Plans Change, Thank God

This weekend did not go as planned. 

The plan was to have a ton of different activities happening all weekend. Different people going in different directions. Every minute crammed with busyness. 

I was not looking forward to it. I don’t do well with really busy schedules. They stress me. But it seemed unavoidable. 

Then Saturday morning, in the middle of the morning, I got a humongous headache. The kind where you just have to lay down. I had been dragging for a couple days and suddenly felt horrible, achy, nauseous. I got on the phone and started cancelling things. A lot of things. The headache and fatigue fit with the chart of covid symptoms, and a friend of mine, who actually is positive for covid, had told me those were her main symptoms. I decided I better get tested and cancel everything else till I was certain. (Which makes me feel weird. Like, in normal times, I would just be sick and get over it, now I’m freaked out about being contagious, especially since this family has so many moving parts.) 

Andy got home from his morning activity, found me sick, heard all the news, and agreed to shut things down. He took the kids out for an afternoon of socially-distanced, outside, bike riding. I slept. And then sat around in a stupor, trying to find a book to read, but too zoned out to focus on anything. I also tried to deal with an online grocery order that went completely haywire. That was fun. 

This morning I got up early still feeling sick, left at 7:30am and went to get tested. It took a long time, I didn’t get home till 12:30pm, but the good part was I got the results immediately, and I tested negative! Yay! But, I still felt bad, so I came home and went back to bed for several hours while Andy took the kids to his shop for an afternoon of Dad time. 

So, this weekend did not go as planned. 

And it was great. It was exactly what I needed. An entire weekend of rest and no expectations. 

And once again I’m reminded that it often works that way. We make plans, something bad happens, plans get ruined, but it all turns out for the best. 

I think that is part of living a life of faith. We can get rid of a lot of stress if we cling to the promise in Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Not that God makes bad things happen, but that he can turn each bad thing into something good. 

So, I’m thanking God for being sick this weekend, and thanking him for a negative Covid test, and thanking him that I can head into this next week a little more rested and peaceful. 

(I’m feeling better, not perfect, but hopefully by tomorrow whatever this is should be gone.)

Need Some Hope

Good morning internet world. It is a foggy damp morning here in my neck of the woods. The kids have been dropped off at school and I’ve got a bit of time before we start our homeschooling day. 

This morning I got up early with my alarm clock. I usually grab my phone and scan through my email and Facebook News Feed, just trying to shock my brain awake. Then, once I’m awake, I move on with vitamins and devotions and any last minute get-the-kids-ready-for-school stuff that I have to do before I wake everyone up. 

This morning, I looked at my email, and then hesitantly clicked on my FaceBook. I glanced at it for a second and then just turned it off. I think I have reached my limit for FaceBook and the news.  When you read through the headlines and just laugh, it’s not a good sign. Let’s see, I think yesterday or the day before, I saw a headline informing me that whales might get the coronavirus. And I should definitely be afraid about this. On the same day there was a headline that essentially said, Hey, that thing that we all presumed was true about Coronavirus has actually been proven True!! By Science! 

I know I’m not the only one who has thought this, but it’s worth stating. If we actually had impartial news stations that did not have a political agenda, we would not be in the mess that we are in. The Left News Stations inform me that if the Republicans don’t win the election, they’re going to instigate a Civil War. The Right News Stations inform me that if the Democrats don’t win the election, the Democrats are going to instigate a Civil War. Does anyone else see the News acting as the ultimate bad guy as they rile everyone up and incite unrest? 

In the meantime, the Christian Prophets have been speaking up, and everything that is being forecast is hardship and trials in the near future. 

No wonder I’ve been struggling with Hopelessness. 

I feel like I’m standing here and I’ve got two alternate universes going on. The first universe is the one I currently live in. Life will continue to go on as usual. I will keep on making the normal plans for holidays, plans for the future, no big changes. 

Then there is the alternate universe, the one I am afraid of. The one where people do not accept the election results. The one where chaos and anarchy rule. The one where my life gets flipped upside down by powers outside of my control. 

Where is Hope? 

