March 25, 2020

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I’m sunbathing through my bedroom window. I would love to be outdoors playing with my kids on this beautiful day. But I can’t. I am quarantined to my room as I wait for my test results to come back. The sun feels so stinking good right now and it almost made me forget, even if only for a moment…

Alright, so here’s how it all went down.

I went to work on Sunday, was screened when I got there and had no fever. An hour into my shift, I looked at one of the other nurses and said, “Don’t kill me but I think I am going to have a fever. I just feel it coming.” Sure enough my shift ended early with me having a low grade fever, chills, and body aches. In any normal time, I’d either tough it out as long as possible or go home early and simply go to bed. This is no normal time, though. I sat in my car before I left and called my husband. He set up our bedroom as a quarantine room…just in case.

Monday morning I felt worse. I called my doctor. They connected me to the Covid-19 Hotline that my local hospital set up. I talked to one person who screened me and then she connected me to the next level person. That person screened me further and told me I would receive a call if the doctor felt it was neccesary for me to be tested. I receieved a call from my doctor’s office later telling me I needed to be tested.

I was tested yesterday. There was an indescribable strangeness as I pulled up to the big white tent. I called the number they told me to call when I got there and they told me to go ahead and pull in under the tent. I shook my head and thought, What the heck is going on in this world? The feeling  worsened as I watched the nurse walk up to my car window all gowned, gloved, and masked. As for the swab test? Yep, not even going to go through the gross discomfort of that. All I can say is all of it will be forever imprinted into my memory. It truly felt as though it was my big debut in a Sci-Fi reality TV show.

Today I received a notification that I was negative for Influenza AB and that I needed to stay quarantined until my Covid-19 test came back. I am hesitant to write and share any of this, but then there is power in sharing your story with others. Even if my test comes back negative, God has been at work through my little quarantine. That, my friends, is always a beautiful thing to share.

I don’t think I will need hospitalization if I have it. I do worry about the people I’ve been in contact with. I pray I don’t have it because of that. We’ve been diligent in our social distancing, but I’ve worked and Matt had been working outside the house up until last Thursday. Remember, it can take 14 days to even show symptoms. It is scary to think how one person can pass it on to another who can pass it on to two more and so on.

Needless to say, all of this led me to not be my calm self. It led me to do something I very seldom do. Tuesday before I left for my test, I put in a prayer request for myself. My pastor texted me that he was praying and then asked if he could call and pray with me after my test. Before he prayed, we talked and I had a really hard time putting into words how I was feeling. He shared Phillipians 4:6-7 with me. It’s a familiar verse, but something he said after really helped. He said God’s peace is a promise to us. It reminded me that whether I am feeling it or not, God’s peace is with me. I hope it can be a reminder to you too.

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

-Phillipians 4:6-7

March 19, 2020

The house is quiet as I drink my morning coffee. In the past week I haven’t had much quiet and so I soak up the moment. As I sip my warm cup of peace, I can’t help but to think of how quickly our lives have changed. It seems cliche to even think it, you know? Countless times throughout my life I have heard someone tell me how quickly their life has changed. This time is different, though. This time, a virus has swept in and changed all of our lives at the same exact time.

My blog posts have dwindled over the last year or two. I guess I fell into the rhythms of the busy life I have always fought against. Luke went back to school in the fall and Oliver discovered his love for sports. Then there’s piano lessons for both boys. Piano practicing after school. Saxophone praticing after school. Homework. And so on. Oh, and I went back to work. It feels like a lot, but then I feel as though we were all thriving in some way. In other ways not so much. Because, when you say yes to one thing there’s always one or two other things you are saying no to.

Oh how I’ve missed the sound of tapping fingers across the keyboard, even the distinct sound of the delete button as I realize what I typed doesn’t sound just right. This morning I feel a need to get back into writing. When I look back on this time, I want something that tells of how I felt. I want something that tells of me and my family pushing through. More importantly of God pushing us through. So, it may just be me that gets something out of this post. That has to be okay right now.

I work this afternoon. It will be the first time I have worked since things have truly changed. The last day I worked was on the brink of all of this. I remember the conversations I had with some of co-workers and I remember going home and thinking if nurses are worried that must mean something. See, us nurses don’t worry about such things. We have sick people touching and even coughing in our faces on a daily basis. I guess theres some unwritten clause that since we’re healthcare workers it is okay to not cover your mouth when you cough. We still continue on and most can’t imagine doing anything else.

As of today, my husband will be working from home until further notice. My kids are adjusting to the sudden change in everything they knew as normal life. There are moments of anxiety and sadness as we adjust to changes that not so long ago would have seemed odd to even imagine. I think of the sound or sight of neighbors playing in their yard that used to send my kids running to join the fun. It now leads to aching hearts instead of glee. It is just so strange. None of this has been easy for anyone.

There are moments, though. I’ll glance out my window and see families taking walks together more than they did before. I’ll see my boys understanding and strength to think beyond themselves. I’ll read texts from my friends checking in with each other. I’ll hear stories of people helping others. I’ll see the church showing the world the church is far more than a building and that nothing can stop the spreading of God’s light to the world. In these moments I feel God’s peace and I know. I know He’s with us. I know He’ll never leave us or forsake us.

