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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Great is thy faithfulness

 I shut my bible study book and felt ridiculous for the arrogance I have possessed in the past few years about my "knowledge" and "wisdom" about God.  It turns out I have so much to learn and it turns out I have yet to "arrive."

My mom told me that in your 30's you start to realize how much you really DON'T know.  However, when she told me that, I felt like I already realized how much I didn't know... because I was really wise for my age.  I am literally laughing at myself as I type this!!  I have no idea how much I don't know.  And, when, oh, when! will I realize that my mother really does know what she is talking about?

The past year or two has been one mean roller coaster for my husband and I.  I can't say they have been "bad" or "hard."  But, the ups and downs have left us both a little zapped and weak in the stomach metaphorically speaking.  There have been so many changes and neither of us are big on change.  We have lost loved ones and gained new loved ones.  Quit a job, started a business, bought a house.  We've been through legal battles, an adoption, hospital stays, surgeries... the list goes on...  Suffice it to say, our faith has been tested some.

I quit my job to focus on my school.  School that I really should have finished at 22 or so, but will be finishing at 30... so I took the long road!  I also quit because I had a baby last year.  Let me just tell you that with my first two children (who are from my first marriage), I would have given almost ANYTHING to have been able to stay at home with them rather than put them in child care.  But, it just wasn't a possibility.  I even went in to the child care profession, initially, so that I could be where they were all day.  It absolutely killed me to leave them every day.

So, this time, I started a child care home.  That way, I can supplement my husband's income some, still be at home with my own children, and also enjoy the profession that I love... working with kids.  It was a great idea, but it just wasn't panning out like we'd hoped.  We bought a house is June and we had planned for me to make enough, at least, to cover the house payment. It seemed like we were faced with one obstacle after another.  Nothing worked out how we expected and by December, I was looking at jobs online!  I felt like we just weren't making it and I didn't know what to do! 

So, here's what I did:  I basically said to God, "I don't trust you enough to ask you to  make this work.  I'm going to stick this one foot out the door and look at other options.  I'm going to see what I can do about this situation..."  I thought I would apply for some jobs and if I got offered the job, then I would know that God didn't want me doing the home child care thing.  But, here's the problem.  I already knew, deep down, what God wanted from me.  He wants me at home with my kids right now.  He wants me right where I am at. 

I had a parent ask me to care for her child part time and I didn't see how it would work out without losing money.  I needed a full time spot filled for us to really make it.  God asked me to do something.  He asked me to step out in faith and offer the position to the child.  I wrestled with this for a while and told myself it wasn't God talking to me.  I told myself I had to start looking out for me and learning to say no.  But, finally, I decided to trust God.  I offered the part time position to the child and guess what... the mom told me they had changed their minds and were just going to have some friends help them out.  I did not allow this to discourage me.  I said to myself, "God will reward me and He must just have something better to follow."

I decided to quit having one foot out the door.  I decided to commit, whole-heartedly to this business I had started and I made the decision to trust God to meet our needs.  I told my husband that.  I said, "I know this is where God wants me and I'm going to commit to this and I'm going to do whatever I have to do to make it happen."  The next day some discouraging things happened and my doubting husband said, "I'm about ready to just send you back to work."  I smiled.  "It's going to work out."

The very next day I had three people contact me about child care.  One of which was the parent that had declined my offer previously.  Two of them needed part time care and it worked out perfectly!  It pretty much equaled out to the one full time spot we needed filled and it even left my Thursday afternoons open enough to still take my daughter to dance!  As corny as this next part is, I have to say it.  My husband said that night, "Well, when it rains it pours." I replied, "When you pray it pours!"  Ha!!

