Thursday, April 16, 2015

Just When You Think You Can't Handle Any More...Being Robbed Reminds You That You Can

Last week Steve and I traveled to Kansas City so that he could see a neurologist and hopefully receive some answers to the many questions we have about some of his Lyme-related symptoms. By noon, the appointment was over and we were prepared to head home when Steve suggested that we stay for the rest of the day and enjoy some one-on-one time together.

No one had to twist my arm to get me to say Y.E.S. and Amen! The day before we left, I had truly reached a point where I rolled my eyes so hard at life's trials that I swear I could see the sad crusty pony tail that hadn't felt a good shampoo in days sticking out of the back of my stressed out head.

We both needed a break.  Even if it was only for a few hours.

One thing I've always treasured about our relationship is that Steve and I can literally be up to our armpits in the crapstorms of life, and the very second we shake loose from all of the stress and worries, we are able to really let go, to laugh and have so much fun together.

After a blissful lunch at our favorite BBQ joint, we worked off the slab of ribs and fries with a nice long run and some CrossFit.  To top the afternoon off, the NCAA tournament finals were on.  Right next to Jesus, the second two pillars of strength in our marriage are a mutual love for sports and good beer. (Okay, maybe not right next to Jesus, but pretty close.)

We bellied right up to the bar with our favorite snacks and a couple of pints to enjoy the game. It was heavenly.  But, as soon as the game was over, so was our good-time.  As we approached the suburban, happiness was torn from my heart, and I felt it slowly sinking back into the deep.

I couldn't believe my eyes.  Standing in a sea of broken glass, I stared in shock through shattered windows into the empty darkness of our car.

I knew immediately that my purse had been stolen, but I felt somewhat relieved knowing that there were no valuables or cash inside, just a couple of credit cards which could easily be cancelled. But, what I didn't realize, until I returned to our hotel room hours later, was that the thieves had also stolen my laptop.  Steve thought that I had carried into the hotel room earlier in the day, I thought that he had.

That was when I lost it. Really, really lost it.

The sudden rush of anger that flooded my emotions was driven by grief over the loss of hundreds of photos that I would never get back, and also supreme frustration at myself for not taking the time to back them up.

I didn't realize it, but all of the struggles and challenges that life has thrown our way over the past year had been building pressure inside my heart, and being robbed was the final force that broke open the flood gates.

I buried my face in the pillow that night and wept for what felt like hours. I would be lying if I said I didn't wish with all my might for the hammer of justice to slam down upon the person responsible for my misery, because I felt just that.

But one can only be disgusted at another person's sin for so long. I was empty, and when you're empty and completely at the end of your rope, there is nothing that can fill you back up but Christ. (I've tried a variety of substitutes.  Trust me, no es bueno.)

After tossing back and forth in the discomfort of anger and self-pity, I finally submitted my pathetic little heart to the Healer. I begged the Lord over and over again for the grace to forgive the person who had hurt us. I begged him more for the grace to carry with deeper courage and trust all of the burdens and concerns for our family that weighed so heavily on my shoulders.

The next day, we were blessed by a very generous and kind business that was able to fix our windows in a timely fashion so that we could return home to our boys.  While I was on the phone with the bank, credit card companies, and police, trying to take care of serious business, Steve was avoiding chaos by trying his best to get me to laugh at the ridiculousness of our predicament.

Of course he succeeded.
Even though we were only gone for about 24 hours, those hours felt like an eternity.  When we finally arrived home, seeing the boys' beautiful faces and reaching out to hold them tightly in my arms was such a comfort.  Over and over I said to myself, this right here, this is what matters.

That night, unable to sleep, I sat up on the edge of the bed contemplating what Netflix episode and snack was going to help take my mind off of the former days' events.  Exhaling, I stared up at the crucifix on the wall, looking to the Lord for one tiny consolation, anything that would guide my weary, calloused heart, back to a place of trust and confidence.
I felt Him press these words upon my heart:
"Can you not see that it is only in your poorest, weakest moments that the depths of My love and generosity can truly be known?"

