Tuesday, September 30, 2014

When Chaos Becomes Comical (or laughing when everything falls apart)

This morning before I even opened my eyes I knew it was going to be one of those days. The kind where the pain radiating through your head immediately equates to intense nausea and vomiting. The kind of day when you realize all your plans for the day might as well just be thrown out the window because there is no way you are going to be able to get out of bed. Migraines are so debilitating for me and the one thing I dread the most. I can function with any other sickness but a migraine equals stuck in bed, unable to move but totally able to be tormented by a flood of thoughts. Thoughts about what had to be done today. Thoughts about how far behind I am in everything. Thoughts about relationships and situations that were unresolved. Thoughts that quickly turn to doubts and worries and condemnation. If that wasn't enough, the simple migraine turned to a migraine while trying to take care of one child with a sick tummy and one accident after another. In between explosive tummy episodes, just as I would drift back to sleep one child after another came to join me on my bed and tell me their stories, their needs, and their requests. Just as I finally drift back to sleep, I hear a crashing sound and Jonathan crying as he has just fallen down the last three stairs. Heart racing, I try to go to sleep again but realize I need to drive one child to school. Praying I can make it to school and back without throwing up, I drop her off and arrive back home. I have to make an appointment for Joshua to get his cast put on so I make it through one phone call before the nausea takes over. Make second phone call to orthopedic doctor and then finally lay down again.
The battle begins in my heart and my mind. The fight to remember truth: God is not against me. I am not being set up for failure. God isn't giving me an impossible task and then making it harder by piling more and more things for me to handle on top of it. I am not alone. People do care. I am loved. I am a good mom. All the things on my to do list can wait. He will be my strength. He will give me what I need to make it through the day or he will provide help someway or somehow. Gently the Lord begins to redefine my perspective and helps me focus on him in the midst of the pain. He whispers words of affirmation to my heart and shows me how he is there fighting this battle for me, all I have to do is turn to him and be still. Simply believe.
In those moments, I got to see a bigger story. A story that helped me interpret all the crazy things that keep happening with truth. In the past couple of weeks, we have had non-stop sickness, Jonathan crashing almost daily and all his crazy test results, our close friend hospitalized, a child with infected toes, another child with a broken wrist, and some pretty intense situations that we have had to walk through as a family. It would be so easy to be defeated, discouraged, and to begin to doubt God's love. Yet, realizing the part our family is playing in this greater story puts all these things in a totally different perspective.  God is preparing our home to be a place of refuge to hurting children who desperately need Jesus and a family. I would be foolish to think this would go unopposed. So with each little attack, I find myself chuckling and thinking, "Is that all you got?"
Sometimes though I find myself  thinking  God must be getting ready to do something big if there is so much opposition. I find myself looking for that next big thing. What I realized today is some of the greatest work God is doing is in healing our brokenness and giving us our hearts back. This is so much more important to God than us doing big things for him. And it makes us so much more dangerous to the enemy of our souls. A person who has a heart fully alive and free is a person clothed in strength and dignity. A person who knows who they are and who they were meant to be will be used by God to change the world and that makes the enemy tremble. A great gift of perspective was given to me today: the work being opposed is not just what is coming, but its what is already happening. Its the healing that is taking place in my heart and in my husband's heart, its the way that finding our hearts again is strengthening our marriage and our family. The powerful impact that will make on our world is a threat to the enemy. So I smile and chuckle because I know God is for me and we are right where we were meant to be.
Somedays are just plain rough. When those days begin to be a pattern and life starts crashing in around me like waves upon the shore during a raging storm, I am learning to ask what is really going on. Stepping back to see the greater picture, I am discovering I am in the midst of a great battle and those well designed attacks were aimed straight at my heart in an effort to take me out of the fight completely. If I chose to guard my heart and take up the shield of faith those flaming arrows or accusation will be extinguished. Clothed with strength and dignity I can take up my rightful place in this story and I can laugh at what is to come, because I know how the story ends.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Finding a Balance

