Sleeping on the Boat

I have a problem with worrying. I latch onto something. Worry it to death, until finally enough time has passed that it is no longer an issue. I take a deep breath of relief. Then I look around and pick up another problem that I can worry about. It has occurred to me that unless something changes, I will be doing this the rest of my life. I can’t relax until this problem is solved. I can’t relax until I know that this is going to be ok. I’ll feel better once I know this problem has been fixed. 

I will never run out of problems to worry about. There will always be another problem waiting patiently for me. There will never be a time when I can just sigh and say, finally, all my problems have disappeared.

Now, in my defense, some of these problems are big whoppers. Giant problems. Anyone else faced with these problems would be just as down and worried as I am. They’re not things I can just shrug off as inconsequential. They are huge. In fact, I’ve got one of those giant worries facing me right now. 

My brain works really hard to fix these things. It plays out every single scenario it can think of. What if it turns out like this? What about that? What about if this happens instead? And I guess that’s probably a form of trying to have control over the situation. If I fully understand every single nuance and variation of the problem, maybe it won’t be so scary and overwhelming? 

I woke up at 5am this morning. My brain instantly focusing onto my problem and worrying it to death. And I could feel myself panicking. And I suddenly remembered a picture my daughter painted.

She called it, sleeping on the boat with Jesus. And I was reminded again. Keep my eyes on Jesus, not the storm. He’s in control. He’s got this. Just focus on him. 

I was thinking about that more this morning and I also remembered the scene from the movie, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies where the bowman shoots the dragon, using his son’s shoulder as support for his arrow. His son is freaking out and he calms him by reminding him to look at his father, not the dragon or the destruction around him. Look at me. 

I was reminded again how much I and my family are loved by God. He’s got this. He’s in control. Just focus on him. The storm rages around us, but we are safe. 

I know I’ve written about worry before. I learn how to let it go. And then I forget and get right back into the habit again. So, this is my timely reminder. Again. Worry does nothing. Doesn’t fix it. Doesn’t make me feel better. And I’m never going to run out of things to worry about. So, might as well enjoy my day, choose peace. Keep my eyes focused on the only one who has the power to fix the problems that surround me. Trust him. And take a little nap on the boat.

The Great Summer Transition

For the first time since I started writing this blog I have been struggling, the last couple weeks, to find a time to sit down and write. Usually my days have a fairly slow rhythm and I can fit in whatever extra thing I need to do pretty easily. But since summer has started I feel like my personal treadmill suddenly sped up from easy walk to fast run. 

I’m pretty sure that any mom out there that suddenly has her kids home from school will understand. Transitioning to new schedules is not easy. Not easy on the mom, not easy on the kids. And if you have any kids with special needs, that transition is even harder. Routine is a strong glue that holds a lot of people together. Usually I am a little more prepared, but for whatever reason, this summer I’ve been floundering a bit. 

I went out and bought a big dry-erase calendar board that has a “notes” section on the side. Then I realized that wasn’t enough space to get everything written down, so I went and bought another smaller dry-erase board and put it underneath that one. Now, I think I need at least ONE more dry-erase board to really have EVERYTHING written down. (Because writing everything down on a dry-erase board will somehow make everything better!)

This summer I have different children leaving for different camps almost every single week. It’s unnerving. When you have a lot of kids there’s always a bit of an inner panic that you’re going to forget someone somewhere and now the routine is all shaken up and I have to count kids up differently. We’re missing someone!! Oh, right, they’re at camp. And that one is at summer school, and that one is at work, and that one is playing at the neighbors…you can see how it gets a bit unnerving. Like, could everyone just sit still so I know where you are.

I”ve had other unnerving things happen too. Like I had to get a root canal yesterday. Very unnerving. I hate pain. I hate dental pain. I really dislike dental work. 

I’m going on a women’s retreat this weekend. I’ll be gone from the family. That is very unnerving. Not that I can’t be alone without my family. Not that I won’t greatly enjoy being alone for a couple days. But it’s different. It’s not normal, and I have a hard time relaxing into “not normal” things. 

So, here I am, flying along on this fast-paced “new” schedule that hasn’t become a comfortable routine yet. My kids are all off in different directions. I’m doing something different this weekend. The end result is that I’m battling with some anxiety and panic. And in the middle of all this chaos, God has been downloading his goodness to me. And I want everything else to just hit pause so I can just soak it all in, but instead I just find myself dwelling on it in bits and pieces when a quiet moment arrives. 

