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When The Unexpected Happens

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Almost exactly five years ago to date, my husband was in a major car accident. On March 7, I received a phone call that would forever change our lives.  It was unexpected, unplanned, and absolutely unreal. Much like the current narrative of our nation, that time for Jason and I was an hour-by-hour update.  His accident almost took his life and was a roller coaster ride of continual modification to our home life, his care, our response to it, and our work because of it.  I know the uneasiness that accompanies unsteadiness. I know the reality and uncertainty of feeling like the ground is shifting sand. 

Today as I watch our nation, our state and local authorities grapple with this current crisis, I cannot help but think they too feel these exact same emotions that Jason and I have felt.  Yes, the pandemic is global but the emotion of it is felt individually and processed personally just like any other unexpected turn of events in our lives. I want to use this opportunity to share some important truths that Jason and I discovered in the midst of our own crisis moments. I trust that they will both inspire and encourage you.  

Here are the top three things we have learned about crisis moments:

  1. Crisis always reveals importance. Did you know that the word priority originated in Latin in the 14th century?  The word priority meant to “put first” or “make first plain”.  It was a word that described the “main thing” or the “most important thing”.  However, in the 19th century, it was decided there could be more than one priority, literally transforming this word from a singular form to now include a plural meaning.  That means that when people could not bring themselves to make the PRIORITY clear, the answer was to make many things a priority.  This self-deception only leads to great depths of conflict both internally and externally.  There can never be multiple priorities. In a crisis situation, this is especially true. When Jason and I were facing daily and sometimes hourly changes in his care, I had to determine “What was most important?” “What would receive my full attention in this moment?”  I had to determine what was the PRIORITY.
  2. Crisis often reveals true colors.  Remember the song “I see your true colors” by Cyndi Lauper?  Remember how she said, “I see your true colors and that’s why I love you.”  What was she singing about exactly? She was singing about the façade, the fake image that so many people carry around with them and how refreshed she was to see someone who was true to themselves and to the person they portray.  In a crisis, we tend to react rather than respond. Our reactions are often limited, narrow vision, and unrelenting. Most reactions are based on protection mechanisms, not God-awareness and self-governess. When we become reactors and not responders, we show our true colors.  We show the world the real depth of who we are. When moments of crisis occur, we discover if we are people of depth or not. We discover our strength and where we put our trust. Consider this truth- pain is a reality of growing. People who work out in the gym or train for a marathon do not train to overcome pain but to eliminate the authority of it over them.  Once we are no longer controlled by our circumstances, we can break barriers. Some of the greatest athletes of our time are not great because they are more talented necessarily, but rather because they have gained a higher threshold for pain.
  3.  Every crisis brings hidden opportunities.  Jason’s accident pushed me to the closest I have ever been to a complete breakdown.  It was grueling for me. I had to let go of everything I was working on, our goals, plans, trips, kid activities, and many more incredibly difficult things.  At first, this time felt like stripping for both of us. It was a roller coaster of nagging questions -“what if’s” and “will we ever be”. One day, it hit me.  God will work all things together for good… so I must find the good! In the beginning, this was simply finding a daily win. I chose to find something every day that I could be thankful for. From there, it became easier to begin to find the opportunity in the midst of what felt like a whirlwind.  I finally moved the clouds out of my view and began to see clearly that God still had a plan. I could not see every detail yet. Much like a mountain in the distance, you see the form of the mountain but cannot make out the details of the flowers, trees, or colors quite yet. But I did see the mountain!  I saw the possibility. There is an opportunity in every unexpected turn. We have to believe this truth and then start looking for it. Purpose in your heart to search for the possibilities in spite of the pain.

Whether you are facing a shelter in order, you are facing job loss or rearrangement, or maybe you are being challenged by something far more critical,  the crisis does not have to be a loss! In fact, for Jesus, anything that allows people to slow down and run to Him is a win! Find your North in Jesus and you will begin to see the mountain of possibility upon your own horizon.