Last week I decided that I had reached my limit. With several ER visits and both girls in wheelchairs again, I announced that "I could not do it anymore." I told Chuck on the phone (which is always a great thing to tell someone that is far away) that I could not handle things without him.
Instead of resolving to have peace, I decided that I would not have peace unless Chuck was home. Does this remind you of a two-year old's attitude? Instead of things becoming more stable at home, things seemed to get worse. Wizzy was nearly hospitalized for dehydration. CJ was sick so I was unable to really ask anyone to help. I did not want the stomach bug that was plaguing our house to enter into other households.
Again I called on my resolve to endure. "I can do all things through Christ whom strengthens me." But I was missing the root of the problem. I was upset that Chuck was not home and it did not matter to me what else happened, I would not be happy until he was home. The root of my distress was anger because I was alone. I traded in my peace because I was not happy with my circumstances. But since circumstances have little to do with real peace, it would not have mattered if he were home. I had put up conditions that had to be met in order for me to be happy.
If I have learned anything along this journey it is that we cannot demand that certain conditions be met in order for us to be happy. God wants us to be happy and peaceful and joyful despite our circumstances.
God's power protects you through your faith until salvation is shown to you at the end of time. This makes your very happy, even though now for a short time different kinds of troubles make you sad. These troubles come to prove that your faith is pure.So I was putting the responsibility of my happiness on the shoulders of my loving husband. Setting the requirments of what I needed in order "to handle it". What if he were home, but having to work 12 hours a day, would I be able "to handle" that? What if he were only out of town a couple of days a week?
(1 Peter 1: 5-9)
I was acting like the 2 year old that can only be happy if you give her a cookie right now. Most of you know that even if you give the 2 year old the cookie right now, she will only throw a fit in a couple of minutes to get another cookie. She learns that throwing a fit equals a cookie. Her happiness is never satisfied because she cannot keep eating cookies or she will get sick. You as the adult withhold the cookie because you do no want to reward the child when she demands it because if you do, she will throw more and more fits to get more and more cookies which ultimately leads to the child getting sick and spoiled.
If I demand that certain things must be in place in order for me to be happy and peaceful, I know that The Father will do what all loving parents do in this siutation and that is withhold the cookie. He wants us to be happy and peacful and joyful even when we don't get the cookie. He wants us to rely on Him when we cannot "handle it."
I cannot tell God that I will only be happy when Chuck is home because truth be told, I am not always happy when he is! I cannot tell God that I will only be happy when my kids are healed and no longer in pain, because I know that with God's help I can be joyful in the midst of heartache. I cannot put demands and requirements for my peace because I have to work for my peace. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit and from Jesus, but in order for me to have it I must "Look for peace and work for it." (Isaiah 8:12-13)
In order for me to have peace, I must send out peace. I cannot send out anger and expect to get peace. I must send out peace and love and happiness if I want it back. I cannot expect reap what I do not sow. The peace must be in my own heart, not in the situation in which I find myself each day.
What are the circumstances that must be met in order for me to be happy?
- All of my children must be well and go to school.
- All of my children must be out of pain.
- My husband must be in town.
- I must be well and out of pain.
- The sun must shine.
- The house must be clean and smell like cookies.
- I must be able to eat all the cookies I want and not gain weight.
I wonder if God ever looks at me and just shakes His head and says, "I guess she did not learn this lesson yet. Let's try it again." I acted like a spoiled brat these past couple of weeks. Granted, it is not easy dealing with my kid's physical issues along with the emotional repercusions of the pain EDS without Chuck here. But I am not alone. Everyone has issues that are difficult and pushes them to the edge of what they think handle, but somehow we wake up the next day realizing that we did make it through, thank God!