What If…

What If…

What if prayers fell

Instead of tears?

What if I placed

My worries at His feet?

What if I handed Him

My darkest fears?

What if I saw the world

Beyond what is “me”?


Now that I’m on the other side of this past week, I see my shortcomings center stage with a spotlight on them.  For most of the week, I was “stressed out”, irritable and generally a joy to be around for those who dared approach me.

Why did I put so much pressure on myself to have it all together?  It didn’t even occur to me that the Cub Scout motto, “Do your best” would apply to me, too.  Why didn’t I pray for guidance before the pressure I put on myself brought me to the point of breaking?  Because at some point, I forgot how to share my burdens with God.

I was planning my first Webelos meeting as a Den Leader.  That meeting was part of the Forester and Naturalist activities and the leader book informed me that it was normally done as a field trip.  Since the meeting would be held in two days, a field trip wouldn’t happen.  The book provided some ideas for activities:

Tree survey:  select a small area with several species of trees, have the boys collect fallen twigs and leaves and count how many species were found.  It seems the desert isn’t prime territory for clusters of varied kinds of trees.

Is that a tree or a shrub?

Leaf Identification Contest:  Mount 20 different leaves on a large piece of cardboard and have the boys identify them.  Same problem as above.

Find a Tree Game:  “Play this game outdoors where there are plenty of trees.”

I stopped reading here.

This is also the moment where panic began to set in.  I didn’t want the first activity to involve sitting at a table writing for thirty minutes.  I’d need a miracle to find an activity to meet a badge requirement.  I read through the list again, eliminating each one because of the lack of “action” or the lack of trees in our area.

I whined muttered a quick prayer for God to help me and I read through the list again.  Where I had stopped reading at “Make a poster,” on my previous scans, I finished reading the entire requirement:  “Make a poster showing a tree’s growth rings or examine the growth rings of a tree stump. Explain how the rings tell its life history.”

That was it.  I remembered two weeks ago, my parents cut down a Mesquite tree that had gotten too unwieldy for their yard.  They saved some of the wood for us so we could use it for campfires.  I ran to the backyard and peeked inside the wood bin.  I discovered that we had several trunk pieces – not just branches.

I had the boys try to guess what kind of tree it was based on what the bark looked like, texture and smell.  None of them guessed it was a Mesquite tree, but the adults suddenly craved a Mesquite grilled steak 🙂  They examined the wood pieces and ventured guesses on the tree’s age (11-13 years).  They studied in pairs and seemed to enjoy it.

It could be coincidence that after I said my informal prayer, I noticed the tree stump study – and happened to have tree trunk pieces handy.  I choose to see a deeper connection.  In preparing a lesson for the kids, I was reminded of a lesson of my own:  If I step outside the restraints of my own burdens, I am free to see what was there all along (but I was too focused on “me” to notice).

Psalms 55:22 – Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I won’t ever fail or make mistakes – I will.  But sometimes those mistakes are valuable lessons, too.

Speaking of mistakes, the next Cub Scout meeting activity involves soil, earthworms and glass jars.  Sounds like a recipe for recipe for dirty disaster, doesn’t it? Or, maybe it’s a perfect situation for learning – even if the experiment doesn’t go as planned.

Do problems ever seem to swallow you?  How have you learned to free yourself?

30 thoughts on “What If…

  1. J. P. Cabit September 25, 2011 / 5:21 AM

    Yes, He does come through for us, even when we need to find a flagpole holder at the hardware store (Yes, I did pray for that).

    Some things seem silly small, but it turns out He cares about those things too. 🙂

    • J. P. Cabit September 25, 2011 / 5:22 AM

      Addendum: I wasn’t belittling your trials, I was just drawing from my own experience 😀

    • JannatWrites September 25, 2011 / 10:38 AM

      I prayed for help finding a flag for den meeting ceremonies. Thinking back, that prayer is like calling 911 for a stubbed toe. Oh well, I found one 🙂

      As to your addendum, Seph, I didn’t take it as you belittling my trials at all. I think we all get immersed in ourselves at times so the little things become giant beasts that overwhelm us. I’ll be the first to say that my “trials” this week were not as big of a deal as my self-centeredness made them out to be. Perhaps recognizing this after the fact will help me back away sooner next time?

      We’ll see 🙂

      • JannatWrites September 25, 2011 / 10:48 AM

        This was a good one, Nancy! I’d be curious what message a group of 9-10 year-olds would derive from this. Probably not the intended one, if I had a guess 🙂

    • JannatWrites September 25, 2011 / 10:41 AM

      I don’t know, Nancy. That sounds like a long-term commitment there. (Read: I don’t want to have these worms long enough to amass large quantities of poop.)

      It is interesting, though. Gross, but interesting 🙂

      • nrhatch September 25, 2011 / 11:18 AM

        I was thinking more along the lines of starting a dialogue about what worms are good for . . . aerating the soil, composting food, and making worm poop fertilizer. 😀

        • jannatwrites September 25, 2011 / 11:37 AM

          Oh, okay. Discussion, I can do…demonstration? Not so much!

          I think I will make this a ‘gathering activity’ for them – a fun quiz with some ‘gummy worms’ as a prize.

          Thanks for the ideas! Maybe I’ll post future topics and my blog friends can give me activity ideas. Or, maybe I can post the badge requirements and you can all plan the whole meeting for me too!

          No? It was worth a shot 🙂

  2. Patty September 25, 2011 / 9:03 AM

    I am waxing and waning with an adult growth spurt of angst right now. One day I am good, next day not so much.

