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Roller Coaster Life

We live a roller coaster life.

I never know if the day is going to be good, bad, or just an okay day and I know I am not alone in that feeling.  Everyone of us could say we live a roller coaster life.   Mr. Andy said one time in a sermon that the only way to ride a roller coaster is with your hands in the air.  However, I don’t embrace that thought.  If I were on a real roller coaster I would be holding on for dear life.

I am definitely not a roller coaster riding kind of girl.  Roller coasters actually make me physically sick!  I remember being a teenager and riding the zipper with my best friend at the county fair only to have to walk away and empty the inside of my stomach!  Now, I’m smarter than that, I don’t ride roller coasters at all.  Unfortunately in life, we don’t get to choose whether we ride or not!

It is a ride that we are on and it has bumps and curves.  Sometimes it makes us need to stop and empty the insides of our stomach before going on.  Other times it makes us want to raise our hands in complete surrender.  Yet other moments it causes big smiles and belly laughs.

There’s been more than one occasion, there has been this sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs.  A doctor has just delivered difficult news and there’s the sick feeling in our stomachs.  There’s a smurf blue chemo dripping into a port that makes Zine sick and me as well.  My aging parents needing more and more care can bring that same feeling into the pit of my stomach.  There’s the pull to be two places at one time that can cause my queasy tummy to surface.  This is where I am much of the time.

Right now I prepare to make a trip to Arkansas to be with my parents.  I NEED and WANT to do this!  It’s part of loving well!  I am often accused of being a control freak.  However, I don’t see it that way.  Rather, I see it as an answer to prayer.  I remember the agonizing prayers I prayed a few years ago that God would give me the heart to love my parents well in their last season.  Despite my needing and wanting to be there, I feel a strong pull to be here as well.  Chloe’s health has been way below good lately.  Zine is in the fatigue easy stage and is in a very depressed stage.  My heart is torn completely in half.

I am so grateful for a conversation with my childhood pastor this week.  He came when I was in Kindergarten and he was still my pastor when he married Zine and I in 1994!  So he’s more than a pastor…he’s family!   I needed someone to share with and I needed wise wisdom.  And I will always cherish the advice he gave.

 “No one makes your choices.  Others provide input but they do not make your decisions.”

Oh, how I needed that confirmation in my heart.  Sometimes in the middle of my heart being torn and hearing voices of those around me, God whispers in my heart and I know the right decision.  However, I often struggle with following that whisper in the midst of the loud noise around me.  Now, if I could trust God enough that when He has whispered in my heart what I need to do and that the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach would dissipate.  Walking in faith and trusting God is quite difficult!

My ultimate goal is that I will get to the point, that I constantly keep my arms raised in complete surrender!

My oh my, that is like an almost unfathomable place to live.  Do people really live in this place constantly?  I’ve read lots of blogs, lots of articles, that would lead me to believe they do.  While these articles are thought provoking and great reads with wonderful advice, I do wonder if people live in those wonderful places of surrender constantly.  While I can trust that God has a plan and is at work in our lives, I don’t think I walk in complete surrender all the time.  Some days, yes.  Other days, I question God, I beg God, I try to bargain with God, etc.  Maybe I have an unclear perspective of what it means to walk in complete surrender.  I feel like the girl who steps onto the roller coaster because that’s what God has planned for her, but she holds on for dear life to the rail in front of her.  Complete surrender seems like it would be the free spirit with her arms raised in the wind on the ride.  Just a thought to continue to ponder on my part!

At the current moment, I’m not even sure where I would place myself.  I have found myself in a very mind boggling, overwhelming place with multiple family needs all around me.   Seems like I have thrown my hands up in desperation rather than surrender!

Desperation leads me to surrender!  Thankfully, it leads to surrender and not defeat.
Big smiles and belly laughs seem like a happy, joyous life!

Rarely do we have belly laughs at my home these days, but when we do they are cherished!  Big smiles we know how to put on our faces in the best and worst of situations.  Therefore, smiles can be deceiving for us!  However, I think being able to put a smile on in the worst of situations is evidence of Christ in us, not that we are being fake!

Last night we took the picture of our family eating dinner together.  It was a good night.  We sat around the table and ate dinner together.  Between Zine’s chemo and feeling bad, Chloe’s headaches, teenagers comings and goings, and a tired mama it has been over a month since we sat together.  I shall not lie, it felt good!  We even played a game afterwards.  A glimmer of hope!  But then a new day comes, and it is a bad day today.  Zine has struggled with depression/fatigue all day.  I’ve struggled to know how to love him well in this place.  My reaction is to preach but I know he doesn’t need to be preached to.  He needs to know I love him, I care and I understand that blue days are okay!  I find I get frustrated after a good day and think, why did I get my hopes up?!

Then God whispers…

Be thankful for your good day and family time. Be thankful that you get to walk with Zine in this place, be thankful you get to love your children well, be thankful that your family is supportive of you going to Arkansas and be thankful that I have given you the love you need for this season in your parent’s life.  Simply stated, be thankful.  Trust Me Karen that there will be more good days!  There are sweet surprises for you everyday even amidst the difficult!

After all, it is a roller coaster life!

Tonight I’m sharing pictures of smiles!  Some are happy smiles.  Some are I smile because Christ lives in me smiles!  Nonetheless, they are smiles!

Just a little superman work rescuing two girls at one time!
This girl is one of a kind. Beautiful smile and beautiful smiling emoji she painted.
Another beautiful smile from this girl!
This guy is smiling! This is a rare occasion these days!
Both girls are smiling! Most definitely a rarity for Chloe! We were having some shamrock fun with Kroger!
Conner is such a fun guy! Our new game requires you to tear cards!!!! He had no issue with that!
It’s one of those smiles that is definitely a Christ in me smile! But that water cup is empty!!
I ate this! That’s reason to smile right there! If you know me, you know I have food issues. So this is huge!
And I cooked something brand new one night! NEVER in my life have I ever tried or cooked this. But…it was delicious!



Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.