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We all need it. That time alone without interruptions. Yet so often we have too many things fighting for our time and attention. And when the unexpected shows up at our door, we realize how much we depend on those times of solitude. We've all been there. You know - those days when everything came crashing down at once. The days when you just wanted to run and scream and let everyone know that you really do not have that super hero cape hiding in the closet.

I still remember December of 1991. I had just scheduled a doctor's appointment for my very sick one-year old when the phone rang. Mom's voice broke through to inform me that my Mam-maw just had an aneurysm, was taken to the ER, and not expect to make it. Later at the doctor's office, I learned that my daughter was very sick with croup and was borderline of being taken to the hospital. I thought, "That's impossible! I have a four hour drive to take to see my Mam-maw!" I had not yet told her I was expecting another child! That was to be a Christmas surprise.

No four hour drive that night to hug my precious grandmother one last time. Instead, a re-check was scheduled for first thing the next morning with our pediatrician. My husband and I were taking turns caring for and praying over our daughter. In between my turns, I was making a beeline to the bathroom. Morning sickness had decided to visit early - and all night. As our daughter was crying and I was losing what little I had in my stomach, my husband had the radio quietly playing. And the gentle strands began to play the soft sound of, "It's the most wonderful time of the year........" I don't think Andy got the memo that our house was not experiencing such a wonderful time!

Or what about the time you find out your husband's job was just given to someone else without him knowing and now your family is without a job or insurance, and baby number three is on his way? And you need four brand new tires for your car. We all can list those times. The news of a lay off. Learning your 13 year old was just hit in the head by a brick and has a concussion while in Guatemala. Watching a parent slowly drift away to eternity. Hearing a spouse on the other end of the line barely able to breathe and you can't seem to get to him fast enough. Watching your child's world fall apart and there is nothing you can do to fix it.

What is your center?

These are the times you learn where your inner strength really lies. In the animated show, Rise of the Guardians, one scene stood out to me. North asks Jack Frost, "Who are you? What is your center?" Jack did not understand what North meant. Handing Jack some nesting dolls, he explained that no matter what Jack thought of him by looking on the outside, there was a deeper part that rooted his being.

Opening each, Jack finally saw the last small doll which had big eyes. North explained, "Big eyes, very big, because they are full of wonder. That is my center. It is what I was born with - eyes that only see the wonder in everything...."

What is that center which grounds you when everything seems to be overcoming your very being? For me, it is the quietness with my Father. I depend on it. My responses to the unexpected reflect it. Being my mom's caregiver was an honor. But how could I have so much peace in the midst of watching her earthly body drift away? It's my center.

My center drives my very being. That center has confidence that no matter what comes my way, my Father holds me.  Sometimes I lose sight of my center.  Sometimes I rush to judgement on others who hurt me.  Sometimes I scream into space that I am at the end of my rope and cannot take another thing to be thrown my way.  But every time life gets to that place, I run back to that center as I sit quietly and experience HIS center of peace. Isaiah states it well.......

Isaiah 30:15 "This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength...."

He holds me. He is my center. Abba Father. Creator. God Almighty. My Eternal Lover. And no matter what comes my way or how I respond, He still puts His arms around me in comfort and loves me. He created me and knows me like no one else.

He is my secret strength in this life. Is He yours? If not, I challenge you, find HIS center for your life.

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