God show me what I am to do in this moment and give me the grace to give myself to that task without guilt for all the things I am not doing in that moment. May I feel the press of life, but by your grace, not despair or be crushed. In those moments show me who to reach out to and encourage, and in doing so be encouraged myself.
NOTE: I wrote this post some time near the end of last year (2013). I am astounded at what the Lord has done in such a short time and am overwhelmed at his grace and mercy towards me. There is a small update at the end.
And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21 ESV)
My disorder has manifested in a strange way. The tips of my finger are usually raw or crusted over with a “scab” as the skin underneath attempts to heal. It takes a LOOOOOOOONG time before my finger is healed as the skin usually flares up again before it’s had a chance to heal. At the moment I only have two fingers which have recognizable fingerprints. When this first started happening it struck me as a scary thing to not even have fingerprints! One of the few things that are overtly “ours” as human beings is our fingerprints; they’re unique.
Chronic illness, tragedy, and death, has a way of bringing us into an identity crisis. How we have known ourselves has been drastically altered and we feel “lost”. For many months going through the more trying moments of my disease, I struggled with knowing who I was. I unknowingly found a lot of my identity and value in the things I was able to do (such as cleaning, cooking, etc). I couldn’t do any of these things for a few months. I could do very little for myself during this time as well. My dear husband, who deserves a whole volume written just for him and how he has served me during this time, often had to help me get dressed and frequently help me wash my hair. I asked the question again and again, how is it even of any benefit that I exist any more? I prayed many time for God to please let me not wake up.
I discovered apart from Christ and his redeeming power, I didn’t have the will to live. In the eyes of the world, who values people for their ability to produce, I was worthless. In Jesus, my life is worth something. Only HE can redeem this train wreck of a situation and make it something beautiful. It doesn’t matter what I have the ability to *do* because in Christ, it is all about what he can do. Any good that has come out of this illness has been because of what he has done and the abundant grace that he gives. I can’t even begin to fully understand all of what he is doing, but I trust that is for my good and will be for his glory.
As I patiently wait on the Lord through this, I will turn my face to him, like the flower does towards the sunlight, and keep my eyes fixed on the glorious treasure that awaits me when this is all over. Jesus. Forever.
A picture is worth a thousand words so….
I still have very very mild flare ups, but I have found more natural alternatives to steroid creams that have proven very effective for me. I had a bout with skin eczema on my arms beginning at about 8 weeks into my pregnancy, but my hands have been largely ok excepting very mild flare ups when my diet is less than ideal for more than one meal in a row. I suspect my arm eczema was due to unknown environmental factors and hormonal shifts that happen rapidly during the beginning of pregnancy, but *really* I have nothing to tie it to conclusively. The eczema on my arms has left me with patches of lighter colored skin (which gives me a nice spotted puppy look), but has been more or less completely gone for about 6 weeks now. You also might note the lack of wedding band – it just doesn’t fit any more 🙂 my fingers are so un-swollen, it just falls right now. Until I get it re-sized, it’s kept in a safe place so I don’t lose it. DaddyScott and I are doing fine lol.
I’d love to say we have some sort of wonderful organizing tip on this one, but we don’t. I’m constantly amazed at people who can keep up with “drink bands” and the like, but my poor limited brain power just can’t make it that far :P. So here is what we do, are you ready for it????
We have a bunch of different kinds of cups and the ones that are the same come in various colors, and none of them are the same. Everyone gets their own kind of cup, problem solved! Seriously. 😀 Before we had this particular problem though, we would use masking tape or just write directly on the cup with a sharpie because the sharpie always washes off anyway. When using a sharpie, we would draw a picture (like a flower or smiley face) instead of a name, just in case the marker didn’t wash off in the dishwasher.
This is our counter yesterday – no editing, no rearranging… we ALWAYS have more cups than people. I’m really not sure how this happens 😛
I’ve been thinking a lot about these laws at work in my life. They are two that I wish I could get overcome like a bird defying the law of gravity. They work in conjunction to challenge my commitment to anything, to keep me complacement, distracted, or even hopeless.
