Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hard-To-Learn Lessons & Some CHRISTMAS Videos!!

"Thou shalt also consider in thine heart,
that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee."
Deuteronomy 8:5
(KJV)

I wanted to share this beautiful scene I captured from Mom and Dad Smith's front porch the other morning.
I have a brand-new appreciation and deeper-than-ever compassion for anyone who is expected to perform at a normal pace and capacity, all while dealing with a handicap or physical compromise.

You never know how much you use or need an individual body part until it is unusable.
You don't realize how closely connected and inter-dependent your fingers are upon one another, 
until one finger is out of commission.

Take dishes, for example.
Have you ever tried doing them with one hand,
while keeping the other hand completely isolated and dry?
Or, take hand-washing, as another example.
Ever tried washing nine fingers, while keeping water off the tenth, bandaged one?
Or, say, cleaning a bathroom floor, bathtub, or toilet.
Ever try that one-handed...or should I say nine-fingered,
while still managing to keep one finger dry?

Whew!

I know many of you have dealt with and/or are currently coping with injuries and situations
far worse and more complex than this one,
and you would justifiably consider this trial to be one of those
"light afflictions" Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians 4:17.
My heart goes out to you in so many ways,
as I consider the heaviness of the individual crosses you daily take up and carry.
I often call many of your names out in prayer.

And I suppose there is never a good time for an accident to happen.
We mamas and wives are busy people with lots of demands
and there are many who lean on each one of us and count on us to fill our shoes.
But, in all honesty, this injury couldn't have hit at a worse time.
Seriously.

I did my best to follow doctor's & nurse's orders.
I truly did.
But, there are things that had to be taken care of and tended to,
and the wound still managed to become infected, in spite of my well-meaning,
albeit somewhat haphazard and insufficient precautions.
A weird-colored seepage gave it away and led to a 3rd ER visit and cellulitis diagnosis.
As if that wasn't enough, an intrusive allergic reaction left me itching from literally head-to-toe,
and broken out in some sort of horrendous rash, afterwards.
Not fun, and more than a bit scary.

If I owe you an email, please accept my apologies.
I am not ignoring you.
I am just avoiding the typing process.
The cumbersome bandage causes me to want to steer clear of outlook.
I will get caught up one of these days, God willing.

I can't thank you enough for every token of love and word of kindness.
Your prayers mean more to me than I could ever put into words.

The other day, I stood in my in-laws' kitchen questioning why this had to happen right now.
The dear Lord knows how hard I am trying to be there for those who need me,
and how can I do that like this?

"Why, Lord?  Why now?"
I was literally at my wit's end when those words came spewing forth.

I know there are a lot of people who are of the opinion that we are never to question God.
I beg to differ with that opinion.
My differing is based on two things:

#1.  I have personally questioned many times throughout my Christian journey,
and I have never felt the least bit despised by my Lord.
I have found Him to be easily entreated, full of compassion,
abundant in mercy, and willing to either communicate with or minister to my broken-hearted questioning.
Sometimes, He has answered and told me why immediately.
Other times, He has been silent, at that moment, but later revealed His reason(s).
Still other times, He has chosen to completely withhold the answers I so diligently sought.
Whatever He chose to do, in response to my questioning, 
He has never turned His back on me because of it.
Instead, I have found the opposite effect, 
often feeling Him tighten His grip as He drew me yet closer to His heart.

#2.  Jesus, at the most desperate moment of His torment on the cross,
asked that anguished, heart-rent question, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
Jesus knows how it feels to question.
Even He felt that sense-of-not-being-able-to-make-sense of what was happening to Him.
His Father did not scold His questioning.
He did not write Him off or disown Him.
Even though Jesus was temporarily separated from His Father's smile for the span of time it took to absorb the ugliness of our sin, He was still God's Son.
His question was valid.

Yours and mine are, too.

Who hasn't questioned?
In moments of overwhelming grief?
When the suffering has dragged on past the point of endurance?
When the shock of heartbreak is too intense to absorb?
When the dagger of hurt has made contact with the tenderest spot of the heart?

Who hasn't turned their face towards Heaven and cried, "Why, God?"

I think my questioning the other day was more, "Why, NOW?", instead of, "Why, at all?"

I really don't know why such a crazy, "freak" accident had to happen at all, 
but especially not in the midst of so many depending on the things I needed to do.

But, as I stood there questioning, God spoke.

"I want you to know how it feels to try to do things, without being physically able to do them.
I want you to know how other people feel when they have the desire to do better, but truly cannot.
You are so used to doing things at full speed and full capacity.
You need to understand how others feel who cannot do that.
People have limitations.
They have handicaps.
They are often misunderstood by those who are well and expect everyone to function as quickly and as efficiently as they do.
Not everyone can do this.
The only way you can fully understand is to walk through this."

