Isaiah 43:18-19“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
In some ways it's been a horrific week, and in other ways, a glorious week.
Tuesday morning I awoke, still ill with the flu, thinking the ache in my head must be a flu-related headache. Instead of taking my chronic migraine tablet--an acetaminophen/caffeine, Walgreen-brand cocktail--I took ibuprofen.
What a costly mistake, leading to a throbbing four-hour migraine, complete with two vomiting sessions. The whole time I was only vaguely aware of what my four children were doing. Half-reclining on the living-room couch with eyes closed and a washcloth over my face, I tried to listen to what was going on, to prevent any disasters.
They played and played, having a pretty wonderful time--the little ones only vaguely aware of Mommy's misery. Even in my private darkness, I was amazed at their ability to entertain themselves amiably, with all four siblings participating in the fun equally.
In one sense I felt it was four hours of my life wasted. I did nothing but stay on that couch, getting up only to vomit.
I'm a busy mom, and this predicament meant that no essential tasks got done, except pleading, desperate prayer.
The house turned into a disaster, as is usual when the children have free time.
But I believe in messes. History has proven that my children do their best thinking, inventing and problem solving when they're allowed to make messes.
But there's always a price to pay for me, and that price is what I refer to as "riding the herd". They never want to clean up their messes--they're overwhelming messes, let me tell you--and I have to ride them like a herd of horses, cracking a whip.
When I'm ill I don't have the energy to ride herd very well. It's taxing emotionally and mentally on a good day.
I'd say riding the herd is the hardest parenting task ever.
And riding herd during bedtime-prep hour? Let me say it nicely...not my favorite part of the day.
On migraine day an elaborate Geo Trax train village took up my entire living room--their newest creation. It was awesome, complete with oodles of small toys used to dress up the village (various blocks, unifix cubes, teddy-bear counters, small cars, people figurines, etc.).
Even after they cleaned up the track and trains, the place was still a nightmare of small toys. They were whiny and uncooperative, in the sense that it took me sending them back five times to do a thorough job, after which I felt like crying and a couple of them did too.
Then later in my week, an obvious sinus infection gave rise to more pain and far less sleep. I went through five rolls of toilet tissue wiping my nose. The Kleenex were long gone, and now we have no toilet paper in the house at all, and when they all get back from the library (praise the Lord that husband works only half-day on Saturday), I have to rouse my puffy eyes and drag myself to Aldi's, hoping no one notices my atrocious facial appearance.
I'm happy to say, the sinus infection seems to be in the left half of my face only now.
We've long ago run out of groceries and it's been driving me nuts for days, thinking of what to feed everyone. Husband gets milk or bread on the way home from work, but a major grocery run is about the worst task imaginable to him, other than fixing the girls' hair or picking out their clothes.
Letting go and letting God sometimes means being sick and miserable, and not resenting it.
It means stopping to notice how wonderful your children are--how bright their intellects, how ingenious their cooperation skills--because you have no choice but to sit and notice.
It means turning on the Christian radio to try and cheer yourself up, and then noticing that when the News Boys song Shine comes on, your 4-year-old girl becomes ecstatic, dances around and recites a good part of the lyrics accurately, wanting your sorry, sick body to dance along with her.
And you do, because you realize this is God's grace. This impromptu dance with your littlest girl, shouting about shining for Jesus.
Letting go and letting God also means stopping to devour a great book, because with sinus pain that no pain-reliever touches, all you can do is go out to the living room in the middle of the night and read, hoping the story is good enough to take your mind off the pain.
And they were.
I'm now three books ahead of my boys in our Sonlight curriculum, and wondering what's next.
|This particular book --Gone-Away Lake--is so good, I never wanted it to end. When it did I was incredibly sad, except that I noticed she wrote a sequel. Whohoo!|
Letting go and letting God means dropping your expectations, as you cancel this and that commitment due to illness. It means letting go of your agenda, so you can hear God's.
It means having time to more fully drink in, and notice, his many graces. Our God is all about grace. Not performance, not perfection, not expectations. He's the author and bestower of Grace.
And when you have no other choice, you really get to share in that grace in a more beautiful, poignant way.
So, yes...in some ways, it was a terrible week.
But in others....it was awesome.
Thank you, God, for illnesses.