A Good Week

Because I've so frankly written about my difficult days over the past couple of months, I feel that I would be remiss if I failed to share a few details of last week, which was, as the post title suggests, a good week. Today marks two months since that fateful afternoon snack of a coconut macaroon, which was the final crescendo of the prelude to the demise of life as I once knew it. On May 3rd, I woke to pain, and have felt pain in degrees every day since. The week before last was especially bad, and last week was especially good.

The weekend before last, the debilitating pain of the previous week was beginning to recede. By Monday morning, I felt almost normal. I wasn't hyper-aware of every major joint in my body. The pain in my hip was gone, allowing me to walk like a healthy 28-year-old. My hands and feet were functional. The only reminders of my illness were a dull ache in my right shoulder, a slight headache, a mild allergic reaction to something I had eaten the day before and fatigue, with which I have been living for a year and a half at this point.  For me, I felt great! And I continued to feel great throughout the week.

I have provided an overview of the week's accomplishments below:

I made it to the health food store in Ruston with Sara in tow . . . in 104 degree heat. Make no mistake, the Lord is responsible for getting me through the task, but it was an unusual feat nonetheless. And I was able to cook dinner, and give both children a bath that evening!

I cooked 7 meals in 6 days. I am still astonished at this record. I also have begun to realize that I was never thankful enough for convenience foods. Even when cooking simply, cooking from scratch several times a week is a task!

I am usually unable to keep up with the laundry. Last week, the laundry couldn't keep up with me!

My spunk and fire returned for the first time in several weeks. Mom said she could tell I felt better by my Facebook posts alone. Ha!

I was able to go shopping with Brandon for a couple of hours in the heat. I did not buy anything as we were shopping for mobile homes, but I survived looking at several of these non-air-conditioned heat traps. For those of you who are confused, a further explanation will be given in a future post. Or you can just call.

I baked a cake! A simple, apple bundt cake made with rice flour. At least, that was the intent. It actually ended up looking like this:
I used the wrong baking dish, and tried to shorten the two hour time commitment by baking it in the microwave. Lesson learned: Not all cakes should be baked in the microwave. Half of the batter boiled over while baking, leaving a sunken, crumbly mess that stuck to the pan. I was ready to count it as a loss, but Brandon suggested alternative marketing.

I placed the "cake" in a different dish, topped it with a clumpy glaze and voila!--
"Apple Crumb Cake"
 And it was delicious.

The most astounding accomplishment for the week was a photo session for me and the kids on Tuesday morning. My talented cousin/family photographer, Morgan Tucker, and I decided upon a 7am shoot in order to avoid the heat. The morning could have very well been a disaster. We had no extra set of hands to help with the children, which is nice to have even if you aren't at odds with your body. We did not have the chair we planned to bring for me to be able to sit comfortably. I woke late. The kids slept until I woke them up for the first time in their lives. (They are usually awake around 6:30.) We were running almost a half hour late when we left the house, and Sara had not had her daily poopsplosion which promised disaster if it occurred during the shoot as it usually means a huge mess, a bath and a twenty minute cleanup. Morgan later told me that she was very concerned about that morning, as well, but did not burden me with her concerns. However, what could have been a catastrophe, ended up being an amazing morning.

Once upon a time, I used to think (and sometimes say aloud) that God does not care about the mundane, inconsequential details of our lives. That morning, I found out I had been wrong. As it turns out, God enjoys proving Himself faithful to His children. I prayed that God would bless this trivial event, and He delivered. He so delivered! We arrived at the field that would serve as our location before 8am. The field was completely encircled and shaded by tall trees which blew soft, cool kisses our way all morning long. Sara saved her poopslosion for later in the day after we were home. Micah's protests were appeased by promises of ice cream before lunch. 

And maybe the biggest evidence of answered prayers--A few weeks ago, I would have been very uneasy about blindly traipsing through tall grass. Allow me to rephrase that--"I would have been scared outta my mind!" My imagination would have taken me to images of snakes, yellow jacket nests, fire ant beds, red bug bites from head to toe, and ticks in sensitive areas to name a few. I would have been afraid for myself, but more so for my children. Yet all I felt was a huge, gaping absence of fear. I was a bit taken off guard because I had been in this sad state of almost constant fear since my dream in January. I expected to be afraid that morning. I expected to have to wage war on my fear with my newly memorized Psalm 27. Instead, I had to go looking for the fear, and when I did, I couldn't find it! Can I tell you that I almost wept for joy? I didn't because I didn't want Morgan to think I was crazy and I didn't want to mess up my makeup, but I did weep from the well of joy and gratitude in my heart when I was at home later that afternoon. 

I have lived the words of the psalmist--"I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears" (Psalm 34:4)! I had been asking almost daily for the Lord to take away, deliver me from, and heal me of my fears. I do not know when it happened or how, but the fear that had grown into a monster I could not control . . . . a monster who threatened to eat me alive . . . . has suddenly vanished. And God brought his absence to my notice right before this photo shoot I had asked Him to bless.

I will tell you that shoot was not perfect. The children fussed and whined. They were not perfectly happy. But they were able to be distracted and made happy in intervals. Morgan was astoundingly patient, helpful and encouraging. Let me say here that a photographer like this girl is a rare find. She will work with you, your kids and everyone's needs without giving any hint of impatience or frustration. Morgan is also chronically ill, but you would never know it from her joy, kindness and consideration for the needs of others. She is a trooper and a saint . . . . and an absolute artist.

 (Click here to book your session with Morgan or to find out more about Jolly Tucker Photography.)

I don't know why I've never understood that God cares about the small things. It's plainly explained in scripture--

"Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are numbered. Do not fear therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows." 
Matthew 10:29-31

I can't say that I fully understand it, but I am thankful that He thinks of me enough and loves me enough to care about grocery trips and mobile home shopping in the heat. I'm glad that He is good enough to give me a good laugh over a baking failure. I am encouraged that He cares about details like shade and breezes and happy children during photo shoots. I could dance in exultation that He, without my immediate notice, took away my fear and decided to show me right before happy photos were taken! And today, as pain riddles my hands as I type out this tribute to the glorious faithfulness and lovingkindness of God with every joint screaming for my attention, I cannot let go of the gratitude I feel for a good week. 

Oh, Lord, "what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor."
Psalm 8:4-5