It's so hard to believe that our youngest is NINE! Where did all that time go??? He is an absolutely hilarious kid and celebrating birthdays with him, as in most all things in his life, is a lot of fun and quite an adventure. He is such an observant, smart, funny, big-hearted, and great kid; we are blessed to know him. He will be getting a fancy new bike for this birthday and he's pretty excited about it. :)
Colin's birthday coincides with fall, which is my most favorite season. I absolutely love all the colors and the weather and that it gets cold enough enough some days where wrapping yourself in a blanket by the fire with a good book is wonderful, but still hot enough for short-sleeves and sitting in the warm sun. I'm outside right now, the weather is gorgeous and leaves are falling. There's a nice breeze and its just really, really beautiful and I am absolutely loving it. (Until one of these leaves falls in my coffee or I forget to make sure there aren't any in my hair before I leave the house. But it will still be beautiful and I will probably still enjoy it.)
I have a hard time coming to post here because I am seeing so many changes in my cognitive abilities. It can be hard to write sometimes and hard to see when I make mistakes I would never! have made before. More recently I am using the wrong forms of words (to/too; their/there; know/now, and even more weirdly: and/an). For other people this may not be a big deal, but for me IT'S RIDICULOUS! It drives me batty and frustrates me to see it happening and there's not much I can do to stop it. I've been shying away from writing anything lately because I've hard a time facing this, but I'm trying to get back into it. Use it or lose it-and if I am going to lose it I may as well use it well I've got it. So, I apologize if I use a wrong word or leave letters out or something else my self of five years ago would be aghast at, I can't help it. I can usually catch it after it happens-but not always. (As I typed that last sentence I left out the i in it and went back to fix it. lol)
Last week was pretty brutal for me-and as I'm talking to more people-it was for quite a few of my friends too. I caught a cold bug and it laid me out for a week. I was able to go do a few things, but it was downright ridiculous and I was VERY tired of being down for the count. I found my patience waning and my empathy plummeted. When I'm in that place I find myself being sad, angry, and resentful and then I feel even worse because that is absolutely and totally not who I am, or how I want to live. I become resentful that things that are so easy for others can be downright impossible for me. I become resentful that I am sick, resentful at having to deal with chronic illness, and angry at my cognitive decline. I feel guilty, angry, and useless. I do not say these things here so that others will feel the need to talk me out of these feelings. I KNOW I do not need to feel guilty and I KNOW I am not useless. When you are sick, however, these ARE feelings you have and in my mind it is so much better to be out with it and deal with it, because when you don't they fester and feed off of each other and that is no place anyone wants to be.
As I became more and more mired down in all this negativity, God threw a few things my way to pull me out of it. At first I didn't notice. I had stopped reading devotions or my Bible, I had pulled away from those things. I was having a hard time talking to God, and when I did it was mostly angry or pleading. I had lost my thankfulness, and lost sight of my hope. The good news is that God doesn't quit. He doesn't get tired of our surliness, or of us pushing Him away. He's still there, reaching out and patiently waiting for us to step back into His arms. The way he reached out to me last week was through the Bible verses I have up in my room-I have Jer 29:11-14 on my wall. It was there, I would look past it. In other times I read it, I savor it, I let it swirl around in my head. When I'm stuck in the muck I avert my eyes from it. He reached out through my Bibles, the ones in my bookbag, the one on my bedside table; through my devotional books and emails; and through Bible study books I have on a shelf. I couldn't bring myself to open any of them. He worked through my children-and this is one of the best ways. They loved me, they hugged me, they made me laugh and feel lovable and loving again. I was finally able to get out of the house for the girls first marching band performance in the homecoming parade. There God reached out through friends, through my parents. Things were still tough, I was still feeling horribly, my body was still wiped out and exhausted and it was really, really hard to make myself make an effort. I almost stayed home from church. But God reached out again through my Grandma Donna and my Aunt Traci. Was I going to church? Could I pick Grandma up? It will be so good to see you! I waffled on Sun. morning-I could call Traci and ask her to pick up Grandma. I could stay in bed and not expend the energy. Thankfully God kept prodding me, kept urging me to get up and go.
I went, and it was amazing. People smiled and hugged me and asked how I was. Some of the little Sunday School people were there and made me smile. I hugged my Aunt Traci, hugged my Grandma. I worshiped God-I felt His love, listened to His Word, sang my heart out and felt his forgiveness and took Communion. I talked with others, I hugged others, and I felt genuinely loved and more importantly-LOVEABLE. I loved others. My empathy was back and it felt very, very good. I went to Bible study that Sunday morning-which I don't get to do often as I am usually teaching Sunday School. I wasn't meaning to speak, I didn't intend to talk. I mainly wanted to just be there and listen and absorb. Instead I spoke and then, as usual, got choked up. I shared my basest feelings, I shared how God had reached out to me, and I let other people know I was hurting and I let other people comfort me. I didn't want to do this-in the beginning. I can be so outward, TOO open as some people say. I bristle at that because I've been a strong believer that we need to let others see our struggles and our hurts-to let others know we all have this and we all fail and are miserable and we all need that forgiveness and love and to know that its okay to fail-its okay to be miserable-its okay that we struggle and aren't always positive about it. We are human. That's why we have God. We have God and other believers to pick us back up, to reach out and love us, and to care about each other even when we don't feel very loveable, or deserving of that love.
It's been an emotional week or so. I'm struggling with my illness, I'm struggling with my limitations, and I'm struggling with my own reactions to it. I am thankful and so very blessed, though, to be where I am and to know a God who loves me. To have others who respond in God's love even when I don't think I need it or think I want it, or even deserve it. To have others to remind me of hope, and of love. I used to have this in my email signature when I was working for the church, from Hebrews 10: "23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." I had lost sight of it, but I'm so thankful that the Body of Christ is there to love me and remind me.
If I know you, I've prayed for you this week. I may not have specifically said your name, but I've asked God to be with and love and uplift all those I know-He knows your name. I've prayed for myself, as well. I know we all need it, and I know I need it. And if you've been used by God to love me, to reach out to me-Thank you for responding to His prompting. I appreciate it more than I express-and if I try to I will probably start crying all over the place and I think I do too much of that as it is. ;)