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Posts Tagged ‘trials’

As a mom with a large family, I’ve realized that I don’t get to be grumpy. At times it seems a little unfair; bad days just aren’t an option. When I’m irritable and snap at my kids, then they get irritable and snap at each other, and in no time at all, things are uglier than a hen missing half her feathers!

Just because bad days aren’t an option, doesn’t mean that they don’t happen from time to time. Yesterday was one of those days…

I had kept the kids inside the day before, because it didn’t really get above -20C. The kids had far too much energy from being cooped up inside, and I had far too little for the same reason. I snapped at the kids a couple times, so they went from happy-hyper kids to grumpy-hyper kids. You get the picture.

Then I had some technology frustrations. Oh yes, I felt like throwing all the computers and other technology out into the snow.

At the end of a rather frustrating day, I shut off the lights and and went upstairs in the dark. There is a large window at the top of the stairs and I caught a glimpse of a green glow breathing across the sky. I stood transfixed as the Northern Lights danced before me.

I was the audience as the Composer wove the luminescent threads into a visual symphony. Awe filled me, and I felt like I could almost hear the melody that the lights danced to.

My tension melted away in the presence of such beauty. There was a message for me in all of this. The Composer is also weaving the thread of my life—and yours—into his master symphony. There is a purpose and a plan in all that he does in our lives. The frustrations are there as harmonies to bring out the beauty of the joys, and to teach us to be thankful for our countless blessings.

Lord, teach me to be thankful for the waterfall of blessings that you pour over me. Help me to see your hand in my life, on the rough days, as well as the smooth ones. Shine through me, my God and my King.

Photo by Dyet. Thank you for sharing this stunning photograph!

Photo by Dyet. Thank you for sharing this stunning image!

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How Long?

This past week has been a time of hardship for me and at several points I wondered how long the trial would continue. Just over a week ago I started coming down with yet another cold. A deep cough quickly settled into my chest and then, not one night, but seven nights of terrible sleep followed.

Pregnancy isn’t known as a time of great sleep, (in fact I’ve heard it suggested as a time to get used to lack of sleep before the baby arrives.) But never in all of my pregnancies have I faced a period of such sleep deprivation. Back and hip pain made it difficult to get to sleep and I rarely slept for more than 45 minutes at a time. One night I felt near to panicking. It was early morning and I had only slept for two 45 minute stretches. I finally fell asleep sitting on the couch, and was relieved to get another hour of sleep before facing the day.

Lack of sleep was making it impossible for my body to recover from the cold and the cough was becoming very painful. I also felt on the verge of hallucinating one day due to the sleep deprivation. I was absolutely dangerous in the grocery store, nearly running people down and walking into things. I was so easily startled that I nearly screamed every time anyone walked past me! The scary thing was is that I didn’t even feel tired anymore and going to bed and trying to sleep was becoming frightening.

I try to avoid medication of any kind during pregnancy, but I knew that sleep was most important to my baby and I at this point. I knew that Acetaminophen (Tylenol) was considered the safest pain medication during pregnancy, but it did very little to combat the pain. I researched Ibuprofen (Advil) and found out that it can put the baby at risk for heart abnormalities if taken during the third trimester, so that was obviously out of the question!

I was reminded of the message that I heard last Sunday from the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk was facing his own trials as he looked around and saw the violence and injustice around him. He asked God two things, “Why?” and “How long?”

It is comforting to read in the Bible that a prophet asked questions similar to the ones that we are tempted to ask when facing difficulties. The truth is, it’s alright to ask the hard questions of God. God doesn’t want us to grin and pretend that everything is just dandy. We’re not supposed to be fake and there are going to be times where we struggle with why God has allowed us to suffer. Ultimately though, God is on His throne and He may or may not reveal to me why I must face this trial or indeed how long I might have to endure it. What I do know is that: the trial will never be more than I can bear (1 Cor. 10:13), that our struggles have a purpose and that pain is not wasted in our lives (Rom. 8:28), and that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).

I have had these words tumbling about in my brain for days now, but I didn’t have the energy to put  them into writing, nor the ability to write in a way that would make any sense. Thankfully, I had a good night’s sleep and almost no pain last night, and I think I might also be recovering from the cold. I find myself realizing how very blessed I am. I know there are so many people out there who face chronic pain and disease. Health is not something that I want to take for granted, but I also want to remember that pain and trial also have their place in our lives and that God can teach us lessons through our times of suffering that we might otherwise not have ears to hear.

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Raining In The House

Yesterday we were excitedly watching the hail beat down on the ground. The noise was amazing and little William was alarmed.