There is a book title, “How Should We Then Live?” by Francis Shaeffer. I have not read the book. I have every intention of reading the book. I think I’ve had that intention for a couple years now, it will happen, one day! But, the interesting thing is, the title runs through my head a lot. I have that question often, “How Should We Then Live?” I have that question right now.

When you are facing an unknown future and life seems hard and the future seems hopeless, what do you do? 

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating every day. Jesus, you all. We need Jesus. And not in that syrupy, go to the church once a week and put a fish sticker on your car, way. I’m talking about a dependence on him that goes to your deepest level. A recognition that if Jesus wasn’t there with you, you wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. A knowledge that your marriage, your closest relationships, would all splinter and disintegrate if you did not have Jesus giving you the wisdom, patience and love that you need. A security knowing that your safety and provision is certain because Jesus is by your side. And the hope that he holds your future in his hands, and all things will bring glory to him. 

So, my only advice is get into His Word. Turn on the praise music. Cling to God’s promises. 

Romans 8: 38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Puppy Emergencies

Yesterday I was in my room with my four youngest children. The puppy walked into the room and he was breathing funny, sounded wheezy. And then he started coughing and acting like he was trying to cough up something in his throat. This puppy was choking. I told the kids to go get the fourteen year old and official owner of the puppy since I was probably going to need some help. Then I pried the puppy’s mouth open and did a finger sweep, trying to see if I could feel anything. I couldn’t. The puppy continued to wheeze. I grabbed my phone and called our vet who is literally half a block from my house. They didn’t answer the phone, even though the webpage said they were open. I hung up and tried again. Still no response. I remembered that there was another animal clinic a couple miles away, I had no idea if they handled emergencies, so I tried to call them. Again, no answer, just lots of pre-recorded messages. 

Suddenly Ruth started yelling for me, her voice panicked. I ran back to her and the puppy, and the puppy had gone completely limp. And this is when it completely sucked to be the adult. 

Mom, do something!

Uhhhhh…Ok, grab the puppy and get in the car, we’re going to the vet place down the road. 

All the little kids are crying and freaking out, I’m running for the car, yelling at the little kids to go get their other big sister and tell her what’s happening. 

I don’t even get my seatbelt on, the car beeping at me in protest. Ruth is crying, “Live Puppy! Live Puppy!” and I’m praying Loudly, Lord, let this puppy live, PLEASE!! 

I tell Ruth to squeeze his chest. 

HOW?

I don’t know! Just squeeze it somehow!

She starts gently squeezing his chest and I’m praying and trying to drive safely.

I look over and there is foam coming out of the puppy’s mouth. I am crying and driving and praying.

Suddenly, the puppy starts breathing and sits up. Like nothing had happened. He is still wheezing, but alive!

We are almost at the vet. Traffic seems to be moving way too slowly. 

I finally pull into the driveway, no idea what I should do first. 

I pull into a slot and there are signs everywhere telling you to stay in your car and call this number, and then press #3. I don’t have time to deal with phone menus. 

I jump out of the car…a mask, shoot, wait…(this place is obviously taking covid very seriously by evidence of how many signs they have up). I grab my purse and yank on my mask. There is a woman in the car next to me, looking at me wide-eyed. Her window is down so I ask her if this place handles emergencies. She says, I don’t know, but you have to stay in your car. 

Well, this is an emergency. I can’t. 

I start running for the door and suddenly a man in uniform walks out, I run up to him and ask if they handle emergencies, my puppy is dying! He looks at me, nods yes, and comes up to the car, takes the puppy from us as I quickly explain what’s been happening, and he disappears into the building. 

I climb back into my seat and kind of collapse for a second.

Except I can’t. I left my teenager at home watching small children, but that teenager is supposed to be getting a ride to work very soon. She can’t leave the little kids alone. 

I grab my phone and call her. Give her an update on the puppy. Tell her to call her ride and cancel it, let her work know what’s going on, and I will give her a ride to work as soon as I get home. 

Then I call my husband, update him. Then I open my banking app and start figuring out where to pull the money to pay for this unexpected medical emergency. 

