Thursday, April 12, 2012

Carrying My Mattress

It was May 3, 1999. I ran through the house, adrenaline pumping through my body. I was barking orders to my children, hurrying everyone into the small half-bathroom in the center of our house. The largest tornado in the written history of the world (at that time) was heading toward our town, and I was admittedly panicked. Of course, it could have been a teeny tiny little ole tornado and I still would have panicked (I've never learned to be comfortable around those things!). And I live in the heartland of Tornado Alley -- go figure!

In spite of my freaking out, I herded our children (and dog!) into the bathroom, then scurried back to get a mattress off of one of the beds to use for protection from the possibility of flying debris. Later, after the danger had passed (the tornado wound up changing direction and went a few miles south of us) and my husband came home from work, I was relating what had happened and discussing with my family how fear and adrenaline can make you physically able to do things that you normally wouldn't have the strength to dol. I had run through the hallways of our home carrying a large, bulky mattress oveer my head ... single-handedly ... all by myself ... all alone ... I was Superwoman!! Ta da!!!!

Our boys literally collapsed in laughter when they heard me recounting the story of my panic-stricken night, because it was so different from the one that they had seen. In my frenzy, I thought I had been given a super-human strength. Seriously. I remember thinking I could have probably lifted a Volkswagon that day. I was that hyped up with adrenaline. In reality though, I discovered my youngest son had been carrying the mattress behind me. I was basically just balancing it, even though I thought I had been doing all of the work. No wonder it seemed so easy! Now, every time we hear that a tornado is heading our direction, this is a favorite story that has to be re-told. Woo hoo. "Mom thinks she's strong enough to carry a mattress all by herself" ... "Mom freaks out when tornados are around" ... "Let's laugh at Mom -- AGAIN!" So glad I can be the entertainment for our family.

The most interesting part about this incident, however, is the dead give-away to my fleshly character. My nature is one of independence. I want to be able to "do it myself". I want to lean totally on me and what I'm able to do. I want to count on my strength to save me or those I love. How often I've tried to "carry the mattress" of my life and my circumstances! How often I've tried to do what only God can do.

I've been created with a need to be dependent upon God, to be in fellowship with Him. When I lean on anything but Him (including me!) for my strength, I am only fooling myself. Just as I couldn't carry that mattress through the house on my own strength, so I can't be the right type of wife or mother (or Nammy!). I can't generate my own peace and security. I can't be a godly witness to those around me. I can't see in to the future to know what paths or directions to take. I might be able to accomplish a little towards these goals, but without God's strength, the road is harder, the heartbreak is stronger, and the mattress is definitely waaaaaaay heavier. What I am able to do on my own is second best to the blessings God has in store for me when He is allowed to work in and through me.

There is not a whole lot that I can do on my own that will truly excel and succeed, but there is everything good that God and I can do together!!

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness"
2 Corinthians 12:9 

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