The Law of Familiarity determines that the more I spend time with and get to know anything, and the more something becomes just a normal part of life – the less I am excited about it or the less I am to give it the attention it deserves. I see this happen in all aspects of life – relationships, work, hobbies, exercise, initiatives. Sometimes things just become… boring!
On the other hand, the Law of Proximity says that the further I am away from something, the less I focus on it or the more I forget about it. Its grandeur diminishes – in my eyes at least. Think mountain top experiences, motivational conferences, relaxing vacations, the Israelites and the eyewitness miracles. I forget the impact they had on me once I’m so far away. And the inspiration and commitment they inspired starts to wane the further away I get in time or space.
You can see that the two of these laws combined make a strong force to reckon with. Or maybe just a comfy blanket of apathy. My challenge is staying in the balance of the two laws – not too familiar but not too far away. The only way is to continually discover something new. We never actually get to know something or someone as deep as we can. There’s always something new to discover. There’s something new to discover about my wife of 11 years, my children, my job and boss of 13 years. And although He never changes, there’s something new to discover about the Ancient of Days, the Everlasting God.
No eye has seen, and no ear has heard the depths of your love, Lord.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).”
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12).”
Life is a beautiful thing. Life is also an odd, hard, scary, complicated, amazing thing. The challenge to make decisions (BIG decisions) on a daily – no moment-by-moment – basis where it seems so much is depending on you. That can be a struggle. Wrestling with responsibility and choosing the best over the good. It’s tiring! As an employee, a husband, oh and especially as a parent it stands true – “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).” So how do you get the joy. How do you see the beautiful side of life? How do you experience the harvest? By putting in the work, by going through the struggle, by loving and giving and sowing and NEVER giving up.
Oh, and did I mention, this all involves other people? Something I tend to forget. I shelter myself from others, priding myself in being really really productive, but at the expense of relationships. Not healthy. And not the “good” we’re striving for. The good we’re striving for is eternal and tangible. It can be seen in the hope of someones’ eyes or the forgiving smile of a child who knows you and you alone are “Daddy.” The connection. The meaningful relationship. Not the checklist. Not the bank account.
I like simple things. If something isn’t simple, I usually can’t stick with it. Notice I said simple, I did not say easy. I had a few hours this afternoon that I was feeling quite discouraged because in my seeming inability to cope with things that were not simple and I was left feeling quite inadequate. Some people seem to have all these wonderful ideas on how to make things work and when I see them in a seemingly constant state of creativity, my poor little head starts to spin! I can come up with creative ideas when what I’m doing isn’t working, but I like to find a way that works and then stick with it. I don’t do well with frequent change either, so I try to minimize it wherever I can (but that is another post all together).
When I came home this afternoon I was very grateful to find my hubby already home (he was working from home today) and I proceeded to cry on his shoulder for a few minutes, while I tried to explain what I was still trying to process in my head. He spoke a beautiful truth over me, truth I already knew, but I just needed someone else to remind me. Neither simplicity or creativity is better than the other. Each has it’s place and we are not made to be carbon copies of one another! God can and does use both simplicity and creativity to accomplish his will and ultimately, any fruit we see from our labor is because of his Grace and not because of any particular way we chose to accomplish a task. We each have our own bent as well. Some people thrive in constantly accomplishing tasks in a fun and creative manner and some thrive following a self prescribed method and routine and don’t feel the need to “re-invent the wheel” unless something seems broken.
So this is me. I am a simple person. I like to find a method and stick with it and it has worked for our family so far. I am choosing to embrace that about myself, being the unique way that God has made my mind to work. I am so thankful for those who can be creative more often because this world would be quite boring if it were made up of just “method” people like myself! What matters in the end are these: does it glorify God? does it accomplish his will? Then that is all that matters.
To keep the human race going 🙂