A nurse from inside comes out to my car. Asks if I’m a current patient. Gives me paperwork to fill out, assures me that the puppy is stable and they are taking care of him. 

Long story, a little bit shorter…They don’t find anything in his mouth or throat. They do an xray and see there is a sharp metal pointy object in his abdomen that he must have swallowed. They are worried about it causing damage when it comes out. They send him home with some special dog food to help push everything out of his system. Tell me to come back the next day for more xrays. 

Then, they call later and tell me to take the puppy to a different clinic in another part of town that can remove the object with a special tool that goes down his throat. My daughter has already given the puppy his special food before they called and the food is doing it’s work. 

That evening as we try to figure out all the moving pieces of our family and figure out who is going to take whom where, the puppy starts wheezing and coughing again. 

My husband takes off with puppy and Ruth to the new vet office, while I load up the little kids so we can go pick up some of their siblings who were on a playdate. Rushing, because I have to be home in time for another child who will be dropped off later in the evening. 

The new vet does xrays, the metal object is gone. They determine that the puppy aspirated some fluid when he was choking before and now we have to get medicine to help his lungs heal. 

Puppy is going to be ok. 

Thank you Lord. 

I, on the other hand, am going to need a bit to recover from all of that. 

Bedtime Meditations

Senate hearings, upcoming elections, every headline forecasting doom and taking a jab at some political party. Anger. Fear. Anxiety. 

If you are on social media, this is what is consuming us right now. 

And I ponder a future of unrest, riots, uprisings. Pandemic out of control. People out of control. A country that refuses to unite. 

And I feel weary. Unsettled. Anxious. On Edge. 

And everyone else around me seems to be feeling the same way. 

And I sit in my chair, late at night, the kids tucked into their beds, the little ones all asleep. And I take a deep breath, let it out. Take another one. Let it out. 

And I wonder how to find the right balance of getting on with the beauty of living, being prepared for future problems, and finding my peace in Jesus. 

Step one: think about something happy. 

I have a new puppy. It’s really cute. We also just figured out that he is deaf. This is a very unexpected twist in our life plot. My husband has started researching how to train a deaf puppy. What precautions we need to take etc. We have a couple basic hand signals, and I’ve been trying to teach the kids what they are so we can all be on the same page. 

Our Mama cat also gave birth to five new kittens today. This was an “oops” pregancy. I’m trying to get her fixed, but I wasn’t fast enough after her last litter of kittens. We have three orange kittens and two black kittens that will need good homes in about eight weeks. Mama and babies are tucked away in my son’s bedroom where the door stays shut from all other animals and small children. Puppy stays downstairs and outside. Fish stay in their fish tanks. The other three cats do as they wish. I seem to have started a Noah’s Ark. And I’m enjoying it. Fortunately the ferrets moved on with my oldest son. I am being very firm now. NO MORE PETS!!

Here’s a pic of my puppy. 

Step two: prepare. 

As my mind runs through all the different future scenarios that freak me out, I’m trying to make a plan for each one. Write it down. Think it through. Follow the scouts motto: Be Prepared. Even if my plans turn out to be silly or unneeded, it makes me feel better. 

Step three: Pray. 

In the end, I have to keep coming back to the fact that my life is in God’s hands. Our country is in God’s hands. This pandemic is in God’s hands. And so I continue to pray, Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be Done. And I cling to the promise that I am his, and he will never leave me or forsake me. And I pray that through everything that life throws my way, my life will somehow bring glory to God. 

Step four: Be Thankful. 

Thank you Lord for my beautiful children! Thank you Lord for my adorable pets! Thank you Lord for work for my husband! Thank you for safety for our family! Thank you for our amazing church! Thank you for all my friends and family who constantly encourage me! Thank you for your love. 

Amen. 

And good night. 

Peaceful dreams for everyone. 

My Sin was Great, Your Love was Greater

I want to start by letting you know that my mammogram went fine, no problems. All is well. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. 

