When Someone Enters Your Night to Hold a Flashlight

After the month of November was so rough, we began looking around for a mother’s helper to come help us for a couple weeks–or even for a few days.  After looking locally, near and far and hearing many no’s I was about to give up finding anyone, but still felt so desperate.  I asked another friend if she might know of anyone she could refer. She did–and amazingly a few days later we had booked a flight for Tanya to come down the end of that week!  She was pretty brave travelling down to stay with a family for two weeks even though she had never met us before!
I cried on the way to the airport. There were tears of gratefulness, but also tears of utter relief that I no longer had to work so hard to keep myself functioning well enough to take care of our family. Sometimes you don’t realize how strong you’ve been until you don’t have to be strong anymore.
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Here are a few paragraphs I wrote to my family at the end of her stay:
Tomorrow is Tanya’s last day here.  We’re going to miss her so much, but she blessed us so IMMENSELY that I’m just full of gratitude.  The deep freeze and the fridge freezer are both CHOCK full of prepared meat, breakfast foods, breads, and I’m not sure what else.  There’s delicious granola on the counter and soup in the fridge.  Parts of the house that have been bugging me for months are clean.  The house had gotten to the place that when you walked inside you noticed it stank.  The house doesn’t stink anymore.  Simply the daily care of the house, meals, children, and me has been such a huge, enormous, gigantic help I can’t quite express it.
When she leaves there will still be so much of what she has done that will continue to help me.  Having meals in the feezer means  that not only will I not need to cook those days we eat the food she made, but she also was washing a ton of dishes while prepping. Now I won’t have that clean up on the evenings when I pull a meal out of the freezer.
Some of my days were rough, a few were good, and there were some in between.  Some days I knew I would have be crying if she wouldn’t be there.  I would feel rotten, but I could go rest and the food would still be made for the next meal which meant the boys’ wouldn’t go downhill and…well you know how it goes from there.
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Tanya has such a calm presence.  I can hardly believe she is only 18-year-olds.  If some teens were told they could sleep until 8:00 they might be out by 9:00 whereas I tell her the same and she is in the kitchen cooking breakfast by 7:30.  She is obviously used to minimizing personal impact and keeps her needs to a minimum.  What I love most about her is that her spirit is others focused and she doesn’t seem to be comparing or assessing how other people are doing things.  She just does her thing well and looks for ways to bless other people.  It’s inspiring.
One gorgeous day she asked, “Would it be a blessing or not if I would take the boys on a hobo picnic lunch?”  Why, yes. Yes, it would.  It was adorable.  She packed their lunches in a napkin and tied it on a stick. :)
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She has spent most of the time here at the house, but today she took the boys for a jaunt to Barnes and Noble, Petco, and the park.  I am LOVING the quiet.
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{Reading to the boys while Tanya cooked lunch}
I’m trying to be more intentional about resting these last few days, so that I have energy after she leaves.  It’s hard to keep myself from starting projects while I could, but then I do still peter out half way into it–then I’m left wtih that mess to clean up but no energy to clean it. I did do some clean up in the office, took pictures of stuff to sell, and posted them to Craigslist.
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{Pumpkin bread baked by Tanya that we gave to our neighbors after Christmas caroling}
Tanya’s family cooks very healthfully which was perfect for us!  She was used to cooking with coconut oil and some of the other foods I’m learning about and trying to incorporate more.  She made a lot of lactose free food for Ian, and that is still helping me a lot!  We had a HUGE bag of lactose free, almond flour pancakes in the freezer.  In the mornings if I make pancakes for the other boys, Ian and I can have the healthier version. :)
When we had our last weekend company and I had another allergic reaction, I was able to pull fajita chicken and black beans from the freezer for a quick, easy meal. We are still using foods she has made which is a HUGE help.
The boys loved Tanya and she was great with them.  When you can’t always give it, it’s so great to see your children getting the love and attention  they need.
Being able to rest when I needed to was by far the best for me.  I know I started healing more quickly while she was here and felt better after she left!   I also loved that Steve could come home from work and have time to chill or work on his own projects.
 
It is these kinds of gifts that make me incredibly grateful to be a part of a community of people who cares for one another.  There were sacrifices made by Tanya, by her family, and probably other people, too, all so that she could care for our family for two weeks. This is Christianity working out in a servant-hood that is unbelievable to many people.
Gifts like this are so big I can only think, “What have I done to deserve this?!” The answer is: nothing! Being undeserving and unable to fully repay such a gift is truly humbling–humbling, but oh so profoundly blessed.
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10 thoughts on “When Someone Enters Your Night to Hold a Flashlight”

  1. wow!! we need more tanya’s in the world!!! what an awesome young lady. makes me so happy for you that you had such a blessing like this in your life~ so needed. so special. so deserved!

  2. Dear Steve and Christy,

    I am humbled by your kind words of affirmation of Tanya’s service to you. Tears are coming as I think that God has been merciful on our mistakes to develop a godly daughter who can serve others as you described.

    We purposed to raise our children to be arrows that can be shot out into the world to do much damage to satan’s kingdom.

    Any gratefulness for Tanya’s service should be turned into prayers that God would have mercy on her three younger sisters that they can catch the same vision when they are her age.

    Blessings,

    Brother Clayton

  3. Wow–Tonya, if you read this, I just want to say thank-you for blessing my friend Christy with this incredible gift!! Reading this makes me want to be purposeful in how I raise my daughter. Maybe you could do a guest post on this blog someday telling us how your parents raised you to be such a confident, caring person. ;)
    Christy, so glad you could have this time of being taken care of, so that you could begin to regain your strength!

    1. Jolene, thanks for being such a supportive friend. Yes, I’d like to hear more about Tanya’s family culture, as well. I’ll have to talk with her about a guest post. :)

  4. So glad for you! I know what a blessing help can be. Ever so humbling, but so worth it. On a side note: what is the name of the paint color in your kitchen? LOVE.

    1. I don’t think I ever understood the humbling part when I was the one serving. :) It’s okay, though. It’s good for me to be humbled.

      The paint is artisan well by Martha Stewart (Home Depot), but it is very, very diluted. I think that I had 90% of the color removed then mixed a quart of that color with a 3/4 gallon of white paint. You could probably get a sample and mix it with white. :) I really like the color too. After two years of living with it it’s still one of my favorites in the house.

  5. God BLESS Tanya!! Reading this story warmed my heart so much!
    And it IS true: being at a point of weakness makes you able to experience community in ways we never would otherwise. I know it’s been true for me, and it makes me want to be that for others too. xoxo

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