At that very moment, I was able to recall every single act of generosity that had been bestowed upon our family, particularly over the past few months....
Holy hours in the middle of the night offered up,
Meals lovingly prepared for our family,
Offers to shuttle our children to and from music lessons and sports practices,
Countless texts, phone calls and e-mails from family and friends who are praying, fasting, or making sacrifices for Steve,  
Hours upon hours of assistance with household chores and child care from family which has made it possible for me to accompany Steve at his doctor appointments.

At that middle-of-the-night hour, my heart was filled with deep thanksgiving, and I was blessed with a fresh perspective on life.  For months I had been so blinded by the anxiety I carried over the problems and challenges that life had dealt our family, that I could not see the Lord loving us all in spite of them.

I understood, more clearly than ever, that the trials of this world will indeed pass, and soon be forgotten. But, what will live on from now into eternity is the way we respond to those trials, and the way that others love us through them.

We are the living, breathing, mystical body of Christ, you and I.  I can barely begin to understand what that means, but I know that I want to be a part of it.

We are His love, His mercy, His generosity in the flesh, and when we give, when we love, when we serve and even humbly receive, His presence here on Earth is not only felt, it is made known to the world, and that is something that cannot be taken from us

Every single hardship, setback, disappointment, loss, grief, injustice and brokenness that we experience is, in a way, a gift.  A gift wrapped up in the opportunity for others to LOVE us, for Christ to love us through others.  

No one wishes for hard times.  It is not in our nature to run toward the cross, toward suffering. Yet, if we can, but for a moment embrace those sufferings, no matter how big or how small they may be, then truly in those terrible moments of poverty, God's GREAT mercy and generosity can be known, if only we will place our trust in Him and allow Him to love us in this way.


  1. Oh seriously! Hugs and love to you.

  2. Wow...this really touched me. I'm so sorry that happened to you...what a trial. But your reflections on suffering was JUST what I needed to hear.

    I especially loved this line."I understood, more clearly than ever, that the trials of this world will indeed pass, and soon be forgotten. But, what will live on from now into eternity is the way we respond to those trials, and the way that others love us through them."

  3. Wow, this leaves me speechless. Hugs and prayers!!

  4. How terrible! I'm so sorry, but your perspective is beautiful. And it's Daredevil. That's what you want to watch on Netflix. Money back guarantee. :)

  5. Oh, that is just terrible. I recently had a similar occurrence with my purse. It is so stressful.
    I am glad that you and Steve were able to have some fun time together before this happened.

  6. Sweet Susan. Your words are so beautiful and so true. Be certain of our continued prayers, and of God's unfailing comfort. If there's anything we can do from out here in CA, don't be afraid to ask. Hugs.

  7. So awful. But what a release from your insane amount of stress. I hope you continue to feel flooded with His grace. Xxoo

  8. I've been grumbling the past few days about some struggles, and I have been striving to put my frustration aside and keep things in perspective. I am so sorry that you had such an awful experience, but kudos for not letting it wear down your spirit. You put into words what I have been thinking about lately. Will continue to pray for your family and hubby's health.

  9. I saw this on FB but just hadn't made it over to read yet - I"m so very sorry, Susan! I have been praying for y'all while you look for answers for Steve and still try to enjoy all of your time with your precious boys!! I hate that this happened in addition to everything else.

  10. Beautiful beautiful post! Your authenticity is tremendous. My (newly married of almost 6 weeks!! Yay!) husband and I were recently in a car accident, totaling both our vehicles. But we're both ok and we get another day together. abundant grace. Realizing how quickly life changes makes you grateful! We'll be keeping your husband and awesome family in our prayers! Much love!!


If you are having trouble leaving a comment, please feel free to send me an e-mail or leave a response on my Facebook page. Thanks!