During all those weeks and months of couch time, a wise friend once told me, “It’s ok to throw yourself a pity party if you need one occasionally. Just don’t decorate and hire a band.” Well said.
So, dear friend. Welcome to my pity party, today. Sorry, no streamers or live band, but I’m here. And, as I’ve shown you in the past, I have no problem just.being.real.with.you.
I guess this has slowly creeped up on me. It could probably be traced to what has thus far been notsoaffectionately called The Summer of Suck.
Summer is sacrilege for Team Holzberger. And, for so many others, as well. This is because my husband is in public education. You know, the career also known as, the one you do not go into for the money. Sweet, well-meaning
yet ignorant people in the business world often comment “Ya, but I’d give anything to get eight weeks off in the summer.” Oh ya, anything? Even your amazing health insurance and your six figure salary? No? Oh, ok then.
Needless to say, this summer was going to be awesome. I am healthy (praise GOD!), neither of us is teaching a full load of summer school. (praise GOD!) Not because of our grandious vacation plans..ya, good one. But, solely, because it will be eight weeks of Team Holzberger time. Camping. Swimming. Rangers games. Sleeping in late. Hawaiian Falls waterpark every few days. And deer frolicking in the forest with butterflies on the tips of their noses.
Week One, I’ve lovingly entitled – Don’t Tap This
My eldest (and then subsequently, my youngest) child gets an awful virus. Like, bad. Poor Jacob had a fever of at least 104.7 for three nights straight. We finally were advised by our doctor to take him to Cooks Children’s Hospital (Oh how I sing your praises, you people are saints!) and have him checked over, blood taken, and possibly a spinal tap to verify he doesn’t have viral meningitis. You.Must.Be.Freak-ing.Kidding.Me.
Sola Deo Gloria – my precious boy did not have to be tested for that. His spine was not tapped. So truly thankful. But, we did spend six days with very sick children. One of whom, remarkably got better, and had his fever break the morning after the ER. What an expensive check-up that will turn out to be.
Week Two, we will affectionately call – Don’t Eat Mor Chikin
Food poisoning. That’s right, food posioning. If you have never experienced that, I give you leave to stop reading this blog to immediately get on your knees and thank our Jesus in heaven. I’ll wait…
We went to Chick-Fil-A with my Mom and Step-Dad after a two day fun-filled time with them. We went to their church, Hawaiian Falls, the new and amazing Perot Museum in Dallas, and just had good ol’ fun with Mimi and Papaw. But, then we concluded our little visit with a late night run through Chick-Fil-A before we headed home. Foul.
Fortunately I got it the worst. (words only a mother could say) Two out of three kids got it. Along with myself and my step-dad. I couldn’t stop throwing up, like dry-heaving. So badly, in fact, that I passed out and almost was rushed by my dear husband to the ER myself. I say with a sheer geniune heart , “Lord, thank you.” that didn’t happen. Two ER visits in one week would be too much.
Week Three, can be referred to as no less than Brokeback Mama
In what was supposed to be our first and fun casual Team Holzberger trip to Hawaiian Falls. Well, I ain’t Hawaiian, but I did fall. In an attempt to ride down a certain slide my husband said ‘was awesome’
dang that man I tried to grab the handle to shoot myself down like a twenty year old rocket, I lost grip, and as-if-in-slow-motion, my feet flew out from under me, and I landed directly on my hiney. And, no not on flat ground, but on the edge of a stair, right on the crease of the netherregions. This resulted in a broken tailbone. Not. Cool.
So, here we are. Week Four. As I live and breathe, I am sitting upright, for only the third day out of the last eight. I am typing to you, whilst sitting atop a Boppy, with an well-placed ice pack in the middle. Glory.
And there goes June.
So, when you compile the entirety of those four weeks, and a complete bathroom remodel (done com-plete-ly by yours truly and my man
over the last flippin’ year) and the strain therein caused by said remodel…and throw in a little visit from Aunt Flo, (click here for hil-ar-ious if not mildly inappropriate (meaning three curse words) Aunt Flo reading) I am left to one conclusion –
Pfpppffffft. (That was my kazoo sound. No, I didn’t decorate the pity party, but c’mon, every party needs a kazoo.)
I’ve also allowed myself to briefly be brought down by the reality that is our current life. My dear husband works 60-70 hours a week all school year long. Summer is supposed to be fun, happy family time. I hate this for him too. Notsomuch when I was hugging the toilet, but now, yes.
Which leads me to the other great stressor the enemy uses to occassionally bring me down. My man is a very hard working man. He puts more time, effort and integrity into his work that almost anyone else I know. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a Chemistry minor. He has a Masters degree in Education. Yet, after insurance is taken out, he makes a mere $500 a month above U.S. standard poverty level for a family of five. That’s right. We pay almost $1,000 a month for
awful health insurance. After which it is barely fesible to have a family of five on an Asst. Principal’s salary. What is that about?
I run away with questions like that sometimes.
Why do we live in a country that pays educators, policemen, firemen and the military for crying out loud so very little, yet can afford to pay people who sell legal drugs, build custom homes, or hit the ball out of the park ten or twenty times that?
What truly breaks my heart is that Ryan misses the classroom. He misses loving on the kids, interacting with them, and building them up. But, if he wanted to go back to the classroom, we would choose to cut our income by yet another $700 a month, making that poverty level our reality.
