran over my beloved cat when I was in 4th grade and I was sad about the cat, but even sadder for my mom because I knew how bad she felt and I wanted to make her feel better.

  19. I am so sorry to hear about your cat. I hope you and the boys are less sad about it this week. It's like the old saying, when it rains it pours. It literally has the past few days. In church earlier tonight we learned alot about trials from Dr. Gary Smalley in his DVD series "The DNA of Relationships". We shared how our trials affect us and what the benefits (yes, there are some!) are of persevering through those trials. Okay, you know I think you and Beth Moore were separated at birth! So, I know I can't share anything you probably don't already know. But, here's what was shared in our class. It was nice to be reminded and encouraged by these points. We mature spiritually in our trials (okay, not a news flash). God develops our character during our times of trial. Dr. Smalley said that WE choose to either be bItter or bEtter. His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. Suffering produces perseverance & patience & character; character produces hope and hope does not disappoint us. I know that was kinda choppy. You can imagine how many notes I took and these were just a few points that I remembered. I hope you are doing well. I enjoy reading your posts (is that the word?). Your not-so technology-gifted friend. In my prayers, Andrea I am gonna try to publish this anonymously since I can't figure out how to do it any other way-sorry. I am going to begin an online class to update me on some new technology "stuff". We'll see what I learn from that!

  20. I am so sorry to hear about your cat. I hope you and the boys are less sad about it this week. It's like the old saying, when it rains it pours. It literally has the past few days. In church earlier tonight we learned alot about trials from Dr. Gary Smalley in his DVD series "The DNA of Relationships". We shared how our trials affect us and what the benefits (yes, there are some!) are of persevering through those trials. Okay, you know I think you and Beth Moore were separated at birth! So, I know I can't share anything you probably don't already know. But, here's what was shared in our class. It was nice to be reminded and encouraged by these points. We mature spiritually in our trials (okay, not a news flash). God develops our character during our times of trial. Dr. Smalley said that WE choose to either be bItter or bEtter. His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. Suffering produces perseverance & patience & character; character produces hope and hope does not disappoint us. I know that was kinda choppy. You can imagine how many notes I took and these were just a few points that I remembered. I hope you are doing well. I enjoy reading your posts (is that the word?). Your not-so technology-gifted friend. In my prayers, Andrea I am gonna try to publish this anonymously since I can't figure out how to do it any other way-sorry. I am going to begin an online class to update me on some new technology "stuff". We'll see what I learn from that!

  21. But can I just say sometimes I dread waking up the morning because I wonder what this day will bring? And that sometimes I want to escape? To hide? To go back to bed and wake up next year? That sometimes I want desperately to run far, far away?Yes, you go right ahead. And I will be nodding right along with you. Had one of those days yesterday…

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