I’m not even sure where to start.
My last post detailed one of my hardest days to date, and now it seems like that was small potatoes.
Since that day I’ve survived:
even more single parenting (single parents deserve major awards),
having my entire house packed by strangers,
watching everything I own fit into 162 boxes and drive away from my home,
living with the 3 kids at my dear sister and brother-in-law’s house for the better part of a week,
having an absolutely terrifying breakdown after a trip to the park where Grace WOULD NOT WALK on her perfectly healthy, 2-weeks out of the cast leg, while strangers overtly and covertly shamed me for making her “walk” on her own,
getting into MD at 1:00am and having every hotel I called be sold out, resulting in an overpriced luxury room that we only occupied for about 6 hours,
spending a full day managing the entire unpacking process,
saying goodbye to my sister as she flew back home and I was on my own with 3 children in an entirely unfamiliar place,
unpacking almost my entire home over the course of 3 days while also caring for the 3 kids who were adjusting not-so-gracefully to our new life.
I want a nap just typing that list out.
BUT I SURVIVED.
Peace and joy began returning to my parched spirit. Gratitude overcame me as I unpacked box after box and was able to store everything in spacious cupboards and closets and drawers rather than piles of clutter in a too-small-for-us home.
I was humbled to see the bigger picture. The one where I leave Michigan kicking and screaming all the way, throwing myself a constant pity party about how hard it all was, but God knowing the whole time that a big blessing was around the corner. A wonderful large home in a peaceful area. A season of quiet after many seasons of activity.
I had a moment of clarity and it was refreshing.
Then Andy came home! We all missed him SOOO MUCH! The kids stayed up late and we greeted him at the door of our new home with lots of hugs and kisses.
I’ve never missed him so much in my entire life. It was a long time away, but even more than that, I went through a major life event without my best friend beside me.
We all went with him to Walter Reed on Saturday to check in. I was beaming with pride to be with my Officer :) I mean look at him in that uniform!
I was hoping we would spend the weekend doing fun stuff, but with all the errands and Andy’s unpacking and having the cable guy over for most of Sunday afternoon, it was mainly a “getting things done” weekend.
That bummed me out, but my plan was to finally get all the kids over to the pool on Monday to start using the expensive membership I’d already paid in full.
Then Sunday night happened.
Andy went to bed early and I stayed up to give myself a pedicure before our pool day. Once I was finished I decided to go downstairs to lay on the couch while my nails dried. The hall was dark, and I didn’t want to turn the light on for fear of disturbing the girls who have been up late due to bedtime stubbornness.
As I walked down the stairs, wet nails and toe separators in place, I thought to myself, “It’s weird that this set of stairs is so much shorter than a standard stairway.”
No sooner had that thought crossed my mind than I found myself in a heap on the floor with my foot rolled under my ankle.
It hurt SO BAD.
I’ve done this whole “miss the last step” nonsense more than once before. It’s annoying and painful, but after I get up and walk around, the pain dies down and I go about my day no worse for wear.
Not this time.
I hobbled over to the couch in a lot of pain. I surveyed the damage to my pedicure (two nails were wrecked) and I put my foot up. I wanted to watch a little Netflix while I waited for my nails to dry, but it was hard to concentrate because my foot was throbbing so much.
At this point I was still pretty convinced it was a sprain.
The next morning when I woke up and was still in a ton of pain, I started to really worry.
I laid low and iced my foot. When Andy got home that night he checked it out and knew I had to get an x-ray.
He stayed home with the kids and I went alone to a nearby urgent care. I was seen right away and my fear was confirmed. It was broken.
My first thought was, “Is this real life?????”
Could I really have just gone through all that hell and finally get to a good place only to be knocked (literally) on my ass????
No weight bearing. Painful splint that dug into my calf for 2 days. Crutches that bruised my underarms and made it impossible to do anything.
A dark cloud came over my spirit.
I struggled to get out of bed on Tuesday morning. Getting breakfast for the kids was nearly impossible because using crutches prevents you from carrying anything. I don’t even remember what they ate. I do know they watched a TON of tv that day and didn’t eat anything else until Andy came home at 6:00 and fed them dinner.
I was in bed almost all day. I didn’t eat or drink anything because it was too much effort. I was so angry this happened. I kept re-playing the moment in my head, wishing with all my might I’d done something differently. ANYTHING.
Gone right to bed.
Skipped painting my nails.
TURNED THE FREAKING LIGHT ON.
You name it. I was convinced I could have prevented this if I’d only been more cautious.
That’s now how it works though. Try as we might, we cannot control everything. Accidents happen. Bones break. People get sick. Tragedy comes even when you’ve done everything “right”.
Why do we insist on thinking we are in control?
How do we reconcile God being in control when things go SO wrong SO often?
I honestly don’t know.
I’m less sure of anything than I’ve ever been. The older I get and the more I know God, the less certainty I have about anything.
Sometimes I miss my younger, naive, certain years. The ones where things seemed black and white. There was a way God worked, and these things were right and those things were wrong, and I was another arrogant cog in the wheel of Christianity.
Getting comfortable with the mystery of God is not easy for me.
I think it’s really important though. I think it’s a cornerstone to solid faith.
Knowing He is GOOD. Knowing He is LOVE. Knowing Jesus is the WAY. But not knowing much else. Not knowing all the WHYS and HOWS and BECAUSES.
It’s a place of humility and dependence.
It’s a place of weakness where He has to be strong.
I think it’s also a place of abundant life if we’ll only surrender and let go.
He fills in all the empty spaces and we don’t need to know how.
God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
I want to be more comfortable with Jesus filling in all the gaps. I want to stop trying to fill them in with my own effort and intellect and striving.
I started writing this post a couple of days ago. The dark cloud was hovering nearby and I was still feeling bitter. I’m really grateful I’m finishing it today and my fingers have once again ministered to my mind. The story doesn’t end with a neat little bow. My foot is still broken. My summer is still going to be very different than it would have been. This season is still really hard.
I’ve been able to see the hand of God in the midst of all this. I couldn’t see it for a while. I actually came home from urgent care and cried to Andy, “God must hate me!”
I started flirting with the idea that the entirety of my faith was just a story I told myself to feel better about a cruel world. That none of it was real.
The enemy would have liked nothing more than for that idea to take root in my heart.
But it didn’t. In some of my weakest moments, I cried out to God anyway. I kept reading truth. I hung onto a little thread of faith.
Like always God is faithful. He was tender with me in my angry weak moments. He kept on quietly caring for me and nurturing my little thread of faith.
Finally I could see Him in the friend that stopped by and brought joy, prayer, and berry cobbler. In the other friend who came and worked from our home so I could go to the orthopedic doctor without the kids. In the dinner that friend brought and the company and love. In the spouses welcome meeting that got us all out of the house and fed physically and emotionally. In the long weekend that Andy has off despite the fact he’s a first year resident and they don’t get weekends off. In the calls and the texts and the Facebook and Instagram posts.
People have embraced me and I’ve seen the goodness of God in them.
I’m not alone.
He is with me and He loves to use His other children to comfort the broken and sad ones.