Friday, January 16, 2015

Bitter or Better

So it's 1 in the morning. Since becoming a mother, most of my nights end around 10, maybe 10:30 if I am feeling a little dangerous. But I've been awake since midnight and the Lord and I have been talking. And I had the feeling He wanted me to write, so here I am. Perhaps these late night thoughts will speak to someone….

This past week has been tough. Having five children down with the flu is not for the faint hearted. And don't let me fool you that I am tough. I have been beyond weak during this ordeal, and it ain't over yet. But tonight after dinner, I was lying on the couch, disappointment and frustration eating away at me. Silently in my head, I started naming all the injustices and inconveniences that I felt I was given this week. I will spare you that one, but a small voice whispered to me, "But what are you thankful for?"

And I felt quite convicted. Because I am a gift lister. I have a little notebook that I write down things that I notice during my days that I am thankful for. Do you think I touched it this week? Noooooo. "But Lord, if only I could cough this junk up and out and breathe deeply, I'd be able to be more thankful."

"In all things, give thanks."

"Oh, right. I am sorry. I will try."

"Right now?"

"I am thankful that even though we are under the weather now, it won't last forever. I am thankful for eyes that can still see beautiful sunsets. For a husband who even though he is sick, is still out working and providing for us. For friends who call or text to see how we are doing. For children who are playing and trying to get along even though they don't feel well. For little girls that want to cuddle and a little boy who will walk through a room and tell me he loves me."

"Feeling better?"

"Yes, Lord. Please forgive me. I forgot."

I forgot that when we close our hand to God, we think we are protecting ourselves and what is "ours", but we are only closing ourselves off from receiving His gifts. Sometimes they don't feel like gifts, sometimes we feel like we are on the punching block, but there is always something to be thankful for. Look for it. It's there. You might not see it that day, but a week from now, a month, it could take years. There are things I have experienced in life that have taken years for me to see the gift.

I want to live life openhanded. Not just so I can receive and receive from the Lord, and believe me, I do want to receive good things from the Lord. But I also want to give back to the Lord. Give back myself, and allow Him to mold me and change me, to draw me closer to Himself. To take my eyes off myself and what I feel I am owed or deserved.

We have an amazing example in Christ. On the night he was betrayed, he broke bread and gave thanks. The night before he was to go through the most agonizing pain ever experienced to man, He gave thanks. And there are many other times throughout Scripture where it is mentioned Jesus gave thanks. That isn't in there just to sound amazing. It's there to teach us an important truth. Even in the midst of intense battle and heartache, we are to give thanks. God is there.

I just want to encourage you today, friend, that God is there. Always there. But we must live open handed. Giving and receiving, and always, in everything, giving thanks.

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." I Thessalonians 5:18

Thursday, January 15, 2015

This past week the flu came to visit our family. And unfortunately, the flu doesn't know or care that it has overextended its stay. Alaina started on Saturday, by Sunday it had infected Larissa, Charlotte and Landon. By Monday it was Anne and my turn. Tuesday evening it was Nate's. And we are still suffering from the repercussions.  This picture of my son is basically how we spent Monday and Tuesday. 

A few months ago I had shared that I would be running in a 10k in January. I had started a fundraising page on Compassion International to raise money for children. Unfortunately, because of the flu and that the race is this Sunday and I still have congestion and coughing up my lungs, I have decided to not run. Not to mention that my son has started running a fever AGAIN tonight. Sometimes being a grown up  isn't a whole lot of fun. Like right now. But there are lots of other races and I will just do another one. Maybe spring or early summer would be better, when I am not apt to be sick. We haven't had the flu since our oldest was 18 months old. So none of our children have ever experienced the aches and chills and listlessness that accompanies it. It's actually been kind of funny to hear how they describe how they feel. Alaina kept saying that her body felt so heavy. And we'd kind of smile and say, you mean achy. That's what achy feels like. But recovering is a slow process and so we are taking it easy and not going out or doing anything until after the weekend.

I just wanted to let you all know, just in case you were wondering. Thanks for your support and encouragement.