This past week has been pretty crazy. My days were a lot more busy than I like. This month seems to be the month of Doctor Appointments. I just looked at my calendar, we have sixteen appointments scheduled for this month. Which is horrible. They are all check ups, dentist appointments, eye appointments etc. Which means that after this month, I shouldn’t have to take anyone anywhere for a long time. Getting it all done in one fell swoop. 

Except that it makes this month a lot more stressful. 

I had the whole having-to-get-a-mammogram thing which was also stressful, though it ended well. We’ve had some changes in our home life with our foster daughter slowly transitioning back to her birth parent. Which is great, but our schedule has gotten a lot more complicated. Even when she goes home completely, I will still be her full-time babysitter, which is a part-time job all by itself. Also a bit stressful.

So, here’s the crazy thing. All this stuff has been going on, and I have been stressed, but it’s not really these things that has been stressing me out. 

I have been mostly stressed about my inability to conquer and be victorious over my weight problems. Sins. Gluttony. Emotional Eating. Using food as the source of my peace and comfort. 

I have been feeling weighed down with condemnation. Surely God is sick and tired of me still struggling in this area. I am a disappointment. A failure. Weak. Not worthy. I’m pretty sure God really doesn’t want to have anything to do with me until I stop being this way. 

Yesterday I kind of hit rock bottom. I wrote a letter to God. 

It was helpful. Helpful for me to be very, very honest. Helpful for me to lay it all down. And then stand back and get some perspective. 

The perspective I got (I believe with the help of the Holy Spirit) was this. Perhaps my bigger sin is thinking that my own works is what saves me. Perhaps my bigger problem is not overcoming in this area, but truly trusting God at his word, that he has truly saved me and given me His Righteousness, and His Righteousness is enough. Maybe Pride is more the issue. Having to realize that Esther, in her own strength, has no power to overcome. She is completely dependent on God and his power to free her from her strongholds. And trying to remember that I am loved. As I am. I don’t have to get perfect first before God decides that he can love me. 

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

I think I have reached the place where I fully see my helplessness to free myself from sin. And I then also fully see my dependence on God to do the work necessary in my life. And so I cling to his goodness. His mercy. And once again I put my trust in Him. 

I have set aside today to be a day of rest. A day of staying home, not having to run a bunch of errands. A day of minimal housework. 

And I pray that it also is a day of spiritual rest. Sinking into the truth that I am forgiven. That he who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6).

And this line runs through my head:

My Sin Was Great, Your Love was Greater. (from the song, “What a Beautiful Name”)

Just In Case

Tomorrow I am going to get a mammogram. I have a cyst and the doctor said, because of its location, they just always follow up with a mammogram. Just in case. 

Fortunately, I have insurance that covers these things. 

I have been pretty blase about the whole thing. It’s nothing. Routine check up. 

Though I do remember my initial shock when I discovered a lump a while ago. What? This is definitely not supposed to be happening. I had someone who used to be in the medical field check it out. It’s a cyst, she said. Her diagnosis was enough for me. But then it caused problems and I eventually ended up at the doctor last week. 

And now, as I see how the doctor responded, the care she took in my examination, I realize that I should have gone to the doctor sooner. Just in case. 

Then I got on the internet today, that wonderful source of information, googled. Clicked on a list of possible causes. A long list. The very last item: breast cancer. I presume it’s last on the list because it’s the least likely culprit. 

It’s nothing. I’ll have the mammogram. They’ll give me the results and I will move on with my life. It’s just a precaution. 

And I tell myself that I am 99% sure that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. 

And that 1% sure has a loud voice. 

And I make plans with my husband for him to take over my afternoon chores tomorrow, in case my appointment runs long. 

I don’t tell anyone. 

I don’t ask for prayer. 

Cause it’s nothing. 

Just a precaution. 

And I think about all the women who have been in this exact same position. Going to get a mammogram. Found something suspicious. Just getting a routine checkup. It’s nothing. 

And for a minute my heart beats a little faster. I take a couple deep breaths. 

It’s ok. It’s nothing. Routine checkup. Just in case. 

