Hope in the Hurt

Perhaps I came to this journey so that I could share my hope in something, someone, beyond right here. Right now. To think my only joy encompassed earthly possessions or relationships would present a hopeless situation to me. These earthly possessions wear out, lose their value, or sometimes we simply lose interest. Relationships can fizzle, be strained, or end, even through no willful choice of our own, like death.

It saddens me to think that happiness would be based on finite aspects. I give, love, share, because I want to share my hope with others. Life throws curve balls. Life is a mountain to navigate. Sometimes, it’s climbing out of that pit. We aren’t meant to explore alone.

Some of the most joyful people I’ve met faced seemingly insurmountable odds. Punched fear in the face. They may have little by today’s standards of success (money, cars, big houses, etc.), but they aren’t looking for validation and hope in the world. They have a strong relationship with Jesus. They know that YES! This life matters. But prepare for eternity. Leave a legacy.

May is Ehlers Danlos Awareness Month.  As I start to share my story of life with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and the pain that accompanies this beast, my prayer is that I share the hope of Jesus.  There will always be hard days, but I choose to face each day with the love of Jesus in my heart and I will gladly share that with you.  His message.  His love never changes.  Because of this, therein lies hope in the hurt.

Brokenness

The world is so full of brokenness. And hate. And detestable behavior.  I just saw a headline where a mama grabbed her 6 week old baby and slammed…and I couldn’t even finish it.  Why?

And conversations with friends and family that I love.  They are hurting.  For various reasons.  I can listen.  I can try and provide some scripture that would point them to Jesus.  To love.  To redemption.  I’m not a Biblical scholar.  I don’t have it all together.  I don’t know my Bible like I should.

But folks, Jesus wants us NOW.  As we are.  He will guide us through our trial.  And where we need to be.  How do I know this?  Because He has done so with me.  And continues to do so.  I haven’t posted in a long time.  Medically, there’s a lot going on.  But today, I’m praying as I type.  Because there’s a message that many need to hear.  And it starts and ends with Jesus.

Wherever you are.  Jesus…worker of miracles.  Director of my life.  He wants YOU too.  Because, as we come to HIM in our brokenness, sin and all, He can wash it away.  But we, *I*, must seek Him.  You need to know Jesus.  That’s what I know.  The rest is between you and Him.

Nothing will be right in my life unless I seek Gods will.  It may not be easy.  But faith isn’t built by a life without mountains.  It is in my darkest hours, that the light of Jesus has lifted me.  Guided me.  And friends and family, I want you to have that too.  How often do we get into an “easy” stretch?  And we find our quiet time with God dwindling?  He’ll draw us back every time.

At the end of the day, at the end of our time, our sin doesn’t have “degrees” like earthly crimes…1st degree murder, manslaughter, armed robbery, etc.  It’s black and white.  It’s sin.

My heart is heavy for many today.  Treatment decisions.  Big life decisions.  But if  you seek guidance from the Lord, you can’t go wrong.  Regardless of what others broken in sin might tell you.

Can I pray for you today?  Leave me a comment.  I moderate before they are posted.  If you want privacy, you can email me.  You can message me on Facebook.

 

The Joy of White Space

I don’t mind being busy. But I need to remember that busy isn’t always productive. Busy doesn’t always have a purpose. Busy can rob me of enjoying the moment.

I work part-time outside the home. But don’t let the time clock fool you—I work just as hard at home—doing work, housework, chauffeuring to school, youth group and activities and the seemingly endless appointments that accompany a kiddo with chronic health issues.

So my days spent out of the 2nd home I call “work” are largely spent making calls, coordinating appointments and generally, trying to get “everything” done. (Is there really such a thing???) And that doesn’t include the daily tasks that need attention (apparently kids and husband like clean clothes and meals daily…who knew?

And I like sending time with that group of people I live with, which further intensifies my need to get “everything done” on my days “off”. HA!

So instead of scheduling more, I’m scheduling less. No more than 2 scheduled appointments per day and they need to be 3-4 hours apart. This allows time for appointments to run behind (and they will) and still get to the next one on time. Now, understand that emergencies happen in my life and this schedule goes out the window.

How does a busy mama (insert whatever role here) do? Because honestly, that superhero cape is highly overrated. And it’s probably dirty anyway. J

1. Prioritize

I know certain things are daily tasks. I am now allotting time for them. I am delegating age-appropriate tasks to children. And get the hubby involved.

2. Schedule white space into the day

Yes. If your planner is hourly, schedule it as you would a haircut or doctor’s appointment. And allow more than you need. Because you know Murphy happens. And now you have time to deal with it. AND you likely still have a bit of white space in your day to just “be”.

3. Be realistic about your time

If it takes 45 minutes to cook dinner, allow 60. If you need 20 minutes for a commute, allow 30. Stop pushing everything to the wire. This was a HUGE stress in my life. Always allowing “just enough” and never planning for Murphy to strike (see #2). And if I arrive somewhere early, one of 2 things might happen—a) I might be seen for an appointment earlier or b) I have a few minutes to take a deep breath and relax. Aaaaah….

