LIFE: Not Presently Available in TiVo Format

I was talking to a friend yesterday. Each of us is currently smack dab in the middle of  a circumstantial pile-up. Ever been in one of those? They happen when you’re trying to work through a life circumstance that has you sidelined when WHAM! From behind, another circumstance plows right into you. Just when you get your bearings and figure out which direction you’re supposed to be heading,  KABLOOEY! Here comes another circumstance from out of nowhere. Before you know it, you feel like you’re living under a great big pile of circumstances. If someone goes all Zig Ziglar on me and tells me that as Christians we should be living above our circumstances instead of beneath them, it’s going to take every bit of the Holy Spirit within me to keep from hitting you in the throat. (Whew. I feel better.)

My friend had started our conversation by saying that she was thinking about asking her doctor to prescribe something to help her sleep. Every night she lies down to sleep and her mind races through her list of mental stuff that needs sorting. 

“Maybe I’ll ask for some Ambien,” she said.

“I know God is purposeful,” I said, “but I’m beginning to think that I might not get to see in this lifetime how all of this fits together. I’ve quit messing with the ‘whys’ and I’m just trying to figure how to best become whatever I’m supposed to become as a result of all of this.”

My friend paused. 

“You know,” she said, “I think I’m more interested in finding the shortcut through all of this than I am in what God has to teach me through the process. I just want to skip ahead to the part where everything’s okay. But maybe instead of self-medicating, God wants me to be present for the struggling. Maybe He has something He wants to tell me in the sleepless nights.”

Wow. Heady stuff. I thought about a blog post I read last week from one of my favorite blogs, “Stuff Christians Like.” The post rang so true with me that I actually accused the author of stalking my head. The post was about “wishing being a Christian meant having a pain-free life.”   During hard times, most of my prayers are me begging God for more novacaine so that I can get through what’s hurting me. 

I can safely say that I have few, if any masochistic tendencies. I tend to avoid pain at all costs. Need further evidence? I did Day 1 of the 30 Day Shred on May 19th. As of today, I have yet to do Day 5. I don’t like to hurt. I don’t like pain or conflict.

I’ve passed this trait down to my daughter. She doesn’t like chase scenes or tense moments in movies. The last time we watched Ratatouille, she ran to her room during the climactic chase scene. She knew it was safe to come out when she heard the music change from tense to happy. She snuggled up beside me, sighed, and said, “Now on to the happy ending.”

One of my favorite current technologies is the one that allows me to record any TV show I want to watch and fast forward through the commercials. I realize how spoiled the DVR has made me whenever I have to watch live TV. I feel twitchy when we can’t fast forward or rewind to see a scene again or to hear what someone just said. I’m so habituated to these luxuries that I have to constantly remind myself that I can’t fast forward or rewind the radio in my car…..yet. I’ll bet that day is on the horizon. You know what else isn’t currently available in TiVo format and will never be? Life. Can’t fast forward it. Can’t rewind it.

Sometimes life just hurts and is hard and you just have to stand firm. Sure God will guide you through! Certainly He will give you the strength and wisdom you need! Of course He will comfort your broken heart! But hearts break and pain comes and you can’t just “sit this one out” until life gets easier. You can’t hide in your room until you hear the happy music.

Today I thought about a song that I played over and over and over right after my dad’s diagnosis. I struggle with some of the lyrics. Especially the one that says, “Even if we did (have a time machine), would we really want to use it? Would we really want to go change everything?” Quite honestly? Today? Yeah. I’d use it and I do want to change everything. This is apparently a process and I’m still processing. I’m just not there yet. I want to be there. But I’m not. 

Can I see places where I’ve grown as a result of the last few months? Has God made His presence known in my life? Has He been good to me? A thousand times yes to all those questions! But I’m not a point where I’m embracing any of this. But my heart’s desire is to be a good student. I’m looking in the Bible for stories of people who went through hard times (I’ve found several, would you believe?) and I’m studying what they did and how that worked. My next plan is to read the life stories of some other Christian heroes who made their lives count for God, even when the going was tough.

