It is about 6:45pm.  Brian and I are finally sitting down to eat supper (the kids had eaten before), Christian’s therapist is starting his notes about the day, and the kids are downstairs watching Fraggle Rock.  All of the sudden, Christian marches up to the kitchen, tears in his eyes, walks over by me and says something that I totally don’t understand.  I look at Brian.  He shrugs.  I look at CS.  He shakes his head.  I ask Christian to repeat himself.  He does, but I’m still not sure what he said…but it sounded like “church.”

“Church???” I ask Christian.  “Yes.” he says.

“Church?” I ask again.  Thinking, “Really???”  Again, he replies, “Yes.”

And my mind starts racing.  My child, who doesn’t ask for much without many prompts, is now asking for church.  Do I get up and take him, even though my husband just recently got home and we just started eating???  We ask Christian a few more times about “church” and he insists every time that this is his wish.

So, I wolf down my supper, convince Christian to get more dressed, find my phone, grab the phonebook, and head out the door.  It is 7pm on a Thursday night. 

My mind races as we make our 17 minute drive northward — I’m hoping that someone will be there working late.  If I have to call a pastor to open the building, which one will I call?  What will I do with Christian once we get there?  Will Christian even want to go in?  What will Christian want to do?  Why does he want to be at church now?  Etc.

We pull in the parking lot and find it empty.  I was glad to have grabbed the phonebook.  I ask Christian if he wants to go in.  He says, “In.  Yes.” pointing to the building.  OK.  I call up the pastor with children who are away from home.  No one answers.

I ask Christian again if he really wants to go in.  “In.  Yes.” he says.  Reluctantly, I call the pastor who has three small children at home and a wife who is ready to have another any day.  He says that he’ll be there in five minutes.

I spend the next five minutes preparing myself for whatever might happen when Pastor K. arrives.  (Thanks so much for coming over, Pastor!!!)  He opens the door, makes sure that there isn’t anything else that we need, and leaves us there to do what we need to do.  Believe me, I am curious.

First thing Christian does is to run to the “Child Training Room” where we always sit during church.  Then he stands there peering through the windows into the sanctuary.  And stands there.  I’m not sure what to do, so I ask him if he wants to pray.  He folds his hands and sits down on the pew.

I start, “Thank you, Jesus.”  Christian continues, “We love you, Jesus.  Amen.”  Then I say The Lord’s Prayer and Christian joins in on the “Amen.”  Not knowing what to do next, I start singing whatever comes to mind, “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow,”  “What a Friend We Have In Jesus,” and “Holy, Holy, Holy.”  During the last one, Christian lets out an ear-piercing screech that he sustains for at least 20 seconds while he holds his hands over his ears. 

I stop and just watch him.

When he is done screeching, he starts his “Christian dance” and his “happy screaming.”  This goes on for what feels like an hour, but is probably just a couple of minutes.  I just sit and watch.  Perhaps this is Christian’s way to Shout to God with cries of joy (Ps 47:1).

When he is finished, he runs out of the room to find a Bible in the library and pages through it.  And like that, he is done and ready to go.  We hop in the car and make our way back home.

I like to question why Christian does what he does, but tonight it doesn’t really matter.  For whatever reason, Christian needed to be at church.  I was glad that I was the one who was able to take him to his Father’s House.

I’m ashamed to admit that my prayer and Bible study habit have not been the priority that it should be.  I have procrastinated reading my Bible, putting it off ’til later in the day when “I will have more time” only to find that the time never comes.  My prayers, lately, have been more in the moment, prayers of desperation, under my breath, instead of being deliberate and thoughtful.

I once had a pastor (Pastor J) who had an excellent model for prayer.  For deliberate prayer.  Setting aside the time to really think through the prayer and mean it.  This was the model that he shared with his congregation…

  • First — thank God for four things.
  • Second — confess four sins and ask for forgiveness.
  • Third — pray for ten other people.
  • Finally — pray two things for yourself.

It always helped me to write these points down before I started praying so that my prayer would not become side-tracked by other distractions or a wandering mind.  I have been in need of making prayer a priority and I hope that this model can help make that happen again.

Brian’s surgery went excellently.  His surgeon told me that it actually went better than he had hoped.  Praise the Lord!  He was also released from the Medical Center two hours earlier than we expected.  Hurray!  He is on some pretty heavy-duty meds, but doing well.  The soreness is starting to kick-in now, so I just keep bringing the meds, ice, and fluids on schedule hoping they will help.

Thank you for all your prayers!

By the way, the kids did great yesterday, too.  🙂

Tomorrow morning is Brian’s surgery.  Hernia surgery.  Outpatient surgery.  “No big deal.”  But, really, any time a loved one of mine goes completely under for any kind of surgery, I get a little nervous.

