It has been exactly one year from the day that my lyme disease journey started. After two rounds of antibiotic for what I thought was a sinus infection, I ended up in the ER. 365 days later, I am so close to recovery that I can smell it. It’s been awhile since I posted, mostly because I’ve been feeling better and super excited to once again be an active participant of my family . . . . carpooling back and forth to practices, helping coach the cheerleading squad, pitching in at home and even cleaning the bathrooms! It sounds silly and insignificant but these are the things that were piled on my hubby’s plate or neglected for the past year.
I had this great idea of doing a “Top Ten things I’ve learned this past year” but I felt like TEN wasn’t nearly enough. So, I tossed around the idea of 365 things I’ve learned, but figured I would lose every reader (except my husband!) after about 15! Then after my experiences today, I realized it’s not about all of the little things I’ve learned over the year that may only be relevant to my fellow lymies – but it’s about the experiences I’ve had over the past month.
November 9th was hubby and my 18th anniversary. We celebrated by going out to dinner and listening to a christian rock band at a local church. During intermission they educated us on a charity that was near and dear to their hearts: Compassion: a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. I was overjoyed when my hubby suggested that we sponsor a child! We walked to the front table and sifted through the hundreds of children that needed a sponsor. As I gazed through the pictures, my eyes were fixed on a sweet little girl with the most beautiful smile. I picked up her packet and started to read about her. She was a five year old from Kenya. Her name was JOY. JESUS, OTHERS, YOURSELF. That was our girl. It was the best anniversary present ever! We were super excited to share this news with the kids and sit down and write our first letter to her.
Well, with the end of football, the beginning of basketball and life in general, we still hadn’t taken the time to sit down and do this. Every time we attempted to, something happened and we got distracted.
This past week, we held a food drive at work for local single moms. Our wonderful clients dropped of bags and bags of food and even frozen turkeys. My children and I had the opportunity to drop all of this food at my church. It was so rewarding being the “Santa” of Thanksgiving, but I felt like a bit of a phony. I wasn’t the one who donated the food. I didn’t stand in line at the food store or use my own money to pay for it. I simply sent out an email asking for donations and delivered the food.
While we were at church, my oldest son asked if he could go shopping at the church bookstore. He brought his wallet with his birthday money that he had been saving for well over four months. He looked around for awhile, then asked me what I wanted. I told him that it was a sweet gesture, but that I didn’t need anything. He insisted and suggested a hand made scarf from Nepal. It was beautiful! And ironically, I had just mentioned to a co-worker that I wished I had a few new scarves, but didn’t want to spend the money on them.
I walked outside to check on the triplets and when I came back in, the older woman behind the counter was giving him a big kiss and a hug. What I didn’t realize was that she refused to let him pay for the scarf and explained how God works in your life, when you do things for others.
Today he insisted on going shopping for Joy. He wanted to buy her a warm fleece blanket that she could cuddle up with at night. He still had a Target gift card and $15 left from his birthday money, so he was adamant about getting this for her. Once we got to Target he searched high and low for the softest, biggest, pink fleece blanket he could find. He also found a pretty pink pillow and a stuffed animal for her to sleep with.
While we were at Target, we also looked for fillers for our Operation Christmas Child – Samaritan’s Purse – shoeboxes (an organization that delivers shoes boxes filled Christmas gifts to children around the world). We all had a blast picking out the coolest toys, small enough to fit in a shoe box. When we got home, we logged onto their website to look for last minute suggestions. My oldest son purchased a rubix cube, puzzles, colored pencils, yo-yo’s, nurf footballs and more for his box. We were heartbroken to find out what they really wanted:
John 14 years, from Madagascar: Underwear is a far fetched dream for our parents to buy for a primary school boy – they do not think it is a necessity. I have been praying for the day I would wear underwear. As we are growing, we become conscience of our environment. I got the most precious gift, six white under wears of my size. I am now comfortable at school. Thank you very much; I know it is God answering my prayers
Here I am torn between an action figure and a matchbox car, when what they really need are the necessities that we take for granted.
At the Lyme doctor this week, I learned that I may only have two more months of treatment left. I was so excited to learn that my good days weren’t just a figment of my imagination, but that I was actually starting the healing process. Having a light at the end of my dark lyme tunnel was the best news I had received in as long as I can remember. I read a quote while we were in the office that said, “The only way out, IS TO GO THROUGH!” How true.
But knowing that there are so many children around the world that have needs that are beyond what my brain can imagine, makes my journey through Lyme seems very insignificant. I’ve battled the Autism journey, triplets plus one, Alzheimer, ADHD, depression, post traumatic stress syndrome, and so many other things that I thought NO ONE could even understand or “get.” I felt so alone in the world, dwelling on my own battles, when in reality all they did was bring me closer to God.
Some of these children live in poverty and in countries where even speaking of Jesus could have them murdered. It just makes me realize how blessed I am to have hit my rock bottom and turn my life over to the one who gave it all. . . . Jesus. No blog or shoebox or fluffy blanket could ever do what he did for me (and you).
Remember that as you stress out over the upcoming holidays and you find yourself complaining about those times in your life, think about Christmas morning at your house. When your children find underwear under the Christmas tree, do they toss it aside annoyed that it’s not an xbox game or do they view it as a answered prayer by God?
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.