I know, I'll bet you never thought you'd hear that word come out of my mouth (irony intended).
My family agrees.
In fact, "The Hub" just went out the front door and declared, "Yup. I definitely see pigs flying."
At a loss for words.
Seems downright impossible for me, doesn't it?
Sometimes being speechless is a good thing. It can arrive in a moment when we are confronted with great beauty of some sort, some wonderful act of love, or some unbelievably impossible thing being accomplished.
For example, I've been struck speechless at the sight of a beautiful sunset. Or upon receiving a gift that overwhelmed me. Or at the unbelievably impossible sight of ten less pounds on the scale.
These are good times to be speechless.
But then, there are other times when words won't/don't/can't flow freely because we are overwhelmed with other not-so-good feelings.
Like the past week of craziness in my life.
I was off-the-hill for my monthly visit to my family and to take care of my mom. When I go down there, I live with her, do errands, visit my sons and my daughter-in-law (and Marty!), and race around to accomplish a myriad of other *in-town things* that aren't easily done when I'm home in the mountains.
Some visits are great. Others are, well, challenging.
So, here's the list of insanity that was my week:
1. Son #2's truck died. I had to drive him back and forth to work for five days (and he likes to be up-and-running at 6:00 AM). Brought back memories of middle-school, which wasn't necessarily pleasant for either one of us.
2. Taxes – need I say more?
3. Well, I will say more. Our accountant made a mistake on our taxes (to be fair, the computer did something wrong). At any rate, I caught the mistake and it was fairly easy to fix, but it required another trip back-and-forth to his office (I made a total of three - total driving time: three hours).
4. OK, and one more thing. Let's just say that Uncle Sam doesn't owe us any money this year.
5. Went to mail all the above-mentioned taxes, including property taxes – (which are also due in April, making this month a real wallet-buster) – and was confronted with a huge line. (Like a thousand people at least).
6. Upon entering, one guy was yelling at a postal authority. He was really angry, really loud, and it was scary. I was afraid that this guy was going to go crazy and start hurting people. Especially when he started "stamping" his feet.
7. As I'm filling out some paperwork, I notice a package next to me. I ask the guy closest to the package, "Is this yours?" He says no. So, I checked the address. It was being sent to "SHIPPING DEPARTMENT" and had a weird return name and address. Thinking it could be something dangerous, I picked it up and turned it in. It was really, really heavy. Only later did I stop to think that if it had been something dangerous, like a bomb, I would have set it off. Helpful, but dumb.
8. I went to two places to find the nutritional drink that my mom likes for breakfast. Yup, they were all sold out. And, the place where we used to buy it no longer carries it. Can you say: Certain Valueless Store.
9. When I stay with Mom, I use the powder room instead of her bathroom. This trip the sink plugged up and would not respond to anything. And then, the toilet plugged up, too. I plunged myself to China, no luck. Looks like it's Plumber Time (not to be confused with "Hammer Time" – though I was dangerously close to resorting to that!)
10. One night at my mom's I was awakened by rather startling noises just outside the house. Squealing, snarling, growling, banging around on the wall. I decided that midnight was NOT a good time to investigate whatever Freddy Krueger was up to. Story to be continued…
11. The morning of the day I was leaving to come home, I noticed that several large cormorants (birds) had graciously used my mom's dock for a bathroom. I decided to be a champ and hose it off.
12. As I was walking down the outside stairs to the patio, I came upon Freddy Krueger's *scene of the crime.* There was blood everywhere (fortunately, no carcasses). I saw little raccoon footprints. I'm afraid that some roof rat probably lost this "cage match" confrontation. It was so gross.
13. Stepped around the mess for the time being. After all, I had poop to clean up. Well, wouldn't you know it, the hose on the dock had a leak and I got sprayed with water. Then I couldn't get any water pressure. There was another hose at the side of the house – and yes, it was right next to the Elm Street massacre.
14. Hosed off most of the blood. Then pulled out the hose to full length. It didn't fully reach the dock. So, though I wasn't really able to get rid of the excrement, I did a fine job of re-wetting it.
15. I finally managed to pack and leave my mom's, and decided that I truly deserved a treat for my most terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week. I decided that I deserved a Big Mac. On my way home, I stopped in and ordered one. Anxious to get home, I decided that my lap would make a good tray.
