I just re-read my entry on June 4, “God, can we get a break”? That is exactly how I feel today. Today we are in Sanibel, Florida. We’ve been encouraged to take a sabbatical and I’m no longer complaining, it’s great to be here. When we were preparing to get here, I was complaining. It’s hard to leave. It was hard to explain why we deserve a 3-week vacation and they still need to go to work and deal with life at home. It was hard to leave a house that we just moved into and still need to unpack and settle into. It’s hard to walk away from things you’ve been working on (basketball camp, summer camp) and put it in someone else’s hands while your gone. It was hard to explain to the kids that we would be MIA for 3 weeks with no way to contact us, yikes. We have never done that. It was hard to cram in all the people we wanted to see before we left. We ran ourselves ragged getting to this vacation. Some nights we wondered if we would even make it to the sabbatical because we thought the prep of it would kill us before we got there.
So now we are here, ready to enjoy J As I type, Kory is laying in bed with one of the worst migraines I’ve had to see him endure since January. I hate seeing my strong husband in so much physical pain. Instead of being at the beach, playing with Avery in the sand and the waves, I’ve been on and off the phone with doctors trying to come up with the perfect mix of meds that will take the edge off this beast of a headache. We can’t leave the house, because you don’t leave someone who is in that much pain to themselves, but my 2 year old doesn’t understand that. And my physical body is still trying to process the fact that I had a baby a month ago and struggling to get back to normal, especially in the hormone department. After I shut the door to Avery’s room getting her down for a nap, I went to my room, cried, and was very honest with God. I know that other people have way worse issues than us, but sometimes I feel like waving my arms up to heaven and screaming “over here, can I get some help over here??? Do you see me drowing, yes, that is me, can you please throw me a rescue line or something???”
God brought two things to my mind. Veggie Tales and Firebird. I love when God speaks to me through children’s stories. Avery’s found a new obsession since being on vacation and that is her love for “Bob” from veggie tales. We don’t watch TV or movies much at home and I think she is making up for lost time, all she wants to do is watch “Bob.” We will be at the beach and she will say, “Bob?” Oh boy. I didn’t know watching some “Bob” in the morning would cause her to think about it all day long. Anyways, the veggie tales show we have is the story of Joseph out of Genesis. His brothers sell him into slavery, Potipher’s wife lies and he goes to jail, and basically has a ton of “not fair” things happen to him in his life and he did nothing to deserve any of them. Veggie Tales breaks down the story in such a simple way, I see it in a different light. There’s a scene where “Little Joe” (Joseph) is in jail and Bob (the jail keeper) asks him why all this bad stuff is happening to him if God really loves him. My ears perked up. I listened to a cucumber on the screen say some profound things. “I don’t know yet. But I know God loves me. My job is just to keep doing good wherever I'm at” I went back and read the whole story of Joseph and was amazed. In all he went through, he had to be screaming the same thing I was. “Over here, God!!! Do you see me? I’m drowning! This is not fair! Why are you not helping me?”
Firebird asks a similar question. It’s the story of a small orange bird who loves the sunshine. Firebird is sad when God allows the storms to come and take the sunshine away. Why would God let the storm take the sun away? He asks. We all ask it. Firebird’s momma told him that he wouldn’t understand until he took a walk on the clouds. So firebird flies straight into a storm to try to break through the clouds and see what his mama is talking about. He about gets ripped to pieces when he is in the midst of the storm, but then it happens, he breaks through the clouds. We get to experience this in an airplane. We finally reach that point where we break through the clouds and see the beautiful sunshine beaming in the blue sky. Firebird realizes, God never took the sunshine away, it is as constant as his mother’s love.
God is like that sunshine, constant. He never goes away. He is always there. But sometimes the storm gets in our way and we can’t see him anymore. That doesn’t mean he has left. The rain, thunder and lightning is what surrounds us, but he is waiting for us, just above the clouds.
If God has taught me anything through the life of my daughter, Karis, he has taught me that his love is constant and that I have a choice. My choice is to be grateful or my choice is to become bitter. Again, Henri Nouwen’s quote comes to my mind, “Will I relate to my life resentfully or gratefully?”
Today I’m grateful I have the husband I do. I rather be with him with a headache than apart from him. I’m thankful that we didn’t have to cancel plans, today there was no agenda to keep. I’m thankful that God has given us doctors that know how to help. I’m thankful he has given me family to text and ask for prayer, to lean on. I’m thankful we have generous friends who have opened their home to us to be able to be here at all. I’m thankful for leadership who pushed us to take a break even when we pushed back not to take one. I’m thankful I’m in Sanibel, Florida, a beautiful place to enjoy God’s creation. I’m thankful he has given me a daughter, full of life and energy, who helps me to stop and see things I would never see like the lizard on the rock and the puffy white cloud in the sky. Thank you Lord, thank you for sending your lifeboat of gratefulness to me. I needed that.
“O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” Isaiah 33:2
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31
"Your Hands" JJ Heller