christinarenee

What God has taught me through the fire.

gods-fire

 I went back to a few years ago when I once again had no voice and contemplated God’s mercy and kindness in dealing with me. We had a fire in March of 2005 and I was inside, I ended up breathing in a lot of smoke and lost my voice for about a month. We had many blessing during this time and I had written about what God had taught me through the fire  for myself and then ended up sharing it with my Sunday School class through the teacher. Anyway, I thought it might encourage or bless someone so I am posting it here. Here is what God has taught me through the fire. 

What God has taught me through the fire. Count it all joy.

PEACE
Peace. ..God has given me peace in all of the circumstances he gives us. He alone is
responsible for a peace that passes all understanding. He has blessed our family through
very good friends who were there with us while we were waiting. They helped get things
our family and children needed. He gave me good neighbors to help and comfort us
while I was waiting on the firemen. He gave us good friends to wait with us and go and
get what was needed with out asking and it was wonderful. We knew many people cared,
we knew God cared. And I knew we were in the midst of His care.

FAITHFULNESS
Faithfulness… I have seen God’s faithfulness through this so many times. Through the
insurance company. They have been prompt, kind and helpful. Through our church
family, our home school group, neighbors, dear friends, cards, letters, phone calls
(although that has been more one sided since I haven’t had my voice.) A home beyond,
which we couldn’t have imagined. We were given wonderful landlords who blest us by
lending us their home with all their furnishings so we wouldn’t have as much to do right
away. It has a huge backyard for the children with a swing set, playhouse, and a deck
with picnic tables and a fire pit for family campfires.

BLESSINGS
Blessings. ..I was talking with my daughter the other night and she wants her home back.
Her “real home.” Not the one we’re in. The home we are in now is temporary while our
home is being fixed. But that home too is temporary. Our real home is not here but
heaven. How often I can get earthly minded and comfortable with this home and not
thinking about my eternal home.

Plans

I am looking through decorating books, kitchen books, windows, etc. I am planning and
dreaming about what it will look like. There are a lot of decisions that will affect how we
will live for a long time. Big decisions and little ones, daily decisions. But what about all
the decisions we make now on a daily basis. Don’t these affect our whole lives? Our
eternal lives. And our families. Do plan, dream and realize the affect of these decisions is
I deliberate or am I on autopilot, not realizing or being deliberate in the far-reaching
consequences. This is my opportunity to choose the best. Not just good or even better, but
God, what is the best that you have for me.

THANKFULNESS

Thankfulness. … I am so thankful to be alive. I take for granted my mortality, that we
raise our children and go about our daily business. But God so easily could have called
me home that day. And while it would have been glorious seeing Jesus, I am so thankful
to again have the opportunity to serve Him. To serve my husband and children through
Him. To grow old with them and see their lives and do my part in it.

SILENCE

Silence.  Or close to it. I have had laryngitis for weeks now. It doesn’t seem like this is
a blessing or something to be thankful for, yet I have learned many things. I had all these
things to do, organize. Now I couldn’t talk on the phone, (horrors) I did talk rarely but
most people had a hard time understanding me and I couldn’t speak long. We didn’t
have Internet access so I couldn’t even talk through email. But I had that time to be with
my family.

Listen

My children had to learn to listen for me whispered voice. (Hopeful
preparation for a still small one.) I had a white board another daughter had gotten me so
they read a lot. I learned not to speak unless it was important. (Not idle chatter) I had to
save my voice for the really important things. Telling them I loved them, how much they
what little voice I had on them answering the same question over and over, so they
learned to listen closer. Many times they had to look at me to be sure of what I was saying. So I made the time to look at them too.

Being  Still

I didn’t have time to just sit still. God has taught me there is a time to just sit
still. It is still hard but I am learning. I have a friend and older daughters who have been
challenging me on that. We have been in this house for 1 week and I see do many things
to do yet. “Are you resting,” they ask? “Yes” I reply. ” How long, 10 minutes?” They
know me well. I have now learned to type one handed, lying on the bed so I can indeed
say I am resting. That is rest, right?

Quietness

I have also learned my being silent has been a blessing in my husband and
my relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I love to talk to my dear husband but it has also
made me aware of a number of things. I can’t give him directions when he drives. (I drive
many more hours than he does so I do know my way around better, but does it really
matter?) I haven’t offered my opinion on little things. I was saving what little voice I had
on things that matter. (Gee, if they don’t matter now, why did they) I haven’t offered
needless corrections. (Who cares if it happened Tuesday or Wednesday?) God has been
teaching me to have a meek and quiet spirit through silence.

BIG PICTURE

God sees the Big Picture.  My husband has been looking for a different job this year. I
couldn’t understand why he hadn’t gotten one. He has years of experience and perfect
attendance. The two things most places are always looking for. But God knew what else
He had in store for us this year. He knew Jim still needed to be where he was. His
company gave him 3 days off with pay for disaster pay and since he has been there so
long he was able to be off with all of us for 2 weeks. Long enough to get somewhat
settled in a different home, to reassure our children and to meet with contractors and
insurance adjusters. He would not have been able to do that anywhere else.

Purpose

Now I am able to keep that in mind being sick still. You could say I am sick and tired of being sick
and tired. I have been sick over a month now. A lot of it barely able to talk, at least not a
lot. I have not been able to read to my children, and really talk with my husband about all
of this going on. It has been a lot of monosyllables and writing short sentences on a
whiteboard. I have been trying to listen a lot more. It still doesn’t make sense to me, but I
do know that God has purposes that I can not see. And I am learning that is okay too.

