Wednesday, June 24, 2015

plain jane and captive

 Yes, it has been a while and long periods of silence are not really conducive to producing a popular blog. Then again, being popular is not something with which I am acquainted. Growing up, my mother told me several times that I am just a plain Jane and it is something I have come to realize is ok. Being plain Jane is like plain yogurt, it is not fancy or exciting or anyone's favorite on its own BUT it is a base for something better to be built. Add some granola or chocolate chips or pineapple and wow!

 Unfortunately, this plain Jane kept looking in the wrong places for its definition, for glory. It is completely obvious that there has to be more than just me. Thankfully, God scooped me up and He has taken this plain Jane to all kinds of places and used me in all kinds of ways. Sure, I fouled parts up at times but He knew and kept working, sculpting, softening and He still does the same today. Sometimes I have sense enough to recognize when He is using me.

 I see it right now, at the moment.

 This little boy who is missing a small piece of his brain and how he was put with this plain Jane who has learned some great lessons from an amazing nephew with 2 brain disorders and has an awesome resource in an experienced sister and has a foothold in persevering through challenge watching her daughter's drive to overcome illness. But more than anything, God has richly blessed my heart with this little guy.

 Yeh, I whined and wallowed about the hospital stays every month and the frustrations of dealing with his mother but I learned...uh, am learning. The lesson was hard to swallow and I am still processing it fully. This plain Jane was a captive to negativity and no true believer should be captive to anything but God. My bondage was...or, to complaining and losing sight of contentment. Plenty of reasons exist to be grateful and content. 

 Since April, my precious daughter graduated high school (I am no longer a home school mom, which is actually a sad part). Jellybean has been in the hospital two more times which included more tests and a surgery but he is doing better and blooming into a spunky little boy. 

 One blessing started out as frustration and fear. We had a meeting with foster care review for his case. It was going to be necessary for me to stand up and advocate for Jellybean. His lawyer does not even know what he looks like much less his medical issues and his DCS worker is too overloaded to keep up with everything. 

 Let me admit, I was scared. His mother has a past of being physically confrontational. At first, I prayed that she would not show up but then I realized that it was not the right prayer. The right prayer was that God would be glorified so I switched my prayer to Isaiah 26, specifically verse 3: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." She did not show up and I did speak and it went just the way God desired it to go. Their recommendation was not exactly what I wanted but it was a small step in a positive direction and I will surrender my desire for God's plan any day.  

 Faith can bring clarity in all situations. God's plan falls under His righteousness, justness, love, and holiness. I cannot fathom what all that means but I can trust that He knows what He's doing even if I  do not understand it all. It is not a cause for doubt or worry. I understand that God is way bigger  than our comprehension and that is comforting. If I could wrap my mind around His ways, I am pretty sure I would tremble in my boots because after all, I am just a plain Jane. Because of that I will remain captive to my Lord alone, plain and not always simple. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I am Clean

 As I was sitting here watching the traffic flow and the world pass by eight stories below our hospital room, I tell myself that this is not really my baby but my mind and heart do not believe it. Yet, I cannot even sign for him to be treated when we go to the ER and I cannot take a trip with him out of the state without approval and a letter stating that I have that approval. 

 Sometimes our hearts do not quite grasp the world's rules and sometimes they grasp them all too well. In the hospital, I experience both sides. To my heart, this is my child fighting to just breathe and I ache for him. The other side of me, struggles with the world telling me that I should not have to deal with all the drama that comes with having someone else's child. The world tells me that I deserve to have things my way and my heart likes that confirmation.

 The Spirit, on the other hand, lets the heart know that it needs to adjust to Truth in spite of what I feel or what the world affirms. So the battle rages everyday to slay the flesh. Yep, I am one of those people - one of those people who are not perfect unless you count perfectly depraved, one of those people who struggles to stay the course, one of those people who wrestles with faith, one of those people who finds themselves falling flat but realizing that it is a good position to seek repentance.

 Why does God lovingly hear and care even for the smallest detail of such a silly woman's life?  

 I justly deserve wrath for sin but instead God gave me a shower. Maybe that does not seem like a  big deal but, you see, I prayed for one. The situation I am in made it impossible to even take a shower. It is such a trying situation and I was not being very Christlike but I prayed for God to give me the power to honor Him and to just let me have a shower. He answered and not only did my attitude change, He gave me a shower yesterday and today. Today was extra sweet because the volunteer who showed up to sit with jellybean was a sister in Christ and I almost wept when she was so joyful in being able to give me a few minutes to just clean up. Okay, I did weep but only in the shower because it was the perfect camouflage. 