I was there for Christian’s tooth extraction surgery when they were broken off and infected.  (When he came to, he wrestle three nurses to get the IV out of his arm, and he was only 2!  They asked me to come back and hold it in for them.  He is a surprisingly strong little man!!!) 

I was there when Olivia was put under when she had her renal reflux problem taken care of.  She was only 18 months old, but pulled through with flying colors. 🙂

Now, it’s my turn to wait for Brian.  My husband.  My love.  My partner.  As he goes under.  I have to say that my anxiety has gotten the best of me.  I’m pretty nervous.  I have already had a nightmare about it.  But I try to keep reminding myself that I am not in control of these things.  God is.

I will pray that He guides the hands of the surgeons as they repair his hernia.  I will pray that He guides the anesthesiologist as he provides the medication needed.  I will pray that He brings my husband through this surgery safely.  I will also pray that His will is done, whatever that may be.

If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for my husband and all involved in his surgery tomorrow morning.  I will be so very grateful!  Oh, please also pray for the grandparents/therapists who will be watching/working with the kids tomorrow, as we will be gone before they get up, making their “routine” very unusual for the day.

When I got up this morning, I was in a very negative mood 😦 …

…I was frustrated with our insurance company, disappointed that I had immediate laundry to do, overwhelmed by the amount of work that needed to be done in the kitchen, not sure where to start with a bathroom that was in dire need of being cleaned, overcome by the smell coming out of our sofa, upset that we had lost a movie from the library, mad at the stupid drivers on the highway … the list could go on … I felt like it was going to be one of those days when I just wollow in anger and darkness…

…then I started thinking (instead of just reacting).  I am blessed even have health insurance.  I am blessed that we have beds to sleep in and sheets and blankets to cover our beds.  I am blessed to have dishes, pots, pans, food, and a kitchen in which to cook meals for my family.  I am blessed to have indoor plumbing.  I am blessed to have running water.  I am blessed to have trash service.  I am blessed to have furniture to sit on.  I am blessed to have a more than adequate home to live in.  I am blessed to have an excellent library system nearby.  I am blessed to have a working vehicle to get around in.  I am blessed to have local stores.  To have local doctors.  To have local schools…

…I am just richly blessed.  Blessed with things that I do not deserve.  I am ashamed by the time and thought that I put in to all of these “things” that really aren’t all that important.

I am brought back to thinking about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount — Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. –Matthew 6:19-21

I pray that I can change my perspective.  I pray that I can realize my blessings.  I pray that I can share these blessings with others.  I praise the Lord for all that I have been given.

As I was getting Christian situated on the bus this morning, his driver told me that yesterday he had been able to unbuckle his carseat and was standing on top of the seat trying to flip over into the seat behind him.  I was not overly surprised.

On the very first day of school this year (Sept. 1st), I had seen that the carseat wasn’t going to work for Christian.  He had grown over the summer and was just too big for it.  He needed a harness.  His teacher contacted the bus company and they sent her paperwork to fill out.  She filled it out and immediately sent it back in to them.  They sent her new papers saying they needed a parent signature, too.  (Although there was NO space for it.  How was anyone supposed to know that???)  So I signed it.  We were then informed that they needed to order one his size.  Really?  Couldn’t they have been doing this already? 

Which all leads up to yesterday, a month and a half after I/we realized that the carseat wasn’t going to work for Christian, ESPECIALLY once he got to the point when he needed to wear a winter coat (that happened this week).  I hope this prompts the bus company to put the harness on the bus!  (The driver said they have it at the station now.  It doesn’t do Christian much good if it just sits around the office!) 

I’m praying that Christian will be safe on his ride this morning.  I pray that the bus company will realize how desperately they NEED to get the harness on the bus for Christian’s safety as well as the safety as everyone else on the bus.  I pray that they can make that change by Monday and that yesterday’s escaping tricks will be the kick in the pants that they need to just get it done.

I received this email last week and just thought I’d pass it along…

Every time I am asked to pray, I think of the old deacon who always prayed, ‘Lord, prop us up on our leanin’ side.’ After hearing him pray that prayer many times, someone asked him why he prayed that prayer so fervently.

He answered, ‘Well sir, you see, it’s like this… I got an old barn out back. It’s been there a long time; it’s withstood a lot of weather; it’s gone through a lot of storms, and it’s stood for many years.

 It’s still standing. But one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit.

 So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn’t fall.

 Then I got to thinking about that and how much I was like that old barn. I’ve been around a long time.

 I’ve withstood a lot of life’s storms. I’ve withstood a lot of bad weather in life, I’ve withstood a lot of hard times, and I’m still standing too. But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop us up on our leaning side, ’cause I figure a lot of us get to leaning at times.

 Sometimes we get to leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning toward cussing, leaning toward a lot of things that we shouldn’t. So we need to pray, ‘Lord, prop us up on our leaning side, so we will stand straight and tall again, to glorify the Lord.”