I Am Rich

I love the sounds of my house. A couple minutes ago I was sitting at the piano, trying to sight-read through a fairly simple Chopin piece I had never seen or heard before. It was slow going. Adagio. I wasn’t really focusing on what I was doing. Honestly, I was just killing time, waiting for my kindergartner to finish his workbook. Right now all the kids are waiting for him to finish his workbook. I told him that when he had finished his school work (workbook and read aloud a story) then I would go down to the store and buy our traditional bags of Candy Corn (and for all you haters out there, we happen to think candy corn is awesome!!). Every October I put out some ceramic pumpkins on my mantle, fill them with candy corn and the kids get to grab some after school is done, or chores, or whatever hard task is in front of them. 

Anyway, I was playing the piano, waiting for David to finish his workbook, and I started just listening to all the sounds of our house. 

We started a fire in the wood-burning stove this morning. The stove has a little fan that blows warm air into the room. It is a soothing white noise. We also have a large fish tank in the living room whose water filter sounds like a little waterfall. We need these soothing sounds. They counterbalance the sound of teenagers hurling themselves down our wooden staircase as loud as they can. And the sound of the three year old talking to himself as he plays his little imaginary games. I have one teenager home this week because her school is shut down for Covid. She loves music and carries her phone everywhere with her, sharing her very eclectic music choices with the whole family. 

You can hear our dog barking outside, faithfully protecting us from any random person walking down the sidewalk. The occasional car drives by on the street in front of our house. You can occasionally hear a siren rushing past on the main road which is only a block away from us. 

The kindergartner has a chronic whistling habit and the eleven year old is constantly humming. And Chopin continues to plunk along in the background. 

There is so much life tucked into the walls of this home. 

(Time lapse)

So, I just got back from the store, candy corn has been bought, pumpkin candy dishes are now full. 

When I pulled up to the Family Dollar, I saw two apparently homeless people, a man and a woman, in the alley behind the store. By the time that I left the store and was heading back to my car, they had settled themselves on the back steps of the store’s delivery entrance. They had bags of belongings and some fountain soda cups from a nearby gas station. They looked dirty and the woman looked like she was crying. But they weren’t trying to make eye contact with me, and I had nothing to offer them. No groceries in my bag, just candy corn. No cash in my wallet, just a bankcard. No words to share, my innate shyness balking at starting a conversation. I remembered that I had supported one of our homeless shelters this past weekend by shopping at their thrift store (thank you Ma’am, your purchase has just helped us feed ten people!), and I just hope that this couple will make their way to the shelter by evening and take advantage of this ministry in our city.

I climbed back into my car and drove back home. And once again, I felt like the blinders had been ripped off my eyes. A glimpse at my true reality. My home, a beautiful mansion. My children, costly jewels, unmeasurable treasures. My life, a dream come true.

And the noises in my house sound like a beautiful symphony. The chaos is simply an outpouring of joy. I feel like the richest woman on the planet as I survey this ramshackle house of mine. 

And my prayer becomes, make me a blessing.

God, you have blessed me, show me how to bless others. 

Depression Anniversary

This morning my Facebook memories popped up and showed me that three years ago, I made my first “public” post about my struggle with depression and our decision to put our children in public school. 

I read through the comments again this morning. (All 78 of them!) And what stood out to me was how much of a need we have for people to honestly share their struggles. Knowing that someone else is struggling makes us feel less isolated, it eases some of our shame. 

Keeping that in mind, I’ve decided to give you all a “Depression Update”. 

One of my big disappointments in life is that I haven’t had a full recovery from my depression. While I haven’t been as low as I was three years ago, I still feel like depression is something that I have to actively keep at bay. And when I am not purposeful about taking care of myself, it creeps back in. 

Things I do to keep depression away:

Take a night off. 

Wednesday nights are MY nights. My husband gets home from work and I take off. I very often end up at Panera where it’s ok to sit with your computer or a book for a long period of time. I have a couple different friends who often meet me there for an evening of chatting and encouragement. Sometimes I go walking in the park alone or with friends. Sometimes I just leave the house, go buy myself some supper somewhere and then sneak back into my house in the back door and hide in my bedroom, feet up, reading a good book. 

