Some days are just too much.
This is what I found myself thinking today. It was a day of tending to a sick daughter without the help of a husband because he was also sick. It meant absolutely nothing was getting checked off my to-do list. But the worst, to me, was that I was finding rest by napping in spurts at various locations of the house. Getting woken up with complaints of discomfort each time I started to drift into deeper sleep was painful. I had cancelled and rescheduled appointments that were going to be missed, which felt like two steps forward, one step back. I still needed to take the healthy daughter to her physical therapy appointment after school. Then, after helping her to change from her work clothes, attend a fundraiser together. I started to feel cranky and irritated. It brought back a vivid memory…
A decade ago I had another moment where things were most certainly too much.
One day, as I hurriedly attempted to make it to one daughter’s tennis match, I discovered that the van lift had stopped working. Now please understand, just a few hours earlier I had made time to get one of the girl’s brand new power chairs repaired. Both girls were now trapped inside the van in their fully functioning power chairs. I banged both hands on the lift yelling “NOOOOOOOOO!” in my best theatrical voice. Then my sweet home health aide tried to soothe me saying, “you know what they say about not being given more than you can handle.” Poor thing. She had no idea what a pet peeve that comment had become to me.
It is a misquote. One that has brought me more despair than I care to admit.
“God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” is always given by well meaning people who mean to be encouraging. However there are times when we are in God-Sized troubles and we are intended to include others in those moments. He sends them to us. For the first 18 months of the twins’ lives I believed that God intended me to handle what was laid in front of me. To not do so would disappoint Him. But boy did I feel bitter! As day after day went by I cried out with, “YO! Do you see me drowning here??? How do you think I am to handle this when I am exhausted and feel like I am functioning UNDER water???” It was too much.
All the while I turned away offers of help from those He sent me, believing I was meant to handle it.
Let me share with you the verse I eventually, and angrily, looked up in the Bible: Corinthians 10:13. It certainly doesn’t say that God will not give us more than we can handle. It does give us the promise that God will never allow us to be tempted more than we can handle and that He will always provide a way of escape. Relieved? I know our health aide was! In fact, she asked me for the written reference so she could share it with her friend who quoted it to her! It seemed her friend was carrying that thought around like a suitcase of boulders. Go ahead…do a search on it. You will find many a scholar acknowledging that such a verse does not exist. As for me, I found that moment to be a turning point in my life. One that has brought joy in knowing that the spirit intercedes for me while God is sending me ways of escape through others all the time!
When things are too much I look for His helpers. Quite often they are the ones I had just sent away trying to act so independent.
That day at the tennis courts? Well, I may not be able to unload a 250 pound wheelchair but I am strong enough to manually pump the lift by hand. Once I settled down and focused I remembered that I had that option and off we went! Now, a decade later, I am at the end of another overwhelming day. This time, as it got too much, I take note of great friends who are walking along with us. They have done it before. They choose to sit next to us at the fundraiser dinner willing to carry plates, cut the food, pour the refills, even wipe chins. I don’t shoo them away. I have a chance to enjoy a relaxing still-hot meal with friends and be a bit more energized and less overwhelmed. I am thankful I didn’t decide to stay home and give in to the frustration but I am even more thankful for those who provide us a way out…an off ramp…on this wheel life adventure.