I can't believe that a month has gone by since I last posted anything. Time goes by incredibly fast. I need to pay closer attention to that. Life has been so busy over the last month. We finished our official soccer season the last weekend of October. It was a beautiful weekend for a tournament and all four of our oldest children played. My step-mom and dad (Nana and Grandpa) came in for a visit for 5 days and were able to see the kids play ball. I was well that weekend and was able to go to the tournament both days and walk the fields!!! Praise the Lord for that! My children played so well! I love to watch them play ball. My parents had a great time and enjoyed getting to spend time with their grandkids. Tristyn and Brityn had a great time out at the fields playing with each other and their friends. It was a two day family affair, we were all there and it was fantastic! I love getting to be with my family and the fact that Jared was able to be at all the games and not work made the weekend even better.
Nana and Grandpa left that Monday. It's always hard to say goodbye. I wish desperately that I had parents that lived here and my children do too. Nana sat at the table so often during that 5 days and talked to the kids about Jesus and how much he loves them. It isn't just conversation to her, it is everything she is. In the years since I have known her she has always radiated the love of Christ. My relationship grew tremendously with her after Austin was born. I was 18 and had just graduated from high school. I needed a safe place for awhile and I went to Florida. It was then that I was exposed to Jesus in a way that I had never seen and honestly I was so turned off at first. They were so weird. They never watched the news, they monitored every tv program, my little brother Christopher told on himself for everything (who does that??) and my mom constantly talked about the Lord. I was a trainwreck at that point in my life. I am pretty sure I hurt every person I came in contact with. There are so many people in my life that I wish I could personally apologize to. But through it all, 3 moves in and out of their home, my step-mom and dad loved me and introduced my gently to Jesus. They never pushed me. They just lived it out in front of me. It is who they are. Not perfect but precious. Jesus met me right where I was in the mess of my life and I learned that I was a wreck but that I didn't have to stay there. My Sunday school teacher back then shared his testimony of the years he spent partying and how he met Jesus in the bathtub at a strange persons house when he was covered in his own vomit. Gross, yes, but if Jesus could love and change him after all that, he surely could love and change me after all that I had done. It took years before I really understood the decision that I made back then at 19, but He never left me. I learned during those early years that He pursues relentlessly. I loved listening to Nana tell my children all those same things, knowing that her life story has left a tremendous legacy already. My dad is a believer as well and his story is just as beautiful, just much more quiet. I have learned that as well, none of our stories or the way we share them are the same and they aren't supposed to be. God uniquely created each one of us and has a plan for each of our lives. The world would be an incredibly boring place if we were all the same.
A week or so after Nana and Grandpa left, my best friend since junior high came to see me. Its been over two years since we've seen each other. We got to go on a shopping and dinner date which was so nice. Saturday Jared and I surprised the kids with tickets to the Razorback game! We all loaded up and went. We had a great time and it was fun getting to be there with Kala. Having her here was amazing. I am so grateful for the years that we've been friends and for the years that we spent not talking to each other. I love her dearly and I realized while she was here that I have taken that relationship for granted. We've been friends for so long and been through so much, that I think I just assumed that it would always be that way. I guess it is sortof like assuming that we are guaranteed a tomorrow. I don't want to take relationships for granted, especially the ones when it is so comfortable and familar that you don't feel the need to talk all the time. It is ok just to sit and be together with a warm cup of coffee. The time went by way too fast but it was a sweet time and I am so thankful for that.
