Monday, September 23, 2013
Timothy has seen his fair share of O.R.'s and because of that I've seen my fair share of O.R. waiting rooms. In fact we were there again less than two weeks ago. Most of the time he's there for simple procedures, but there have been times that we were there for major surgeries. His first major surgery was on his kidney around the age of five months. I remember how difficult it was to hand him over to the nurses and watch them walk away. I did plenty of crying as I sat in the waiting room. I was a rookie, holding tight to the bear the hospital volunteer had given me. I guess when your arms are empty, you can quickly bond with the simplest thing to find comfort. Now, I consider myself somewhat of a pro. There's good and bad in feeling that way. The good- it's much less stressful to sit in the waiting room. The bad- I realized that somewhere along the way of becoming a "pro", I lost some of my compassion for the other families in the waiting room. I remember one time in particular, I saw a mother crying as I walked back in the waiting room. I had seen their family in the pre-op waiting area. I was wondering what big surgery their child was facing that day. They were back there less than ten minutes, when the doctor came and told them that they got the tubes in their child's ears just fine. Did I rejoice with their family? No. I sat there and smugly thought, really, you're that upset over tubes? I'm sitting there while my child's stomach is getting wrapped around his esophagus and having a feeding tube placed. Attractive attitude, right? The Lord reminded me that I have no idea about their family's story. I don't know all the events that led them to that moment. I don't know their struggles. Yet, I felt free to make judgements based off of my struggles. When I took Timothy in recently, I saw another mother crying while holding tight to a child's blanket. When the doctor came back to tell them that their daughter's tube placement went well, I felt differently. I wondered if it was the first time she had to hand over her child to people she didn't really know and trust that these strangers would take great care of her precious little one. I'm thankful that the Lord had already taught me the lesson I needed to learn in regards to others in this situation. However, there was another lesson I needed to learn. I've been struggling off and on with my health for a few years now. In the little over a year since Timothy's accident, it seems that my health issues have been taken to a whole new level. To say that it's been a rough year doesn't seem strong enough to cover it. To list out all of my struggles would feel a lot like complaining. So, I'll just tell you the highlights. I'm not a great sleeper, but this past year, I'm consistently struggling to sleep. I've also battled my Meniere's disease(an inner ear condition that causes dizziness). When it finally seemed like I got that under control, along came a new health issue. In June, I was diagnosed with Restrictive Airway Disease. I'm still working on getting that under control. To be completely honest, I start many days arguing with myself about getting out of bed. I wake up in the morning exhausted. It is a complete act of will to get up, knowing there will be mutiny if my children are left to their own devices. This past week, my dizzy spells returned to go along with my breathing troubles and lack of sleep. Can you see me now, sitting at the table I've prepared for my pity party? How much longer will this continue, Lord? Can't I catch a break for a little while? Why do I have to suffer? As I'm pouring myself another cup of bitterness, the Lord reminds me of who He is and who I am in Him. John 16:33 says, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me, you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Romans 5:1-5 says, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." I'm so thankful that God doesn't treat me the way I treated all those mothers. He doesn't come to me and say, "Really Cari? I can't believe after all I've brought you through, that you would really be struggling with My sovereignty again!" He could, but He doesn't. He does correct me, but it's in love and for a purpose. You see, I've seen the Lord do so many things. He saved me from a life of destruction and despair. He has worked in miraculous ways in Timothy's life. He has provided for our needs. He has met me at the deepest points of despair and strengthened me. Why would I even doubt that He is in control and able to handle all that we're going through? Romans 7:15 has the answer, "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do." That doesn't mean that I'm doomed to struggle. It means that until I'm made perfect in Heaven, I will have to daily die to my flesh and live by the Spirit. I need to dig daily into the Scripture and allow God to use it to teach me, encourage me, and change me. Worship is also helpful. It's difficult to focus on myself and my struggles, when my heart and mind are focused on God. On who He is and who I am in Him. If you're going through a rough time, I would encourage you to dig deep into God's word and allow Him to speak to you. Though we will continue to face trials and tribulations, we can find what we need in His presence. Sometimes that means He shows us the way out and sometimes He shows us the way through. You're not alone.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Before you start writing my nomination for Worst Mother of the Year, let me explain. It seems like a noble goal to want our children to be happy, doesn't it? The problem with the pursuit of happiness is that it's an unattainable goal for life. If my goal for my children is for them to find what ever makes them happy, then I'm setting them up for a life of disappointment. Happiness is based upon circumstances. As I know all too well, circumstances can change very quickly. Therefore, pursuing it is a never ending task. I want them to have joy. Joy isn't based on circumstances, but on who Jesus is and who we are in Him. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Matthew 7:24-27 says, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was it's fall."
What's common for the foolish man and the wise man is that the rains, flood, and winds came for both. The difference is the foundation of each life. My children need to learn to listen to the voice of the Lord and do what He asks of them. In James 1:2-4 we're told, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, know that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." Through the storms of my life, I have experienced God in ways I never could before. In the deepest valleys, I have experienced some of the greatest times in the presence of the Lord. He revealed Himself to me in new ways and showed me more of who I am in Him. If I want my children to be "perfect and complete, lacking nothing", they will first have to walk through trials. We live in a fallen, imperfect world full of imperfect people. Bad things will happen. Difficult times will come. Instead of teaching my children to run from trials, I want to teach them to run to God through them. I want them to dance in the rain, to praise Him from deep in the valley. Even the very Son of God wasn't spared from suffering while on this earth. Jesus used His times of suffering and temptation to draw closer to God. So my goal for my children isn't happiness, but holiness.