About a month ago, Nate and I received the wonderful chance to get away for a weekend marriage conference with Paul David Tripp. The content was rich, and the speaker was excellent. We returned home so refreshed, and optimistic. Then we fell back to earth with a thud as Nate came down with a stomach bug that night.
I began the usual task of running around disinfecting every surface I could think of, washing sheets, tending to my sick husband, and pleading with God to spare me from catching it. Catching a stomach bug is worse than (in my humble opinion) going through labor and delivery! Olivia was next in line, and thankfully, just had mild symptoms. God in his kindness kept me healthy, and I breathed a sigh of relief when Monday rolled around and Nate seemed to be on the up and up. He still wasn't back to being 100%, however, and his appetite didn't really show much improvement. That Thursday, he was feeling well enough to attend school with Olivia, and really enjoyed the opportunity to participate with her there. That afternoon, we came home and he suddenly didn't feel well again.
Nate went to bed around 1 pm, and slept until close to 10 pm without waking up once! He was up for just a little while, and then went back to bed for the night. Come to find out, there was a second bug going around our homeschool community group that knocked out so many families they ended up having to cancel the following week's meeting. Yikes! This time, the rest of our family didn't escape. What started out presenting like a stomach bug (AGAIN) slowly morphed into feverish, body aches and cold symptoms. It was a yucky business that picked us all off one by one, and took forever to get through!
By the Friday before Valentine's Day, I felt like climbing the walls. I had not been out of the house much due to sickness, and Nate was still struggling with not feeling well. I had been playing full-time nurse, and full time Mommy for nearly two weeks, and I was overwhelmed. I was frustrated as God was revealing to me how willing I was to serve my family - as long as it didn't require too much sacrifice on my part. I didn't like what I saw. I had to keep preaching to myself, and praying that God would change my heart - even (especially?) in the midst of exhaustion.
Although Nate had been to the doctor, he was frustrated that he wasn't finding relief from the pesky symptoms. I half jokingly said I'd be willing to drive the 3 1/2 hours to my parent's house just to get a hug from Mom. My sweet, understanding husband said that if Mom didn't mind me showing up on her doorstep for the weekend, he was fine with that . . . so I loaded the kids into the van, and we "ran away from home" for the weekend!
It was really nice having a brief respite from the "sick house" for a couple of days. I even got to enjoy a surprise coffee date sans kids with a dear, dear friend! I was starting to feel like I got my feet back under me, and gearing up for going back home on Monday morning. I was sitting with Mom and Dad after the kids had gone to bed Sunday evening (Valentine's Day), when Mom started getting text messages from people showing concern for my Grandpa. Of course, we had no idea what was going on, so Mom called Grandpa's phone at 10:30 pm. His fiancé answered, and confirmed that he had been in an accident, and was airlifted to a hospital in Phoenix (she didn't know which one) with life threatening injuries.
Mom began the grueling process of calling around hospitals in Phoenix, praying the entire time, and not sure what kind of answer she would receive when she finally found Grandpa. Needless to say, none of us went to bed for a long time that night, as plans were made so Mom could drop everything, fly out to Phoenix, and be with Grandpa.
The following Tuesday, I spent most of the day at the University Children's Hospital with my sweet Julia, trying to get to the bottom of why she was having so much trouble starting on solid foods. We left that day with a diagnosis: FPIES (more on that later).
Thursday was another homeschool community group day, and then that afternoon when I got home, I discovered that our dishwasher had finally conked out for good.
And most of you know that this past Monday, Grandpa passed away as a result of his injuries.
Of course my sweet husband continues to bear the weight of job searching, and hasn't had any real leads yet . . . he is still working with his doctor to get to the bottom of what is causing his on again/off again symptoms that just generally make him feel yucky, and God is teaching him through all of it as well!
It's been a tough few weeks. And God is faithful. I am not the same person I was three weeks ago. He is continuing to refine me and make me more like Christ, and for that I am thankful!
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:6-7
We have seen God at work in countless ways throughout the past weeks. As John Piper said, "God is always doing 1,000,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of 3 of them." We have felt the prayers of our brothers and sisters, and their kindness toward my family, and especially my Mom in her time of grief. I am thankful. Nothing brings me greater joy when in the midst of a bad day, than to make Jesus' Name look great. May God because of his grace, enable me to do that!
Grace and Peace,