16. Laps are not good trays.
17. As I was trying to steer out of the parking lot with one hand, and attempting to pick up my burger with the other hand, I proceeded to flip the entire thing over the side of my seat.
18. I opened the door to discover that two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun were delightfully arrayed all over the side of the seat, the floor, and the door of my car. Not to mention my lap (tray). Cleanup on aisle Sharon.
19. Did I drive off at this point, you ask?? Oh no! C'mon people, I deserved that burger! Went through the drive-through and got another one. And a chocolate chip cookie, which I decided I really deserved.
20. Made it home finally, after 2 hours and 45 minutes of driving because I had bumper-to-bumper traffic for a while – on a Saturday. Evidently some Las Vegas and San Diego travelers don't leave until 3:00 in the afternoon on Saturday?? Or a bunch of people decided to pull a flash mob just for my benefit. (Definition of flash mob: a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, before quickly dispersing. Sounds like most of Southern California freeway driving – except for the quickly dispersing part).
I hope you've had a chuckle at my mishaps. But truly, that last incident with the Big Mac was kinda the final straw. And though this week was full of little stuff, there are other bigger issues and concerns that rumble through my mind all the time lately. So often I find myself looking to the sky with my hands raised and no words upon my lips.
I am finding that my prayers can't keep up with my feelings.
Do you ever get like that?
Sometimes the only prayer I can utter is, "Lord, You know…"
I was talking to a good friend the other day. She's fighting cancer – and to make matters worse, she just found out the brakes on her car are worn out. We were commiserating about the times when we feel so inundated with *life* that we cannot find adequate words to say.
And I reminded her of these most powerful verses:
"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26-27, NASB)
I'd like to make two points about these verses:
One, we are listened to and heard. Even when our prayers are not lengthy, particularly "pious," or well-worded, God still bends down to catch every single thing we say. And, He even hears the feelings underneath the words.
Two, when we don't know what is the right thing to pray for, when we are at a loss for words, we can be assured that intercessory prayers are being offered in perfect alignment with the will of God. Isn't that wonderful?! Lately I have felt tremendous relief knowing that when I cannot express my feelings, I can rely on Someone else to fill in the blanks.
The Holy Spirit is a good friend indeed.
Finally, I'd like to add the verse immediately preceding these verses in Romans, and the one following them. It is very powerful context.
Verse 25: "But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it."
Verse 28: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
Do you see the *faith sandwich* here?
Bread: If we have hope, and hang on to it with perseverance, we will also learn how to wait...with eager anticipation.
Meat: The Spirit helps us in our weakness, interceding for us in perfect alignment with God's perfect will.
Cheese: The Spirit searches our hearts and expresses our thoughts and feelings with groanings that are too deep for words. In other words, when we can't speak, He does.
Bread: Knowing we are heard, knowing that the Spirit aids us in our prayers, and holding on to the hope that we have, we can now be assured by the Truth that all things work together for God’s good purposes.
That, my friends, is blessed assurance.
And at the wonder of these verses, the fullness of these promises, I am left…
shut my mouth!
"Though the infirmities of Christians are many and great, so that they would be overpowered if left to themselves, yet the Holy Spirit supports them. The Spirit, as an enlightening Spirit, teaches us what to pray for; as a sanctifying Spirit, works and stirs up praying graces; as a comforting Spirit, silences our fears, and helps us over all discouragements. The Holy Spirit is the spring of all desires toward God, which are often more than words can utter. The Spirit who searches the hearts, can perceive the mind and will of the spirit, the renewed mind, and advocates his cause. The Spirit makes intercession to God, and the enemy prevails not." (From commentary by Matthew Henry)
"[Jesus speaking]: 'I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.'" (John 14:16-17, ESV)
"'When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.'" (John 16:13-14, ESV)
"'…when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.'" (John 14:26, NLT)
"For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words." (1 Corinthians 2:10-13, NASB)
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." (Ephesians 6:18, NIV)
"'…do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.'" (Matthew 10:19-20, NIV)
"…because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, 'Abba, Father.' Now you are no longer a slave but God's own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir." (Galatians 4:6-7, NLT)
"When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession – to the praise of his glory."
(Ephesians 1:13-14, NIV)
"…build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God's love."
(Jude 1:20-21, NLT)
Are you speechless today? How does trusting the Holy Spirit's intervention on your behalf bring comfort to your soul?
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