Months go by and things are so normal, whatever that word actually means. One's heart might actually relax a bit and settle down into a routine of breathing in and out without having to think about it. Sadly, one also begins to take for granted all the little things they promised in that moment of crisis never to take for granted again. Little things like singing that bedtime song, participating wholeheartedly in that same conversation that you have had every single day for the past ten years, taking pictures of every moment so that you don't forget, simply living intentionally each day as if it was your last day.
Then all of a sudden the deja vu of reality collides with your "normal" world. School days are replaced with days of sleeping and pain medication. Long days of just having fun are replaced with doctor appointments and  tests upon tests. The peaceful chaos of every day is replaced with the tense chaos of the unknown. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Its not a feeling of despair or hopelessness that overcomes my heart most days. Sometimes its fear. Fear when I watch him not be able to open his eyes or he says for the hundredth time that day that his head hurts. Its what makes you hold your breath until the crash is over and he returns to his normal baseline. That is when you know it was just an infection and he is just fine. The only problem this time is he really isn't going back to baseline and that is why the many appointments have begun.
Sometimes its just the exhaustion of wondering what's going on inside his body and managing that along with every other part of life. Those moments are when I fight to find a balance. A balance between fear that pushes me to the point of calling the doctor but not to a point where it keeps me from trusting the Great Physician. A balance between doing what is necessary to keep his life as healthy as possible so he can have the best life possible and but not doing so much that we steal away the quality of his life. A balance between limiting his exposure to germs and yet, still giving him access to his friends and people that bring him so much joy.
For now, we do the necessary. We make appointments and find out what we are dealing with. We know we have a blood clot. We know we have to take the port out. We know there could very well be just a simple infection causing all kinds of havoc. We also know it could be yet another life altering moment. Until we know, we will choose to rest in what is for certain: Every day, every moment is held in the hands of the One who knows everything and has gone before us to make a way.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

I watch the numbers reporting your oxygen saturations drop steadily as you fall into a deeper sleep. I hold my breath as the numbers stabilize in an acceptable range. My mind and heart turn from the numbers to the boy resting in such great peace. My breath is gone again as I memorize every detail of your sweet face and the sound of your breath. Tonight is really no different than the night before. The diagnosis and prognosis is still the same: your life; every moment and every detail planned long before your birth. Test results, complications, and unknown possibilities can not change the plan your Father had for you long before you were ever known to me.

The gift I have been given to know perhaps a little more than most. A gift of a different perspective. A perspective that looks beyond the daily irritations, the exhaustion of motherhood, the challenge of caregiving, the ordinary of every day into the realization that time is short. Time is short for everyone of us; we just don't always live life as if today could be the last. The blessing of this perspective turns every day into a living miracle. The flip side is the haunting memories of the opportunities lost and the moments where love and grace didn't prevail. Yet, this moment still remains. A chance to capture every second. To fill each day with joy, adventure, life. To love lavishly, to forgive freely, to run with full abandon towards every dream, to trust without reservation and to hold onto hope with every bit of your being.

Sweet boy, how I long for a heart like yours. I sat with you and told you how your heart was broken but that we were not worried because your heart is safe with Jesus and he is going to take care of you. Your only concern was not the problem at hand. You just wanted to know if you were going home. Oh, to trust Jesus the way you do. To put my broken heart in His capable and loving hands and then go back to being who I am. No concern for the how, the what, the risks; just simply knowing that Jesus has got me. I would be able to confidently stay in the role  I was given to play in this grand story God is writing without holding back any part of me as the intensity of the plot unfolds. A peace that passes all understanding would descend upon my heart because I can trust the author of this story. I know He sees the ending of the story that He is writing and His stories always end well.

Your story collides with mine, my sweet boy. In the midst of your story, my heart is pursued by the Lover of My Soul. Again he asks me to give him my heart. Again I come face to face with a choice. A choice to trust. A choice to believe. Again I choose to take this heart that loves so deeply and breaks so easily and place it into His scarred hands. Those hands that remind me His Story makes my story possible. He has gone before. His heart has felt that same pain. His body has felt your pain. He has been there and now he offers to carry my heart and yours through the steepest places on this journey. How can I not trust one who offers such safety and security and love?