The whole point though is that I can do whatever I want without feeling any guilt about leaving my husband home alone with the kids. (He gets his own night off.)

Give myself lots of space. 

I do not keep a perfectly clean house. I do not run a tight ship. I do not have a perfect schedule. I do not have a full, busy schedule. I am very purposeful about keeping my daily routine as free from stress as possible. I have found that the only way I can maintain a 24hrs a day, 7 days a week parent-of-many-children lifestyle, is to keep my day as calm as possible. Lots of wiggle room. Maybe it only takes us two hours to get all our homeschooling work done.  I give myself four hours. That way we can take lots of breaks, follow rabbit trails if we want, have time to deal with phone calls that might come in, or a quick chore that has to get done. I do not do well when I have to follow a tight timeline. Occasionally it can’t be avoided. There are doctor’s appointments, extra curricular activities, school meetings. If I have a day that involves me running full stop all day long, then I make sure that the next day I have nothing extra going on and I move slower. 

Date nights

The other day I told my husband something that I don’t think I had ever put into words before. “You are essential to my happiness.” And it’s true. When Andy walks in the door at night, my shoulders visibly relax. He makes me laugh. He uses his words often to tell me how important I am to him, to tell me how he feels about me. And I am encouraged and I feel loved. We need time together. We need to be able to unplug from parenting for a minute and just be two adults who like spending time together. Now, I know that for parents with young children, getting out on a date can be impossible. We went years not being able to get out. Now, we have teenagers who can babysit and we try to get out once a week for a date. But, sometimes money or schedules keeps us from being able to go out. Then we have bedroom dates. And by that I just mean we get the kids to bed, maybe get a snack, watch a movie together in our room or just sit and talk. The main point though is that we are purposeful about setting aside at least one night a week that is ours. 

Daily Devotions/ Daily exercise

Taking time every day to read the Bible and pray feeds my spiritual self. Taking time every day to get my body moving feeds my physical self. Sometimes I don’t do these things. But, when I do, I feel happier and have more energy. 

Talk to a therapist/friend equivalent

I still have monthly or bimonthly phone visits with my therapist. And I always think, before the call, do I really need this? And then afterwards, I am always glad that I was able to talk to her. It is a great help to have another adult look into your life and help you process challenges and get a perspective that is focused on the good of you and your mental health.

Practice Thankfulness

This one is actually an outpouring of my Christian walk. The Bible tells us repeatedly to give thanks in all things. As God has been teaching this to me over my lifetime, I have not only learned how to lose a bad mood or a bad attitude, but I’ve also learned how to stop and just take pleasure from small things. The way the sun is shining just-so on that tree. The sound of fall leaves crunching under my feet. The smell of woodsmoke. Watching my children practice acts of kindness to each other. Being thankful, noticing the goodness around me, these have gone a long way in helping me to not succumb to depression. 

In the end, all of these things are tools, not cures. I have days when I crawl back into bed in the middle of the day. Or I end up sitting in my chair, doing nothing. But the difference between years ago and now, is that the next day, I can usually get up and keep moving, instead of it dragging on and on and on. 

Maybe I will struggle with depression the rest of my life. But I have hope and peace that God will help me through it, one day at a time, one strategy at a time. 

To Read the News or Not to Read the News

I don’t know about the rest of you, but lately, I’ve been pretty stressed by the state of the world. 

Maybe it’s just me. 

I find myself obsessively scrolling through news sites, scanning headlines. Clicking on the occasional article. Trying to figure out just what on earth is going on. 

And as I’ve done this, my level of stress and fear has risen. Significantly. I find myself restless. I can’t concentrate for very long. I’m struggling with feeling hopeless. I think ahead, start to think through plans for things that we could do in the near future and I stop. Well, maybe we can do that, as long as the country doesn’t self-implode. 

Have you noticed that both sides of the political spectrum have lost all faith that the other side is committed to a safe, fair election? We both think that the other side is going to cheat. And we both think that the other side will not accept losing. We both think that the other side is prepared to fight to have their candidate in place. And the media keeps egging us on. Sowing all kinds of doubts and fears. 

