Sunday, March 1, 2015

Homebound Confessions

  Scars are the end of healing for a wound. Scars tell a story. They are symbols that some deep trauma occurred but did not last and although it did end, there is forever a mark. 

 Jesus had scars. His were symbols of the cost of restoring people to God. His scars were proof that our debt was paid. In our lives, we have spiritual scars. It is impossible for one to be pulled from sin and it not leave a mark, a symbol that we are changed forever.

 Many times I overlook the tools God uses to get us right and bless us. It is the struggle and suffering that causes us to draw closer to God, depend on Him, rely on Him. It is the scar that gives a reminder from where we came and what God has done. 

 Oh, why do I buck so hard against the struggles? 

 On the cusp of our recent hospital stay, I was breaking. It had been a loooooooong 11days. My life was not my own and I do not mean that it was because I had surrendered it to Christ. I mean that I felt like it was hijacked. Days came where I would be confined to the room because I could not leave my sweet little one alone with his birth family and one of them decided to make the hospital stay a social gathering. Cracking up was probably a better term for what was happening to me. Anger and bitterness gnawed at my exhausted mind but this was no news to God. He knew and He cared but He also was using every moment.

 My sweet friend listened to my text rant then kindly sent me this:
 "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." - Hebrew 12:11

 Yes, discipline. Yes, growth but why the battle. Because I am the one who needs to bend and submit. It is my will that is to be eradicated so that seeking His will becomes my only goal. Unfortunately, I hold very tightly to my will and my desires. Shamefully, I have to admit that it takes a lot to move me, to cause me to bend, to make me realize I must submit. This time it took 11 days of a very emotional roller coaster ride to drive me to the one place that I know I need to go - my LORD. Baby isn't breathing properly. Stop trying to be the answer and pray. His family isn't acting right. Stop trying to make them see their inconsiderate ways and pray and speak Truth to them. 

 After being released with oxygen, an inhaler, one more specialist to add to the list, and enough paperwork to recreate War and Peace, you would think the fresh scar would remind me of what I need to do and where I should turn and yet here I am, bucking just as hard. 
God still does miracles

 We are home. The one place I yearned to be when I was measuring my days out by nursing staff changes. But, I am weary spiritually. Thoughts run around my head that are evil and I find myself wanting to run from church and church people. A few friends are the exception and they will call me out on these feelings and have done so faithfully when I fess up. 

 The other day I told my dear sweet sister in Christ that I felt disconnected and that people were staying away from me because they are thinking that I chose to foster and therefore I asked for all this difficulty. She set me straight very quickly. Of course, it did not take long for the next onslaught to invade my mind as I set about the day in the normal routine of suctioning, venting, and filling pump feed  bags. 

 When I question God about the why, I get to back up in Hebrews 12 and read:
"Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons." - Hebrews 12:3-8

 So, why do I end up being so dreadful in these situations? Because I am not there yet. I am not perfect, I am not holy, I am not sanctified. And no matter, what the nurses or hospital staff say about me and what I do, I am not good. What should be an opportunity to glorify God turns into a festival of rebellion and whining...even if no one sees it but those who are getting my texts, even if they don't see it. There is a discipline that is needed and I know it. 

 For every day that I am here in my house with this sweet little baby with no one else, it is an opportunity to glorify God and train myself up in righteousness so that when I get out, I am not continually reverting back to the same old things and forgetting to honor my Savior whose wounds did bleed because I was separated from God but have been restored. 

 Make me faithful God even if it leaves a lot of scars. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Juggling Life is Not a One Woman Act

 Quickly, I am writing in between lunch and feedings and things that need to get done. The blog has suffered during this time  but it is on the  bottom of the list of importance. I am tempted to write that our life is chaos right now but the other day as I was driving, I turned on the radio and heard Alistair Begg say, "In Christ, you can never think life is out of control or that it ever will get out of control." So, yeh...I will not say that our life is chaos; I will say that our life is being controlled by an infinitely sovereign, merciful God who understands why things are the way they are at this moment. 

 And at this moment, we are dealing with the death of someone very dear in our family. My husband is going to the funeral nine hours away but I cannot attend because I have a congested foster baby with lots of upcoming appointments AND we have our mini farm of animals that have to be cared for everyday. 

 Admittedly, there is a tad bit of frustration in me. 

 Also, my very dear friend was told that her baby only has a short time left on this earth due to the spread of his cancer. Everything in me wants to do something, be more of a friend somehow but my brain is at a loss and I have a congested, fussy baby and a house full of chores. 

 My house is turning into a dust bunny retreat with clutters of papers and dishes because I have not been able to do much but hold and feed my little jellybean. I am thankful the mucus is moving and there is no fever, and it is not affecting his feedings  but I cannot say that I have not had moments where I just want to get done what needs to be done. What's a girl to do?

 It is good that I am older and I can remind myself that this is a very short season and all I need to do is focus on what gives glory to God. In this moment of clarity, a genius "baby-raising life hack" came to me. God is so good to give us those light bulb moments just when we need them. 

