Eight is Enough
Do you remember the show from where I borrowed the name for this post? It was on TV for only about 4 years back in the very early 80’s. Being that I was a toddler at the time, I am sure I was more interested in Big Bird and Cookie Monster, but I do remember the re-runs. This dad was like a newspaper guy and the show was set around him raising his eight kids. All, with huge waspy 70’s hair and clothes, which was (and still is!) a riot to see!
I would think that if I had eight kiddos, I would have agreed with the title quite a bit. More than quite a bit, actually. 🙂 But, we are blessed with three kids and often, I honestly don’t feel that is enough. But, God does, and so I’m going with that.
I can, however relate to the whole “eight is enough” concept. My dad said it to me as he said goodbye and watched the nurses roll his baby girl away for my eighth, that’s right, eighth blood patch. Over the last three years or so, I have had four different spinal fluid leaks. When, like my case, the doctors are unable to actually find the leak, the only solution is to “try another blood patch”. So, that’s what we’ve been doing…and doing…and doing (times eight.)
Today marks two weeks since my last one. I have done a good job of staying flat for waaay more days than they recommend, just to be safe. I haven’t lifted anything heavier than a milk jug, just to be safe. I have been drinking a ton of water to help regenerate great amounts of spinal fluid, just to be safe. I have done all I can do. Now, I just wait and see if God allows this thing to seal for good this time. Friend, that would be so great. I can’t even describe how nice it would be to not have to mess with this drama anymore. I can hardly remember what really “being well” is, it has just. been. so. long. For me, friend, eight is enough.
I think the most difficult part this time around is that I actually started to get better. I got a glimpse. This last year has been the scariest and most dramatic medical year I’ve ever had. At one time I was taking like 27 pills a day and was talking to four different doctor’s offices more often than I was talking to any four other people. It was a scary year, really. The last leak I had was a major one. It caused me to be hospitalized for 16 days, and months and months of lying flat to help heal my body. That particular leak required three different blood patches over the course of a couple months to completely seal. Or apparently, not completely seal.
Because, four months after the last patch, I began to feel those all too familiar symptoms again. And really, this was only about two months after I had really been up and moving and trying to get back into living my life. Two months. That’s it. That’s all I got. In fact, out of the last eight months, I have only been up and moving for two of them. I mean, c’mon, eight months? Once again, friend, for me, eight is enough.
But, I don’t get to be in charge of that decision in my life. And whether you realize it or not, you don’t get to be in charge of that decision in yours either. God is in control. Period.
Now, some of us take a lot longer to get to a point in our lives to recognize and appreciate that. Some of us are still not there. But, for each of us, it will happen, eventually. Something pretty major will come along and you will find your mind reeling with questions, often unanswered. And you will look down on the ground, only to see shards of your dreams and your plans shattered around your feet. Be careful where you step, friend. Because, if you stomp your feet about it…if you sit down and pout…if you get bitter and dig your feet in the ground…you are liable to get pretty cut up.
I know I could use a few water-proof Star Wars band-aids from the kid’s bathroom, what about you?
I bet Jonah can relate. He was a prophet that heard directly from God. Yet, he stomped his feet and ran the other way. Of course, that choice didn’t lead him to the city of his choice. That choice led him to becoming fish food. Do you ever think about what it must have been like inside the belly of a fish? I’ve gotta be honest people, I don’t like the smell of the outside, upside, or downside of fish. I can’t imagine the first hand smell from inside was something delightful. There is a reason Glade doesn’t have scents like “Cooling Carp Mist” and “Whispering Whale Gut”. It ain’t pretty.
Plus, there was no “Clap On – Clap Off” light for him to try once he got in there. Even being a prophet, I doubt he had the foreknowledge to try a clap or two.
Have any of you ever been afraid of the dark? I know I have. I have vivid memories…full-grown-adult– memories…of walking around the camp grounds of my beloved Christian camp I worked at for about a decade. There were places there, amongst the trees that I believe were every bit (as my mom says) “as dark as inside the belly of a cow”. Or, I guess, in Jonah’s case, a fish.
So, here he is cold, wet, stanky, scared and all alone sloshing around in there…don’t you think he was ready to get out? I mean, like quick!?! I know I would have been crying out loudly to God before that big ol’ fish took one more bite of something funky.
He was in there three long days…and three long nights, the Bible says. (Jonah 1:17).
“Oh, that’s not too bad.” , you think to yourself. “Noah had to be sea-sick for forty days and forty nights. Now, that would be tough.” Yes, that’s true. But, can I remind you of one sweet, little difference? Noah had a boat, friend. I think that ol’ ark made all the difference in the world. And while Jonah only had to spend maybe 72 hours inside that big fish…for me, that’s about 71 hours and 59 minutes too long. Amen?
I bet Leah would agree too. (Genesis 29-31) Poor thing…she wasn’t near as pretty or lovely as her sister Rachel. Darn that Rachel…she had Jacob, the love of her life, longingly looking upon her with delight. Leah, however, was the “surprise” that the hung-over Jacob had lying next to him as his wife when morning came. Oops. Can you say…um, a bit of sibling rivalry??
But, Rachel wasn’t awful. In fact, I bet she can relate to Leah, Jonah and I as well. She just wanted to be able to have kids. But, this desire overtook her. I can’t relate to that personally because, thank God, Ryan and I never had any trouble having our kiddos. But, I have had enough family and friends struggle with this, that I have seen how quickly it can consume you…like it consumed Rachel. Both sisters had something the other one wanted…and each of them longed for what they did not have…for years and years and years they stomped their feet and couldn’t get over how their shattered dreams just couldn’t be glued back together…like, yesterday!
Rachel became arrogant, selfish, and manipulative all because her sister was producing kids as if she was wanting her very own “19 Kids and Counting” show.
Leah became even more insecure, depressed, and desperate for love from her husband all because her sister was more beautiful and got more attention.
Each of these ladies were blessed…just in different ways. Different from each other, but even more painful, different from what they wanted.
“Why can’t I just be beautiful like Rachel?”
“Why can’t I just have one baby, she has four! That’s not fair!”
“Why do I have to go speak to those immoral sinners in Ninevah, God? But, hey…I don’t want to be inside this stanky fish, either!!”
“Why can’t I just live the life you have called me to? I just want to be a wife and a mom like so many others get to do…like so many others take advantage of!!”
Not sure where that last one came from.
Um…ok, it was me.
I say that eight is enough, friend. But, I don’t really mean it. I can’t mean it. I have to wrap my head and my heart around the fact that it may take eight more blood patches to seal this deal. It might not. I could be healed today. But, I truly believe that God desires our heart to trust Him with a “no matter what” type of trust. He doesn’t want us to say “I will love you and serve you God…
“If I can just have children.”
“If I can just be more beautiful.”
“If I can just live a long and healthy life with my family.”
“If I can just get a job…or a different job…or a better job…or…”
Where are you with this, friend? I know that as I lie here on this couch for what feels like the millionth day, I still struggle with this often. I am sure we all do. And I am sure we all will. But, I hope to encourage you with a few Truths from His Word that I continue to cling to with both hands held tight.
And remember, you can choose to be thankful. After all, you could be ugly, childless, sick, and smell like “Whispering Whale Gut” all at the same time.
Psalm 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
Psalm 68:19 “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.”
Psalm 37:5-6 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”