There have been bucketfuls of grace, but often it’s a little moment that has made me realize how my life has been better because I’ve been sick. I won’t remember them all, but here are a few of the ways I have seen God’s grace in the last few years:
Easy Does It: A theme I see is that slowing down allows me to enjoy life in ways I wouldn’t have steaming ahead at my normal pace
- I used to be a brisk walker. Now I’m super slow–like, toddler pace; and that’s actually a good thing when you have a toddler. I don’t get frustrated that they are so slow because we walk the same speed.
- I’ve become more patient for all the times the boys want to poke at things or stop to check out a crack in the pavement or climb on top of the red balls in front of Target. Because we get through days moment-by-moment we’re not rushing from one thing to the next. It’s okay to stop, to observe, to enjoy.
- I’m often available to read stories or play a game. When I was too sick even that was hard. By now, I often need to rest, but I feel well enough to spend time with the boys. We have a special bond because we spend so much time together.
- I’ve let go of a lot of perfectionism. I would have to sit and think for a long time to think of anything in my housekeeping that is kept to my standard. I’ve learned that it’s okay. It bothers me sometimes, but it’s okay. We can live happily like this.
- I used to be so capable and so independent that I thought it would be easier to be a wife if I’d be naturally more dependent. :) Well, I got my wish. I neeeeed him. :) Poor guy–maybe more than it is nice to be needed. It is kind of true, though; it’s a little easier to be a sweet-little-wifey (is it safe to write this on a blog where it can be so mis-interpreted?) when I am weak and he is always the strong tower.
- I’ve learned that God is enough. Uh, let’s change that to am learning. It’s hard to say, “I want to be healthy, but I don’t need to be healthy.” It’s hard to trust that God is good even if He doesn’t heal me in my lifetime, but it is true. I do believe it. I still need reminders to open my hands–to loosen my grip on my health. This thing that I somehow feel is in my control if I hold onto it tightly enough. Hello, I can’t, but it’s still hard to release it completely.
- I’ve learned that it’s okay to be still. I grew up in a culture where keeping your hands busy was a virtue. For awhile it made me feel useless to be still when there were things all around me that could be done. Now I’m learning to enjoy the quietness of simply being. We don’t need to be going full tilt all the time–in fact, I don’t think that’s a healthy model. It’s good for our minds and bodies to have a rest.
- My current culture is one of sitting on the front-porch. It’s a place where people walk to get to places. If I wouldn’t be sick I imagine I would be zipping here and there in my green minivan taking my children to educational events, serving, and being involved in all kinds of things. I believe that having my life slowed to a crawl has helped me to understand the pulse of my neighborhood in ways I would have missed if I was always in a hurry. I’m more likely to walk to the [in the words of someone from my neighborhood] seedy park across the railroad track than driving off to a nicer park where I can hang out with people who make me feel comfortable. We are more present.
Appreciating Small, Imperfect Gifts
- The smallest gift is a .big.deal. to me. One time someone offered to carry a blanket upstairs for me and I cried a few tears because I was so overwhelmed with gratitude. The same thing has happened when someone fed my child at a public event.
- At one time I might have been bummed if someone accidentally bleached my favorite table cloth with the towels. Now I’m just glad the laundry got done. (I totally made that up because I can’t think of any real examples, but you get the drift)
- Our children have learned to play independently, clean up after themselves, and carry responsibility.
God’s grace has become so evident to me.
- When Paxton turned out to be an angel baby for the first year, I knew it was God’s grace.
- During the summer when I was feeling better I booked a wedding for September. That month I hit a slump and didn’t know how I was going to be strong enough to photograph the entire day. People were praying for me so much that week. The day before the wedding I was incredibly shaky and I was concerned about producing blurry pictures! The day of the wedding I woke up feeling stronger than I had in weeks and felt great all day! I felt so undeserving–wasn’t I irresponsible to book a wedding before I was quite ready? Well, maybe, but that is grace–undeserved favor.
- Sometimes I need a quiet rest desperately and the boys play and play without a single disagreement. Those are times when again I feel God putting His hand on my forehead and saying, “There. There. I’m taking care of you.”
- Just today Zachary said, “I LOVE sweeping the living room especially with my big helper[the vacuum].” Our vacuum cleaner is huge and heavy and it wears me out. Our living room is the room where all the dirt gets dragged through, and seeing it swept is a sanity-saver. Today when he swept I thanked God for His grace in the form of a boy who loves sweeping.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28