Hand, Foot, Mouth, and Mind

You know your husband is in Africa when you spend your sick kid's entire nap time (precious time, as any mama knows) on Google maps trying to find one tiny hotel in the middle of a huge continent. Can I just say that the fact that we can type in a place anywhere in the world and almost instantly see an actual photo of it is amazing? Okay, not anywhere. Not the hotel I happen to be looking for...but something very close to it, I'm sure.

And, yes, I said sick kid. Because you know when you send family members to Africa and then write a blog about how God has changed your heart and how eternal things matter so much to you, you're gonna get smacked in the face with a sick kid and a long, boooorrriiing week at home. Along with a few sleepless nights thrown in for good measure.

Our Poor Little Sam has been graced by the presence of what Dr. Mommy has diagnoses as hand, foot, and mouth disease. I know, it sounds like he has extra feet and hands growing from every part of his body or that his appendages are being eaten away by some flesh-eating virus. Fortunately, he's only mostly miserable and unsightly with a mouth full of painful sores and a sweet little chubby body covered in red bumps and blisters. That's all. And just for fun, we have a few swollen, itchy mosquito bites thrown in, just to annoy him in those moments when his mouth isn't killing him.

Sam, on a happier day

Okay, that makes the fact that I have been battling self-pity sound horrible when Poor Little Sam is the one who's sick. But, as any human, sinful, self-loving mom knows, when the kids get sick, they're not the only ones who suffer. One of the cons of parenthood: When a kid is sick, we all suffer. Mostly mom. I'm thinking of having that embroidered on a throw pillow. What do you think?

One of the pros of parenthood: When a kid is sick, Mommy gets extra snuggles. Let's face it, though. That's only a pro for the first 24-48 hours. After that, snuggling starts to feel overrated and a little more leech-like.

So, we're just hanging out at the Palace de Bond and doing awesome things like spending the afternoon perusing Africa on Google Maps. Don't be jealous.

To change the subject: A few days ago I woke up (which is always a good way to start your day), and my mind started running before my head got off my pillow, as usual. One of my first thoughts: I hope our poop gets cleaned up today. You see, we were still right in the middle of the saga of our stinky backyard.

Finally, there were men in my yard, and I couldn't have been happier to see them. For two weeks, we had a river of sewage flowing down our backyard mountain. You see, in all of God's sovereignty and goodness, He had chosen to plant our poopy problems right in the middle of the wettest summer in recent memory. Call it the Sovereign Will of God or just plain old bad luck, but these poor men who spend each day cleaning up sewage hadn't had the good fortune to be able to come play in mine for the last couple of weeks.

(Do you think they wake up each morning, look outside to see how the weather looks, and declare, "Woohoo! It's dry enough for me to go clean up refuse today! Finally!")

I just feel so sorry for them, but I am so thankful that someone is willing to take on this horrible job. As they say, "Somebody's gotta do it," and thank the good Lord it's not me!

I'm just the poor person who gets to pay said men to clean up my poop. Though it's a tough decision, I'm going to call my end of the deal better because I don't actually have to smell like the mess when it's all said and done.

It's been kind of funny how sewage has been one of the first things on my mind each day when I've woken up over the past several weeks. More recently, there have been thoughts of how to sooth mouth ulcers and the disappointment of messed up plans on my mind. They say that all you have to do is look in a person's checkbook to see where their true priorities lie, and I would venture to guess that the first few thoughts that cross a person's mind upon waking each day would be a pretty good measuring stick as well.

Usually the very first thought on my mind is, "Oh my gosh. Why is this kid in my bed AGAIN?!" Then my mind quickly heads down the path of food. It's a little embarrassing to admit that food is one of the first and most frequent topics of thought for me. Thankfully, it's not "how can I get it?" but "what should we eat today?"

My heart's desire, though, is for the first thoughts of my day to be thanks and praise to God. It's so easy to immediately start to make the mental to-do list, to worry about a stinky backyard, to get frustrated with kids who woke you up early AGAIN. But the day is not ours to worry or plan or whine. It is a gift from the Lord and is already planned out by him. I want my thoughts to be "Thank you, Lord, for the fact that I woke up again. Thanks for another day. What should we do today?"

I think so many of my disappointments, worries, and frustrations stem from the fact that I approach my day as though it is just that - mine. But it's a gift from him and it's to be used for his purposes. Even if his purposes are to stare out my back window at this and remind myself of his goodness and faithfulness in the midst of expensive work done by stinky people.

Here they are. Some of my favorite men in the world. If only I knew their names.
Or if his purpose is to teach me perseverance and joy through sick children and travelling husbands.

Or if his purpose is to let me see his beauty and majesty while gazing at the beach. I'm just sayin', that would be okay with me.

So, I'm going to think about my thoughts a little more, and see how the Lord will change them to see what he sees, what he's doing, and how awesome he is rather than what is happening in the small, physical world in front of me.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8


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