Finding Rest and Peace?

I keep thinking things will slow down.

Don’t laugh. We all need peace and quiet. God told us so in Genesis, and during his time on earth, Jesus demonstrated this need.

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. Mark 6:32-33

Unfortunately, it’s hard. Even in this passage from Mark, the crowds followed them. Their reprieve was short-lived. Yet, we have his example here and in other parts of the gospels.

We live in, and participate in, a world that craves activity. People run back and forth taking care of things. They’re so busy they can’t put their phones down during the times they should rest. No, this is not a diatribe about overusing cell phones. I’m only acknowledging how we live.

When you add raising grandchildren to this busy mix, it gets really messy. I was busy before the grands moved in. I’ve let things go to have more time for them. I’m still busier than I was before. My body is complaining, too. I celebrated a birthday this week, and I’m beginning to feel the pains of growing old.

Somehow in the next few weeks, I have to fit Thanksgiving and Christmas into my schedule. All I really want to do is stop. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop. Children have needs. We must work to pay the bills. Others count on us. My body is reacting to the constant go, go, go of our lives. It isn’t happy.

Jesus knew slowing down and resting would be hard.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

As we enter the season of joy, I’m determined to find time for that joy. I’m not in control of my schedule as much as I’d like to be, but how many of us really are? I’ve made choices. Choices to raise two more children who need the love of family. That led to choices about work. I accept contracts I might not have taken five years ago. Choices about activities. I’ve committed to the children’s extracurricular activity schedules (although I’ve tried to keep these minimal). I’ve said no to a lot of opportunities that really don’t matter.

As I move forward, I try to weigh each choice with what it does for us and what it does for our family. I should be asking if it interferes with our need to be present before God. I’ll admit that is not always forefront in my mind. I guess that’s a great reason to enter this season of joy. We need to remember our true purpose on this earth: to glorify God.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not fulfilling that purpose as well as I could.

Thank goodness for grace!

The Medical Challenges of Disrupted Lives

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I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4: 13

I’ve spent the first half of 2019 on the go. Going to work, going to the kids’ schools, taking them to appointments, trying to keep up with family issues. Mostly, I’ve been carting the children back and forth to medical appointments.

It’s been tough. I’m stressed out.

It wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have so many appointments with the kids. I’m serious. I sat down this morning and counted all of the medical appointments from the first half of this year. The numbers are shocking and unusual for our lives.

Amari had 22 appointments between 5 kinds of practitioners. When children don’t live with their parents, they need counseling, so we have those appointments. We switched to a new counselor, midway, so he’s having to learn to trust the new counselor, too. Then he has encopresis, so he sees a gastroenterologist for this issue plus a counselor who helps us devise ways to retrain his body to learn to function properly. In February, we finally got him an appointment with a developmental behavior doctor who diagnosed his ADHD and Anxiety/OCD. The follow ups to that appointment have been time-consuming because we’re still trying to find the right balance of prescriptions to help him focus and not be paralyzed by the anxiety. (The good news is that treating the ADHD has helped with the encopresis to some degree.) He, also, sees an allergist due to his respiratory issues. (If you smoke around your children, please stop. His parents both smoked, and doctors tell me he’ll probably always have sinus issues since he lived with this the first four years of his life.) Then, of course, there’s our pediatrician who’s seen him twice this year so far.

Despite all of this, Amari remains a fairly happy guy…when his anxiety isn’t getting the best of him.

Victoria had 19 appointments and only saw 3 kinds of doctors:  a counselor, the behavioral doctor, and our pediatriction. BUT, not to be outdone by her brother, during the last week of school she ended up in the hospital with walking pneumonia. She’s fine and bounced back quickly, but what a ride!

It’s not a competition, but our dog must have felt left out. She had two surgeries during this period.

You may have noticed I didn’t mention the dentist or the eye doctor. Those appointments are coming up soon. Yay! Some one put me out of my misery, please.

My own medical needs have taken back seat to the grandchildren, but I’ve had my own appointments scattered throughout the last six months. My fibromyalgia and plantar fasciitis made sure I didn’t forget about them during these months.

Whew! It’s exhausting when you look at it this way. None of these appointments are superfluous. It’s been tough fitting them into our schedules. In fact, I decided to cut our their after school activities to open up their schedules. Hopefully, we’ll see a decrease in visits over the second half of the year. I really want to get them back into activities once school starts in August, but there’s only so many hours in a week. If this doesn’t level out soon, we can add a new doctor. One who’ll put me in a padded cell!

Thank goodness for insurance!

And most importantly, thank goodness for the Great Physician who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (from Psalm 147:3). We never could have survived this without our faith.


PS:  A special thank you to our family who gave me and Bruce the opportunity to get away for a week recently. It was paradise…and we really didn’t want to come back.

Forced To Be Still

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I’m sitting in a local coffee shop while writing this on my iPad. Not an ideal choice, but…

Why, you might ask, am I not on my trusty laptop sitting in my comfortable office?

Welllll. I was relieved to arrive early for an appointment this morning only to find out that I was not ten minutes early. I was actually an hour and ten minutes early!

Ouch! I have so much on my To Do list for today, and I didn’t bring my laptop when I left the house. I planned to head straight home after my appointment and jump on that list. Ugh! I hate typing on my iPad. It believes itself to be superior to my word choices, so I have to keep a close eye on it. Still, I’ll try to make the best of things and use this time well.

People who knew me before my new life of grand-parenting know I’m not forgetful. I’m usually on top of things, but lately my skills in that area have crumbled. Why? As much as I hate to admit it, as we get older, we lose some of that sharp edge. We can’t multitask as well as we did twenty or thirty years ago. Add the rush and chaotic pace that goes hand-in-hand with raising children, and slip-ups are bound to happen. I wish I could say this was the only one this week, but I’d be lying.

Earlier in the week, I promised Victoria we’d order pizza and wings from a place we don’t frequent. She recalls the restaurant fondly from her past life with her mother before things went awry. The best day to do this slipped by. I ran out of time. I told her, tomorrow. That day almost slipped by, too, but I remembered at the last moment, got online, and placed my order. As I drove to pick up the kids, my husband called to say he was headed home. I asked him to pick up the food.

The problem? The location closest to us didn’t have our order. I pulled up my email confirmation and gave him the phone number and address. The website, it seems, selected the “closest” store to us. It wasn’t. We live three miles from the closest. It chose one eight miles away. Getting to that location, due to rush hour, would take an hour.

Before you ask, yes, I did look at the address, but I misread it. They both are close to the same highway. I glanced at the map in a hurry to place the order and go pick up the kids. It LOOKED right. Of course, it wasn’t.

There’s a reason God instructs us to be still. We all need a rest. We all need to recollect and let the pressures of the day fall away. This goes doubly true for grandparents raising grandchildren.

My failure to double-check makes sense to me. The internet indicated I was three miles from the location where it chose to send the order. I didn’t spend but a few seconds verifying it because the distance and address displayed information I expected. Plus, I needed to pick up the children and had worked later than I liked to do on a school day. (After all, the children would have homework that needs to be done, too.)

Our mistakes are reminders to slow down. I’m trying, but right now everyone wants a piece of me. So, for the next few minutes, I’m going to accept this gift of unscheduled time and sip on my chai.

God bless.