Carolyn Kach is a designer and illustrator from Bothell, WA. After graduating with her BFA in Design from the University of Washington, she worked in advertising, athletics, and advancement as a Creative Director. She transitioned to freelancing while being a stay at home mom after having her first child. She loves designing for her amazing clients, especially as the Creative Lead for The Anchor! You can find her greeting cards and art prints at Target, Barnes & Noble, Pottery Barn Kids, and Minted.
Carolyn has been married to her college sweetheart, Nathan, for ten years and they have three children: Lily (7), Bennett (4), and Oliver (1). In her spare time, she loves to be creative, spend time in the Word, go for walks and coffee dates, play with their mini golden retriever Odie, and cheer on the Huskies!
If you had told me on Monday morning that by Friday evening I’d be sobbing over a melted Wendy’s Frosty, I would never have believed you. I had had one of those weeks where nothing big or important went wrong, but one thousand tiny annoyances all piled on top of each other. The straw that broke the camel’s back occurred on Friday evening, when I attempted to end the week on a high note. I decided that after my 7-year-old daughter’s Musical Theatre class, we’d pop into Wendy’s to grab Frostys for the family. But of course, it took over thirty minutes to get the Frostys, which then made us home late for bedtime, which then meant my sugared up children were going to have a rough night ahead.
My family last summer at Disneyland (and the most sugared up we’ve ever been!)
On the drive home, my sweet and empathetic daughter asked why I was crying and if I was okay. I told her it was okay to feel all the feels (we both have LOTS of feels) and that God wouldn’t give us anything we couldn’t handle.
As I was putting my 11-month-old baby to bed soon after, I quickly Googled exactly which verse said, “God won’t give you any more than you can handle.” I was going to write it down, work on memorizing it, and store it in my heart for another week like this that was sure to come.
And for just one last straw on this poor camel’s back, it turns out God never said that.
At this point, I could only silently laugh at the irony. Hadn’t I heard that my whole life? Hadn’t I been leaning on the fact that surely, God wouldn’t give me more than I could handle? Why, in this moment of this awful week, was I finally finding this out?
I reread the verse again: “God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 CSB) What did that mean, “tempted beyond what [I was] able?” In addition to temptation, I thought God also created me to be strong enough to make it through rough days, rough weeks, and rough years?
I continued reading and found that In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, Paul states, “We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed — beyond our strength — so that we even despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.”
I reread the second half of verse 8, “we were completely overwhelmed — beyond our strength,” and felt like Peter had been describing my week. I was tired, fried, annoyed, irritated, exhausted, and just wanted to read a quick encouraging verse about how I needed to just suck it up and I’d be fine. This was so trivial in the grand scheme of things, and I didn’t want to bug God for help with something so small. Instead, I was led down a path of realization that as long as I looked inward to “be fine”, I would never get there. Looking inward was looking to a human to provide relief, care, and calm that only God could bestow, “so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.” I didn’t need to look inward; I needed to look upward.
I didn't need to look inward; I needed to look upward.
How had I forgotten to lean on God when my circumstances became too much to handle on my own? Only a few months earlier, I lost my beloved father-in-law to an aggressive and rare form of cancer. In six months, my family’s whole world had been turned upside down. During his diagnosis, treatment, and ultimate journey home to Jesus, we relied so heavily on the Lord. We prayed. We read scripture. We leaned on God knowing his kingdom was awaiting my father-in-law when the time came. We knew God would take care of him and take care of us here on earth too. If I could believe God would take care of us for such a huge trial in our lives, why was I forgetting God’s care for me in the tiny trials?
At the beginning of the year, I wrote my “verse for the year” on the front page of my planner. It focused on the anxiety I’ve struggled with since college (you can hear more about that in my Anchor Moment here): “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 CSB) While I initially concentrated on the first half of the verse about fear, what I should’ve centered on was the second half where God reaffirms that He will “hold on to [me] with [His] righteous right hand.”
My verse for the year, Isaiah 41:10, written on the front page of my planner with a bookmark I made to remind me of God’s daily care!
That week will not be the last one of a thousand tiny trials, and I know there are bigger and harder trials coming too. I now imagine God holding a long-stemmed wine glass a lá Olivia Pope saying, “It’s handled.” and providing the support and peace I can not grant myself. I hope that you too can remember that we were not put on this earth to face hardships alone. Some days the hardship may be mourning the death of a loved one and other days the hardship may be a melted Frosty; trust that He knows how many hairs are on your head at this exact moment, and he wants us to rely on him to make it through every test, big or small.