“Well why don’t you just go to work?” so many would say. Well, friend, it looks like I may have to. I’ve been otherwise detained on my couch for the better part of the last five years. But, now, I am healthy. I could work. Of course, we were committed to me being a stay-at-home Mom, because we both strongly believe in the impact it has on our family. A luxury, I guess.
And before you get run away with judgement, as I do sometimes. Let me assure you, we are not spenders. Anyone who knows me knows how crazy frugal we are. I’d be happy to send you our monthly budget in case you do need encouragement on how we (He) make it work. We use cash envelopes. (Dave Ramsey rules!) We have no debt besides our home. Of course, we have no savings, either.
Now, I realize there are plenty of intrinsic benefits from being in education. I know, I taught too. And those are blessings, for sure. Ryan laps those up like water in a dry and parched land to get him through Monday through Friday. And, while treasures themselves, intrinsic rewards do not pay the bills. So, as you could imagine, when we do not benefit from other perks of the job, like others do; winning trips for vacation, and this other myth they call a “bonus” (For all my educator readers, a ‘bonus’ is when one periodically makes more money on top on one’s salary, based on good performance, tenure, or goals reached. Just didn’t want you to be confused.) Ryan will make $300 less this school year than he did last year.
But, honestly, it isn’t just about the money. Money WILL NOT buy us happiness. And, friend, it will not buy you happiness either. I do not want to mislead you. It is about the stress that comes from not having it. The feeling of always shoveling snow in a blizzard. The salt in the wound of living in the 4th wealthiest area of the country where most good friends around me spend more on vacations than Ryan makes in six months. And, also the sad but true fact that our first thought after the doctor says “your son needs to go to the hospital” is, “Oh, God, protect him!’ alltooquickly followed by “Oh Lord, we can’t afford that!”
So many people know exactly what this is like. Others don’t. We do.
God has showered His blessings on us in spades. How else can we explain the six figures of medical bills HE paid off in the last five years? The, not one, but two trips (in one month)to The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota paid for solely by friends and family. How else can we explain that we are still married and fairly happy when statistics of families dealing with severe chronic illness are dismal. How else can we explain how God handed us our dream home at $100K less than any of our neighbors, and enough savings to put 20% down, making our house payments barely above our brand new home we sold. And how else can I explain that despite the facts that our home is old, outdated, and yes, just funky in places, He has given us our yard as our home. Our trees, as His shelter around us. How else could I explain to you the hundreds and hundreds of people I’ve heard that have prayed faithfully for us for all these years and been strengthened in their faith by His story lived out through me?
By no other way, but our God.
And, I guess that’s the point of this rambling and less-than-upbeat blog. I just so strongly desire to keep it real with you lovely folks. I have lways been perceived in my life as ‘happy’ and ‘chipper’. I am always fun at parties and have a great personality. But, not always, my friend. Sometimes me and God have some words. He loves me enough to put up with the rawness of my heart. And yours too, dear one.
So, in keeping with the desire of my heart and the hope of His calling on my life, I wanted to invite you to this pity party – just to make sure you know I have them too. Mine may be brought on by issues vastly different than yours. And lest you and I forget that if we are sitting in an air conditioned home, reading this on our computer on iDevice…then all of these problems are first world problems. We really have no.idea.
But, the enemy would love to shower guilt over us for even feeling them. After all, good Christians can always keep perspective. Good Christians don’t complain, and they definetly don’t admit to having actual problems.
Well, then I guess I am one crappy Christian.
But, I am real. And, friend, so is my Jesus.
The One who can lift me up out of this miry clay. The One who can set my feet upon a rock and give me a new song in my heart. A song, once heard, that can bring many to Him, to see His goodness and give Him due glory.
And, if you’ve ever read the Bible, you will meet people, who, like me, have moments of weakness where the pity party planner (i.e. – yourself) calls and schedules an event. So, be encouraged, friends. Pity parties aren’t permanent. Aunt Flo will leave the building. The sun will shine again.
Until then, do what I do. Surround yourself with praise and orship music. (I’ve been listening to it this whole time and I’m already in a better place than I was an hour ago)
Read the promises in His Word. There are so many. Find a few that speak to your heart and write them down, carry them with you. Commit them to memory and sing them out loud in times like this. See, who needs a live band, huh?
Last, but not least – GO SERVE SOMEONE. I mean it! It is virtually impossible to stay in your pity party mindset when you are handing cold gatorade to hard-working men who works fifteen hours a day outdoors, building homes bigger than they could ever dream of. Pity parties dimish at the hand of a tray of food to the homeless. At the smile of the elderly when you bring them a hand-drawn card from your babies, into their forgotten world. When you give a pregnant teen value and worth in the form of a smile and hug. When you speak to the man delivering the Pepsi at 7-11, you just never know how God will bless your life. He may not only bring you out of your pity party. Like me, He may just do so much more.
Sister friend has now waked up and wants to play babies with me. Done. (Also a known remedy.)
Pffffpfpfttttt. (one last time for good measure)
Matthew 11:28 “Come to ME, all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
John 16:33 ” I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But, take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God. Know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength, and my shield. I trust in Him and I am helped.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him – because He cares for you.”