The Rest of the Story…or Running Away

IMG_6011The other day I was reading the story of Elijah and the Baal priests.  How God rained down fire from heaven and burned up an altar saturated with water.  How Elijah prayed and God answered.  How Elijah was blessed to see the power of God first hand and to be a part of the display of God’s great glory!

And I thought how much I want to see God do amazing things in my life, and how I’m seeing now that He really does already do great things.  

Today…I feel like the Elijah that appears only a few verses later…the Elijah that ran away.

So God showed up BIG time and proved who is the one true God.  After the people respond positively, Elijah takes all the prophets of Baal down to a creek and kills them.  And then Jezebel, the queen over all those Baal prophets sent Elijah a message, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.”  (1 Kings 19:4)

And do you know what Elijah’s response was?  Just a few verses after the Lord did His “in your face” thing with the water and the altar and the fire…this is what the Bible says about Elijah:

“Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life…”

As my students would say, “Wait, what?”     

Yup.  Ran for his life…afraid of Jezebel.  

As if the power of God was all used up in that last miraculous display and now there is no more to protect Elijah from Jezzy.  

And then Elijah does this…

“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough, now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”

Elijah sounds like he is despairing…He sounds weary and tired and afraid.

And right now…honestly, I feel a little bit like that as well.

I’ve been trying ever so hard to focus on the good in my life…to see where God is working. And I do see it, like Elijah.

But this life looks like its not getting easier any day soon and I feel so tired already and so weary, and so afraid of not being able to do it well…and so alone in this battle.

This was the first full week of everyone and everything going a thousand miles an hour and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed thinking about the coming years…how this pace isn’t going to change for a while yet.

And this weekend…Sunday is my dad’s birthday.  And then in a little more than a week it will be the anniversary of his death.  And I miss him so much.  I always miss him, but today I miss him a lot.  

He was an endearing, grumpy old man.  He was the kind of man who didn’t gush and who wasn’t terribly warm and fuzzy, but I never doubted that he loved me.  And somehow when he was here, I always knew that life would be okay.  He was an anchor of sorts.  My parents didn’t really walk with me through my husband leaving…I think sometimes it is too hard for family to understand how to unless they live next door.  It all seems too surreal unless you are right there.  But when my dad read my book, he talked to me about things and apologized for not being with me more.  It was okay, truly, because God provided in other ways.  And my dad cared for me in other ways too. He didn’t give me counsel or comfort like my friends did, but he provided me practical advice, security and protection.  I miss that.  I miss the security of knowing my dad would help me if I needed it.  

The night my dad died I held him up as he struggled to breath.  At one point I whispered, “I love you Daddy”  and he whispered even more quietly back, “I love you too.”  It is one of the moments of my whole life that I cherish the most.  A beautiful moment in the midst of one of the worst nights of my life.

I want my dad to be here…to help me figure things out, to help me fix things, to advise me on things.  He was never too busy for me.  He was always willing to help me figure things out.

I don’t know what to do right now.  I wish I could talk to him…to ask his advice.  I don’t want to live like this right now.  I feel like Elijah sometimes, “God please, it is enough now!”

It’s enough.  Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

I so wish I was stronger and more able to do this life gracefully.  I feel like I’m slogging.  Is that even a word?

But if we keep reading in 1 Kings, we see our gracious God’s response.  How I love Him!

God sent an angel to Elijah who gently woke him and gave him food and drink. Elijah ate and drank and then fell asleep.  Then the angel did it again, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.”

Golly, do I feel that the journey in front of me is too great.  I can’t even tell you…

But whatever God gave Elijah to eat sustained him for that journey.

“And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights…”

If God’s angel woke me with something to eat and drink I wonder if it would be crusty bread and coke 🙂  Yum.  

Seriously though, I know God wants me to understand that He will sustain me…He will uphold me….He will provide for me.  He will be my refuge, peace, and strength.

I was thinking that maybe something that would help is just taking one day at a time…I can do that for some things…not sure how to do it for others.

I guess that’s where I plop myself down and pray.

But not like Elijah.  Because I don’t want to end my life, I just want to make it better.  Lord, help.  I’m done and weary and overwhelmed.  

And what I need to be okay with is that God’s plan might be that it stays this difficult and tiring.  That it isn’t going to be significantly different for a while.  And I need to be okay with that.  Not because it’s “the right” thing to do, but because I want to be healthy and peaceful and content for my children.  I don’t want to always be seeking a way out or a quick fix or a perfect situation.  I want to trust that God can work even in the midst of great struggling and great exhaustion.  

