Okay, the second picture isn't exactly like the one they used, but I just couldn't do the real ones. You get the idea. (I think I had those jeans and that belt in 1995. But that was before my bad muffin.)
So, I think I can definitely say that the Lord has showered His grace on me when I needed it. After a week of sick kiddos and confinement, He gives me underwear. I really mean it.
The bonus of the whole experience was that my almost-teenager was with me, and I got to go on and on and on about how there is nothing worse than underwear that gives you a bad muffin. She loved it.
One of the things I deplore most about motherhood is being stuck at home with sick kids. There. I said it. I am clearly full of sacrificial love and compassion. I tend to get mad at people in my house when they get sick. Don't they know how inconvenient this is and how much I hate being trapped in my own home?
I was just looking for cute school ideas on a blog called, "made to be a Momma: create, bake, love inspire." Yeah, that's not me.
Broken. I am broken.
Now that I've entered my second decade as a parent, I can say that I'm not quite as bad as I used to be. Years ago, I'd come close to pitching an actual temper tantrum when this happened. Okay, maybe I did more than come close. It's been a while. I can't remember so well. In this spoiled American life that I live, having my fun weekend plans cancelled was just more than I could bear. I knew I shouldn't feel this way, so I would feel guilty, but I was powerless to change it.
Now, many years and sicknesses and sleepless nights and puke buckets and snotty noses and missed events later, it's still not fun. However, since it's bound to happen, I figured I should ask the Lord to use it. We read inspiring verses from Scripture, such as:
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5
It all sounds so lofty and noble and perfect for those undergoing terrible suffering. But I imagine that the Lord wants me to apply them to puke-filled nights and long, long, looooooooong days at home with whiny kids. It is so terribly hard to see such everyday, mundane struggles in a spiritual light. How did it take me so long before I even had the glimmer of understanding that these everyday trials are the ones the Lord wants to use to grow my dependency on Him, my character, and my hope?
These grueling times don't have to be wasted, if I can just hand them over to Him and fall on His grace. For me, sometimes that looks like easily rejoicing in new underwear. At other times, it looks like me moaning and crying out, "Help me! I can't take it anymore!" and trusting that He will.
Earlier this week, on a day that seems more like a month ago in this uber-stretched-out week of sickness we've been enjoying, it was supposed to snow. And "supposed to snow" in Alabama means 1) It could be the Snow of the Century or 2) It won't snow. Our little cooped-up family spent ALL DAY LOOOOOONG peering out the window at the grayest, coldest rain I've ever seen. Each time I checked the weather forecast, the snow was just "an hour away." We watched reports on television and Facebook of all the beautiful inches of snow our friends just miles up the road were getting.
And we watched it rain.
And rain. For the love....make it snow!
After 8+ hours of sitting in this house with several sick and snow-wanting people, we all but gave up hope. The boys got their baths and put on their pj's, and we looked out the window for the 1,476th time that day. And we saw SNOW.
We were so excited. I wonder if we'd have been that excited eight hours earlier. Maybe. Probably. But it seemed pretty miraculous after it had seemed so impossible.
Sam declared, "I'm so proud of God!"
The kids didn't care that it had taken all day and that we only got an inch or two instead of a foot. God had answered their prayer, and they were thankful. Thankful in a way that only comes after waiting for days for the snow day to come and then hours for the rain to change to soft, white snow.
When the day comes that we get to emerge from this sick house, though it seems like it might never arrive at all, may we all say, "I'm so proud of God!" and emerge with faith that's a little stronger and character that's a little more Christ-like.
But don't think I'm not ready for it now! :)