Tag Archive | Romans

Loving Despite Ourselves

It’s been ages since I’ve put up a blog post, but I got a little “divine” inspiration this week!

It was one of those days. You know those days when nothing seems to go right, you don’t feel good, and everyone seems grumpy? Yup, one of those days. To make things worse, I was having some of the worst back pain ever and could hardly get around. Fortunately, I was off work as was my hubby and daughter. Early on in the day, Dave made it clear to Katie that she was to help me that day because of the pain I was having. In the beginning, she was more than happy to get things for me, bring me an extra blanket, whatever it was I needed. By lunch time, her demeanor was beginning to change.

“Katie, I’m going to stretch out on the bed for a while. While I do, could you please pick up the things that are on the floor of your bedroom and straighten up? And…make sure you get all your dirty clothes in the hamper because we’re doing laundry this afternoon,” I requested.

“Do I have to?” she whined.

“Yes, you do.”

“Make me!” she snidely snapped.

Moments later, her daddy having heard the nastiness in her voice offered some “incentive,” and she was grudingly cleaning her room, muttering under her breath and throwing things around in her room.  Soon, her bedroom door went shut and I heard the sounds of Toby Mac being played on her CD player. I knew instantly that the cleaning of her room had ceased.

I got myself out of the bed, which was no small feat with the pain I had, and walked across the hall to her room. I opened the door and said, “What are you doing?”

“Get out!” she yelled. “Get out of my room!”

As I made a quick survey of the room, I saw that very little progress had been made on the condition of her room. There were piles of stuff everywhere I looked and I had no idea how she’d ever get in her bed to sleep that night with all the things she had stacked on there.  I was angry. Not only had she disobeyed me,  but she had also disobeyed her daddy and now was talking back with quite a bit of attitude to boot.

“Is this what you were asked to do?” I said.

“No, but I don’t want to do stuff for you anymore today. I’m bored and I want to do this now.”

Trying to keep my cool, I replied, “You’re not just doing this for me or for Daddy, but you’re doing it for yourself too. Wouldn’t it be a whole lot nicer to sleep and play in a cleaned up room?”

“I don’t care,” she shouted. “I like it this way!”

“You do?” I questioned. “You enjoy sleeping on books and Legos and dirty clothes?”

“Yes, I do!”

David, having heard this interaction, came back the hall and laid down the law. There would be no more music, no more playing, no more goofing off until the room is picked up.  He ushered me back to our room and helped me back in bed and went back over to talk to Katie. “I believe we had an agreement that you would do what your mother asked you to do today.”

“Yeah, but I don’t want to do this!  She’s just being mean to me!”

“No she isn’t.  She loves you and wants the best for you and that’s one reason why she wants you to have a clean room. Mommy can’t clean it for you today, I’m taking care of laundry, dishes and cleaning up the living room and kitchen, and this is your room, so you must clean it yourself.”

“Fine!” she yelled, and proceeded to begin the process of cleaning her room.

Later, Katie came into the room and threw a piece of paper at me. It said, “Do you love me?”

What? I could hardly believe it! I was so upset! Of course, I loved her! How could she think otherwise? I was hurt, frustrated and all that hurt and frustration just seemed to intensify the pain.  I began to cry. Dave came into the room at that moment. “What’s wrong? Do you need more pain medication?”

“No,” I replied, “here.”  I handed him the note.

“I’m going to talk to her.”

“No, honey, don’t. It will just make things worse,” I sobbed.

Towards supper time, Katie had finished up rearranging her clutter (it was far from resolved) and cleared off her bed. I could see from my bed that progress had been made. “Katie?”

“What!” she yelled.

“Come here please.”

“What do you want now?” she snapped.

Disregarding her attitude, I asked, “It’s almost time for supper. If you could help me out of the bed, you and I could go to the kitchen and make supper together. I’ll let you cook.”

She smiled a little at this point. “What are we making?”

“Meatloaf.”

“Cool! And I can make it?”

“Yes. I’ll tell you what you need to do.”

“Just get out the recipe and I’ll follow it,” she said.

“I don’t have a recipe, Katie. I make it from memory, so I’ll have to tell you.”

“Fine,” she said the smile suddenly leaving her face.

She helped the best she could to help steady me as I crawled out of the bed and we went to the kitchen. I sat down at the table and started giving her directions. At several points of the process, I had her wash or rinse her hands at the sink. This seemed to just irritate her further. She got the meatloaf finished and put into the oven and I asked her if we could mix up a Betty Crocker potato mix to go with it. “Nah, you can do that. I’m done with this stuff. I need to go cool off. I’m mad at you.”

“Why are you mad at me now?” I questioned, still wondering and hurting from her written question earlier in the day.

“You wouldn’t let me do the meatloaf my way!”

I explained that when you cook, you have to follow the directions or it won’t turn out right. That explanation wasn’t good enough for her and she stomped off to her room. Soon sounds of Toby Mac were once again flowing out her door.

David walked into the kitchen and said, “Did she help you?”

“Yes, but only for a little bit,” I said.  I shared what had happened.