He was right.
As always.
I go at things like I am killing snakes.
I don't move slowly.
I stay at full throttle most of the time.
I like things done thoroughly and to be perfectly honest,
I have very little patience or tolerance for incompetence.
I make inaccurate assumptions and have unrealistic expectations that are completely unfair 
to those who cannot perform to my standards.

For the first time, it has hit me that sometimes people are trying harder than I think they are.
Sometimes, they are doing their best, but just because it doesn't measure up to my best,
I invalidate the fact that they are even trying.

I feel so ashamed.

God help me.

I am so tired of dealing with this aggravating wound.
I want this to be healed.
I want the wound to completely close.
I don't want to wear this annoying bandage anymore.
I want to be able to do what I need to do without the constant fear of getting the wound wet.
This...after what?
Three weeks?
What about those who will never heal?
How about the ones who will walk the rest of their days with missing fingers,
toes, arms, feet, or legs?
Or what about the ones who catch on to things at a slower pace than I think they should?
Can they help it?
Should I be so quick to become irritated and assume they can do better?
What about the ones who are blind and dependent on others for nearly everything?

I think God is really wanting me to learn something through this.
I think it is important that I get it...all of it....this must be why the trial has been lengthened.

The other day when I turned my face towards the sky and asked, "Why, God?  Why, now?",
He answered.
He wants me to know how it feels to not be able to do what I want to do, 
or as fast as I want to do it, or as thoroughly as I want it done.

And He wants me to know that it is okay to accept help.
Ouch!
Another touchy area for me.

I love to give.
I mean, it just thrills my inmost soul to give...
to reach out, to do for others, to help, to pitch in.

But, when it comes to taking?
It's quite another story.
I seriously have issues with this.
It is very hard for me to accept help from others.
I don't know what I am trying to prove.
I'm not sure where this comes from or what lies at the root of my need to be and do.
I push myself to the point of drop-down exhaustion.
For what?

You tell me.
It's sheer silliness.

I think we women are all this way, to a degree.

God is telling me that it is okay to accept help.
Gasp!
It is even alright to ASK for it!

It's okay.
 I am not Wonder Woman.
The sky will not fall if I don't finish my "to-do" list before bedtime.
There are others who can do what I do just as well as I do it...even much better.
Why is it so hard for me to accept or admit to this?

After the ER doctor diagnosed cellulitis,
I got the message.
The next time Kevin offered to do dishes in my place,
I accepted his offer...still stubbornly standing by his side and insisting to dry them...
but, hey, I am making progress!
At least, I let him wash!

The next time dear, old Dad Smith asked to sit on his walker and wash them,
I relented...begrudgingly.
It hit me that this is one of the few things he can still do,
and I am denying him that feeling of accomplishment by rushing to the sink
the moment we get up from the table.

I am being much more careful now...especially after researching cellulitis.
My!
When I first read the diagnosis, the first eight letters pointed my mind in the direction of 
that unsightly, annoying problem we all deal with.
I didn't, at first, realize that when "is" replaces the "e" at the end of the word cellulite,
it can be a very serious condition, with life-threatening repercussions.

So, there is an answer to my questions.
God is allowing all things to work together for my good.  (Romans 8:28)
He always does.
Sometimes, I am just too blind or stubborn to see it, 
but God always has a reason for everything He allows.

 Ecclesiastes 7:14 says,
"In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider..." 

I am considering.
And I am uncovering.
God is revealing.
It is not always pretty.
I am learning.
I guess this time it took me getting into a fight with a vending machine...and losing....
to teach me how frustrating it can be to want to do more than I am capable of doing,
and that it is completely okay to permit and ask for help.

All of God's lessons are necessary;
some are just more painful and hard to learn.
********************************************
Just a reminder to check out American Family Association's Naughty & Nice List
BEFORE you do your Christmas Shopping
so you can patronize stores that support Christmas!!


And here are a few Christmas videos to share...



Click here, if video doesn't load.



Click here, if video doesn't load.


If video doesn't load, click here.

18 comments:

  1. I like your very last sentence. I am also going through a "why???" right now. I mean, really, I know, "Well, duh, because something good will come of it." ha, ha. But it doesn't stop me from asking why, also. I am praying for your healing. I know it must hurt and be very bothersome. But I'm glad you were able to see the good in it. :) It will heal, dear friend. Also, I like your pretty picture. :)

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    1. I know you are going through a "why", sweet friend. I am praying for you and the miracles you need. Thank you ever so much for your prayers. God will see us through these trials, and one day, we will be stronger on the other side of them. Love you!

