This might be a huge confession, but I like being in Control! How many of you moms are like this too? I’ll admit that I have a false belief that if I stay in control, then things will go my way! Ha…does that ever prove me wrong. You know, no matter how hard I try, I can’t control everything that happens to me. But deep down inside, I know that is a good thing. I don’t want to admit how many times I thought I was convincingly right and it turned out that I was 100% wrong. I think it is fair to say that despite our best efforts to be in control, we can’t make everything happen the way we want. Not every day is the way we had hoped and sometimes, bad things just happen. Please tell me some of you out there have had a bad day? GOOD…I think we all have.
There was one time in my life where this was explicitly made clear. In fact it was downright painful. I wondered why God let it happen. Years later I realized it was to teach me something infinitely more powerful.
About five years ago my husband and I went to Orlando. I accompanied him on his business trip. We went to Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. For me it was a chance of a lifetime. We hadn’t ever gone on such a big trip together and we enjoyed every minute of it. This trip breathed life into me…I wanted to see more of the world and I discovered another one of my obsessions: Traveling. On our way home I told my husband that we must take the kids to Disneyland. I felt inspired to make it happen. We didn’t have the money to take three kids to Disney, but pretty soon, idea after idea came flooding into my mind on how to raise money. I was fixed and determined…Exactly one year from now we would be in California!
So began the world of money raising. My kids started doing jobs for grandparents. We began collecting every pop can we found. We would raid garbage cans at the park or I would gather them in a bag as I went running every day. My husband and I did a fitness challenge with our insurance and earned $400! We sold drinks at parades, my husband worked potato harvest (and he is not a farmer), and we threw every scrap of change into our fund! The more we prayed for help to raise money, the more ideas came. Our kids changed too, they became goal oriented, hard workers, and began to learn the value of money! It was really changing our family for the better.
As we got closer, I realized that we had enough money to spend an entire week. We decided to spend three days at Disney, 2 in LA, 1 at Long Beach and three touring my husband’s Christian Mission! It was going to be great!
I literally couldn’t be more excited about this trip. Whenever I had a free moment I was on the computer researching the best place to eat or the best hotel to stay. I had meticulously planned every detail of our trip from the LA zoo, to the beach, from visiting friends, to enjoying the #1 gelato place in Santa Barbara! Was I little obsessed…yes…but this was the fun part for me (I seriously wonder if in another life I should be a travel agent since I love to plan trips so much).
The trip neared and we were ready to go, but I wasn’t prepared for what would happen.
Our plane to begin with, had mechanical difficulties. It was so bad they had to call in another plane from another airport. We were literally delayed hours and what should have been an early afternoon landing was now close to midnight! I asked my husband if this was a sign but he said not to let it bother me…we would continue on as planned!
But the morning we woke to head to Disneyland, my youngest daughter starting throwing up. And it wasn’t a 24 hour bug either…it was constant all day all night. She couldn’t hold down water even and it was hot. We didn’t know what to do as we had paid the money and we were there, so we just kept going. She was literally miserable. Every night I prayed for relief and that my daughter would be healed. I told God that I know he helped us get here so he can help heal my daughter so we can enjoy our vacation. But that never happened. On our third day, I was exhausted, desperate, and disappointed. But mainly I was angry. How could He let this happen. After all the work we had gone through and after all his help, here we were stuck with an awful stomach bug. We went back to the hotel and took a nap but I cried. I was so hurt with the situation. The next day as we were heading to Santa Barbara my other two joined with their sister.
We called our friends we were going to visit and told them we were sick. And being the amazing people they are, they still invited us in and fed us despite the fact that we were throwing up. I honestly was beginning to feel numb. The thought of cruising around California with three sick kids was awful, but we didn’t know what else to do. We had hotels paid for and a plane that wasn’t leaving for a couple days still.
Our last night here I told my husband I wasn’t praying. What good did it do? Whatever is going to happen is out of my control and it makes no difference, so why even try. Now please don’t judge me too hard here. I am sure we have all gone through our personal moments of despair. This experience was tailored just right for me and I am not sure at this point I fully was handling it well.
So I didn’t pray and I didn’t pray for a while. I was angry…still. We finished our trip and headed home. And you know what even made me angrier, they stopped throwing up (all of them) the day we came home. That’s right…they were as right as rain our first day at home but the dark cloud of my experience brewed over my head for a long time.
Little did I know that this very experience was preparatory for a much harder experience I would face after we moved to North Carolina three years ago. That is another story for another time, but I again faced the despair of life going not as planned and feeling anger and a lack of hope. My faith seemed shaky and uncertain and I again wondered if prayer even worked.
And then I remembered my Disney experience. And I was touched as thoughts flooded my mind and into my heart…
I learned a little more about my Savior
- Despite the scene we were in, we still did every single thing that I had planned…nothing was missed.
- Although the situation wasn’t ideal, He allowed us to handle it with greater capacity and strength than I would have on my own
- He never left us, He carried us
- He showed us tender mercies to lift our burdens throughout the trip
- My youngest daughter doesn’t even remember being sick (this one gets me every time)
I learned a few lessons myself too..
- I was ok with being faithful when life was good, but how about when it turned sour?
- What and how I asked for things in my prayers had to align with God’s will too
- I had to rely on the strength of my husband to get me through
- Life is made up of good and bad, and I have to experience both…it is the very essence of what shapes me to be stronger and better
- God never leaves you and prayers are answered
We never were healed but I came out a little more wise. “Trust God with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding!” God is at the helm, He is the Beacon and the Light and although we pass through many a storm, he still guides us through it!
When I remember Disneyland I have bitter and yes fond memories. It was definitely a storm for our family but we came out of it and we are better for it! As I look at all my pictures of that trip I can’t help but smile…Sometimes life doesn’t go your way, but thank goodness!
For anyone who is going through a storm right now! Hold fast! God will see you through it!
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