While being sick for three + weeks has been miserable, having that much time to lay on the couch or in the bed certainly gives one time to think. Sometimes that's all I could do, because there were days I felt so bad I didn't even want to watch television. I am happy to say, however, that much good has come from that time.
It is amazing to me how quickly my thought life can end up in the pits. As I go through my day-to-day life, it has always been my goal to think positive thoughts, but this past year has taken a toll on me in every way. I am not going to go on and on again about how hard this year has been....if you know me at all, that is no secret...but I will say that in the midst of moving and trying to get my house in order, finding doctors and transporting children to and from those doctors, learning new medications and working those into our routine, getting our daily homeschool and chore routine in place, and trying to learn a whole new culture, I have come to feel very tired, in every way. I know, without a doubt, that this is where we are supposed to be and that we are in God's perfect will for our family, but it has, nonetheless, just been hard. God never promised that following Him would be easy. He just promises to be with us through it.
And be with us, He has!
The best thing that has come from the whole sickness ordeal has been my new perspective on Jeff, the wonderful man God has given me to love and spend my life with. I can honestly say that the area that has suffered most in my life recently has been my marriage. I think any marriage suffers under intense stress. However, as I lay on the couch, completely helpless and exhausted, my husband served me and our family gladly until I was able to do it on my own. He made it possible for me just to "be sick" and rest. Not only did he take care of household responsibilities and our children, but he attended to my every need, as well....and he did it patiently and lovingly. I can honestly say that, not only did my appreciation for that man grow, but I have never loved him as much as I do at this very moment. Sometimes when our thought life is in the pits, it is too easy to see all the bad in someone and almost forget the good, and I am ashamed to say, "That is where I was." Now, anytime I get frustrated with him about anything, I will go back to this past month, and the rest of the other 1000's of wonderful things about him, and dwell on those things, and not the bad. Did you know that he leaves the coffee pot on and puts my mug beside it, complete with cream and sugar, so that all I have to do is pour and stir when I wake up? When it is cold, he will also go to bed a few minutes before me and use the blow drier to warm up my sheets so that when I crawl into bed, I am snuggly warm. He does that....and so much more. What a man!
Another area that has suffered has been my parenting. I hate to say it, but it just seems like everything came to feel like a chore. Don't get me wrong. I have not neglected or abused my children, but I just wasn't as attentive and as loving as I once was. They just came to feel like work. Thankfully, as is usually the case, God used one of my children to shake me up and challenge my thought life in that area.
A few mornings ago, as I was brushing Megan's hair, in her angelic, sweet little voice, she said, "Mommy, I know why you brush my hair."
In my mind, I thought "Yeah, so people won't think you're homeless and because everyone around here always wants something from me."
She continued, "...because you love me and you want to take care of me."
Shame. On. Me.
I felt like I had been slapped in the face. I probably needed to be slapped in the face, proverbially, at least. All of a sudden I wondered when I had lost the joy in taking care of my precious girls, and viewed them as my chores that had to be endured. I have repented of that and have been working diligently on improving my thought life in that area. These girls are the greatest blessings in my life (except Jeff, of course), and really, the only thing I ever aspired to....I always wanted to be a wife and a Mom. It is by God's grace that I have them, yet I had come to view them as a nuisance, almost. Now, as I brush someone's hair, I think, "Thank you, Lord, for the honor and privilege of brushing this precious girl's hair." As I cook dinner I think, "Thank you, Lord, for giving me a family for which to cook." Granted, I am still not perfect in this area, and as I continue to battle extreme exhaustion, my thought life is something I have to be very intentional and deliberate about. I thank God for making me aware of how "in the pits" my thought life had sunk.
I am not proud to admit any of this, but it is where I am at the moment, and my prayer is that it may be an encouragement to someone else. Also, once it is out in the open, it is no longer my "dirty little secret" that Satan can hold over my head to remind me how defeated I am every day. If it is in the light, it can be dealt with, and dealing with it, I am....with God's help, of course!
In other news, I took Megan to the pediatric ophthalmologist, and thankfully, it was no big deal. She sleeps with her eyes partially open which, in turn, causes them to dry out, thus, irritating them. Easy fix....saline eyes drops. Thank you, Lord!
Lucy is gone now, and we are still grieving. It seems weird to say that because I know there are worse things in the world....people suffering and dying, etc.,....but it still has been hard, so much harder than I ever thought. While I am so relieved she is with a loving family, and very happy, it hard not having her here. We have been getting fairly regular updates on her, but I almost feel like one of my children is living with someone else! We are planning to visit her soon, but she lives over an hour away, so it will take some planning. Plus, I don't know what timing is right....I don't want to make things worse.
Otherwise, all is well. I am feeling a lot better, though I still am battling exhaustion. Clara has been doing well, and aside from Emilie having an ear infection, everyone is healthy. So much for which to be thankful!
Thank you for your love and prayers!
Have a blessed day!