Mixed Signals. What to Do When Life Doesn't Make Sense.

These past two weeks have been like a frazzled scene from “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” In no way could I have survived it without the help of my friends. As someone with a serious pain disorder, I’d given up on the idea of displaying our jewelry line at the St. James Art Show, one of the biggest in the country and one in which we were honored to be invited. I couldn’t fathom how I could be ready, not to mention if my arm or neck would allow it.

But my friends knew just how much the show meant to me and were determined to make it a reality. Along with my husband who helps with the woodwork, my Taos besties helped me string the beautiful stones together, and my dearest of friends since 8th grade assisted in hoisting up the craft tent and displaying the line. Thanks be to God for the people in our lives in whom we can always rely and who yearn to see us succeed.

The rest of my little trip wasn’t quite as predictable. The forecast had stated weather to be in the 70’s in KY. Ahhhh, perfect. Instead, it was in the sweltering 90’s with zero breeze and 80% humidity. The inside of our tent was a virtual sauna and everything in which I’d packed was long sleeved. Ugh. Naturally, I ended up at the mall as well as the pharmacy. (My husband says I intentionally pack the wrong stuff as an excuse to go shopping. Wrong.) My skin had become so inflamed that lidocaine patches were a necessity. My buddy and I collapsed every evening in front of the air conditioner, too tired to remove our sweat stained clothes. But the journey wasn't over...

From there I traveled to my oldest daughter’s home in Florence, KY. I couldn’t be prouder of my little dentist and how well she takes care of her home. But good grief, my girl likes a cold house. I woke up on the sleeper sofa the next morning, convinced I was lying prostrate in a meat locker. I hadn’t anticipated rummaging around for big furry socks to thaw my popsicle toes. I wrapped up my two-week escapade by traveling to my youngest daughter’s home in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where she's in grad school.

Along with the rest of her bridal party, we all traveled south to Philadelphia and watched her try on umpteen wedding dresses. By the time my youngest had said "yes to the dress," I was emotionally and physically exhausted. But to hang out with both of my daughters for a long weekend meant more than this blogger can ever express in words. (I know all of you empty nesters can relate) I’ve never been one to think it’s my job to be my daughters’ best friend, but it was enjoyable chatting over a glass of wine, doing a bit of reminiscing and getting caught up on how their work and personal lives were going. There is great peace in knowing one’s children are solid in their faith, have their own homes and careers and aren’t so self-absorbed that they fail to see the importance of being a loving friend and family member.

After two weeks of staying at seven different places, I was more than ready to be home in Taos. I’d missed my husband, my friends, my cat and the wide-open southwest skies. I was also anxious to show my dad around my neck of the woods. He was traveling back with me to New Mexico and I’d already prepped him for glorious weather and a garden in bloom.

Wrong again. Instead of blue skies and pink dahlias, we came back to 40 degree weather and snow on the mountain. The weatherman must have skipped the class on “surprise weather patterns.” The dahlias were on their last leg and I soon realized I’d made a big mistake by wearing sandals home. Ugh.

Of course if we only had to adjust to temperature changes and a few tiring plane rides, life would be quite simple. But what if mixed signals or unanticipated changes occur that seem to choke the life out of us? When we’ve built up something so grand in our mind, only to be sorely disappointed with reality? It makes us weary, angry and yes, often quite skeptical about a positive future. Life’s unexpected mishaps can weigh us down spiritually, physically, and emotionally. But take note, all of these stressors can seriously affect our health. You’ll just have to trust me on that.

More importantly, you’ll have to trust God. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Throughout various stages of my life, I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t follow these instructions well. Since I couldn’t hear God directly or get my prayers answers as quickly as I desired, I began to adopt the philosophy, “if you want something done right, then do it yourself.” The roller coaster of disappointment had its way with me, and so fed up, I chose to cash in my tickets. I’d been jerked around long enough.

I also began to realize that depression and anxiety were very real. A life quietly curled up in the fetal position grew more and more tempting. But thanks to a loving husband, nurturing daughters and my merciful Jesus, I did not give in to my sofa’s lure of apathy.

Not only didn’t I want my daughters to see their mother succumb to despair, but I felt deep in my core that God loved me and had a greater plan for my life. If you’ve ever asked Jesus into your heart, regardless of how long ago that may be, His love is inside you. It may be suffocated by anger, frustration and cynicism, but you can rise above it and learn to breathe. If I did, anyone can.

As we drove home to Taos Monday, I noticed my radio was filled with static. I could only hear bits and pieces of one of my favorite songs and grew quickly frustrated. But with the simple touch of the Search button, I was taken directly to a station I could hear loud and clear. We should do the same when life doesn’t make sense and mixed signals surround us. Instead, search and seek God’s word and hold on to it with a firm grip. You’ll be amazed at the clarity and have no choice but sing a happy tune of praise and gratitude.

Peace and Blessings to You,

Angie