 How come God cares enough to give such a prideful, selfish sinner a moment of respite, of refreshing? 

 I am one of those people who believes it is because He predestined it to be so, Christ made it possible for Him to offer us grace instead of punishment and His Word tells us that and it can be completely trusted. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

How DOES She Do It????

 So many elements intertwine to make up each of our stories and therefore each one is different, although some can share similar elements. 

 This past half year is made up of so many mosaic pieces that fit together forming the picture of my life - home school, a graduating child, my last child leaving home, a child with weird chronic illness, connecting with a grown child, family that does not share my faith, being a foster parent, a micro-preemie, a medically fragile child, working to get a diagnosis for a child, handling feelings from abusive past, shifting from being a stay-at-home mom to something else, being a friend to hurting friends, and just plain being married. And no, the list above is not referring to seven different children - only three but each one has many branches making up their own life that is connected to mine. 

 Hopefully, no one reading this is thinking, "How do you do it?" 
Image result for tired wonder woman

 I am not Wonder Woman, although it is ironic that you will never see Wonder Woman or me in the same room at the same time (sorry...I love that joke). I ain't her but there are occasions where finding my car in the parking lot is like finding Wonder Woman's invisible jet (I apologize...again)

 You want the ugly truth? 
I'll tell you in all honesty how I do it, here it is:
Image result for ugly dog

 I wake up and convince myself that I really do need to get out of bed. Lurching down the stairs, I remind myself that God has laid out the day for His glory and will provide all that is necessary. Somewhere in it all is usually a spell of crying, mine not the baby, and the spilling of some liquid on to my clothes - this can range from hot coffee to half-digested, mucusy formula. At some point, I brush my hair and teeth...usually. Then I carve out time to do some type of clean-ishy things in between preparing and starting tube feedings, diaper changes, therapy exercises, baby snuggling, oxygen adjustments, phone calls, and whatever random thing is going on with my daughter for the day. Then I try, I really do try, to contact several people and check on them to offer encouragement or prayer. 

 Very often part of my day is spent fighting off resentment from various thoughts that plague me. If I am successful in submitting to Christ to get me through the resentment bog, I am sometimes hit with bouts of frustration, lust, a lot of pride, or really ugly discouragement. My really awesome friends usually bring in the much needed correction in the form of God's Word or God just sends me a very obvious message that I need to re-focus. 

 For example, the other day was a very long day at doctor appointments. All I wanted so badly was to come home and go to bed which is not possible at this time. Then my husband asked me to pick up a particular food for dinner on the way home and I was irritated. Now, I know that I should be glad that I did not have to cook, that we have money to eat out, that I have car to get around in, and on and on, I could list all things that I should have been thankful for but I was not. Frustration built up about having to unload the baby and all his equipment plus keep him away from people just to get this food. I did pretend to be okay with it and called in the order. 

 Arriving at the restaurant, I was relieved that it was empty and there was a parking spot right by the door. After carefully removing the baby carrier attached to the feeding pump and synchronizing those movements with the oxygen tank, I went in to find that they were already bagging up my order. I paid and was back out the door with my load. Once everything was loaded in the car, I sort of fell down into the seat with an exhausted heave and that is when it happened. Scrrrrrrttttccchhh! I put my head on the steering wheel and laughed and laughed as I reached under my behind to find that my aged capris had ripped wide open.

 Yes, Lord, that wake up call was needed. I chuckled all the way home and more still in the garage as they ripped further when I bent to get out all the baby's stuff and even further when I squatted to pick up the oxygen tank. God had hit my reset button. The time spent being irritated was not worth it and had only succeeded in exposing my sinful attitude - which is no laughing matter. 

  So, do I do it, people? It ain't by magic or smoke and mirrors or with style and finesse. 

 It is done the way God wants it - one step at a time in His grace and Truth with intermingling spurts of ugliness that Christ turns into lessons of living in the Spirit and repentance. It is done with other brothers and sisters who are diligent to remind me of Truth and correct me when needed. It is done with faith that He is always with me and remembering that it is all about glorifying Him.

 So you see, there's no super hero cape or cool bullet-proof bracelets or magic rope. Just an old pair of capris ripped from pocket to kneebend and Christ.

 How are you doing what you do?