God is so good and He will meet our every need... right down to the tiniest details, like Thursday afternoon dance classes.  He proves it to me over and over.  But, now, as I am in the homestretch toward being in my thirties, I think I'm finally learning to go to Him FIRST, before I try my own hand at fixing things!  Because, obviously, I still have a lot to learn!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Best Shower EVER

The other day I took the most amazing shower of my entire life.  Was I at a luxurious spa, you ask?  No, I was in my own bathroom.  Let me give you a little background information on this shower...
My daughter is a little over 13 months old.  In her short 13 months, she has had strep throat 5 times and numerous ear infections.  On her 1 year check-up, she had an ear infection that has still not subsided.  A couple of weeks later she got strep, we went back to the Dr. 10 days after that because she still had a fever, only to find out the ear infection was the culprit.
Then, about 2 weeks ago, she got RSV. I actually had to fight the Dr. to test her because they were treating her for the same ear infection and I knew something else was wrong.  So... we dealt with the fever, coughing, breathing treatments, medication that went with that, for about a week before she got worse.  I took her back to the Dr. to find out she had pneumonia.
Now, anyone who has dealt with a sick child understands the implications of what I'm telling you here.  I have endured over a month of sleepless nights, nights spent upright in a recliner, forcing medicine down a cranky one year old, holding her down for tests and shots, worrying constantly about her well being, and having another human being attached to me practically 24/7.  (This involves the art of doing almost everything with one hand... including things you do after you use the restroom that really require two.  Just saying...)  Suffice it to say, I WAS EXHAUSTED.
Here is an example of exactly how exhausted I was.  Last Wednesday, I took my baby girl to the Dr. with one of my daycare children (who is also 1) in tow.  I took her back to the hospital for x-rays and blood work, back to the Dr. office, to the pharmacy and then to Wal-Mart.  The Wal-Mart trip was insane because we were facing an ice storm the next day.  But, there were things we had to have, so I trekked through the crowd.  At 6:30, when I was heading home, I realized that I did not have the energy for dinner preparation, so I called in a pizza.  The girl who answered the phone asked for my telephone number and I drew a complete blank!!  I gave her a number and she asked me if I was "Charlie Somebody."  "Ummm, no.  Hang on.  My number is....  I'm sorry!  I promise I'm not crazy!  We just really don't use our home number much!"  She just sat there on the other end of the line, not saying a word.  Yikes!  I literally could not remember my phone number.  Picking up the pizza was a little humiliating, but also validating.  I wanted her to see, in person, that I was neither crazy OR drunk!
That night, as soon as my little sweet baby crashed, so did I!  Thursday, I drove back to the Dr for her second antibiotic shot.  Fun, fun!  There are a lot of other stressers here that I won't delve in to because they would get us way off track from the original story.  Let's just say: I was at peak stress levels.  That evening, after our Winter Storm was well under way, I finally got baby girl to sleep and I was trying to remember when I'd even had a shower.  Yes, I am admitting to you that along with forgetting my phone number, I could not remember when I'd had a shower last.  The days were starting to all blur together!!
I decided to forgoe the dishes and other housework that desperately needed my attention, and I headed to the bathroom for a nice hot shower.  I turned the hot water on, as is routine for me, and let it run for a minute to get the hot water piping in.  I got undressed and put my hand under the water... ICE COLD.  I hadn't been running the dishwasher, obviously, and it had been hours since the older kids had taken their showers.  I went to the hot water heater and it was not flaming underneath like it should have been if it was heating the water in the tank.
Yep.  We had let the propane run out... in the middle of a Winter storm.  Lovely!
The next day some things went on that had me very upset.  I had already had my Mommy moment, locked in the bathroom.  You moms know what I mean.  When you need a good cry, so you lock yourself in the bathroom.  And, inevitably the kids come knocking on the door and you try to disguise your voice so you sound "just fine."
I was talking on the phone to my mom and fighting tears when the propane delivery guy showed up.  I had not brushed my teeth or hair yet.  Lucky for me, I DID have a bra on.  I know he knew I had been crying; I could see the sympathy in his eyes, and I hated it!  I've always wished I was neither as transparent nor as sensitive as I am!!  But... I am. 
My mom came over.  She knew I needed her.  She brought food, tea, coffee and magazines!  My sweet husband took off at noon to come home.  He knew I needed him.
Later that day, after the water heated back up in our tank, and my baby girl was asleep with plenty of people to attend to her if she woke up, I headed to the bathroom.  I turned on the water and made it as steamy as I could stand it.  For about 15 minutes, I was alone, no one attached to me, no one needing me.  Unable to hear children bickering, phones ringing, or crying babies, I took the most amazing shower of my life.  I emerged from the steaming hot water a new woman, able to face whatever life threw at me!  It's amazing how much easier life is when you are clean!