And it occurs to me that my life would be a lot more peaceful if I just avoided the news completely. And it’s tempting. It even sounds spiritual. Think on things that are good. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. 

But you know, as Christians, we were called to be IN the world, but not OF the world. 

I live here. This is my planet. This is my country, my state, my city. The things that are happening affect my life. It is also a historic time. The decisions and events that are going on are unprecedented. We are watching history unfold before our eyes. I don’t feel like I can simply unplug and ignore everything. 

So then the question becomes, how do you maintain peace in such a time as this? 

I’ve been reading through Revelation the past couple weeks. Reading a chapter and then reading through commentaries to try and get some understanding. And I am reminded of what one of our pastors said about this book: the whole point is that Jesus wins in the end. 

And that is the answer. 

That is how I hold on to peace. 

In the end, all will be made well. Jesus knows what it is going on. He is not surprised. He is not watching the news and scratching his head in bewilderment. Revelation lets us know that there is a plan. None of this is random. We might not understand the timing and all the details, but we do understand that the earth is going to have to go through a time of judgement. And in the end…Jesus wins. 

And when I write that, I feel my shoulders dropping a couple inches. It’s ok. No matter how this life unfolds, the end story for me is eternity with Jesus. And I have his word that in the meantime, before eternity arrives, Jesus has promised to be with me. I am not alone and abandoned. I am walking side by side with my Savior through this craziness. 

And that is peace. 

I’m Celebrating!

I’m going to break one of my personal rules, and write about one of my kids. My eleven year old is not on social media. And none of his friends are on social media. And I’m saying nice things for the most part. And if he discovers this somehow in a couple years, I don’t think it’s too embarrassing, and I’m not betraying any confidences…Ok, now that I’ve justified this to myself, I will continue…

So, this particular child has always struggled with education. I homeschooled him for three years. Two of those years was just doing kindergarten. Twice. Because he hated it and wouldn’t do it. And no matter how I tried, I could not convince him that school was something worth putting any effort into. 

This child was actually a big part of why I put my kids in public school. We did three years of school and he still couldn’t read. I didn’t have the energy to solve this problem. Enter Public School, stage right. 

When I enrolled him I explained that he was significantly behind his peers. They said, don’t worry, we will help him. And they did. They put him in an intervention program. We had a couple meetings with administrators who all assured me they had the problem under control. 

By the end of our first year of public school, he was reading! Yay! All of his teachers loved him. He always worked hard, was kind to others, participated. ( Apparently working hard for teachers and working hard for mom are two very different things.)

I would get reports every couple months telling me about his progress. Lots of charts with little dots. Your child is here: dot. The rest of the class is here: dot. This is how far we are hoping to move his dot in the next couple months: dot. 

I attended all the parent teacher conferences and all his teachers assured me that he was working hard, giving his best, and they were all pleased with his progress. And so, we did three years of intensive intervention.

Last night I was going through his school folder and found a stapled pack of papers addressed to me. The front page was a letter addressed to all parents of 5th grade students. In the letter the teachers explained that, as a result of school getting out in March, our students were struggling with a bigger than normal gap. They were also having a harder time adjusting back to a school routine. No one’s fault. We just have to face these challenges head on. Etc etc. 

I went to flip to the next page, and I was fully expecting it to be an Intervention report where they would tell me that my child qualified for the intervention program, and these were his test results, and these were the steps they were going to take to help him. This was what I was expecting to see. 

Instead it was just two pages of test results from their beginning-of-the-year testing.  

The first page had a chart and then explanations of the chart. I glanced at the chart, was confused, so I read all the fine print. My child scored in the 80th percentile for reading for his grade. He was labeled “above average” for his reading skills. I flipped the page. Math. He was in the 76th percentile. Also above average. What? 

Somehow this child managed to bridge the gap and then leap forward. 

I have been giddy with pride and happiness for him. 

So, forgive me about gushing about my kid. But, I think it’s good to celebrate when someone has overcome such a big challenge!