Have you ever had one of those days where you think it couldn’t get any worse, and then it does, again, and again…? I had hoped it was just going to be a bad weekend but it turned into a week long unfortunate chain of events.
I have thought about this post all week. Thoughts of what could be shared here helped sustain my sense of humor.
Last Friday began like any other Friday. Afton and I got up and had a leisurely breakfast together, bid John goodbye as he headed out for a weekend trip, then hopped in the car to head to Minneapolis. Here is a photo that was taken that morning.
I should have seen the signs. Afton almost ALWAYS smiles when I take a picture. She smiles when she sees anyone looking at their phone because she thinks a picture is being taken of her. (Yes, she’s mine.) And that face she is making says a lot about what was to come.
As we packed up to head home around 4:30 on Friday, the snow was coming down heavily making a 20-30 min. commute a little over two hours. Afton usually does quite well in the car, but on this particular trip she was a wreck. Crying, some screaming (never has she screamed before while crying), and suddenly- VOMITING. VOMITING AND COUGHING WHILE SHE CHOKED ON THE… V WORD. (I refuse to type it again.) I was mortified. I was completely stuck in traffic and could not do anything to help my poor sweet girl but reach back and try to dry her off and hold her feverish hand and pray. And we both cried. A lot. She fell asleep when we were almost home and when I carried her drenched little hot body into the house and she barely moved other than to commence in the losing of her lunch, I began to panic.
Afton has never been sick before other than our first night home, which was the scariest night of my life. Another time in which I panicked, but for good reason as a newborn with a fever is nothing to mess around with.
I took Afton’s temperature while cleaning her up, both of us still crying, and it read 103. I called the on-call nurse line at our clinic and spoke with a woman who didn’t seem to think that was any reason for concern. She told me that when Afton’s temperature was 105 to bring her in. I shared with her my concern about how much she had lost, that she wasn’t looking at me but was just moaning and flopped across my chest and I told her there was green goop coming out of her eye to which she responded that it all sounded like a cold and a “little flu bug” and there was no reason to bring her in to the clinic.
This was no “little flu bug” folks. I stayed up all night with my girl trying to keep her hydrated and once she threw up, waiting an hour and starting over.
When I finally got ahold of John to ask him if he thought I should go to the ER, he told me that’s where he was headed- in Rochester. The connection was not super clear, but he tried to explain to me that he had arrived at the camp for the youth retreat, spotted a car in the ditch and pulled over to help the couple. As they pushed the car out, it rolled back and the corner of the bumper punctured his knee quite deeply, sending him to the ER in the middle of the night.
Poor guy was so discouraged. He had spent so much time planning for this retreat and he had to hand over the first session to some of the adult leaders since he couldn’t be there to speak. We both knew at this point that God had something to teach us, but we hoped we would learn it that night as we were all up anyway. As I rocked Afton, and prayed for her and for John I prayed a variation of Samuel’s prayer, “speak Lord, I’m listening.
The next day wasn’t much different. Afton was still very sick. John was stitched up and back to the retreat. But the next night, my prayer went from “speak Lord, I’m listening” to “Lord what have I done??” and at one point, “Please Lord, just let me die!!!”
Afton is a trooper because whatever she had, and so lovingly shared with me, made me wonder if I would live to see the light of day. The next morning I was so weak that I called several people until I got ahold of my dear sweet angel of a friend, Kendra, who came to watch Afton since I was unable to leave the bathroom floor. Her husband brought gatorade after church and she took care of Afton until John arrived home. I honestly do not know what I would have done without her.
John arrived home at three Sunday afternoon and we were a sorry looking bunch, to say the least. He limped up and down the stairs with a tray of supplies and with Afton. Once she was in bed, he put up is wounded knee and iced. I had completely forgotten about his knee! I was so miserable I didn’t even think to ask how he was doing. My mother in law, who is also a nurse sent a link of how to care for a wound like his, which included a lot more rest than he had been giving it with taking care of us!
Not to worry, though…he couldn’t get up if he wanted to the next day because… it was his turn to have a slumber party with the toilet 🙂
We were up all night again, Afton with a fever and matted eyes and John with the flu. I was awakened the next morning for my spot on the floor in Afton’s room with a terrible pain in my ear. I haven’t had an ear ache since I was 7!! I called my mom at 5am and BEGGED her to come because I was in so much pain and running on such a low amount of sleep, that I wasn’t sure I would be able to drive us to the Dr.
My sweet momma left her house at 6am and drove to be with us, risking her own health. She made us yummy chicken noodle soup that we JUST finished, cleaned our house, played with our Afton, got up with her in the night to give her ear drops and tylenol, and rocked her when she needed to be held. I’m so thankful for my mom and I think for the first time I was able to receive her sweet gifts without guilt, because I would have done anything for Afton when she was sick.
Unfortunately, my mom did get sick, but it was more of a 24 hour thing, that kept her here an extra day, which was a blessing since the roads were bad anyway and it meant we could have tea together the next morning 🙂
I prayed this morning because I do want to understand why God would have us waste a work week as a family to be sick and have to rely on people to help us, bring us groceries, etc. It was extremely humbling. There were times this week when I cried because I wanted to be mad at God. I know that having the flu for a week is so nothing in the light of what a lot of others are going through, but it was a trial for me. Did God want to humble me? Yes, most likely. I’m not good at asking for help or receiving as a few people have told me recently. That could be the lesson. But I think I’ve stumbled across another lesson here. What I read this morning, kind of made me want to roll my eyes, because I felt like God was giving me the old “sunday school” answer. Ironic isn’t it? God’s word that is alive and active sounding old and cliche? Thankfully, it is alive, and His Holy Spirit is living in me and interpreted it to me in a new and fresh way.
“28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
His love doesn’t always make sense. But in the end, I believe everything will. God “working things for our good” doesn’t mean it will feel good right away, but it means that he has our best in mind. It may be a process- it may feel like it takes a long time, but he is reminding us right here that his love for us knows no bounds. Everything he allows is out of love for us. I choose to believe this. I pray that I would believe this when more difficult things come. I pray that he would find me faithful. How little it takes to get me to question his love! But he knows the areas that I need to grow, and he places me where he knows I will learn the lessons I must learn.
Nothing can separate me from his love.
If Afton could see the whole picture, she would know that I am giving her those ear drops that she HATES because I love her, and I want good things for her. I want her to be healthy again. Unfortunatly, her scope is only so broad, and she sees these as very inconvenient and unwelcome. She finds them uncomfortable, at the least, perhaps even painful. This is such a small example, but as I ponder the fact that I see so little of what God is doing for my good, therefore, I am quick to stop trusting him, that was the image he brought to mind.
“So rejoice when you face trials of many kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4