I definitely don’t understand so much of this life and this week has shown me that I have limits, but it has also shown me that God has given me strength and resources and I just need to trust that He will continue to strengthen me…to trust that He will continue doing amazing things in my life.  

My dad might not be here, but my Father is and I know that He offers the ultimate security, protection, and love.  

Trust God.  Pray.  Trust Him some more. That’s what I need to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

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9 Comments

  1. Sue, thank you for your honesty about loneliness, discouragement and feeling overwhelmed. Your words echo my struggle to step into each day with trust that God will care for me. And thank you for the thoughts about your dad. This week marked the passing of my dear mother-in-law who went to be with the Lord two years ago, right in the midst of my divorce. She was a prayer warrior who never ceased praying that her son’s heart would be softened by the redeeming love of God. Her faithful prayers were a lifeline and I miss her.

    You are in a different season of life than I since you still have little children at home, but we can both relate to being lonely. Abandonment, divorce and my ex-husband’s remarriage tore my family apart, but it has also made me face dealing with being an “empty nester” while my youngest is still in high school. With two adult children, a college student and only one left at home, the time my daughter stays with her father has forced me to face being totally alone for the first time in my life. Some well-meaning friends encourage me to be happy that I have this time to myself, embracing the time to do things “for me.” What they can’t understand is that I would so much rather have the noise and interruptions and drama and sharing and ranting and mess of a 16 year old girl than the utter silence that remains when she is gone. Mentally, I was not prepared to “lose” my daughter during high school. Like her older siblings, I knew life would change once she began to drive, yet I was focused on launching her off to college, not to her dad’s house for a week at a time where he lives with a new wife. I saw myself in the Elijah story because I HAVE seen God work incredible things in my family. He has showered me with love and grace and healing at times when I saw only despair. But then my daughter will leave, and I must face life alone at home, and I get stuck again in the loneliness and the quiet.

    So thank you for your words about Elijah. I was encouraged that God included this story in the Bible so I could see that a godly man who doubts is still loved and cared for by the Lord. I appreciate that God included “real” people with “real” emotions in the scripture so I focus less on trying to be a perfect Christian and more on being real before God. I also appreciate that you are so real and transparent about your struggles. Divorce has significantly altered my identity in the world’s eyes and has changed the rhythm of my family, but it has not changed my identity in Christ. I am lonely, but I am loved, I am cared for and I am cherished. And so are you. Thank you for the encouraging words. You are in my prayers:)

    • Dawn, Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I wish I could hang out with you when your daughter is gone. I could definitely bring people and noise! Honestly, I do understand. Even though I long for the few hours when I’m alone, I hate them at the same time. Nothing seems right, does that make sense? But you are so right, we are loved, cared for, and cherished. And God is good always!
      Praying for you – that God would comfort you with His presence in very real ways when you feel alone.
      Blessings,
      Sue

  2. I’m right here with ya girl. Single mom of 2, business owner, and completely & thoroughly bone-tired, mentally exhausted, and emotionally drained. Been separated for 7 yrs., and just when I thought we were getting a handle on this “family of 3” thing, my kids’ father just up & quit his job, and moved 4 States away from us, on the first week of school. no address, no contact with the kids, just gone. we’re all reeling. Again. and I lost control of myself, took it out on my kids, screaming, cursing him, horrible. I think the dust is settling today, but this mess just never ends. He keeps finding ways to “unsettle” us. the long road ahead is daunting, and oh-so-tiring. But for the love of our kids,, we press on. and for God’s love of HIs kids, He presses on with us. Your honest writing is one tool He uses to help me feel not-so-alone. I hear you, I see you, you are not alone. Kristy

    • Kristy,

      Thank you so much – you can’t imagine what a blessing it is to have you take the time to share your struggles too. Sometimes I feel like I must be the only mom that is acting like a lunatic at times. It is my heart’s desire to be a calm, gentle, patient, loving, godly mom. But it is a journey and I stumble along the way a lot. But God loves me anyway! I love that! Thank you again!

      In Him,
      Sue

    • Kristy, Thank you for sharing and for your last words. I so appreciate them. It does so help to know we aren’t alone in this struggle – which can seem so hopeless, daunting, and exhausting! Praying we both see the beauty in our lives and know the peace which passes all understanding!
      Blessings dear one!
      Sue

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