It had started out as a pretty normal day. There were a couple of unusual things happening: our local river was in flood and there was a lot of rain; and I was preparing for a procedure next week by having to follow a white-foods-only diet. Apart from these abnormalities, life was pretty normal.
Sabbath Saturday for me means resting and recharging under my beautiful backyard trees. Because of the rain I mentioned, I couldn't do that so I was inside - as was the entire family. Our home during the week is much quieter with 4 of us 7 at work most days. On the weekends, the level of activity, noise and talking definitely increases. I find being able to sit under my trees really relaxes me as I read from my latest encouraging book-find, and sip coffee from one of my favourite mugs. Today, given the weather, this couldn't happen.
That's fine. I'll be fine.
I decided to have something to drink and some chicken and rice soup that I'd made yesterday. White food prep - tick. Immediately, I bloated and was in pain. Dry retching ensued. Although I've been living with these types of symptoms for years and years* it's still hard but I remind myself that I know there are worse things in the world.
It's fine. I'll be fine.
We decided to go and check out the flooding river. On the way there, cue kids arguing, trying to one-up each other (argh my kids are SO into this right now!) and me asking them to not do that please. Arrive at the river and one child gets out of the car arguing loudly with an older brother. Argh. I remind them to speak kindly please.
It's fine. We're all fine. I forgot to have my meds regime before I left. Having it later in the day means more fatigue and pain. I'll have them when I get home, I tell myself. Silly to forget when you are so used to having them. Berate myself for forgetting.
It's fine. It'll be fine.
People are gathered at the river taking photos and I'm not wanting to be too close to anyone because of the high dose immunosuppressants I am on. Being with people is important but so is me not picking up anything when my already compromised immune system is struggling. Hard.
It's fine. I'm fine.
On the way back home, we drive past my old shop. We once had a vintage and retro shop and I loved it. It was my dream that became a reality but also a burden at times. Emptying out the shop was so hard (emotionally) and sadly the signage could not be undone. The sign stays up and normally I'm ok with it but today when we drove past it, my sign still standing out, Brett said, "Someone must be going into the old shop - there's newspaper up". And yep there was. It was a long time ago that it was 'ours' but I will admit that I miss that place and all that we created there.
It's fine. I'm fine.
I've got my old friend Keithy on my mind. Yesterday was our first Remembrance Day without him. He loved ANZAC Day and Remembrance Days the most. They were the times I'd take him to the RSL sub branch and those days were special to him. I can hear his laughter and feel the skin of his hands when I close my eyes. I really miss him and I know that's normal.
It's fine. I'm fine.
After taking meds, I wanted to eat something but was still feeling full. Is this looking more like gastroparesis I wonder? Can't worry about things you don't know about so stop worrying, I tell myself. I read through some scriptures that I find encouraging and put some words to a song from Habakkuk 3:17-19:
"Though the fig tree does not bud,
though there are no grapes on the vine,
though the olive tree fails,
though the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stall,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful
in God my Saviour,
the Sovereign Lord is my strength,
He makes my feet
like the feet of a deer
He enables me to walk on the heights."
I write this verse out and stick it on the back of the bathroom door so I can learn it ;) As I read over these words and reflect on them, my humanity runs down my cheeks.
I'm feeling like this too - there are disappointments in life. Things that should happen that just don't. Things that shouldn't happen that just do. And then I walk out to the kitchen and see the pile of dishes stacked up (in our family we each share chores and this is my chore). I shouldn't have been annoyed but I totally was.
At this point I would love to say that I have the emotional maturity to not let things stack up one on top of the other, that I can easily process my emotions and that I honestly was fine but we all know where this is going right?! I WAS NOT FINE.
I calmly put on my shoes and my cardigan, grabbed my phone and my bag and walked out the door. I got in the car and drove calmly away. I drove away from the bickering, the dishes and the medications. I drove past the closed shop with the news-papered windows, over the bridge with the swollen river underneath and then drove out to the edge of town. (Disclaimer: kids were safe at home with hubby before anyone thinks I was doing something irresponsible by leaving them at home). I parked at a park. I turned off the engine and watched as the rain cried big fat sky-tears onto my windscreen. I opened up my book (that was in my bag), Sally Clarkson's, 'Help, I'm Drowning' and read her beautiful and encouraging words about broken expectations, preparing for hard times and about not allowing your circumstances to determine our happiness.
I read about the Bible hero Gideon who was visited by an angel when he was really overwhelmed. His question to the angel? "If God is with us, why has all this happened to us?"
I can relate to that!
I've asked God these kind of hard questions and I know He invites us into relationship to do just that. He's not offended by us grappling with Him, in fact, He wants us to do just that. I continue to do just this in the car with God while the river swells and the rain falls. And then I drive home. The dishes are still waiting. The kids are still at it. God is still on His throne.
I put on some noise blocking headphones and wash the dishes. One of the kiddos has cooked a special 'white dinner' for me for which I am grateful. Although nothing has changed, I feel different. Better.
I needed to be ok to step away earlier today. I needed to remember that telling myself I'm fine doesn't actually mean I am fine. I needed to remind myself that even though there are hard seasons (just like there were for the olives, figs and grapes in the passage) and even though the things I expect to happen don't (like kids not bickering or me having more mature responses), God is still faithful and He will always make a way.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, I pray you will find the courage to wrestle it out with God in some way. I am thinking of you, friend. Lusi x
* Please don't be offended but I'm really not in need of any oils/diet advice/health care practitioners right now. I've done EVERYTHING and am still unwell and although it is hard, it is ok. I am ok. Truly. I know you want me to be well. I want to be well too and have a great team of people looking after me. Trust me - if it could be another way, I'd love that but I know at this point it can't and I have come to accept that this is my thorn in the flesh right now and each day I am grateful for enough grace to get through.