This Advent

It’s four days into December, four days into the season of advent. These past four days I have felt a bit out of sorts. I mourn for things of this world that are mainly outside of my control. I fully know and recognize this and yet the heaviness refuses to lift. I long for my usual ‘at home’ feeling I had only five days ago.

I tell myself it’s okay to let go and mourn whatever it is I’m mourning. Life and all its stresses relentlessly chase you down and seem to catch up at the least opportune times. Maybe I’m just searching for the light. It’s just, I cannot help to think it is sometimes good to yearn for something more than what this world is giving you. You know, like, this life can be rough and I want peace and ease. The impossiblity of peace and ease make me call out to Jesus. It reminds me of my weaknesses and my inability to do everything I feel pressured to do and take care of in this world.

So, this advent I will allow myself to feel, to let go, and yearn for more. I will allow myself to miss the people I miss. I will yearn for an easier life for me, my husband, and my kids. I will wish for their struggles and my own to disappear. Then I will wait and wait some more. For the day will surely come when my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will wipe away all my tears. And that, my friends, is a hope nothing in this world can take away from me.

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This Morning

This morning Luke was frustrated with something that he frequently struggles with. Oliver began listing all the things Luke is good at. He then paused and looked up as if he were deep in thought and said, “Most importantly, Luke, you are good at being you and not everyone is good at that.” Needless to say, Luke was fine after that.

My boys are far from perfect. There are times when I wish I didn’t have to repeat things so often. There are times when I feel as though I am failing, like I should be doing more of this or more of that. There are times when they struggle louder than they thrive. Not this morning, though. No, this morning I was reminded how a parent’s work shines through the cracks when you least expect it to. My boys are blessed to have each other and I surely am blessed to be their mama.

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Knitting the Way

5B620260-CA9E-47EC-93D6-909D222E6D55I was listening to Linkin Park and knitting while I waited in the school parking lot. The two go together quite well, right? There was just something in the beat and something in the lyrics that spoke to a younger me who felt broken and confused. When I was younger, I couldn’t grasp how I could be broken and be a christian. It was as if I had to be one or the other. I was always both, of course. If I wasn’t broken, I wouldn’t need a savior. Why would any church preach anything different?

I was reminded of my brokenness, of our brokenness. But then the knitting, the art of interconnecting yarn, reminded me of God’s grace. It reminded me how He takes the broken and turns it into something beautiful. How our something beautiful can be used for the good of others. His grace quite literally connects us to others because He knows we can not and should not do it alone.

Last year I put most of my energy into homeschooling and helping Luke. Now he’s back in school and doing better. We are all doing better because of the hard work we put in last year. We had God holding and leading us through it all. I am beyond thankful for how it all worked out. Now though, I can feel God pulling, tugging, and knitting me back to where I was before. Well, maybe not back. The pattern has changed a bit because I’m different. I’m stronger now. That’s the beauty of it all.

Beauty

Beauty is taking care of yourself in a way that nourishes your soul. It is in sharing your authentic self and not caring what others may think. Beauty is accepting others for their authentic selves, but also knowing when to step back from people or things that leave you feeling empty and used. It is looking and feeling your best and being okay with others looking and feeling better than you. Beauty is eating healthy and staying active. It is laughing on the tough days and helping others to laugh on theirs. Beauty is family and friends sharing life together. It is knowing when to keep going and when to give up. Beauty is trusting God. It is something that shines from within and shapes your view on the world around you. I believe beauty is simply…love.

My Pause

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I might be in the midst of the busiest week of the year. My mind has been spinning with all that needs to be done and all the places and times we need to be wherever it is we need to be. Yet, earlier today I forced myself into a much needed pause.

When on the brink of negative emotions, I pause. It is the number one thing that has been essential since I started homeschooling––well actually has been essential my entire life. It is a theme repeated over and over again in my blog and in my everyday conversations with those I am closest to.

I think of all my family has accomplished this year and astonished doesn’t quite seem to cover it. By the end of 2018 my spirit was crushed, as was the rest of my household’s. My mind carries me through the detailed list of the craziness of our house renovations, the few health scares I had, kidney stones that threw Matt for a loop, Luke’s struggles, and Oliver who had to sit back and just endure it all with us. Wow, just wow.

Sunday morning Luke slept in until 9:30. I had to wake him up because church started at 10:15. Talk about rushing out the door! How delightful the little act of him sleeping in was to me when I remembered our reality not too long ago. Back even in early January his body, his tics, wouldn’t settle down enough to allow him to even fall asleep. Now, he’s falling asleep on his own and sleeping in. Luke still may have his thorns, but boy, I love seeing the peace he has found despite all of them. It brings me great joy to watch him thrive more each week.

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Today, Oliver’s smile stretched wide as he ran toward me. The excitement to see my face after a long day at school revived him. I could just see the love in his eyes. At almost seven years old, my little old soul brings joy and peace as he enjoys the simple presence of another. He talks about his day and gives us his every thought…which I might add is pretty thorough. This year he’s truly developed into himself. Sunday morning he walked over to a table, looked up to an older man and said, “Well, hello there.” It took the man off guard because the Oliver’s tone did not match what you’d expect from a little guy. The man finally chuckled and said hello back. Now, he definitely has his crazy boy moments…especially with his friends…but I love to see how much he’s grown to be comfortable in his own skin since things have calmed down for the rest of us.

