Monthly Archives: January 2015

I’m thankful I got the flu

“The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”          Proverbs 27:7  

Whaaa…? Is she crazy?

Well, yes.

But I can truly say that I am glad I got the flu this year. I am even thankful for the timing of it. That may be really hard to understand, (especially for my extended family who also got the flu DURING Christmas break with me).

Easy for you to say, you may be thinking. You’re over the bug and I’m still miserable.

Nope. I have been sick since 12/26. That’s right, exactly one month today. My voice is back after five days with laryngitis (a blessed happiness to the boys in my life…all three of them), I can breathe without taking my nebulizer treatment for my asthma every night, but I am still EXHAUSTED. I just can’t seem to shake this all the way.

But, OH! The life lessons! Please allow me share a few with you.

First of all, it always helps with empathy. I don’t typically struggle with empathy, but my hubby will be the first to admit that he’s…well…a BIG BABY when he gets sick with the common cold. So although I try to help him, I am not always the most, “You poor thing,” with him. He knows this, understands why, and we’re OK. But he got this flu the day before me. And I lacked empathy for him for exactly 24 hours…until it hit me. My first thought was something to the effect of, “How is he still ALIVE?!?!” Then my kids got it. So thankful that Shane was a willing guinea pig for all of us. By the time they got it, I was much more lovey and snugly…though when you’re sick it’s a tad harder.

Secondly, my dependence on the Lord grew immensely. And, yes, I had gotten the flu shot. But the CDC basically said, “Our bad…wrong strain.” Typically, when we’re this sick, fevers and all, we all go to the doctor. BUT, (here’s where the timing starts to comes in), we were in Alabama. We couldn’t just go in to see anybody. We had no idea how our insurance would work in another state. We found a couple of providers that might take us, but we couldn’t even think straight to make a decision. So we prayed. A lot. And anointed our kids and ourselves with oil and prayed some more. I was truly expecting instantaneous healing. He’d done it before, and He could do it again. But He chose not to. (More to come on why I think that is…) So we just kept on praying. And sleeping.

As we started to pack the van to drive back to Oregon…from Alabama…by way of Tennessee…with the flu…I was dreading every mile. Except the Grand Canyon. Sick or not, THAT, I was looking forward to. The idea of seeing that beautiful place gave me something to look forward to.

We planned to follow my in-laws up to Nashville and spend a night there so that we could have one last day with them, and see my sister-in-law off, who was flying ahead to Oregon…with a sick baby. It just kept getting better! We had a somewhat enjoyable day, despite our sickness, exploring the Opry Mills mall and eating for the first time at the Rain Forest Cafe. It was fun, but the boys were laying their heads on the table between bites. We were a cheerful bunch to be with, let me tell ya. We said our tearful goodbyes that evening at a Walgreens because we all needed more medicine and Kleenex for the road. Lovely.

Our first stop on the road was going to be to meet with some friends and family in Arkansas. We couldn’t make it. We were so exhausted, we decided to spend the night in Little Rock. We quickly realized the next morning that this was indeed the flu. The news in the hotel lobby was calling it a national epidemic, and we knew we couldn’t knowingly and willingly expose our friends. CANCEL. Boo. But we were so sick, we really didn’t care that that point. We just wanted to get home. But somewhere along the way, the Lord laid James 5:14 on my heart: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:” and since I knew that it was within our power to still stop in Van Buren, where our friends, ministers, would be, I texted and asked if we could do a drive through prayer with them. This is my third reason to be thankful. The family of God is an amazing and powerful thing. They said they would be happy to and all gathered around our van, anointed our heads and prayed fervently for us. As we drove away, glad to see their faces for just a few minutes even, I was SURE that the Lord would heal us then. But He chose not to.

I was so confused! Lord, why are you not taking care of this? I know you can! How are we going to get home feeling like this?? 

It was New Year’s Eve and we drove and drove and drove. And we stopped a ton more than planned because we just needed breaks. There were at least two moments on this trip where I wondered if we would ever get home. No drama. I was delirious and serious.

Here’s where the fourth reason starts to flesh out. We stopped at a Pilot station in Oklahoma City. We all got out and got a couple of souvenirs and I remember feeling like a great big germ. My hoodie was up, my sunglasses on (in the evening) and I was FREEZING, (there was snow everywhere.) We were in there for quite a while…everything felt like slow motion.

