my blessed, blasted wilderness
ok, so obviously by the title of this post, i am a bit torn about my current situation. i know God is good. i know He is doing a great thing in my life right now. i truly believe with ALL of my heart that He is working on some big things in my heart…things He has been trying to work on for a while, but has been faced with what the Bible likes to call “a stiff-necked people” aka. = me. so, i did name the thing blessed before blasted. but still, i am a bit torn. but, i promise, i am getting there.
although, i am being honest here, i had a bit of a meltdown last night. i guess it is ok if i have one every once in a while…as long as the “once in a while” doesn’t become every day, i think it is ok. (in all fairness, i had one two weeks ago, too) i am not at all doubtful that God can handle it. He made me. He knows my drama before i spew it out of my mouth. if only ryan could have a bit more warning, poor thing.
this medical drama. my blessed, blasted wilderness….it has been ten months. roughly 300 days. give or take a few. three hundred days…man, when you say it like that, it does sound kinda like a long time. i feel decent sometimes. not most of the time, but sometimes. i really have started to make strides in the right direction though.
to give you a bit of perspective…i can now wake up, get my three small kids fed and clean up from that (cheerios off floor, dishes done, faces wiped, not crying over spilt milk) get everyone dressed and diapers changed, and then i pretty much need to rest a bit. after about a 30 minute rest, i generally can then tackle maybe doing a load of laundry, or playing a board game inside (i CANNOT be outside at all in this heat) with the kids, doing another chore or something…oh, i don’t know, maybe just playing the normal referee/mom role that is my life of three small kids. then, i gear up for getting lunch ready…which i can do, and then supervise feeding them, then i get to eat, then clean up (pears off floor, hopefully without being stepped on barefoot-yuck! dishes done, faces wiped, not crying over spilt chocolate milk) and by this time, i am pretty wiped out. this time i need a longer recoop time because now it is later in the day. fortunately we are getting close to nap time for abigail and benjamin (in theory, for benben) so i can use that time for me too. yes, i am faced with trying to spend quality time with just jacob during that time too to fight off the mom guilt and because i also just love it, but i just do this best i can. after naps….(and my afternoon dose of meds which, i guess sorta helps, a little) i can play some with them and get snacks ready…but it is really all about countdown til daddy gets home at that point….
now, this is my BEST case scenario, best day. did you notice anything? there is no way i can run an errand with the kids. i still have no strength or energy to walk around stores…for those of you who have seen me out and about, i had to rest up for that, and generally i absolutely pay the price afterwards. i can’t go outside and play active-like. in fact, i can’t play inside active-like. i can’t take them anywhere fun. i can’t tackle the 435 things around the house that really NEED to get done! treading water takes on a whole new meaning for me. but it is what it is.
so…this is where i am now. and believe it or not, i am thankful. it might not sound like it as i type, and that is just because i am exhausted today, from waaaaay overdoing it yesterday. but God and i have already talked about that and He knows i am thankful. four months ago, i couldn’t get off the couch at all really. a few months before that, i couldn’t sit upright at all and had an ice pack strapped to my head all day long. God is good. i know this for sure. He has proven that to me time and time again…and He doesn’t even have to, but He has.
and trust me, i DO NOT want to be like the Israelites. i mean, i am…but i sure don’t want to be. what do i mean?? God proved Himself to them too…time and time and time and time again. (exodus 14) they had just seen God perform many miracles and preserve them…they had followed Moses and were standing at the foot of the red sea…waves rushing in front of them but the looming sound of the fierce philistine army thundering behind them…and what did they do? stand tall in faith? band together in prayer and praise to their great and faithful God? nope. they cried out in fear to Moses and basically said “dude, why did you drag us all the way out here in the desert to be killed by the egyptians? if you would have just left well enough alone, at least we could have stayed there, kept our jobs, our 401k’s and stayed alive!” oh, people of such little faith. oh, ME of such little faith. and then Moses told them (v.14) “the Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still”
be still? i’m not sure about you, but i would have preferred to hear, from my great leader, something like…draw your weapons..or…here’s the divine strategy God will use to strike them down…maybe even… it’s time to build another ark, is there anybody here from the line of noah??(hmm..i guess we all are!?!)…or something like that…but, be still? i would have been worried too. but, that brings me back to why i am like the Israelites. i would have cried out in FEAR, and i tend to WORRY. those two things…those are my things. they have been. my whole life. i know without a shadow of doubt that God is working on those in me, in a huge way. it just so happens (by God’s divine permission) that He has now allowed a daily reminder (pain, medical drama, unknown diagnosis, unanswered questions, unknown future) of what it really, really means to trust Him fully. fear and faith cannot inhabit the same heart at the same time. coincidence? not at all. God knows my heart and knows He needs all of it to trust in Him. fully.