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Through my pause, I find solace. I find strength and I am reminded of all our blessings. I am reminded of how God has been here through our struggles and He alone has carried us through. My dear Lord. My reason to wake up before the rest of my family to have my quiet moments with God in prayer and in His word. My reason to pause in the midst of a crazy day just because. My why I can have peace, real peace, after a long day like today that led my brain to feel like it could literally (almost literally?) explode. I couldn’t do this life with all the weight I must carry without You, God. I simply thank you.

What We See

The other day I was trying to turn right on a busy road. A man pulled up next to me to make a left turn. The way his truck was angled I couldn’t see the road at all. So I decided to wait until he made his turn. A car pulled up behind me. The driver began honking and making motions at me as if I were an idiot. I still couldn’t see and by golly I am not going to place mine and my kids life to some stranger in a car behind me. I turned around and pointed to the truck next to me, and lipped “I can’t see”. I then shrugged my shoulders and ignored her until I could safely turn. She couldn’t see what I was seeing and I couldn’t see what she could see. I wonder if she ever realized that.

Mother’s Day is tomorrow. As I think of how much has changed since I became a mom, I am overwhelmed with emotions. I don’t even recoginze the person I used to be. I’m not even sure if I recognize the me from a year ago. If anyone told me that I would homeschool one of my kids I’d laugh at them. Yet here I am. I even read homeschool memes on Facebook and laugh hysterically because I can relate so much. The thing is, there was no way of seeing what I see now.

When I was a kid I questioned my parents, my faith, my town. Everything. I wondered why my parents made the choices they did. I wondered, God where are you?  I wondered why we had to live in the small town instead the big city. And on and on. Today I am beyond thankful to have had the awesome parents I did growing up. God, of course, was always right there and I look back and see his mark everywhere. I even love the town I grew up in and would choose that over any big city. I truly couldn’t see a darn thing back then!

Crazy what we see and can’t see and then sometimes see later. I wonder what my boys see and can’t see and will see when they get older.

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I Will Try to Explain

There’s suffering and pain. There’s sin small and large constantly eating away at our conscience. There’s hate driving people against one another. There’s crippling disease. There’s the dying of people too young. There’s the dying of old ones we can’t bear to live life without. There’s just so much evil and wrong in this world.

Quite naturally so, we look to God and wonder why bad things must happen. To some, it leads to questioning God’s very existence. If there really is a God He would stop these things from happening. Right? It is easy to see it that way. The thing is, there isn’t an ounce of truth or reason in thinking of God, our loving God, in this way.

This is something I think about quite often. I feel its truth and yet when I sit down to write about it, I struggle to find the words. Maybe I have never gotten to the point of desperation trying to plead with someone who doesn’t know God. That too, I wonder why I don’t feel that desperation. I guess if I’m honest, I probably do and merely have not had the courage or confidence to step into the den. Don’t get me wrong. I write about God. I am open about my faith. I love to talk about God. I just feel like it is never quite enough. It always fall a bit short of how I really see Him. Maybe it never can be enough. Maybe that’s the point.

So, there’s a loving God I proclaim to be real. There’s pain, suffering, and evil that tears things apart. How do they exist together and make any sort of sense? Original sin, of course. Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit. Adam followed suit. Boom, we’re all born into sin. Not enough to feel what I feel? Let me try some more.

Why would God allow it in the first place? If He’s God then He could have stopped it or not had the forbidden fruit in the first place. Well, I don’t know all the answers and I’m not supposed to––because I am not God. I will try to explain just a little bit more.

God loves us. Pause and think about real love and what it is and what it isn’t. Yep, He loves us, not “controls” us. Out of that love He made man. Adam and Eve messed up. Big time. Satan was then able to step in. Sin and destruction were released into the world. There you have it. But see, God’s love still finds its way through sin, disease, death, sorrow, pain…through all of our gunk and the gunk we cause. Just look at the cross.

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It Must be Holy Week

Worship music stirs my soul and it is as though I can physically feel the heaviness of life lift. I glance at my youngest bouncing as the beat pulses through every part of him, through his innermost being. I watch my oldest son kneel after communion and wonder if his prayers are the same as the ones I pray for him. I feel my husband squeeze my hand as we pray together as a church, as one mind in the body of Christ. It must be Holy Week. This is my favorite week of the year. I must add that I always fear its departure because, at least for me, I feel His love and my faith for what it really is during this week. I want to hold tightly to all of it. I don’t want it to escape me as it does more often than it should in my everyday life.

This moment I remember all He does and has done for me. I am thankful for His beautiful amazing grace that He gives to me even when I fall asleep in the garden…even when the rooster crows…even when my thorns press down on His head…even when my nails hold Him to the cross where He took His last breath. That is the power in it all though. With His last breath the curtain was torn and I can, with boldness and confidence, approach Him even in my ugliest of moments.

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