 

As I often say to my high anxiety, whirlwind girl, “Chillax”.

Taking Care of Me

“It” finally won today. Whatever has knocked Hannah down the last few weeks got me. Wow. Exhaustion is a mild term. I made a quick cheeseburger casserole for dinner. And laid down (again) while it was baking. And I napped while Hannah was napping today too.

Yep, there is laundry to fold. And countless other household tasks, and personal tasks, and schoolwork…but today…today I decided that instead of acting like a martyr and trudging through this, I was going to listen to my body. And rest.

And wonder of all wonders…NOTHING happened. J Sure, we’d like to think that we have some kind of role in the Earth rotating on it’s axis. Or the tides ceasing, like when Gru pulls the moon out of the sky in Despicable Me. Nope. World still spinning. Tides still crashing onto the shore.

Even the Lord rested after His 6 days of creation.

Productivity isn’t necessarily motion. Or busy. Today, for me, it was allowing my body a chance to rest and fight off whatever creepy crud is going on. Because if I wake up feeling better tomorrow, I’d call today a fantastically productive day.

So moms…listen up. Take a break. Linger over that coffee a bit longer. Sick? Take a nap. Take care of YOU.

And that superhero cape we don most days…well, mine’s in the hamper…along with all the other dirty laundry I didn’t get to today.

A Tender Moment

Because of some “creative scheduling” due to a business trip of my husband’s, I had carpool drop-off duties. I normally am out the door before anyone else is even awake. But, I cherished this morning. I haven’t enjoyed a drive to school in the mornings in well over a year. It was fabulous. (Although the commute to work that late in the morning—if I never deal with it again, I would not be sad! But woo hoo for getting the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded this morning!)

After I met up with the carpool group, I began the trek to work. I drive by a string of schools, all along about ¼ mile stretch of road. Kids darting out in the road randomly nearly stopped my heart.

I ended up in a line of cars approaching a 4-way stop. And in my peripheral vision, I noticed something…someone actually. The someone was a young man walking, I presume, his younger sister to school. She looked at him with an adoring smile. And as they went to cross the street, he put his arm around her shoulders and guided her safely in the midst of the chaos. We made eye contact and I motioned for them to cross the street. He mouthed, “Thank you”. Not sure why, but the scene brought tears to my eyes.

And in all the chaos of this world, I wonder how many of us, at one point or another, just need someone to slip their arm around our shoulders. Maybe help us safely navigate a new diagnosis. Maybe be a supportive, listening ear for a friend experiencing a family crisis. Or whatever the case might be.

We really do have a unique opportunity to be love and hope for someone. We are so hurried today. Do we even realize those around us might be ARE hurting? If we love Jesus, we should be an example of that love to others. We are so linked up today…social media, gadgets, email, cell phones, Skype, and the list goes on and on…but are we really making connections…relationships….that truly matter?

That display of love and guidance this morning has definitely made a mark on my heart. And maybe guiding me to a new approach at a few things. Stop telling and start coming alongside those we love and care about and walk with them, beside them.

Unexpected Beauty

As I drove along a busy road I frequently travel, I was irritated being caught at a red light. It was one of those exceedingly long lights. Exasperated, I gazed around. My glance stopped on a burst of color, shocking on this nearly autumn day.

photo from http://cdn.blogs.sheknows.com/gardening.sheknows.com/2011/07/wildflower-meadow.jpg

In the midst of the weeds and overgrown brush were patches of beautiful wildflowers. And even though I am not know for my horticultural expertise (my husband lovingly refers to my gardening talent, or lack of, as brown thumb), I love flowers, especially wildflowers. Arranged only by God’s hand. I find it rather refreshing, and even reassuring that there, in the midst of the weeds and overgrowth, God tends to the details.

And despite whatever turmoil had erupted that beautiful day, I felt a surge of reassurance. God controls it all, right down to the patch of wildflowers that brightened my day.

I saw these flowers several days ago, and since then when I’ve felt discouraged, He’s reminded me of the beauty and serenity He can create—even if alongside a busy stretch of road.

Maybe next time I can willingly use that extra minute at a light to soak up more of God’s beauty in all the unexpected places.

A Moment of Solitude…Or Not

I sat down the other day to do some home exercises as part of the rehab for this latest knee surgery (medial patellofemoral ligament, or MPFL). I got my little electrical stim machine hooked up. I often joke with Hannah and act like it’s jolting my body. It’s good for a few giggles.

I grabbed my Kindle. Oh the joy of just a few minutes of solitude. Even if it includes some physical therapy. I’m not picky, I take it when I can.

I flipped my Kindle case open. I chose oh so carefully. I only had 10 minutes to feel rejuvenated. I selected my reading material.

Oh…1 glorious paragraph. And I heard the footsteps. She found me. She KNEW I would be her sole captive audience. I kept reading. And she appeared in the doorway. Armed. A deck of playing cards in one hand and a brand spankin’ new deck of Uno cards in the other hand. (We lose UNO cards a lot, kinda like socks.) 