“I’ll go talk to her,” he said.

“No, this is our battle, David. I’ll deal with her later.”

Supper was delicious! We both gave Katie praise for the delicious meatloaf, but not a word of thanks came from her mouth.  She was sent to get her bath, again with much complaint, but she did go. When her bath was over, I asked her to go get her brush so that she could get her hair smoothed out and also to get ready for bed.  She stomped around and stomped around. “I can’t find my brush!” she screamed.

“It’s in my purse. You gave it to me to hold for you last night in the van and I told you I’d put it in my purse.”

She marched to the kitchen and immediately comes back. “It’s not in your coat!” she screamed.

“You didn’t listen to me!” I snapped back. “It…is…in…my…purse!”

She tramped back to the kitchen. She brings back my bag I carry to work and shoves it at me. “Find it yourself! It’s not in here!”

“I know it’s not in there,” I said, “because this isn’t my PURSE!”

“Aaaah!” She runs to the kitchen again. I’m hearing her grumble and grumble. Next thing I know, she’s walking back the hall brushing her hair.

“You found it I see!”

“Yeah, whatever…” she said.

I could hardly believe it. Here was my sweet 11-year-old acting quite like a moody teenager. And worst of all, she didn’t think I loved her. She was ready for bed and kissed and hugged her daddy, walked past me and back to her room. David was angry. “She needs to tell you goodnight!”

“I’ve got it,” I said and made my way to her room.

I went in and said, “Katie.”

“What!”

“You didn’t give me a goodnight hug and kiss.”

“Yeah, so?”

“Well, I’d like to have one.” I leaned down to hug and kiss her and she did not reciprocate. I was ready to break. I sat down on the end of her bed. “I got a note from you earlier today.”

“Yeah.”

“Did you really have to ask if I love you?” She immediately began to cry, I believe because she knew the answer.

“Maybe.”

“Why do you think I don’t love you?”

“You were asking me to do stuff and you wouldn’t let me just play and goof off.”

“Katie, do you realize that I ask you do things because I love you?”

“What?”

“Yes, I love you! I ask you do things like clean your room and help with supper because I want you to grow up to be responsible and to know how to do things.  I’m not doing it to be mean. Do you understand that?” As I said this, I looked at her dresser where a photo frame was sitting with various pictures of our family in it. My picture was missing. “I see you removed me from your picture frame. Do you want me not to be part of this family?”

“No!” she sobbed. “I was just mad at you. I don’t want you to leave me ever! I’m sorry! I’ll put it back. I guess I was just having a bad day today.”

“Me too,” I said. ” I thought you didn’t love me anymore either.”

I reached out to her and she fell into my arms and hugged me and kissed me. I tucked her in and gave her one more kiss goodnight. “Thanks for talking to me, Mommy.”

“You’re welcome, I love you, goodnight!”

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I began to think over the events of the day as I laid down to sleep. I couldn’t help but think of how God has many days like this, days where His children totally disrespect Him and act as though they don’t love Him. Yet, he patiently waits for us to realize that He’s still there, He still loves us, and He’s willing to forgive us for our self-centeredness. God would do anything for us. This is made clear in in Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (NIV) What greater love could there be than giving up your own Son to cover our sins? That is true love.

So despite our humanity, despite our tendencies to think only of ourselves, despite our inability to fathom such a love as our Father has for us, He loves us anyway.  What a comforting thought.

As I drifted off to sleep, I thought of how I couldn’t wait to share that with Katie in the morning.

♥Miriam

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Just Because You Can’t See it Doesn’t Mean it Isn’t There

I’m having one of those days again. The sad part is, I haven’t had one of these days for a while and I had been hoping I wouldn’t have a day like today particularly this week when I have a lot to accomplish.

You see, I have one of those invisible diseases. One of those diseases people think you’ve made up just because you want attention or because you want to get out of doing something. Believe me, that’s not the case. I did not choose to have this disease and I’d do anything to get rid of it, but there is no cure….once you have it, it’s always there with you.

Arthritis. There, now you know what I’m referring to. Arthritis loosely translated is “an inflammation of joints”. What this little word doesn’t tell you is everything that goes with that “inflammation of joints.” It doesn’t tell you about the stigma of having an “invisible disease”, nor does it tell you about the excruciating pain that comes with this disease no one can see.

Everyone tries to be helpful…..”You just need to rest more.” (I could sleep and lay around all day and all that would do for me is make me stiffer.)…..”You just need to lose a little weight, that’ll help.” (Some days it’s all I can do to walk across the room….the stamina to excercise is just not there.)….”Maybe if you took Tylenol.” (I could pop an M&M and get just as much relief.) So many “helpful” hints given, all with good intentions, but most of them have been tried or just not an option.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate everyone’s concern, but there are times when I just wish someone would just say something like, “I’ll pray for you,” or “Can I give you a hug?” Those things would do so much more than advice no matter how sincere it is.

