Life has never been a struggle for Carrie and Travis. They have always lived with no regrets. Decisions came easy and time was never wasted looking backwards…only forwards. Don’t get me wrong…Travis is one of the hardest working people I have ever known. Carrie…the strongest. Travis has put countless hours into Hemma Concrete and made countless sacrifices. So when I say life was never a struggle…I don’t mean things have been handed to them. It just wasn’t…well…a struggle.
People have long said that Travis has a lucky horseshoe up his proverbial you-know-what. Part of that is true. I have witnessed it first hand. But. For the most part. Travis has made his luck and things were just never a struggle.
Carrie is the epitome of laid back…she always has been. She just never sweats the small stuff. And to Carrie…everything is the small stuff. When things go wrong. She doesn’t notice. She just…makes it work. She doesn’t stress about decisions. Life wasn’t always easy but it was never a struggle either.
Carrie and Travis grew up in Christian homes where they were taught the Bible from young ages. Faith was always just there. It was what they were taught. It’s what they have always known. It was never a struggle to believe. Prior to the recent months, Travis did not have a close walk with the Lord. However, despite that, he would place his hand on a Bible and tell you, “I believe everything in this book. I may not know what’s in it…but if it is in here…I believe it.” Faith was just never a struggle.
But these past two months have been a struggle. And so now they are learning to navigate a new way of life. A life struggling…
Thoughts…have been a struggle.
Laundry…has been a struggle.
Connecting to the Internet…has been a struggle.
Getting through the days…have been a struggle.
Relaxing…has become a struggle.
One of Travis’ and Carrie’s favorite past times is a weekend at the lake….relaxing. Wakeboarding…surfing…wind in their face as they fly across the lake in their Nautique. The warm sun kissing their skin. Hoops and hollars as Travis not only masters surfing the wake but shows others…how. it’s. done. Pure…relaxation.
But now. Even time at the lake is…a struggle. We know Trav is struggling when he wakes up on a sunny, warm day at the lake and says, “let’s pack up the boat and just head home.” We know Carrie is struggling when we have to convince her to go on the boat. Relaxing has just become a struggle.
Days are becoming a struggle. A good day is always followed by a bad day. If you think about it, it makes sense. As Travis awakens after a “good day” he lays there and thinks. He thinks about the fun from the previous day. The laughs. The smiles. Friends….Family….
And then the thoughts get dark.
I don’t want to miss…
Will I get to….
And once the thoughts start. It’s hard to turn them off. It’s a struggle.
Last week, as they read the Bible together, something suddenly occurred to them. They were struggling to get through it….
Let’s face it. The Bible is tough. There are some tough topics in it. Some tough things to swallow. As Carrie and Travis read more and more they found themselves looking at each other thinking the same thing until finally Travis broke the silence….
“You know what’s crazy? People actually believe this stuff!?!?”
Travis actually believes this stuff. But suddenly…it’s a struggle to believe it. It’s easy to believe in something when you have been taught to believe it. Told your entire life to believe it. But what happens when you start reading it for yourself? It becomes a struggle.
There was a garden. A man and a woman. They ate an apple and all hell broke loose? Really!?!
God got fed up. He picked one guy and his family to save and He had him build a boat. Then he sent every living creature onto the boat before flooding the Earth and destroying everything on it. Lions, gazelles, kangaroos, monkeys, etc. All on one boat. Really!?!?
There were thousands of slaves escaping captivity. Their captors on one side and a sea on the other. No. Way. Out. And God parted the Red Sea and an entire nation walked through? Really!?!?
A man was swallowed by a fish. Lived in its stomach for three nights and spit him up on the shore when God told it to. Really!?!?!
God became man. Lived a sinless life. Never one hateful thought or word. Not a single lie. No lustful thoughts. For three years He healed the sick. Gave sight to the blind. Made the deaf hear. And then He died. In our place. And three days later…rose from the dead. Really!?!?!
When you think about it like that…it’s kind of a…struggle. Isn’t it?
And when you are facing the possibility of death. There is one thing you don’t want to struggle with…faith. There is one thing you want solidified…the afterlife. And so what do you do when you struggle?
You think. You contemplate. You pray.
And so Carrie and Travis have come to this. As unbelievable as the stories are…. As “out there” as the Bible seems….
Believing anything else is crazier.
When they look at the beauty of the world. The trees. Lake Blue Ridge. A single flower. To them…it is impossible not to believe. To believe that it all came from “nothing”. That it just “happened”. That the details of a human body were not created. That…is more unbelievable.
His creation speaks for itself and makes the unbelievable…believable. But it’s more than that. It’s deeper. It’s…
The peace they have experienced…they are experiencing, for the past two months, has been nothing less than…miraculous. One that surpasses all understanding. Even in their darkest days. Their darkest hours. Their darkest thoughts. There is still a peace. One they can’t describe. One they don’t understand. One they are not capable of. One they know is not of them.
The strength through the impossible. They both know…the strength…is not of them.
They wish they could put it into words. Explain it in a way that makes others experience it. But it’s just not possible.
Because it is not of them.
And so the peace is there. The strength. It’s all just…there.
God has shown up for them and so the unbelievable is believable.
But even so.
Even with the Creator of the heavens and Earth on their side. Walking them through this. Giving them strength. Providing them peace.
For the first time…
Life is a struggle.