The Plate Juggler

If you have been following this blog long then you realize that being a wife and mother of four is what I have been assigned to in my life. I love my husband and each one of my Duckies dearly, so I want to give them everything they need. That means that like most moms I take on several roles in the house and on the farm, and sometimes it feels like I have a million things to keep track of. Recently one of us in the house has been given a new and pretty hard trial to face that effects all of us in a way, but to respect privacy I won’t go any farther into the details. I was having a conversation with God yesterday after a particularly hard day about holding it all together during hard times, and I got the image of being a plate juggler. I am going to share with you how this image played out in the hopes that its reminder gives you peace if you are going through a trial.
I am a plate juggler in our big top circus, and a pretty skilled one at that. To give you an idea of the different plates I have to keep in the air at one time I am going to list them. People may have different ones, but I am sure that everyone has plates. I have the following:

1. Christianity plate
2. Husband plate
3. Ducky 1 plate
4. Ducky 2 plate
5. Ducky 3 plate
6. Ducky 4 plate
7. Church duties plate
8. Blogging plate
9. Teaching plate
10. Biblical counsel plate
11. Horses plate
12. Dog plate
13. Chicken coop plate
14. Grocery plate
15. Cooking plate
16. Cleaning plate
17. Laundry plate
18. Fencing plate
19. Barn siding Plate
20. Kids’ school plate
21. Girl scout plate
22. Boy scout plate
23. Hunting plate
24. Exercise plate
25. Eating right plate
26. Me time plate
27. Trials plate

So there are 27 beautifully crafted plates all being juggled at one time, and each one getting only a small amount of attention in the short time it is in my hand. These plates are very fragile but have wonderful paintings on each one depicting what the plate represents. 27 plates is no ordinary feat even for skilled jugglers. The last plate on the list is the trial plate, and while I know that this plate is coming sometimes I forget to watch for it. If it gets tossed in at the wrong time it can chip and crack the other plates because I have to focus my attention to catching it and not dropping the other plates. Now the question is what happens when I notice a crack in my plates that needs mending? I can’t just stop juggling or they all come crashing down.

Enter the Expectations plate. This one is either tossed in by me or by others, but it can do a bit of damage while I juggle. This plate shines with what I wanted to have. For example, I wanted to have some of these plates done so I can put them down and lighten my load, but I am behind. Not just behind but waaaaaaaay behind on my farm projects that require more than two hands. This plate reminds me constantly of my tight schedule and what I still have left to do. It is best friends with the Suggestions plate.
The Suggestions plate is beautifully written in its text, but it is so full of writing that I can’t read through it as it leaves my hands and comes back around. I find it impossible to sort through all the sentences etched across its face, as it is mostly jumbled up phrases and wishes that aren’t directly tied to anything. There is even scripture on it, but it isn’t in the right context so it is confusing. This plate can be tossed in by well meaning people, but often it is ill timed when it enters into the mix. There are several ways to go about getting the jobs done of some of my plates, but wading through all the suggestions keeps me planning and never doing. The expectations plate and the suggestions plate work together to introduce a very stealthy friend… the Negativity plate.
This Negativity plate whispers at me to remind me that I don’t measure up to the way someone else would do things. It hisses that since I didn’t listen to that one person’s suggestion that they are mad at me, and that scripture is sacred no matter the context being right or wrong. It lashes out at me before I can question the lies with, “why haven’t you done this yet? That plate has a crack in it. Are you every going to fix that crack? Don’t you know it is just going to get bigger if you don’t fix it? Are you even smart enough to use the right glue? You will have to drop some plates to fix it, but that plate is more important than your family plates. You have an audience now, so don’t let them see you drop that plate. You know what, just drop that Church plate and no one will need to know. It can be our little secret because your family doesn’t need that plate as much as they need the other plates.”
Can I recognize that voice that is interrogating me? That voice that casts doubt on my act is none other than the devil. The last three plates that were tossed at me were orchestrated by him. All the distractions from those last three plates are meant to keep me juggling forever. Why? Simply put he isn’t after the chicken coop plate, but he knows I am going to get tired of juggling. If I give out from exhaustion I will drop the plates he is really after: my Christianity, Husband and Ducky plates. He hates God and me being a follower of Christ so much that as soon as these plates hit the ground he will swoop in to scatter the shards as far as he can.
There is a second part to this act. Across the ring is a dining room hutch that has been amazingly hand crafted by the master carpenter himself. The hutch is big enough for all my plates to find a resting spot on it, and it has a work bench to mend my cracked plates that have been clinking together. This carpenter is holding out a huge plate in front of him that is to be a landing pad called a Burden plate, and he is waiting for me to throw my plates to him. It may seem impossible, but I know the Burden plate will not break any of my plates that I hold dear. It will however have devastating effects on the devils plates and none of them will survive the impact.
The Carpenter is waiting and asking me to trust him with the plates I have. It isn’t easy for me to let go of control but my arms are burning and I am worn out. That pesky Negativity plate is screaming as loud as it can, “YOU CAN JUGGLE THEM BETTER! Don’t be a quitter! We can do this forever, wouldn’t that be so nice? Aren’t you comfortable here with your control? YOU KNOW YOUR PLATES WILL BREAK! It isn’t possible to throw a plate at another plate and it not shatter! Use your head! DON”T YOU KNOW ANYTHING?!”
There is a truth that drowns out that evil plate. This carpenter named Jesus already knows what it is like to have several plates. He knows what suffering is like, and he knows there is a better way than to juggle until I die. I just have to trust him and believe that my plates mean as much to him as anyone else. No matter what lies the devil’s plates yell I know I can trust him. So in the final moments of my act as juggler I throw them all in Jesus’ direction. I watch in anticipation as they leave my hands and head to his Burden plate.
The Burden plate is large enough that all of my plates land softly on it, but the devil’s plates fall through and shatter on the ground. The screaming has stopped now and all is quiet and at peace. Jesus places my plates gently on the wooden shelves and gets to the ones that are cracked and worn. He examines each of them carefully before opening up a repair kit. I ask him what kind of glue he will use and he says, “None. You will have to trust me.”
He turns his attention back to the work bench as he gently mends my plates with care. A man who took on the worlds sins is here fixing my problems with the best care as if they were his own. I watch quietly until he turns back around and motions for me to come over. My heart is in my throat as I come over to see his work. To my surprise, he didn’t use glue but melted down gold to fill the cracks so the plates are more beautiful than when they were in my hands. Each one of them is now a work of art shimmering in the big top lights. Cheers and rejoicing erupt from all around us. I turn to see the audience on their feet and when I turn back around Jesus is walking away. I catch up to him and ask, “How can I repay you for that? I couldn’t have fixed them like this, they are beautiful now.”
His answer was scripture found in Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
‘Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentile and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
I will still have a yoke to carry but I won’t carry it alone. My plates didn’t disappear but I can take them down to polish them one by one in faith that they will get done in God’s timing. I can use His guidance to drown out the distractions and do what is right. I can and will find rest in moments when things are tested because Jesus promised life everlasting and rest.
So now I ask you dear reader what will you do? Will you juggle forever believing you know best, or will you cast your cares on Jesus and trust in him through all things?

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