    What I have learned this week is that it takes practice and repitition saying the positive things to yourself. Over and over and over. Then it becomes part of you. Like a habit, routine. I am working on my angst by telling myself the good stuff.

    Thanks for the tree trunk lesson. Very informative. I grew up in the midwest and got really good at identifying tree leaves. Do you have to buy the earthworms for the upcoming project or attempt to dig them up?

    • JannatWrites September 25, 2011 / 10:55 AM

      It is comforting to me to know that others struggle, too. At times positive self-encouragement is difficult. Good for you for keeping with it, Patty!

      I think the desert soil is too dry to come up with a dozen worms, so I will buy them. I found nightcrawlers at Wal Mart (some info on the internet says they are the same as earthworms, but others say that they are bigger than earthworms.) I’m taking my chances that they will still work for the project.

      Oddly enough, my son did find a worm when he was digging to plant some carrots. (The only worm he’s ever found after years of random digging in our backyard.) The worm is now named and is held captive in a plastic cup. Poor guy 🙂

  3. suzicate September 25, 2011 / 9:42 AM

    Ha, I remember those days of last minute throwing together the meeting, but things always panned out somehow. Nancy’s idea of throwing worm poop into the lesson is great, the boys would love it!

    • JannatWrites September 25, 2011 / 10:57 AM

      Yeah, somehow things do work out, SuziCate. I’m looking over the next lesson now so I’m not freaking out at midnight the night before the meeting!

      I imagine the worm poop would be a hit with the boys. They like that kind of thing 🙂

  4. Carol Ann Hoel September 25, 2011 / 2:06 PM

    What a timely post for me, Janna. My hubby has his days and nights mixed up. He’s awake at night and sleepy all day. I tried to solve it. Today I realized I should have prayed for God’s intervention, and I did. Now I will relax and wait for God’s answer.

    I think you are doing a fabulous job with the cub scouts. Blessings to you…

      • jannatwrites September 25, 2011 / 9:49 PM

        Thank you, Carol! This one was short and sweet 🙂

    • jannatwrites September 25, 2011 / 9:49 PM

      I’m glad this post was something you could relate to, Caroll Ann. It’s funny how easy it is to try to “fix” things ourselves.

      I hope God answers your prayers by soothing your husband and allowing you time to rest.

  5. Debbie September 25, 2011 / 2:44 PM

    This is great, Janna, though it sounds as if you needed a plate of warm brownies for enduring such a trying week! It also sounds as if the lesson was interesting, both for you and the Scouts; now good luck with the next one!

    • jannatwrites September 25, 2011 / 9:57 PM

      I’m so glad I survived the week, Debbie. I’m already working on our next meeting’s stuff so I shouldn’t have the last minute stress this time. I’m excited about it because I think the boys will like the worm activity.

      Thanks for the well-wishes – I appreciate it 🙂

  6. sonsothunder September 25, 2011 / 4:52 PM

    I granted you the “Versatile Blogger Award”

    Have Fun

    • jannatwrites September 25, 2011 / 9:58 PM

      Thanks, Paul. I appreciate your thinking of me!

  7. pattisj September 26, 2011 / 9:03 AM

    I like your poem, Janna, the words of experience. We can all use a little reminder sometimes. It sounds like the scouting program needs to diversify their lessons to geographical areas! But I guess the main lesson was learned, use prayer and what you have on hand to reach your goal.

    • jannatwrites September 26, 2011 / 11:01 PM

      Thanks, Patti! Yes, that waas the lesson I learned. As for the scouting program, I could probably have taken care of some of things at camp next weekend (in the forest) but having never been to one, I have no idea how much ‘free’ time we will have.

  8. Carl D'Agostino September 26, 2011 / 4:58 PM

    I think petrified wood makes beautiful jewelry. Of course I and a turquoise and tiger eye guy too.

    • jannatwrites September 26, 2011 / 11:03 PM

      Petrified wood is pretty. I’ve been to the Petrified Forest National Park here in Arizona – unfortunately, you can’t take any of it with you 😦

  9. cuhome September 28, 2011 / 1:55 PM

    Problems seem to swallow me all the time, and that’s when I go to your blog! No kidding! I find all kinds of great wisdom there ~~ thanks for all your posts! And they always make me laugh, which is a really great side-effect! I enjoy your posts, keep em coming!!!

    • jannatwrites September 29, 2011 / 12:36 AM

      Thank you for your kind words, Cuhome. It makes me happy that you enjoy my posts. Normally, the side effects of reading my posts are muscle cramps, nausea, rash, and intense head-banging. It’s a relief that you report laughter as the only side effect 😉

  10. bookjunkie September 29, 2011 / 1:07 AM

    I have a great problem with anxiety and have been having great difficulty sleeping lately. Thanks for understanding and sharing how life can be overwhelming and it’s ok. I kinda lost my faith along the way and am trying to regain it.

    • JannatWrites September 29, 2011 / 9:56 PM

      I hope you find your faith, Bookjunkie.

      Life is overwhelming at times, and it can be hard to keep up, but it is easier if you’ve got faith on your side. I know I fee better when I share my burdens with God, which is why it doesn’t make sense that I wait so long to pray. I guess I fool myself into believing I can handle it 🙂

  11. Colline July 12, 2013 / 4:39 AM

    Trusting in God is hard to do – but once we do, then we are able to do what he has put before us. I loved reading your story.

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