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Yes, today was one of those days. One of those days where I wasn’t sure my legs would hold me up until I got across the room. A day when my knees snapped, crackled and popped louder than my breakfast cereal. A day when my arthritis med worked as well as tic tac would for pain. A day where I just wanted to lay in bed and cry because I hurt so bad. But, I didn’t do that….I kept going despite the pain and hurt.

Some people say, “You look fine to me.” It’s those times I would love to be able to let them feel what I feel and experience what I experience. They wouldn’t be so quick to say, “You look fine.” I wish people would understand that when I ask for a chair because I need to sit down it isn’t because I’m lazy…..it’s because I’m hurting and my knees feel like they’re about to give out. I wish they would understand why I can’t walk as fast as they can and perhaps slow their pace to keep up with me so I don’t feel like the slow poke of the bunch. I wish that even my doctor would be more understanding. He tries to help relieve my pain. But when he asks me if he could decrease the dose of medication or try something else like an over-the-counter medication (all of which do nothing for the pain), I wish he wouldn’t look at me like I’m a drug-addict when I say, “no, I can’t.” I’ve tried going without my medication….I can’t make it more than a day without it.   I wish when I use my handicap placard at the grocery store and get out of my van that people wouldn’t look at me as though they were disgusted because I’m “obviously not handicapped.” I wish those same people would ignore me when I chose to use an electric grocery cart because I can’t walk through the entire store.

Oh, there are many that understand. In fact, the other day at the grocery store, a lady saw me looking at the shelves of food. She stopped beside my “scooter” and said, “Can I reach something for you?” I thanked her, but declined (what I needed was right in front of me). I saw her often through the store, she was much older than me, old enough to be my mother. She was so polite and offered to let me go ahead of her many times. Even at the check out, she offered me the spot in front of her. I thanked her for being so nice, since so many people aren’t. She said, “It’s nothing. I would want people to do the same for me. I have many friends with arthritis and mobility issues. It’s hard.” Wow! Here was a person who got it! Even though she couldn’t see my disease, she knew. I wish there were more people like her.

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I have many friends who suffer from these invisible diseases….Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, or worse yet, cancer….just to name a few. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It’s real…very real.

But I have hope. I have hope that once I reach age 50, I might be able to get a knee replacement(s) because health insurance will then deem me “old enough” to have the surgery. I have hope that God can heal even chronic and debilitating diseases such as this (and honestly, in past months, He has given me more good days than bad!). I have hope that when I do get to heaven, there will be no more canes, no more electric grocery carts, no more pain meds, no more handicaped placards, and no more ignorance.

The apostle Paul knew about suffering. After all, he had a “thorn in the flesh.” But Paul also wrote in Romans 8:18  “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” I think he wanted us to know that we don’t have dwell on our suffering and pain. We should dwell on what God can and will do for us. That’s difficult to do when you’re having a bad “invisible disease” day, but I think it’s exactly the medicine that might be the best for us.

♥Miriam

Thy Word Have I Hid…

As part of my job, I had the priveldge of attending my daughter’s Released Time Bible Program today. She was excited that I was coming.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. After all it has been around 33 years since I was a Released Time student. Surely, it was different than it was then. But, you know what? It really hasn’t changed all that much! All the children still recite bible verses, they all still hear a bible lesson, and they still sing songs.

imagesCAWCRD17I observed as the children recited their verses. One sweet little girl was struggling with her verse. Her listener was patient and helped her learn the verse. Within a few moments, she was able to recite it three times in a row, unassisted. “Phew,” she said as she looked at me. “I wasn’t sure I’d ever get that one!”

Today was awards day too. Katie was thrilled that her name was called not just once, but twice! She got two prizes today and I learned that she’s just a handful of points or so away from earning her bible! With a little determination, she could accomplish that this year yet! There were many who received bibles today. Some of them cradled them as the precious possession it is. Others put it in their bag they brought to class. Hopefully, they realize what a real treasure they have!

There were 3 children in 5th grade who had the required points to earn free camp! There were congratulations all around for this accomplishment! (I get to see these kids again this summer!)

I saw a young boy who was rattling off verses left and right. You could tell his parents help him learn verses. He had them perfected!

One listener was telling her two students about a Mother/Son retreat this weekend. I heard the one boy say, “Money is really tight right now. I don’t think Mom would bring me.”

My ears perked up and I asked the listener if I could talk to him. I was able to tell him about the Campership Fund we have to help children who can’t afford to go to camp. “I doubt if I could get money from that. I won’t be going to camp either, but I’d really like to go!” I told him he could use funds from this account for both things if his mother would let him. “She won’t if she has to pay it back.” he said.

“She wouldn’t have to pay it back; it’s a gift to you to come to camp!”

“Wow, that’s cool! Am I allowed to tell my mom?”

“Of course!” I replied. “That’s why I told you!” I wrote down the information for him, because we all know 10-11-year-old boys aren’t real good at remembering things!

“You made my day, lady!” he said.

I was amazed to hear these children recite so many verses! I recalled the first verse I ever learned….Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That was in kindergarden.  When I got to Released Time, it was Psalm 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”

It’s wonderful to think about how these verses will be forever a part of these kids lives! What verses do you have hidden in your heart?

♥Miriam