In the meantime, I’m trying to remember to live in the miracle of this moment. This day is a gift. I tell my kids if someone gives them a gift that they don’t want that they should at least be grateful that someone thought enough to give them a gift in the first place. Most of the time the gift they didn’t think they wanted ends up becoming a favorite possession.  This day is a gift. Just because it’s not exactly the color I wanted or doesn’t meet my wish list specifications, I am grateful that I get to be alive today. So, no fast forwarding for me. In fact, I’m hitting “pause,” if you will, to truly see what this day and this moment has to say.  In the words of the great Garth Brooks, ” I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”


It’s time for letting go
All of our “if onlys”
‘Cause we don’t have a time machine

And even if we did
Would we really want to use it?
Would we really want to go change everything?

Cause we are who and where and what we are for now
And this is the only moment we can do anything about

So breathe it in and breathe it out
And listen to your heartbeat
There’s a wonder in the here and now
It’s right there in front of you
And I don’t want you to miss the miracle of the moment

There’s only One who knows
What’s really out there waiting
And all the moments yet to be
And all we need to know
Is He’s out there waiting
To Him the future’s history

And He has given us a treasure called right now
And this is the only moment we can do anything about

So breathe it in and breathe it out
And listen to your heartbeat
There’s a wonder in the here and now
It’s right there in front of you
And I don’t want you to miss the miracle of the moment

And if it brings you tears
Then taste them as they fall
Let them soften your heart

And if it brings you laughter
Then throw your head back
And let it go
Let it go, yeah
You gotta let it go

And listen to your heartbeat

And breathe it in and breathe it out
And listen to your heartbeat
There’s a wonder in the here and now
It’s right there in front of you
And I don’t want you to miss the miracle of the moment



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12 responses to “LIFE: Not Presently Available in TiVo Format

  1. Oh, my. It’s true. Sometimes, we’re not in the market for any new life lessons or for triumphing over this or that. Sometimes we just want to be done, thankyouverymuch, and ready to have God just get on with it and fix things the way we like them.

    At least that’s me.

    And then, eventually, i let Him go ahead and be God again. Hoping that he heard my opinion loudly enough, but trusting Him, regardless. I guess that’s the process about which you so beautifully write.

    This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Ps. 118:24.

  2. Can I just hug your neck now?

  3. I love that song. It is one that has been set to repeat many a time around these parts.

    Snoodles, I just want to hug you.

    You are in my prayers. Daily.

  4. Do I even really need to say anthing? I think not.

    But I can and will say that this touched me.

    …and I’m still praying…

  5. I skipped right past everyone’s comments that I usually enjoy reading…

    gosh. so many times when we write something for ourselves God is eleventy-fold…seriously. you wrote those words for you..working through YOUR life and yet…those words are the things in my heart I’m struggling with and didn’t know what or how to say them…YOU are my song lyrics today!

    I am blessed, saying “YES” to these words and remembering something I even said to you but forgotten…that it’s the wrestling/struggle that strengthens us. We may sweat, cry, even feel defeated and yet..if we are willing to hold out the strength comes…but not before the burn.

    Thank you thank you thank you for this post today! Love you, SnoodleCake.

  6. Thank you. This resonates deeply.

    Praying for you and your family. And I know that you are doing the same for me.

    Thank you. Again.

  7. carpoolqueen

    I am forever changed because of an event that happened almost 10 years ago. And while the daily struggle is at times overwhelming, I have to stop and see what I was then and what I am now and then I say “Thank you.”

  8. Beautiful words…

    You are in my prayers.

  9. Amy,

    I got your email and plan to email your Mom soon. She is blessing me so much with her posts. I love this post you wrote…..and so relate…..

    You are a great writer…and a wonderful daughter….

    Love you,

  10. You have a precious heart. I am praying for you and your family.

  11. mom

    I needed that today! Did you see the blue morning glory in the video!? Our God is such a detail God! And He knows exactly how to get my attention. I was “fast forwarding” so much yesterday, just knowing my plans were God’s plans…. Remember, the sign Toni told me she saw in Bossier, “You plan; God laughs!” His plans are always better even when we don’t like them or understand them….this is what I’m having to tell myself over and over, again today! Love you more!

  12. The whole time I was reading your post, I was thinking how God weaves people together. I’m realizing how He is in so many details and I keep thinking about how he works all things together for good. What I mean is….look how he has woven a group of women together(many who have never met in real life) and the words we share or encouragement we offer becomes priceless and so incredibly helpful.
    The words that you have shared are so encouraging and helpful to me today. Thank you dear friend.

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