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  2. I know you are frustrated about your finger. I pray that it will heal soon. When you are able to wash it, ask the doctors about a quick soak in warm salt water with just a few drops of Clorox bleach. I know patients who have done this dealing with wound infections. The bleach kills staph and other bacteria, and the salt helps heal and dry it out. If you do this, make sure it is completely dry before applying a new bandage.
    Bless your heart. I'm praying, dear friend.
    I visited Connie today, my oh my she is so ready to get home. She is dealing with pain, nausea, and every emotion you'd imagine. Lord, I hope this surgery Friday will be her last obstacle. It would be so wonderful for her to spend New Year's day at home. It can happen with the Lord's touch.
    Love ya

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    1. Thank you SO much for your dear prayers, concern, and loving thoughts. I have been soaking it in Epsom salt, but I hadn't heard of adding bleach. It certainly makes sense, though. I appreciate that information. I am SO sorry to know that poor Connie is enduring so much. I surely hope this surgery will be her last obstacle, too. I can't believe this has been dragging on for so long. My, it is just awful for her and her family. I will surely be praying. Keep me posted, as you can. Love you!

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  3. It seems my To Do List is never finished before bedtime. I think it is wonderful that your husband is helping you. Thanks for all that you shared today. Have a wonderful week, Cheryl.

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    1. I know what you mean about never being finished! But, we are trying to fulfill our purpose, and that is all that matters. YES, Kevin is always there, bless his dear, kind, caring heart! He always wants to help in any way he can, even though he suffers so much, physically, and is so exhausted from his long hours of work. God is so good!! I trust you have a wonderful week, too, Judith, and MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your sweet family. :)

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  4. Sorry you're going through this trial -and at Christmas! But, isn't it so true that in our trials we draw closer to God? Questioning God means you're having deep discussions with Him - and conversation with God is always good. Sounds like your questions are leading you to deeper compassion for others and in your pain, you're more aware of others in pain. Hope you heal soon!

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    1. YES, my friend, you are SO right...we absolutely draw closer to God during our trials. I love that you said "questioning God means you're having deep discussions with Him". I LOVE that! So true. Thank you for your kind words and for stopping to visit today. You encouraged and blessed me, and I am grateful to you. :)

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  5. Oh, Cheryl, I'm so sorry to hear your finger is still giving you trouble. I will be praying for you! Yes, it's OK to accept help and ask for it! It's good to let the family help out. They're just following the Golden Rule. I'm sure you would be helping them out if the tables were turned. :-)

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    1. Yes, dear friend, you are so right....it was so good to visit with you today. Thanks ever so much for stopping by. I will be over to visit you soon. I loved your latest post in my inbox! The snowy pictures were just beautiful! Much love to you.

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  6. I hope your finger gets to feeling better really soon. I hurt my wrist one time, and I remember to have to depend on others to change my daughters diaper. Even though I still insisted on changing it. (I asked my husband or mother-in-love to lift my daughter and lay her down so that I could change her.) Thank you for sharing your heart about what God is teaching you through this season. I hope you have a lovely day. :-)

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    1. Thank you SO much! I am so sorry you had to go through this with your wrist injury. Thankful you had loving support! I trust God will bless you and your family with a MERRY CHRISTMAS!! So happy to "meet" you!

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  7. An injury that gets infected is a big thing, but consider that sometimes a small injury is God's way of telling us to back off, sit down, and let some things go. I do pray that your finger will heal quickly. Thanks for sharing with us at "Tell me a True Story."

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    1. You are so right, Hazel. Some things just need to be let go....I am learning that. Thank you for your prayers and for the amazing link-up. MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours!

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  8. Dearest Cheryl, dearest friend. I'm a little tardy getting around to commenting, but goodness! What an ordeal you're going through. I can only imagine the pain. As to the inconvenience, I might understand a bit. One time I tripped when I was running and sprained my big toe (might even have broken it??). Anyway, I learned very quickly how much a small appendage can cause tremendous pain. And yes, it's very difficult to maneuver. You know what I thought about through that experience? I got to thinking about the Body of Christ. I started thinking about how I'm always wanting to do a "big" thing - like I'd love to be a heart or a brain. But, the Lord pointed out to me, and I think I learned the lesson, that every single one of us is an integral part of the Body. Even if we're just toes!

    I love that you're looking to the Lord, and listening to His voice. That's what it's all about. And yes, sometimes we just need to slow down.

    That being said, I am praying for a quick recovery with no further complications.

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. OH, dear friend! Your comments are ALWAYS on time and just when I need them most!! I loved your analogy about the members of our body likened to the members of Christ's body. Hmmmm....I feel a blog post coming on!! LOL! Seriously, I have thought much about how we are all inter-connected since this whole thing has happened. Oh, my! It has been an ordeal. I can't thank you enough for your prayers and for being who you are. As the year winds down, I count your friendship, support, and encouragement as some of my most cherished blessings in 2014. God was so good to have allowed our paths to cross...to bring together two kindred souls. Love you, sweet friend. :)

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  9. As a nurse, I sympathize with your condition! Cellulitis can be a monster!
    As a fellow Christian, I can identify with your impatience to be well and don the "super woman" cloak again. May God hide you under His wings, and give you an abundant supply of His grace as He had you in His "waiting room".

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, Esther Joy! Your words were so kind and encouraging. I loved what you said about God's waiting room. I so appreciate your visit and comments. God bless you with a Merry Christmas!!

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