“Would you like to play a game with me?”

As much as I desperately wanted 10 minutes to read, re-charge, even do nothing, see there’s this little girl who’s growing up quickly.

And so we played. And giggled through several games.

And honestly, I felt more rested after a few card games than I do after a nap. Amazing what the love and laughter shared with a child can do to my heart.

And I won that day (not the game, she whooped me). I had a few minutes to share with a kid who still likes to hang with her mom.

Yeah—I’ll take that.

A Simple Thank You

 

Sitting here on this beautiful Saturday morning. The big kid is out with friends. The hubs is at a tractor/machinery show with my soon-to-be brother-in-law. Just me and Hannah banana.

It’s been a pretty laid back morning. Some cartoons. I’ve done some paperwork. Hannah’s played some educational games. And she’s snuggled up tight. (Love, LOVE these moments).

I printed up a little “thank you” letter for her to complete for her birthday presents. She just needs to fill in the blanks. But she’s DOING it. Not complaining. It’s hard work for her. But she’s pressing on.

And she looks at me with this silly grin, “Mom, why am I doing this?”

“Because our friends and family took time out of their Saturday to share the day with you. To celebrate. And showered you with some wonderful presents. You need to say “thank you”. In writing. Truly show your appreciation.”

To me, there is NOTHING quite like a handwritten, letter or card, of thanks. That’s how I was raised. That’s what I do. And that’s why my kids will do.

Because aside from the penmanship skills, I want my kids and family to have a heart of gratitude. Always. For everything. Those rain clouds in the sky? Thank you God for providing rain so we have water to drink, and water for the garden and flowers.

That gorgeous sunshine? Aaaah, thank you for the warmth of the sunshine. And the bright light that invades my home and heart.

That clap of thunder and streak of lightening? Thank you Lord for the wonderful light show. And the soothing sound of the thunder and rain.

I know some things I find very difficult to be thankful for. But I’m still learning too. But how can I expect a gracious heart from my children if *I’M* not displaying it personally.

Whew, this parenting thing is HARD. But I have an Instruction Book: the Bible. And deep in those pages, I’m told,”In EVERYTHING give thanks”. (I Thess 5:18)

The “To Do” List

 

  1. Laundry
  2. Dishes
  3. Make a fun breakfast
  4. Bake cookies with the girls

 

So, with summer vacation slowly winding down, I just wanted to hang out with the girls today. But it was a day at home though. Still recovering from a right knee surgery doesn’t exactly lend itself to driving at this stage of my recovery.

So we planned a day at home today. And the activities 1 and 2 on my list were not at the top of the “to do” list above. So, after a lazy morning, I made Belgian waffles (<blushing>, I used a mix). I was able to gimp around the kitchen enough to make the waffles and treat my girls. (That was the last waffle we made, it’s a little wimpy.)

We giggled through breakfast. I chatted with a friend for a bit about homeschooling and medical things, and just had a chance to catch up.

We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the fly. Hannah *may* have had ice cream at some point between breakfast and lunch. I cannot tell a lie.

Then the girls got out ingredients to make some chocolate chip cookies. OK, we cheated and made the pan cookie version. We also *may* have eaten some cookie dough, you know, just for taste test purposes. And once we’d had enough to conclude that it was indeed acceptable, we popped the pan into the oven.

And we are watching a Narnia movie. Sure, there is laundry to be done. The dishwasher is running though. My floors are probably dirty, ok they ARE dirty, but we are lounging in the living room, together.

I won’t get too many more of these days once school starts. So, I’m soaking up every moment right now. They want my time. They want my attention. They want all of me. Here. Now.

Because when they look back on these days, I don’t want them to think about Mommy working too much. Or Mommy not having time because items 1-2 on her “to do” list didn’t get done.

I want them to know that they were priority. They are my gift from God. I don’t look at them as just another item on my “to do” list. That I cherish our days together. And I enjoy watching them grow up, even if it is too fast. I like watching the young ladies they are becoming. I love watching Jesus work in them and through them.

Gathering together

A few weeks ago, I posted about an online community a dear friend of mine created. This same friend came across a neat devotional, Wife After God 30 Day Marriage Devotional for Wives, written by Jennifer Smith, blogger an “Unveiled Wife” (www.unveiledwife.com).  Here is a link to the book: http://unveiledwife.com/wife-after-god/

We started chatting about starting this devotional and it became a “group” thing.  Many of us expressed the desire to be praying for our husbands.  To reconnect.  But to seek Jesus first and His direction for our lives.

I am so excited to get started with this amazing group of gals.  I think there is great power in a group of wives/mothers/friends coming together to pursue Jesus and seek God’s will in their lives and marriages.

I just know God is going to do great things in our hearts and homes.  Excitedly looking ahead and eagerly anticipating the growth that is sure to follow.  I’m not sure where the Lord is leading me with this, but I choose to follow.  And together gals, focused on Jesus, there are no limits!