My teens went to a church youth camp and when they came back, some things had shifted spiritually for some of them. And I can see a difference. And I just want to cry because really, the only important thing in my entire life is that my children follow after God, and when you see them taking ownership of that relationship and becoming independent in that area, there aren’t any words to describe your joy. 

Another thing, a friend of mine has been posting Bible devotions/research that she has been doing about Jesus as the Groom and God has been shining a spotlight on the intimacy of his relationship with me. And it makes me feel cherished and special. It’s an overwhelming answer to that lifelong question, “Do I have any worth? Am I lovable?”

So, here I am, waffling back and forth from a spiritual high to anxiety. It’s a weird place to be. Writing this down helps me get it all sorted out in my mind though. God loves me. I can be at peace knowing he’ll help me figure out this summer. 

Just Remember

Well, the Coronavirus is all over the news. And it seems like I should say something about it. Seeing as I have a blog and all. 🙂  Whenever I try to think of “words of wisdom” for the masses, I come up blank. All I can do is share what’s been happening in my life. So here goes. 

 

I’ve been keeping an eye on the news the last couple weeks. I have been concerned. Not really scared. Just concerned. I decided it would be a good idea to follow the CDC’s advice to have extra supplies on hand. I’ve stocked up a bit. Not a ton. I’m feeding thirteen people every day and I simply don’t have the refrigerator space or the pantry space to stock for large periods of time. But, if we couldn’t go to the grocery store for a week or so, I’d be ok. Since I have a hard time imagining a Capitalist country like ours not finding a way to sell me groceries, I’m not over-concerned about that. I’ve stocked up on some vitamins and OTC medicines. Some medicinal teas. I’ve got a bit more cleaning supplies on hand. I’ve got toilet paper. 🙂 Not an insane amount. I just bought what I usually buy, then grabbed one more package. (I was smart though! I bought it before the mad rush started.) If the kids’ school gets canceled, well hey, I home-schooled for twelve years. I’ve still got all my old supplies on hand. Not a big problem. 

 

All of this “prepping” has kind of happened as a Side Issue. Life has been so incredibly busy that I really haven’t had time to just focus on Worrying about the Coronavirus. When my thoughts do turn that way, I’m finding that I’m having a lot of flashbacks from my childhood. I grew up in Haiti and we lived through a lot of political turmoil. There were many times when we couldn’t leave our house for a week at a time because people were rioting and we could hear gunshots and all the roads were barricaded by angry citizens. And we just stayed in our home and hoped that we would not become a target to anyone’s anger. Going to the store was not an option at all. We just had to make do with whatever we had. One time we were stuck in our house for days and all we had was a giant bag of pancake mix and a bunch of pasta. It took years for me to enjoy pancakes again. 

 

We also lived through an embargo that was put on the country where medicine and fuel and food were very difficult to find because the US wasn’t allowing it to be shipped in. Our family had to ration our driving. My brother and I biked and walked a lot. We carpooled. We just didn’t go anywhere. 

 

Sickness? In Haiti we had TB, HIV, Malaria, Typhoid, Anthrax, Diphtheria, Hepatitis, and a whole host of tropical diseases just floating around everywhere. My mother held medical clinics in our home. All those sick people would come and sit on benches in our yard while my mom would see them in a room in our house, one at a time. We washed our hands a lot. We used Clorox a lot. We got sick sometimes. We recovered. 

 

When I compare those childhood experiences to what’s happening right now, I just kind of shrug. Yeah. This is really nothing. 

 

Here’s the thing. I don’t want to downplay people’s worries. I’m not overly concerned because I have seen God’s faithfulness through much worse circumstances. If God could help my family when I was a child living through tumultuous times, then, I know that God can help me and my family now. 

 

Not everyone shares my history. Maybe this is the biggest thing you’ve lived through. Maybe this is really shaking up your world. I think the pattern holds true though. When we are faced with trials and worries, we look back. We remember other hard times that God helped us with. We remember how God has helped other family members. We think about the stories in the Bible, how God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness. We remember God’s faithfulness. And in remembering, we strengthen our faith. And as our faith is strengthened, we can let go of our fear. 

 

 

Fear not, for I am with you;

Be not dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you,

Yes, I will help you,

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

 

                     Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)