This week for me so far has been about taking time out. Not because I want it, not because I asked for it- but because it was forced. Yes, I came to a complete and total stop and I couldn’t do anything about it. Time out to heal was necessary.
On Saturday, I was lifting a full basket of dirty clothes, when I twisted sideways to get through the door. My back cracked and I almost fell to the floor, as my legs gave away momentarily. I dropped the clothes and hung onto the wall as the world spun. After a few moments, I felt ok so re-lifted the basket and took it to the laundry room. Within 15 minutes I could not bend, sit, walk, stand or move without pain.
Saturdays are busy. I wash, clean, cook and run my children around as their social lives kick into full gear. Not this day, by lunch time I was in so much pain that I kept needing to go and lay down. I tried painkillers, anti-inflammatories, heat packs, cold packs, stretching and finally bedrest.
I figured that if I pushed through I would be fine. To make a long story short, Monday morning I wanted to do one more thing before taking myself off to the doctors…. Yes… that is where I stayed until help came. I rang the health hotline and they called the ambulance. Monday night I spent in hospital… and I had to stop.
The feeling of vulnerability and helplessness was something that I neither like nor wanted. The mummy of the house could not do what she usually accomplishes. Instead of others relying on me, I was relying on others.
The lessons I learnt over a few days were memorable.
First lesson I learnt was that I have a wonderful group of friends.
What took my attention was that I have two friends a that are single mums. They were right there doing stuff for me and offering to do stuff for me constantly. They rang me, visited me, and were… well… very present.
To add to this further, I know I had people who would have been there at the drop of a hat if I had called – I know this from experiance. Then there was a wonderful lady who got my eldest to school. So many people that helped me out.
I found this very humbling. These women are not part of my church family, they are simply women (mostly Christian) who have become part of my life in this small town. To see their eagerness to help was very overwhelming.
My God is very present as well. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” I know my God is very present, this too is overwhelming.
The second thing I came to understand more was, that I have sons that are wonderful young men and I could rely on them when things were hard. I could spend a few pages bragging about their kindness, but I won’t. I need to tell you something I learnt.
I realised that there were things I needed to teach my children, that I had not taught them.
Why not? Because I had always done it for them.
Now, please understand me, my boys do a lot. They dust, clean, vacuum, sweep and do a great job. I have sons that have clean rooms… yep, you read correctly…. I have teenagers with clean rooms. I never need to mow the lawn anymore, because they do it. Their chore list is long enough, in their eyes, but that is not what I am talking about. There were things that I thought were just common sense, because I had been doing them for a long time.
For example, one night my eldest and I hung out the clothes. The next morning, I watched him walk out the door to the back yard, he muttered something as he walked out the door. Next minute he hauls in a basket of clothes and plonks them on the bed beside me. The conversation went like this –
Me: What is that?
Him: The clothes from last night.
Me: Wow… Thank you… are they dry?
Him: I don’t know. (and throws me a pair of shorts)
Me: They aren’t dry.
Him: Well, they will be fine, they will dry in a little while.
Me: Um, no they won’t. Sorry, you need to go and hang these back up.
Him: Oh my goodness me!! I have just taken them off!!!
My son had never seen me check to see if the clothes were dry. Because I have been doing the washing for 40 years, I suppose that I have bit of an understanding when things are dry. He didn’t know that. He had only seen me walk out and take clothes off the line.
It reminded me again that there is so much more I need to teach my boys, in so many ways. All day long I pondered this and the need to sometimes be willing to back away to allow them to be taught. More importantly for me, not to presume that they know.
I know that God often does this with me. He backs away so that I can be taught faith, compassion, patience and mercy…you know…that “stuff”. The “stuff” that we pray for and then don’t like when God answers.
Oh.. and then there is dealing with s..i..n… you know, the stuff we do that breaks our relationship with our God.
Have you ever thought of that?
We really would prefer if character building came in tablet form. Sugar coated so we don’t get the horrible taste as we swallow life in its realist form. ‘Cause then this would happen…
(Drum roll) Ta da!!
A Super-Christian extraordinaire has arrived!! With bright leotards and a big red cross on our chest. Yeah… anyway… where was I?
We don’t change like that, and neither will my children. If I don’t back off, the boys will always think that they have nothing more to learn. They need to grow and change, so do I.
There is a scripture that everyone knows, but prefer if it doesn’t have to do with them..
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Rom 5:3-4
When we run into troubles and find ourselves in difficulties, then we are developing and growing. God would like us to grow, to become stronger in faith and character. It is really up to us.
I have been proud how my children have not once complained about the extra workload, and they have done it cheerfully and willingly. I wish that I could say the same when God gives me things to do.
Having time out is good, for everyone in my family. Tonight, I was able to cook tea and clean up afterwards with only a few little rest breaks. They were grateful for a cooked meal, and mum back at the table again. And me…I am glad that lessons have been learnt in our household.
Also, I am glad that God has used this time to remind me how much He loves me/us. If He didn’t love me/us, He would leave me and you to our own stubborn ways. My God parents well.