Have you ever noticed that as soon as you set yourself up with a new set of goals, a fresh start, or a definitive plan, that’s when you get walloped by a huge smack of life to the face?
This was a whipdoozer of a weekend for us! I was coming off of a great week last week – which was in turn coming off of my fun restart week after staycationing – I had educational activities and fun stuff set up for the kids to do during the day, my meal plans were on track and under budget, I was focusing in my Bible study and learning a lot, and I had changed up my gym time to be earlier in the day and was really getting a lot more from my workouts as well as enjoying my peaceful evenings at home.
Enter hand, foot and mouth disease, with my little curly girl having a terrible fever that kept us up and very cranky for a few nights in a row – followed by 2 days of her not wanting to eat or drink, wanting to be held all day and being covered in ugly red spots. Then enter Hurricane Florence, stage left! Now, we are far enough off the coast that we can’t even begin to complain about it, not like the poor Carolinas, but what does happen is that I get terrible barometric pressure migraines with storms of that size….well, any size really, but ones that big are just debilitating for me. From 6 am Saturday until midnight, I was sick every time I moved or tried to drink even a sip of water. I couldn’t keep anything down at all until Sunday, and I laid in bed all day Saturday and until about 6 pm Sunday with the shades drawn and ice on my head – I have the freezer burn mark on my forehead to prove it! It absolutely kills me to lay still and do nothing – I thrive when I can be productive, be outside, be active and taking care of my family and my home, so besides the throbbing in my head, missing 2 days of my life was just dismal.
But as I was laying there in bed feeling sorry for myself, I heard that still, small voice in my head say “In everything, give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18) – and I thought, “Surely I am not supposed to be giving thanks for this! Really?! I should be thankful for throwing up every time I move? I don’t think so!” But I did. Not for the pain itself, but for the things surrounding it. Even though I had a terrible migraine, I started counting my blessings around me – this happened on a weekend so I didn’t need to worry about taking off of work for 2 days to be sick. I was in a place where I had the luxury of laying in bed for 2 days in the air conditioning, I had a cold ice pack to help my head and I am in a country where medicine or doctors were available immediately if I should need them. I could hear my curly girl laughing in the next room and being her happy, silly self as her fever was gone, and she was feeling all better again. I heard my husband being the best daddy to her and rising to the occasion to fill in completely while I was under the weather – the house was clean, she was fed and dressed and went outside to play between raindrops, and they even went shopping together. We were able to send her to spend some time with my parents as well so hubby could get some of his schoolwork done, and I was thankful that we have family nearby who love on her and give her a fun and safe place when mommy isn’t up to it and daddy needs to get some work done for our family. Giving thanks in tough circumstances is NOT our first inclination, but when you do start doing it, your troubles shrink just a little and you are still able to see the Lord’s hand – your circumstances may not disappear but you are able to see that sliver of silver in the lining of your less-than-ideal moment.
I don’t write this to be melodramatic, or to make more of the situation than it was – especially in comparison to those really suffering from the hurricane, this was a small moment in life, and besides being painful and uncomfortable, it was not life-threatening. But to me, these little, seemingly insignificant moments are starting to mean more because its in those small moments that I learn more – moments where God whispers to me “See? I’m even here with you now – see how I still take care of you? If you look you will find me!” I keep learning, little moment by little moment, and as I do, my faith and my heart are strengthened for the big moments that I know will come and demand greater faith. The Bible says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2) and I truly can see that happening in my life.
As a final thought — you will find that you often face the most trials when you are set on the right path. When you are on track, pursuing God, and in a good place, watch out for the bump in the road or the smack to the face that is designed to divert you, make you fail, and turn you from your purpose. Even when you’re going over those bumps, stay strong and look for God. When you don’t see anything else, see Him. If you can hold fast to Him, and keep going in faith, you’ll learn through those rough patches, and get back on track and better than ever!