THE LAST STRAW

Wednesday was one of THOSE DAYS.

The State of the School Address had gone late the night before.  I had put a great deal of effort into preparing an address on the topic of “testing points” – those challenges that come our way and test our resolve, revealing our character.  I was pleased that parents had received it well.

Tired, with a long “to do” list, I brought up my Google calendar around mid-morning, and breathed a sigh of relief – the morning had started out hectic, but the rest of the day was relatively empty.

I had just retreated into the office for a peaceful few hours of work when “the last straw” fell.

Erin, my daughter, was on the phone, frantically screaming that water was gushing out of the wall, filling our garage at home.   She could not get a hold of her dad or husband, who would have known how to shut the water down.  I however felt helpless knowing that boxes of her newly purchased furniture still stood in our flooding garage.  (If you have read previous blogs, you may remember that our garage was flooded by broken pipes just a few weeks ago during the cold Texas freeze!)

I was bewildered. How could pipes have broken so quickly again and this time in 60 degree weather?  Feeling helpless and frustrated and terribly inconvenienced, I headed home but definitely not with a good attitude or peaceful mindset! I was angry at yet another issue at our home and was tempted to cast blame at someone – anyone.

Our school’s athletic director, Joe, offered to come along as did Stuart, who both happened to be in the office at the time.  Joe rode with me and quietly listened as I grumbled and whined.

Half way home, he turned to me and said two words:  “Testing Points”.

Immediately conviction welled up in me.  Hadn’t I just spoken on this topic the night before?  I could still hear myself state that testing comes at those most inconvenient times when we feel least prepared to face them; that having a good attitude is easy when things are going smoothly; but that our character grows in times of crisis when we decide to respond uprightly.

Immediately my mood lifted and peace returned.  The verse from Sunday’s sermon filled my mind instead.  “Rejoice always – do not be anxious about anything – pray with thanksgiving – and the peace of God – will guard your heart and your mind”.  ( I love how God can immediately lift us out of the bog we jump into when we simply look up and remember His words.)

In just an hour the garage was emptied and the furniture rescued.  My husband, who had taken a short cut in installing our water softener, was the culprit.  I wanted to be angry at him but chose instead to consider how hard he works and all that he does.

I realized that God had provided exactly what was needed in this latest challenge just as He does in any crisis we face:

  • Erin just happened to be at our house when the pipe blew.
  • Two men just happened to be in the office ready and willing to help when the call came.
  • Joe was willing to confront my attitude when I needed to be confronted.

Can my life really be governed by joy and peace at all times including at those challenging “testing points?”  The answer is a resounding YES – if I choose it.   Testing comes for me when inconveniences and issues happen successively, wearing me down.  It’s the “last straw” that does it.   Convicted, I recognized how blind I had been to my own sin in excusing my grumbling and complaining when “the last straw”  fell.

As a leader at Veritas, I have a huge responsibility.  As a mother, wife and grandparent, I have a huge responsibility . To quote John Maxwell, “the people you lead reflect the attitude you possess.”

QUESTION: What causes you to be tested in your daily lives?

VERSES: Philippians 4: 4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say Rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.  The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

QUOTES:

“God chooses what we go through.  We choose how we go through it.” –   John Maxwell

“Attitude more than age determines energy.”  – Robert Schuller

14 Comments

  1. Sorry about your garage…but your attitude is spot-on

    Reply
  2. Amen!

    Reply
  3. Thanks for being transparent. We all have our own testing points and God desires that we respond so He is glorified. Until we meet Him face to face these trails will continue to come our way. I love that your focus was on whatever was true, good, lovely … vs. just the situation. Grateful God provided in so many ways and you could see that. Praying you have a restful weekend. Thanks you for all you do at Veritas.

    Reply
  4. Thanks! This is a great reminder.

    Reply
  5. Ellen- What a wonderful example of how we are not in control of our lives. A friend once told me “If you want to make God smile, Tell Him your plans” God always has a way to refine us, doesnt he? Great story and thanks for sharing., Love you, Debi

    Reply
  6. my favorite scripture!

    Reply
  7. So right on! I wish I could have Christ’s character without all the STUFF it requires! 🙂

    Reply
  8. Ellen,
    I am amazed every time I hear you speak or read anything you write. You are such a blessing and God is using you in awesome ways. Thank you for your leadership and wisdom.

    Reply
  9. Your address on Tuesday night touched my heart. Today’s blog REALLY hit home. I had a testing point yesterday and didn’t handle it well. I had to face it again today. This time the Spirit spoke to me…Remember the psalmist’s words? “Change my heart, oh God” That has been my prayer today for God to change my heart. Your words today affirm our God is an awesome God. Blessings to you Ellen for speaking from your heart.

    Reply
  10. In addition to the Philippians 4 verse, I also remind myself of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Oh, I pray I would listen and obey always, but I do not. Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Oh, how I am weak without Jesus. Thanks, Ellen, for your leadership at Veritas.

    Reply
  11. I am sorry about your garage. The way you’ve persevered and remained joyful amid flooding and other obstacles on your property is very encouraging to me!

    Reply
  12. Ellen,
    Thank you for constanting challenging yourself and our community to be perseverant always, no matter what God allows-nothing is a coincidence (also for encouraging accountability). i don’t know any faithful Christian who has a smooth sailing. we are constantly faced with challenges, but the verse i have been clinging to lately is that God doesn’t give us more than we can bear (even for my 18-month old toddler). God works all things for the good of those who love HIM!
    rest and peace to the Schuknechts this weekend!

    Reply
  13. Save your blog entries. They would make a great devotional book someday. Awesome.

    Reply
  14. I was thinking the same as Linda….these blogs are fantastic devotionals. You are a REAL…AMAZING person!!

    Reply

Leave a Reply