Time

I have been treasuring it. It is one thing that cannot be replaced, bought or saved.
You use it every day. You don’t get a second chance to redo yesterday. I need to make
the most of each day, hour, minute. We look ahead and see how much we have to do.
How slowly the time passes with little ones, how quickly it passes as we age and see our
children grown up. I have one in diapers and one married, (with many in between) there
is a large gap in their ages, yet I know my youngest will too be married and on his own
one day.

Spending My Day

How will I spend today? What is most important? How did I invest my time?
Did I use it to further relationships? Or my to do list? Did I spend time with God? Teach
my children about Him? Spend time with my husband, children? These are eternal. My
home will not be there. It has already proven it could go up in flames so why do I view it
as so important. It is a tool, a vessel to shelter my family, to offer refuge to my husband, to be
a place of togetherness. But all that must be in my heart first. That is the place that must
be filled first, over flowed onto others. They are the ones I need to invest in and treasure.

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When Summer Doesn’t Go as Planned

 

 

when-summer

I had great plans this summer. Print outs of summer Bingo, daily plans, foodie plans and fun field trips. We have done none of these. I first had a cast, that means no trips to the beach, or the pool. It’s non weight bearing so no walking trips.  I have a knee scooter which will not fit in my car and we borrowed a wheelchair which doesn’t roll on grass. That did leave library trips. Then I spent 3 days in the hospital for tests in June unexpectedly, which leaves me with 10 hugs a day minimum from my very now clingy daughter. I went to the doctor Wednesday to find out I was having surgery to amputate 2 toes that had been infected for more than 2 months. More time down. I had all these great plans to make up for the last few summers that I was also down. This is the 4th summer with major health problems that limited what I could do. And I was sure this year was different. I was sure after how terrible the last few summers were this would be the one where I could take my children to the beach, to the pool, on field trips and just plain have fun. God has other plans.

Great Plans

I have great plans for you, plans for hope and a future. While we might not know and understand the plans God has, He knows.  He sees the big picture while I can only see this is one more thing I have had to cancel. He sees our hurts and disappointments, He knows the whys we ask. I wish I did. We have still had fun. My older children have made it a point to take my younger children swimming. My children home have been so kind about pushing the wheel chair and bringing me things. They’ve been gracious about what I can’t do. There’s a lot they’ve learned that weren’t on any of the plans I’d made.  So we’re learning to follow plans unmade.

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A Clean House

a-clean-house

I saw the funniest cartoon once. A mother walked in with a basket of clothes and said”Now the laundry is all done.” The entire family were just wearing towels. I have felt like that mother, it seems impossible to get it all done.

I don’t think I have had all the rooms in my house clean at the same time . If we work on the upstairs it trickles down. And all the laundry is never all done. Even if I get caught up in the morning once 11 people take showers it piled up again. Oh my, if the flu hits, its time to go to the laundry mat or risk never catching up.I started cleaning out my kitchen cupboards a month ago. Each time I start I straighten up what I have done and then hopefully proceed before time runs out. I’m still not finished. By the time I am finished it one area it’s time to start on the first one again. A clean house seems like a mirage.

Never Ending Dishes and Laundry

Our dishwasher runs constantly. Do you know how many dishes it takes to make a meal for a family of 11? I know holiday meals that people have are not that many. My children went to the dentist this week and the hygienist was so nervous about making dinner for 6 it was hard not to say anything, let alone not laugh.

I love having a large family, but I love having a clean house too. I am wondering if the two are incompatible? Especially with a sick mom and children doing most of the work at this time.

I am much better than I was. My dh lived by himself when we got married. I had two children. So he went from himself to a family of 4. When we moved stuff he took down my Christmas tree. It was the last week in February. We had boxes for aisles for months. At least I knew how to cook. He gained weight our first year.

So I am working on decluttering and cleaning. I have seen Don Asslett’s videos, Flylady’s email list, read the Speed Cleaning book and the messies manual. I keep seeing improvement but I have definitely not arrived. Maybe one day.

Gift of a Clean House

My children have asked again what I want for Christmas. I have the same answer for Mother’s day and my birthday and Christmas. The house all cleaned and no children fighting. They usually laugh. I do know one day it will happen. But I think the house will be clean, but also too quiet. There won’t be as many dishes or laundry because there won’t be as many home. The floor won’t have to be swept several times a day because there won;t be as many small or big feet running on it. So I’ll still work on getting my house cleaner but I will remember why it’s so hard to keep up.

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Life on A Roller Coaster

rollor-coaster

Do you ever feel like your life is on a roller coaster? I know I do, with all the ups and downs that come with life I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I have children coming and going. Adult children  and my mother dropping in unexpectedly. Doctor appointments, shopping and unexpected ER visits.   And while I can’t control them, I can plan my life in a way that minimizes the impact of the downs, enjoys the ups more, and still keep life mostly in control.

Margin

I can make sure there is margin my life instead of scheduling everything back to back with no time to spare. I can make sure I build in a little extra time so that when someone stops by I have time to visit. I can manage my home so that I’m not embarrassed when they do too.

Jumping Through Hoops

I have a tenancy to hurry through my days. I love to check off my to do boxes. I multi task to get more done. And I have a lot of trouble being still. Even though I was on bed rest for the last 2 weeks. I tend to fidget a lot, okay, constantly. And I make great plans for everything I can do when I am up on my feet.  Then I frequently overdo it and end up back in bed.

I’m rarely still. I’ve read dozens of books, watched tv, listened to podcasts, made many lists, and organized as many drawers as I could get someone to bring me.  Some of these at the same time.

Slowing Down

So, I’ve made it a purpose to slow down the roller coaster of life and enjoy each day. To learn from the downs, celebrate the ups and savor the moment. To make time to live in the moment.

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