For reasons undoubtedly learned in college child development classes but forgotten in detail along the way, age 4, in our parenting experience, was when imaginations began to soar. Anything and everything could happen by simply pretending it to be so. Each young blondie in his growth from toddler to all out boy traveled through the phase of make-believe. While one or two have the definite signs of taking it to the core of their lifelong personality, it was still a journey for them all.
Our oldest at age 4 was thoroughly enthralled with a Flash costume. This thrift store find was far from mint condition, but despite it's loosening seams, hanging threads and lack of ability to close in the back, to him it held a power to transport, quite literally, in a flash to anywhere his super powers were needed. Over and over I would watch as he zoomed past me from the hallway, constantly asking "Did you see me?" "Can you see me?" "Am I going so fast?"
One day, my husband took a picture of that mini flash as he was zooming across again and again. The effect on camera created a blur of color following that little super hero as if he truly was running so quickly that the naked eye could never spot him.
Unfortunately, not every flash produces the smiles that a kid in costume can.
Change is inevitable. Whether welcomed with open arms or fought against tooth and nail or dealt with somewhere in between, change happens constantly. One of the hardest parts of life is when it sneaks up, unexpected, and in a flash your normal is not only different, you know it can never be the same again.
When someone, either just once or over and over, has experienced a figurative bomb going off in their lives, it may not bring the physical destruction that a wire and metal one can, but these crisis situations can leave an emotional and spiritual aftermath of distress, confusion, and upheaval that can take just as long or even longer from which to recover.
Inside, new pathways are created in your mind that now lead to distress, fear, anger and a host of other negative emotions. Because of these new paths, any moment in the future that might even hint at a past difficulty causes the sequence to trigger and in less time than it takes to blink, your heart and mind are overcome with the emotions the past has created. If by chance you are taken by surprise and have an unexpected reminder in the midst of your happy normalcy, the journey to distress feels even more immediate.
During a sermon recently we were asked if any of us felt like we were experts in any given skill. Often feeling like a jack of all trades, master of none, the pitiful list in my head was nothing to be impressed about. One thing I do feel as if pro status has been achieved these past three years since my most significant bomb in life, is understanding triggers and the difficulty they can cause in someone's day. I assure you, it's not a skill to be envious of as the sometimes debilitating emotions caused by anything from song lyrics, to foods, to instagram photos can shut down all viable senses for hours or days.
In a quick moment, it can seem as if more than one step has been taken back, in truth it can feel very much like a back to square one situation.
If there is any part of you who feels this, has felt it, can identify with it, please know, please hear, these moments do not define your well being, they do not get to say how much progress has been made or not made, they do not get to make you feel as if you are missing something vital or have been forgotten. In short, they don't get to say.
Don't let them be what speaks to your heart. There is One far better to entrust with that privilege.
Looking back, it is crystal clear that the journey to make believe was needed childhood experience in my boys' lives that not only created grand memories for child and parent alike, but opened minds and hearts to ideas outside of their tangible environment, ideas that would prepare them to be able to trust and have faith in something bigger than themselves, bigger than their understanding, bigger than their realm of possibility.
For all of us, every being upon this earth, life is lived so often in flashes. Like a creature finding it's way across a raging river by stepping on and leaping to whatever rock or tree trunk happens to be peeking above the surface until they have reached the other side, the bits and pieces of days can also feel separate from each other, just bits of stone and wood that are seen and leaped to to keep from falling in the water below. The beauty comes in looking back and seeing those bits and pieces were really just a jagged path leading you safely to shore.
Delight in this Truth as He delights in you.
Hardships are not the only thing that come in flashes, His Good comes in flashes as well.
We can feel God speaking to us, the Spirit working in us, much like the sun rises. Bit by bit, color change by color change, until finally the whole picture is visible. Many parts of life require a wait, require that slow dawn of knowledge collecting and plans to be prepared before being revealed. But daily we are given flashes of His goodness, reminders of His faithfulness, visible snapshots of grace and mercy, "assurances that our origins are divine."
Each of us will be presented with different things, different flashes to show we are loved and cared for, to show we have been given much, much more than asked or imagined. This world will try it's best at times to block those reminders and replace them instead with negative memories and suggestions of failing. At times the world will succeed, but only for a moment, for a flash, it will never conquer a heart held in the hands of it's Creator. Hold on to Him, Hold on to the Hope He provides. Look for the flashes of Light.
As always, I'm praying for you, pray for me.