Struck Down But Not Destroyed

Sigh.

Back in September, Little Man and I had to stay home while Little Miss and Hubs attended the wedding of our dear “Cousin Uncle Travis”. (No, it’s not a backwoods relationship – just a funny story with a name that stuck.)

Once we got well, I got sick again. Once I got well, Little Miss got sick. Then I got sick again. Then Little Man got sick. Then Hubs got sick. Then I got sick. Then Little Man got sick again. And on. And on. And on it’s gone.

I’m sitting here today, behind my keyboard, nursing a horribly sore throat, and a bit of a bruised ego.

Physical illness wears on me mentally in ways I can’t aptly express. On top of the physical aches and ailments, I feel helpless, vulnerable, weak, and useless.

Since I’ve been sick more times than both my hands can count within the span of only a few months, you can imagine the emotional toll it has taken on me.

I’ve got lots of things going on and brewing and coming into light for the year ahead. The more momentum these things gets behind them, the more I feel we’re derailed. This morning in the shower, I was reciting – through incredible frustration – “I am His. He is for me. Sickness is not His will.”

I believe it. I proclaim it and share it and receive it and all those other religious phrases. But I believe it.

Y’all, I am being very transparent here. I am worn. down. I feel like a big pile of doo. Because I’m sick, yes, but because I feel like no matter what I do, I can’t shake these ailments. It has worn me out. Completely. Done. Exhausted. Spent.

I am struck down.

But I am not destroyed.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Though I’m so tired of this hamster wheel of illness, I’m not going to be stuck here.

The “rat race” so to speak is no longer part of my routine. Planning for my life outside of the rat-race is a big part of my year ahead (and I’m excited to share all of it with you in the days and weeks ahead) and I can promise you a hamster wheel is not part of my decor!

We’re going to move into more of a tortoise race. Slow-going, but purposeful. Then, when we’re healthy and further along than we were the day before, we’ll kick it into whatever gear we need to for the time and purpose we need to.

So right now, I’m going to focus on getting healthy. Then I’m going to focus on staying healthy. As a family. Then, we can focus on staying healthy and doing everything we want and need to do, one thing at a time.

Our plans are changing next year. My blog is changing next year. Our focus is shifting in the year ahead. And it’s all awesome.

I am being renewed, even the midst of my cyclical illness. What I’ve got going on today is all part of the bigger picture. What’s most important is I look at it all through the lens of eternity.

Take that, sore throat. Take that, weary mind. Take that, embattled spirit.

I do not lose heart. I might lose my voice – for the third time in four months – but I do not lose heart.

It Was Just Yesterday…

The other night, I was up too late and trying to get things done and relax at the same time. Every night I try this, and every night I fail. Things end up unfinished and relaxing doesn’t happen because I’m left thinking about what needs to be done instead. I know if I would just take care of things and then relax, I would enjoy both so much more. Yet I continue to try to mix the two…

After wasting time trying to productively relax, I got off my duff and set out to complete one essential task. Little Miss had a picnic to attend the next day and had given me specific orders before being tucked in about what she wanted to entertain her palate with the next day at lunch. She had been in bed for quite some time and I felt I had procrastinated long enough. I snuck back into her room to retrieve the lunchbox we haven’t had occasion to use yet.

I went back to the kitchen and meticulously crafted her peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cut just the way she likes it. I put fresh cherries and blueberries in a baggie, and loaded up some of her favorite goldfish crackers. It was fun, making her lunch. It’s the simple pleasures of motherhood that make me feel as if I have superhuman powers. As I was enjoying this task, I was struck by the realization this will soon be my life. Before I know it, I’ll be packing her lunch every night, balancing the compromise between giving her foods she both likes and needs.

Using one of her glitter markers, I wrote a little note on a post-it and stuck it inside her lunch box. I zipped it up, stuck it in the fridge, and felt proud of myself for this monumental “mom moment”. Then these old eyes of mine started to leak a little.

The thing is, it was just yesterday I was mashing bananas and strawberries to feed her in her high chair. It was only yesterday I was bathing her in the kitchen sink, and reading “Ladybug Girl” a bajillion times in a row. It was just yesterday I was watching her play on her floor gym, captivated by the linking rings. It was just yesterday I went in to pull her from her crib in the morning and hear her say “rocking chair” so we could snuggle together before the day began.

And now I’m making her lunch. And she feeds herself (and takes for. ev. er. to eat) and she insists on washing herself in the bath. She reads to herself, while only occasionally asking for help with a word. She jumps off furniture and tackles playground jungle gyms. She tucks herself in and comes to wake me up in the morning, inquiring as to the plans of the day she’s excited to begin.

Tomorrow we’re going to tour her college campus. Pick out her wedding dress. I’m watching the grandkids.

There are days that have drug on slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through molasses. Days when I can’t wait for Daddy to come home so I can mentally check out from this mommyhood business. There are days I pray for Jesus to come back if for no other reason than I don’t want to have to hear the Frozen soundtrack one more time.

Then there are days I make my daughter’s lunch and wonder where the last five years went.

It seemed like such a simple thing, to make my daughter’s lunch the night before a picnic, but there’s never been a lunchbox so heavy as the one I placed in the fridge that night. It carried more than a few choice morsels of food. It carried years of precious memories, bundles of future hopes, and an overflow of motherly gratitude.

It was just yesterday