We finally moved the van to a gas pump and I was going to take a turn driving when Shane came out after paying for gas and said to switch seats because we needed to talk. After getting gas, we pulled back into a parking spot. He said the Weather Channel was on in the station, (I hadn’t noticed), and there was a snow storm headed toward TX, NM, AZ, CO and NV…right. where. we. were. headed. SERIOUSLY?!?! Shane was pained to even say the words, but he was pretty sure that we should go north. And miss the Grand Canyon. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was in tears, and he almost was. What would we tell the boys? (Peter’s hearing aids were likely out and Nolan had a bad ear infection and couldn’t hear us.) We sat in that Pilot station parking lot for almost an hour when all was said and done. But the God who had chosen not to heal us gave us a very clear answer to turn north. So we did.

Here’s why I’m glad we got the flu. Had we felt amazing that night, we both believe we would have chanced the snow and ice. In fact, we likely wouldn’t have stopped in Fort Smith the previous night and would have been far closer to the storm and wouldn’t have been able to easily divert. Oklahoma City is THE place to change course and that is where we were right at that moment.

We drove to Wichita, KS and stayed overnight. That night as we were dosing up with all of our cough medicine, Tylenol and inhalers, I looked at Shane and said, “All of this junk just makes me want to get home.”

The next morning, Shane told me that there were nine fatality crashes on Interstate 40…right where we were headed.

The next day, the toll went up to something like fifteen. And I-40 ended up just getting shut down because it was so bad. Had we not been killed or injured, at the very least, we would have been stuck.

We ended up beating the storm. It hit Oklahoma City the next day. We were north of it the whole time. And the boys got to see some things they wouldn’t have been able to. We took them to Focus on the Family. Peter got to see the Narnia room, which may have just made his whole vacation, and we got to share a soda in Whit’s End Soda shop. They got to see the beauty of Garden of the Gods and we got to eat at Chick-Fil-A one last time.

Friends, the Lord knows what He is doing. He allows all sorts of things to happen that we think are mistakes. Be assured, God does NOT make mistakes. He sees us. He sees our suffering and He has a reason for each tear, each illness, each detour.

When you put your trust in a loving, reliable, all-knowing Father like Him, you can look back at your trials and thank Him for them.

Ever notice how many trials we face in this old world? Does it make you say, “All of this junk just makes me want to get home.” HOME…HEAVEN…is our goal. And if trials make that goal sweeter, then so be it.

Blessings and much love, 

Mama

 

The blessing is right where you are!

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”      Ecclesiastes 9:10 

Because it is MLK, Jr. Day, my mind went back to when I wrote this little devotional or article while still working for a large automotive company call center.  I vaguely recalled what I wrote, so I decided to do some digging and find it. To my knowledge, it was never published, so I’ll re-post what I wrote here. I have to say, re-reading this in hindsight, seeing where I am now in my life, I can’t help but chuckle and how little I knew about what was to come. Instead of a three-hour commute, I share a van with my husband and maybe use it twice a week. Where I once was making a lot of money, my biggest financial contribution to my family is now how I can save the money that Shane brings in. Where once I was childless, I now have two beautiful boys that I have the privilege to raise alongside their Daddy. A lot has changed in my life, but the message below still applies.

“Bloom where you’re planted.” I had heard it so many times before, but one recent experience brought new meaning to those words for me. While on my lunch break a few weeks back, I was sitting in my car listening to the radio. A talk show host was quoting a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that I had never heard before. He was speaking to a class of 6th graders when he said the following:

“And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better. If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music…Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

MLK

The quote moved me and I immediately began to thank the Lord for His call on my life. I told him how grateful I was for my calling to be a wife and an eventual mother. But it was then, that the Lord gently rebuked me. You see, I was on my lunch break for a full-time job at a great company. Have you ever had the Lord speak to you in that still, small voice, and yet felt shaken to your core?

Up to this point, in my mind, especially in recent months, my job had become a dreaded stepping stone to becoming that stay-at-home wife and mom that I felt so called to be. I struggled through every day, feeling much like a martyr for my long commute and my high-stress role.

