Slip or Grip in 2017

Just a few days ago I got stuck in a stranger’s driveway. I was dropping one of the girls off at a friend’s house a way out of town. It was dark and by the time we spotted the house number we’d passed it. I decided to turn around in the next drive which was on a very slight hill. Big mistake. As soon I turned the car into it, the tyres started to slide off to the side. It was sheet ice.

After a moment of not-so-quiet panic, I tried to reverse. That didn’t work, we just slid some more. The only option was to drive right down the driveway as it was the only way I could go, turn around and try to come up and out again. I hoped that the people in the house wouldn’t notice!

I drove slowly up the drive. The car got so far then, even with its good winter tyres, couldn’t grip and slid down again. I tried again to no avail. Phoebe ran next door to her friend’s house to get help (slipping over on the ice in the process). I phoned Tim – though what I expected him to do, I don’t know. We ended up having to knock on the door of the house anyway. A young guy came out and told me to reverse and try again – after trying and failing to be able to get any grip each time, he got some sand and scattered it at the top of the drive. I tried, slipped back again. Then he scattered some more and finally the tyres found some grip and I escaped, cheering gratefully and also feeling a little embarrassed by the whole half hour affair.

I shake my head at myself when I think of that experience as it illustrates so well a pattern that I repeat over and over. A challenge comes along, I try my hardest to work it out for myself, getting more and more panicky and flustered because I’m not getting anywhere. Sometimes I look for help in all the wrong places.

2016 felt at times like a two steps forward, three steps back year. It’s not been a dreadful year, not compared to many of those around us actually, just challenging in lots of little ways that sometimes feel like huge mountains to climb.

We’re learning to seek help.

Tim going self-employed was a huge adjustment and it set us on a learning curve which we’re still on. We’re so grateful that there’s been work all through the year. Although we have still struggled, there is no way we would have coped with all the things we’ve had to deal with on his employed wages from before.

We’ve needed people to help us. Learning how to do the taxes just for a start. Working it out for ourselves just gave us a huge headache. Our accountant is the right person for that job, checking that we’re doing it right.

Finances isn’t all of it, though it’s a particular one we struggle with. Life is full of curve balls. Unexpected things happen at home or at work or healthwise or even in the big wide world that just throw us off. So many times over this past year I’ve had times where I just don’t know how to deal with the stuff that’s coming at us, just the stuff of life. It’s not always bad things – just complicated. Sometimes it’s just battling the wrong thinking in my head that gets me on a downward spiral.

During the past year I’ve learned more than anything that trying to work things out alone is not the way to go. How I have needed the love and encouragement and prayers of my church family. How I’ve appreciated all of the people and friends around me in this place. There is so much to be thankful for. Hopefully, I’ve been a little encouragement back. I read back over my posts and see the places we’ve gone to, the things we’ve been involved in, the fun we’ve had, even an engagement and I get excited about what God has in store.

Of course there’s no way of knowing what 2017 will hold. I’m sure that it will have its fair share of challenges for us all. I’m hoping to learn from my stuck in the driveway story. When it comes down to it, if I’d knocked on the door of the owner of the house right at the start, I’d have been out of that icy drive in five minutes rather than half an hour – pride delayed me from seeking the help I needed from the person that could give it to me.

In the good and the bad I want to seek the God who loves me first. First – not after going to all the other places. I need Him, just like my car needed that sand to get a grip on that icy slope, to get a grip in my every day life. He is enough for it all.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.

Psalm 121:1-3






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