Monday 27 February 2017

When the Road gets Tough // A Long Week

It had been a difficult ten days... The worry over the baby after our 26 week scare and my stint in hospital was swiftly followed by a six day fever for our Heidi. Our little girl who, due to her heart meds, is not "allowed" to have a fever for more than 48 hours, spent the week doing battle with some relentless, ongoing virus which reminded me a little bit too much of the awful spring of 2013, when her tiny body was attacked by Kawasaki disease. I spent much of last week running backwards and forwards to the doctors and on the phone with her cardiac nurse. It wasn't just physically tiring, but the mental exhaustion of reliving those horrific hospital days made for an emotional week.

By Thursday night things were looking up... Things with the baby had settled down, we had had good news about another ongoing medical challenge in our wider family, and Heidi seemed to have turned a corner at last. I crashed on the sofa, a bag of crisps at my side, watching a movie and writing my first draft of this post while Dave was out at football.

And then I got the text...

"Sprained my wrist"


A trip to A&E later with our good friend (thanks Matt!) and it turned out it wasn't sprained... It was fractured. And therefore possibly going to be in plaster for the next seven weeks...

Oh joy.

                         (A little bit of extra TLC and a Velcro plaster from the girls playing nurse!)

On Friday morning, I hustled Ava to school while Heidi stayed home recovering with Dave, two invalids together. Ava was teary on the way... The impact of the last two weeks catching up with our usually happy and optimistic five-year-old. I felt guilty when she asked me to promise her I would pick her up... Realising the impact all the tooing and froing of the last week had obviously had on her. As I walked back, Jonas happily chattering in his buggy, the sun shining through dappled leaves - the tears threatened. I just couldn't believe it... It just seemed like an endless attack of one thing after another, and now, with everyone telling me to "rest, rest, rest", I had a husband on my hands who could help me with very little! 

I knew it was silly... the baby was safe, Heidi was recovering, it was just a fractured bone... But it was just the seeming endlessness of it all... I had run out of emotional, mental, physical energy and I was exhausted.

As the tears fell, my phone vibrated it my pocket... I clicked on the message...

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15

I breathed deep. The words sinking deep into my soul until I felt the peace I was reading about... Be thankful. In ALL circumstances... Not just the easy, straightforward, joyous moments.... But in the hard, intense, relentless moments of life too.

Those words of life brought all that they promised - gratefulness, peace, and much-needed perspective.

The verse went on...

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God."

I realised I had seen every challenge of the past ten days as an attack. I was on the offensive, suspicious of what next disaster would come around the corner. Tired and emotional and searching my own resources for the ability to keep going.

And in one simple text message, which contained nothing except those bible verses, the Lord reminded me that he is with us in the storms... That I don't need to find the resources and strength within myself. That in fact the very purpose of my struggle was to bring me back to him. And that the only appropriate response was to be thankful. Thankful that he had this. Thankful that Dave's wrist was nothing more serious. Thankful that my little girl was getting better. Thankful that our baby was safe. Thankful that he would give me all I needed to get through the next few weeks of single-handed parenting (literally!)

And quite suddenly, the chattering baby, and the dappled sunlight and the crisp air felt so different..

They were full of hope.

Gospel hope.

Hope on the tough roads, and in the long weeks.


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