This last week has been a rough week for me, I have not felt very well and I have been waking up in the middle of the night in terrible pain. Kala saw a few days that were rough and I had prayed and prayed that she wouldn't have to see that. If I could shut everyone off from that it seems it would be better. Even though I know that is ridiculous and a total lie, it seems so logical to me. That is the other thing that I am learning, to be humble. I have been blessed with family and friends who love me, love my man and love our children dearly. I hate to be a burden to anyone and when I am down I feel like an anchor pulling everyone down. When I sit in bible study on Wednesday nights and the sweet ladies share their hearts and their burdens during prayer time, I am so encouraged by their transparency and the fact that they let us in so we can lay them at the feet of Jesus. Why do I have such an inability to allow others to do the same for me? I am a very transparent person, until the last few years. The hard times we had bringing Muluken and Gifte home and then the struggles I have with being sick are hard for me to talk about. I have found that writing helps. Sharing the depth of my soul right now is a scary place. I know the legacy I desire to leave to my children and to others. I know how I desire to love my man and my family and friends, pulling away doesn't get you there and neither does fake.
I had my Remicade treatment today. I go every six weeks for a 2 hour infusion of medicine that works sortof like chemo to somehow shut down my immune system or something. I am much better on the meds then I was before I was able to start taking them but it is just hard. I have sweet friends who take me to my appointment and we get to talk during that time. Today I got steriod shots in my knees because they are inflammed and hurting so bad. I get to see another doctor to find out about getting shots in my back and neck. I may not be able to do that though because my insurance does not cover my disease or anything to do with my spine and neck. I am praying for answers for that. I came home and my sweet man came out to walk me in and each of my children came for lots of loves. Another friend brought dinner and sat and talked with me. Precious! I am truly a loved woman and when I put it into words I see the provision and the blessings the Lord has provided in the midst of the hard times. I just keep wishing I wasn't battling this disease, that I wasn't a burden but rather a blessing to those who the Lord has surrounded me with. I tell my children often that they need to change their perspective. Maybe it is time that I take my own advice. I hate this disease. I hate the pain that I live in and the help that I require. I hate that my husband and children live constantly on the look out for stairs, things on the ground I might trip over, things I can't or shouldn't pick up and a thousand other things. I hate being a burden to anyone. I hate that I can't sleep through the night because I wake up in pain. I hate that I can't walk normal sometimes or sleep normal in a bed. I hate that I take medicine everyday and that I have to take pain medicine sometimes to get through the day. I hate that I miss things like church and bible study, my kids games and things they like to do on days when I am bad. My kids play ball tomorrow in a 3 v 3 tournament and I probably won't be able to go. I hate that. I hate that I am using the word hate because we don't use that word in our house, it's not nice. But...... it is how I feel. Now that I have said all that I feel, it's time to CHOOSE JOY! Those two words will be my next tatoo on my foot. I need to remember that it is a choice. I need to change my perspective and CHOOSE JOY! I am alive, not dying. I am loved and cherished by the Creator of the Universe and He has blessed me with a man who loves the Lord and loves me deeply. I love my husband and enjoy being with him. I have six beautiful children who love the Lord and love each other and love me, even when I can't stand up straight and they have to help me walk, they don't care. I not only have Nana and Grandpa, I have my mom (Grammie) who I have a fantastic relationship with. I still talk to my step-dad who raised me. I have my brother, and Rae Rae and Lexi. I have Jared's family. I am a YaYa to many :-) I have precious friends, some who live here and several who live so far away. I have kids who were once part of our "college ministry" who have now become family. I have an amazing group of women in bible study and I love our church family. I have a great doctors. I have a beautiful home and great animals. I have food on my table and a warm bed to sleep in. I have so many more precious gifts God has given to me. Maybe I need to start the 1000 blessings list. These are the things I need to focus on. A lesson in gratitude really. It could always be worse and for many it is. A little girl named Stella is fighting for her life in the hospital in Little Rock. Her parents have already lost one child. I don't understand things like that, but in praying for that family, it is another reminder that where I am isn't so bad after all. A change in perspective, a place and a time to remember to CHOOSE JOY! no matter where we are in life. God is still sovereign. That is the legacy I want to leave. One full of love and joy, even in the hard times. I am not even close to that place but I am striving to get there. I am so grateful that God's grace is sufficient and that is love abounds more and more. He doesn't leave us where we are but promises to continue his work until we are mature and complete, lacking nothing. A beautiful promise from a faithful King.