 My heart's desire at the moment was to just clean my bathroom so I put the congested baby in a vibrating bouncy seat in the bathroom, I steamed it up and put some eucalyptus and lemon essential oil in a bowl in the bottom of the shower to help the congestion and kill germs. I showered in the steamy shower with my lavender soap which relaxed my tired old bones then I scrubbed down the shower with the essential oils. It smelled great and I hopped out and started wiping down as much as I could because I only had 20 minutes before the jellybean's next feeding. The floor and toilet still need to be cleaned but the shower, tub and sinks are sparkling and the jellybean's breathing was much quieter which made him happier which made me happier plus I was clean, too. Ahhhh! Rejoice!

 Still...there is not much I can do about having to stay home from the funeral and there is not much I can do to help a baby with cancer but I can remember that it is not a 10-ring circus that I must orchestrate and run. I can remember that the God of the universe does care that I am feeling overwhelmed and that I care for my friends and family and want to minister to them. More importantly, I can remember that none of it is out of control, no matter what I think about it. I mean, where was I when He formed the earth??? 

 This is what I know and can take comfort in even if the dust bunnies rise up and take over my house: "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that  while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved byhis life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.    - Romans 5:6-11

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Frogs and Laundry and Other Weighty Subjects

 If you had told me years ago that I would be caring for a medically fragile child, I would have laughed and laughed and laughed and then directed you to my wonderful sister who is compassionate enough to shave the armpits of someone she barely knows. This. Is. Not. Me. 

 I was going to be an artist who did ballet and played Annie then I was going to own my own restaurant which for some reason was to have a stream out front with a bridge you had to cross to get to the entrance. Notice the lack of anything about caring for others as the main requirement. Funny that God has me here now. 

 We just finished another stay at the children's hospital. This time for a virus that was probably picked up from our first stay. Opportunities arose to discuss foster care with staff and dispel some of the myths plus encourage others to consider doing it themselves. Usually this elicits the usual "I am just too sensitive" at which I laugh. Being a heartless, unfeeling zombie is not one of the qualifications to be a foster parent. You will get hurt and you will love and lose. It is still worth it. Trust me.

 While in the hospital the first go-round, we acquired a Frederick T. Frog. It is a weighted bean bag used as a positioning aid or, in my little jellybean's case, to anchor a Wubbanub pacifier so that someone did not have to stand next to his bed all night holding it in his mouth. (Thank you nurse!) It has produced the added benefit of calming him down and helping him fall asleep. 
The Wubbanub on top of a Frog

 Unfortunately, this necessary item was not grabbed in our mad dash to the emergency room the day after Christmas and we had a rough night. Our new nurse scraped up another frog for us. (Thank you new nurse) Now we have a spare that I will keep in my new hospital bag that will be kept in my car. 

 Right now, we are settling in to life with a g-tube and feeding pump which really translates to "doing lots of laundry from all the mishaps with the syringe, forgetting to clamp the tube, and pouring formula into the bag in the middle of the night." One would think that squirting one's self with someone else's stomach contents would produce a quick lesson in doing things right the next time. One would think. Of course that one probably had more sleep than I. 

 On a quick day running errands, I went to the post office early thinking that I could sneak in unscathed with the baby in his carrier safely hidden under his special car seat cover. Nope. An older man made a joke about mailing the baby then promptly reached down and pulled open the cover before I could scream like the shower scene in Psycho. Funny thing is, he must have been shocked by my deliciously chocolate-colored jellybean because he quickly dropped his hand and turned away, never speaking to us the rest of the time. I have learned that people with the most hang-ups are usually the ones to infringe upon another's personal space without politely asking and are also the most easily offended. If only I could come up with something clever to say in response or even better, use it as a way to bring up Jesus. Again, my poor sleep-deprived brain fails me. 

 So, I am trying to catch up on the ordinary dealings of life and I think I have given up on trying to do classes for natural health studies for the time being. There is just never a moment to do the reading and when I do try, my eyelids have this terrible habit of closing and not opening back up for an hour or two. This proves difficult when trying to write a research paper. It is a little discouraging but this is just season I keep telling myself. 

 My hubby and I have been discussing the possibility of what would happen if something should happen to one of us. This came about because I fell down the stairs on Christmas Eve and had to lay in the floor for a while before I could move. Thankfully it was just a bad twisted ankle but it is giving me fits and my hubby was scared into thinking how he would take care of everything if it had been worse. Obviously, I am not worried about what will happen to me if I die. I know the answer to that thanks to my relationship with Christ. Of course, my hubby was thinking more along the lines of the things I do that he knows nothing about and would have to take over doing - like providing all the care for the little jellybean or dealing with our daughter's health issues. I had never thought about the fact that no one else really knows what all I do. Not that I think I am irreplaceable or that I do an incredible amount. It just seems weird that I might be getting close to what the Proverbs 31 woman does - quietly running a household that brings her husband respect and glorifies God. Am I at least facing the right direction? 

 I think the answer is more closely tied to how I ended up caring for others when it was not my inclination to do so - God has done a work and He is not finished yet. Come lengthy hospital stays, clutzy shenanigans, or discouragements, God is using every moment and always working for His glory. For that I am grateful and rest in that Truth.