i wonder what the Israelites were thinking as they walked upon that dry land. looking up on either side of them at the walls of water. could they see fish swimming by? did they reach out and try and touch the water? did they walk quickly for fear of the walls crashing down? probably. i would have probably been running.
i’m betting that the ground wasn’t even muddy. God is just like that. He does something and he does it completely. He says dry land and He means D R Y land.
i am looking forward to walking on dry land. D R Y land.
oh, and by the way….when they did get to the other side, which He said they would, and they did….they saw HIM defeat their enemy. they saw those walls of water fall, but not on them, but on those who went against HIM. and boy, then they praised!! (Ex. 15:1-2) “i will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted…the Lord is my strength and my song, He has become my salvation. He is my God and i will praise Him, my father’s God and i will exalt Him.”
ahhh…sounds great huh? sounds like me a few months ago…oh, i can sit upright…oh, i can walk around a bit… it takes no time at all for the complaining to take place…Goooood (i picture this like my kids when they yell at me…but, moooom) Israelites: we could have pots of meat in egypt, we got nothing here, we are hungry, we’re thirsty…(me: i can’t drive, i get sooo tired, when will this end?) God knew exactly what they needed. He wanted them to come to Him for it. He wanted them to depend on HIM for everything. He wants that for me to. i am truly learning that. it is a daily thing. (actually, it is an hourly, or minute-ly (not a word, but it is now!)) thing Just like their manna. (ex. 16) He wouldn’t let them store it up for days, He, once again knew that it was best for them to depend on HIM daily for it. could He have given them plenty to store up? sure. that isn’t the point. the point is in the discipline and trust. do i trust God that He knows what i need, desires good for me and will provide for me? do i? did they? no and no. but, i praise Him that He is teaching me and my answer is leaning a WHOLE lot more towards yes. and if you know me AT ALL, you know my bent towards fear and worrying is a HUGE bent, really more towards a 90 degree right angle, and so i praise YOU Father, for that is a miracle on the scale up there with parting the red sea!!!!
did you know that those Israelites wandered around in that desert for forty years on a trip that really should have only taken a few weeks? if you look on a map, you’ll see it. can you believe it? FORTY YEARS. that sounds a lot longer than three hundred days, doesn’t it? oh, how i do not want to wander more than i have to. wait, i already have, i know it. but, i want to be done wandering soon. that i know.
God, i know you are good. i know that this time of trial is filled with purpose. i am sorry for the times (and they have been many) that i have grumbled like the Israelites about my situation. i know that i will not be done with this wilderness one scalding, hot desert day before you are ready for me to be. your will be done, not my own. i truly desire to learn whatever it is that you desire to teach me. i confess my sin of fear and worry to you. you know my past and my future, you hold it all in your hands. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”(psalm 51:10) my dreams, my plans, my health, my family…i lay it down. i love you and i am so thankful for how far you have brought me so far. keep on going, and don’t give up. i am yours. amen.
james 1:1-2 “consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.”
Thanks so much for sharing so candidly (and articulately). The Isrealites complained constantly (“what? Manna again? Didn't I just have this for breakfast? Isn't this the same stuff that we've been eating every day for years now?”). Then Moses called out to God (“Why are you dumping all of THEIR problems on me? Did I give birth to these people? Am I their mother? What did I do to deserve this God?). But every day of that 40 years was so important in molding each of those people. I can only imagine how discouraged you must be. Your strength and the conversations that you and God are having that you are sharing with us are so meaningful and moving. Again, thank you for being the inspiration and guiding light that you are.
Be kind to yourself. It is going to take some time to get your strength back, there will be peaks and valleys, and it is easy to get discouraged. Steroid withdrawal is tough –it makes you “beyond” tired – no amount of sleep helps, no amount of eating right helps, no amount of positive thinking helps, and if you haven't been through it, it's hard to understand how tired that kind of tired feels. It just takes time. You'll get there because God is with you. I love that verse in James because I know it is so true.