I’m so thankful for that moment with the Lord in my car. That day He made it abundantly clear to me how influential I can be for Him in this job until He moves me. I can shine my light, work diligently, honor my boss, and most importantly, honor the Lord. I walked back to my desk with a genuine smile on my face for the first time in weeks…maybe months.(YIKES!)     The very next day I had the privilege to talk to a customer who desperately needed to hear someone was praying for her. How thankful I am that the Lord showed me I needed an attitude adjustment the day before I got that call or I might have missed a crucial opportunity!

Do you find yourself “in between” one place in life and another? Are you viewing your current state as a stepping stone for your life to really begin? I’d encourage you to take a moment and thank the Lord for the very place you’re in. The blessing is right where you are!

Blessings and much love, 

Mama

 

My 2015 Theme Verse

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

OK, so before you immediately get discouraged thinking, “Wait…I don’t have a theme verse. I’ve never heard of that idea. I wonder if I need a theme verse,” don’t worry. I never had a theme verse until last week. The Lord simply impressed upon me to make a bite-sized goal for myself this year.

You see, New Year’s resolutions, for me, are a terrible and counterproductive thing. Because I’m a perfectionist, I set very precise, sometimes very lofty goals. I fail, and then I loathe myself for the remaining 358 days of the year. (I usually do well for exactly one week.)

So I’ve sworn off New Year’s resolutions for years. I don’t make them and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.

But this Christmas family road trip that we took, (more to come on that in another post), was like a magnifying glass into our family dynamics and interactions. And let me tell ya, friends, I come up short.

Pretty sure it was somewhere in Kansas that I had this interaction with my eldest. It went something like this.
Me: Pickle, now that we’re stopped, I need to fill your water bottle.
P: MOM! I tried to give it to you earlier and now I can’t find it! Gaaahhhh!!
Me: How is that my fault?! You showed me your empty cup like it was a trophy! You never asked for water, and we were driving. You knew I wouldn’t be able to fill it then.

As the nasty words were flowing out of my mouth, it was like a Hollywood slow-motion scene. A divine, “Nooooooooooooooo…Doooon’t doooooo iiiiiiiit!!!!!!” was ringing in my ears.

In my defense, I was horribly sick with the flu, the van was a disaster, and my son didn’t communicate with me. But in his defense, he was horribly sick with the flu, the van was a disaster, and he’s 10. Communication isn’t his forte. It is mine. I have very little trouble expressing my thoughts (obviously) and I can read between the lines very well. I should have known my kid needed water and I blew it.

But the Lord impressed upon me something much more simple on which I can work. My answers. How I respond. It’s not even what I say most of the time, but how I say it. My tone.

Here’s how the Lord replayed that scenario in my head…

Me: Pickle, now that we’re stopped, I need to fill your water bottle.
P: MOM! I tried to give it to you earlier and now I can’t find it! Gaaahhhh!!
Me: I’m sorry, honey. I didn’t catch on to what you were asking earlier. Do you need help finding your water bottle?

Oh. My. Word. How much better was that? Seriously.

After the Lord opened my eyes to this character flaw that I desperately need to work on, I asked Him to give me just one verse that I can memorize to keep me mindful and on track this year. He, in His goodness, gave me a verse that I had already memorized years ago. I only had to find the reference.

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

I want very badly for my children to have peace and tranquility, not just when they are in our home, but whenever they are in my presence. Sometimes we cannot be sheltered inside these four walls that we call “home,” but I desperately want them to feel at home in my heart.

My kiddos, especially my eldest, have a lot of anger, even wrath, greatly due to their past. Do I want to help them turn away that wrath or stir it up? Well, when asked that question, the answer is a no-brainer. However, when I’m not consciously asking myself that question, I can get hooked by their often-present anger and join in. The Lord is calling me to something higher. Better. I often have to remind my son that he’s the kid and I’m the parent. Now the Lord is reminding me, They’re the kids, You’re the parent.

And the Lord wants me to focus on one thing in 2015 — a soft answer. It’s not in my personality. It doesn’t come naturally for me. I love being quick-witted and sharp. Sharp is usually attributed as a positive trait…”That gal is sharp!” But sharp can poke an eye out. I want…and need…to learn the discipline of being soft with my children.

Well, now that I’ve totally made myself vulnerable to you all, my dear reader mamas…what is your one thing this year? Has the Lord laid a verse on your heart? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to share here!

Blessings and much love, 

Mama