This is picture represents what it looks like when two parents get sick at the same exact time. Same hour, same day, two parents laid up in bed equals this:
To be clear, each stuffed animal had its very own jelly bean and the speaker was loudly playing the song, “Celebrate good times come on!”
I however did not feel like celebrating. No, I felt like wallowing. Wallowing because it was Saturday and I had plans for Saturday! Magnificent plans of cleaning up rooms, organizing clothes, and finally unpacking from our Spring Break trip that was over a week ago now! Glorious plans of finally putting all that crap away instead of it sitting in the middle of our lives. There it is. This picture. This is what it looks like for magnificent Saturday plans to be dashed. Ruined. In fact, setting back life 1000 steps instead of inching forward. Laying in bed writhing instead of being up and productive.
There I lay. Sick as a dog, running back and forth to the bathroom one thousands times and facing head on (once more I might add) the truth that my plans only go so far. Once more remembering, “Oh right. I’m supposed to hold lightly to my plans. My control.” Instead I had been holding onto my Saturday plans with a tight knuckled grip. Saturday clean up time was supposed to solve all my problems after all.
Rewind to early last week. I always spend my energy and focus first on the downstairs. I have learned that if I keep the downstairs half clean, the dishes done, and the laundry not piling up then me and the rest of the family can stay sane. But, after vacation, upstairs was an especial disaster. Suitcase contents literally thrown from one end of life to another and kids rooms strolling confidently in the “need to be quarantined” column of life, I couldn’t take it anymore. “Don’t worry,” I would tell myself “you have Saturday. ALL day Saturday to clean.”
So when Saturday instead brought a stomach flu and stuffed animal parade I literally didn’t know what to do with myself.
Except throw a mental pity party of course. That I successfully accomplished.
What. Is. Wrong. With. Me?
Have I not learned to hold lightly to the plans that I make? Have I not learned that, despite all my greatest efforts, my plans never do unveil as planned? Have I not learned to instead turn to God for contentment and peace? Have I not learned that my house will never be clean, children will never make it to the toilet when they throw up in the middle of the night, and stuffed animal parades are a necessary (and fun) part of childhood?
Have I not learned?
Apparently I always need reminding.
Which brings me back to the Isaiah reading I mentioned last week. This week’s reading literally jumped off the page at me and straight into my controlling heart.
“Woe to you who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord.” Isaiah 31:1-2
Seems I had been too busy counting my chariots, trusting in minutes, and looking to the great strength of my own two feet. For there is nothing to minimal for me not to take the time to submit it to the Lord. Including my home. Including my Saturday. Including my expectations.
I’ve been praying for “Mary” moments. Gotta love when God uses fun things like stomach flus to answer prayers. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
Indeed only one.
Indeed only one thing? Really Lord, just one?
I have to remind myself of this truth over and over again. At the end of my day, if I spent time at the foot of my King praying to Him, reading of Him, dwelling in Him, and thinking of Him than it was a good day. A successful day at that. As long as I’ve done this one thing, I have done what is better. All the other things will fall into its place.
This Saturday it was the flu and unmet expectations. Next Saturday it could be a worse, way worse, derailment.
As Dave and I laid sick together at one point he turned and said, “this is a pretty awful day.”
“Yeah,” I said “But I can think of worse ones.”
How’s that for a fun marital activity? We then went back and forth reminiscing all the worst days of our lives we could think of. Weird right? Who does that? Apparently when you are sick you lose all sense of normalcy. Weirder thing was, it really wasn’t a depressing activity. It ended up being kind of okay because with every horrible day there was a God story somewhere close by.
It just amazes me, how in the middle of the storm all you can see is the turmoil and the difficult and the horrible. I think that is what “Mary” moments are for. The more of those I store up the more ready I will be when the storms do come.
That is my prayer for you today. You might find yourself sitting in the middle of a stuffed animal parade with a side of stomach flu on the way, but may we together find a way to push it aside and spend time on the one thing.