Someone suddenly yelled, “It’s raining in the house!” We turned around to see water pouring down a window and dripping from the ceiling. The upstairs of our new addition was filling up like a swimming pool (it has walls but no roof) and the water was coming through the wall and into the house.

Kevin immediately began shovelling the hail out of the addition with a snow shovel, and I moved all the electronics and books out of the wet zone. Thankfully we were home and able to minimize the damage. We are now hoping for a little sun so we can get the roof on the addition lickety-split!

I assure you that there is never a dull moment around this place. 🙂

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I have five children and home school four. I am at home all day, every day with my children. We have a limited budget and rarely go on trips or out for dinner. I don’t own a washing machine and I don’t have running water. But don’t feel sorry for me, because I … am free.

I am free from debt, depression and disease. I am free to jump on the trampoline or have a tea party with my children. I am free to teach them right from wrong; free to teach them how to read and explore the wonders of creation with them. I am free to worship God and read His Word. I am free to work in my garden and enjoy the labour of my hands. I am free to make a choice. That choice is whether to be thankful or feel sorry for myself, and I am free to make that choice … every day.

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Today, I fell victim to a tinge of self-pity. Since feeling sorry for myself is the quickest way that I know of to fall flat on my face, I try to be ready with a quick self-rebuke. “It could always be worse,” I said aloud, smiling as I remembered the story behind the little saying…

It was 2005, and we were living in a tiny, one room cabin while Kevin built us a house. This time was full of trials, and not least of them, were the thousands upon thousands of insects that we had to deal with.

It was a particularly bad mosquito year, and the situation that we were living in made it even worse. There were air passages above and below the door, and the mosquitoes trickled in. Ethan and Owen were under a year old and still had several naps a day. Every nap time, I would have to take the girls outside so the boys could sleep. We spent hours and hours sitting in the van, as to be outside was unthinkable.

Did you know that there are different species of mosquitoes? We got to know some of the different kinds. The big ones are the first of the season; massive, dopey ones. They weren’t so bad- easy to see, slow, easy to kill. But, did they ever make a mess all over the walls!

The tiny ones that came after were terrible. They were extremely fast and actually seemed intelligent in their ability to avoid annihilation. And tough too! Even when I gave them a good swat, they would buzz away triumphantly. One trick gave me the upper hand though- wet hands.

I found that the mosquitoes would swarm around me as I did the dishes. They seemed to be attracted to the humid air. As I swatted at them, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they would stick to my wet hands. I am slightly ashamed of the fact, that I actually enjoyed those killing sprees.

Sleeping became more difficult with the cabin humming with the buzzing fiends. They would take turns attacking us through the night, and sleep was at best fitful. I found that I could bring down the mosquito population by offering my arm as bait. I would go to bed an hour before I wanted to sleep, and leave my arm exposed while reading a good book. And when a mosquito landed, I would smack it with glee. I learned to be patient. Swatting wildly wasn’t nearly as effective as a carefully calculated blow. I would even wait until I felt the little sting of the proboscis, then I knew I had him (I mean her 😉 .) In this case, the buzz is worse than the bite.

And just when I thought that it couldn’t possibly get any worse, the black fly season began. I came to hate, those tiny, seemingly harmless creatures. They would crawl into my children’s hair and clothing and leave huge welts and trickles of blood. Unlike the mosquitoes, they attacked with stealth and silence.

At this point I really felt that I couldn’t bear anymore, and that is when the red ants poured into the little cabin. I’m not kidding. This is a true story! This cabin is built in a sandy area that these red ants love. Melanie was sleeping on a little mattress on the floor and she would wake up wailing, because she had rolled onto a whole line of the little critters. They would take offence and pinch. Thankfully their pinches were venom-less, but the sheer multitude of the ants was overwhelming.

At first I was mad, but over time I just became tired. What was the point in fighting, I couldn’t win. The ants would crawl up my skirt, and pinch my legs when the fabric brushed them. My son Ethan crawled quite early and liked to catch them and then pop them into his mouth! On several occasions, I opened his mouth and pried loose the little varmints. Ethan didn’t mind a bit. I think that he liked the taste! (Sorry to gross you out, but they taste a lot like vinegar. Not that I’ve eaten them, but they at least smell strongly of vinegar when you squish them. Go figure!)

“What am I supposed to learn from this?” I found myself wondering. “Surely there is a reason for this madness.” Then it came to me, when I was battling the mosquitoes and thought things couldn’t get worse, the black flies came. And when I once again thought things couldn’t get worse that’s when the red ants came. So, could things get worse? They sure could! “So quit you’re complaining and learn to smile at adversity!” That was my lesson.

Now I realize that this is not your average uplifting post. It is likely, that not everyone finds the fact that things could be worse, encouraging. But hey, it works for me! 🙂

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