PhotoEditor_20200217_192040144.jpgI hope everyone’s 2020 has started off great! I’ve heard that January was one of the longest “years” of this year. I can attest to that as well! Although the challenging parts of life cause a lot of resistance and kickback, a lot of times — our challenges refine us into wiser creatures with knowledge and a keen eye for future challenges and how to walk through them. Something of a mantra I have loved recently is: Hard doesn’t always mean bad.

As you all know, I keep it real. I’m going to give a little bit of a personal testimony in this post and get vulnerable with you on something I recently walked through. I hope it blesses you! God is always working, even when we don’t see it.

Back in December (5 days before Christmas, to be exact), my husband had a vasectomy. We have three gorgeous and amazing girls, and we both felt like our quiver was full, so we decided to go this permanent route for birth control. We’re very thankful and truly blessed with our three little chicks! His job doesn’t allow for any “light” work, and he doesn’t have a lot of paid time off. His 5 days of vacation per year includes “sick” time. So we needed to plan this procedure in a holiday time-off sweet spot. We needed to be able to maximize his time off with the already paid vacation days he would get for Christmas.

Well, about a week before his procedure, I literally felt a dark and weighty cloud come over me. My emotions, my everything felt muddied and cloudy. I felt it, so assessed that maybe I was just coming to terms with the finality of this procedure. That wasn’t really it though after taking a sober look into my heart and my mind. I honestly and truly was just having a giant pity party for myself and was being very self-centered. He was the one having the procedure done, but I was making it all about “me”.

Anyone with kids knows that Christmas isn’t exactly “chill”. Well, yours may be and that’s amazing. Good for you! Seriously. Our’s isn’t so much. Chasing the toddler, and mental energy going into the older ones as they’re asking a million questions about so many things. Making sure everyone says “Thank you!” for their gifts, and also…how about just the spending time with family and getting the quality time with your loved ones? There’s a lot that goes into. At least for us. With the daddy of the three having this procedure, I just knew he’d be “down for the count” and I started to get bitter about even thinking about it. (To be honest, even typing this out now seems really ridiculous and silly.) Even he was telling me that everything was going to be just fine. He had zero anxiety about any of it — not even the actual procedure! He was steady and calm and like a rock. I was the one being like the swirling wind who couldn’t find footing.

As you know, if you are or have been in a relationship, when a couple has arguments, fights or disputes about one thing — usually a plethora of other (mostly unrelated) “junk” finds it’s way coming out of yelling mouths and jumping in the yucky pile that’s building in the brawl. At least, that is how it is for us at times. Our arguments are much fewer and far between then they were before in our earlier years of marriage! Thank God for that.

I started picking little fights out of my bitterness and selfishness. The entire week or so leading up to this procedure. He had this done on a Friday, and that Thursday night before was one of the nastiest fights we’ve ever had in 16 years of marriage. About 3 hours of it. By the end, we just went to sleep because it was about 2 in the morning.

The next day, my amazing mom came to get the girls to keep them for us while we headed to the urologist. They also stayed the night with them. Such a blessing! I was kicking and screaming inside. One of my closest friends actually surprised me by coming by our house that morning, and it was perfect timing. And another amazing friend was texting me complete truth-arrows that hit my heart in the right spot. The essential part of having a healthy community! When our people can come and surround us with life and speak truth into our dark muddy thoughts. Taking what God says in His Word and making it alive and well in our situations. Letting the Holy Spirit guide words and conversation. I am so thankful for my people. So thankful for friends like them and many others who weren’t afraid to see my dark cloud and start showering it with truth and life right from the heart of God.

He had taken his Valium (prescribed in advance to take before getting to the snip-snip table), so I was driving us there. When we got in the car, I literally felt a wave of light (in wind form) wash over me and so much peace envelop me. It was almost like how we blow from our mouths to get dust off of a surface. I felt the darkness getting blown off of my emotions and my soul.

We got there, went right in, everything went perfectly. Peace. There was no anxiety, no straining, no worry. And I actually got to watch the entire thing! (I love medical stuff.) The doctor was so cool — giving descriptions of each move and everything he was doing down to putting on the titanium clamps and all. Fascinating!! I’ve told some folks that I watched it, and they cringe. I don’t know if you like that kind of stuff or not, but it really was interesting. If you’re into that. Haha!

So after we left the doctor’s office we went to Cava (a delicious Mediterranean place), got some dinner and took it home to eat so he could get on his frozen peas. Those things were his best friends for days. (Actually, about 3 weeks later I went to make dinner and almost used the pea pals. Gross! Threw those bags in the trash lest that mistake happen again!)

After we ate and watched a movie, we had one of the most life-giving, amazing and longest talks we’ve ever had. The polar opposite of our conversation the night before. It was healing and redemptive. Raw, honest and a little painful to stare at our shortcomings in the face regarding our marriage and ourselves just as two people. We have an incredible marriage, but there are always things to work on within ourselves.

I look back, in all seriousness, and think to myself: Wow. That was a whirlwind! But why? Why did it have to be? Frank ended up doing absolutely great. Never complained, not one time. He was a complete rock star with the entire process. I was the one with the nasty attitude and self-centered focus. Those were challenging days, very much so. As I have said, I look back at those dark days and I won’t forget what they can and will teach me for future challenges. We’ll never be rid of challenges until heaven. But what we can change is our response and our attitude and the choices we make in walking through them. So, those dark days were not wasted! Not at all.

And, funny story — just because. As you know, once you’ve had a vasectomy a “sample” must be provided back to the urology office about six weeks later to make sure that it is sperm-free. Well, I was the lucky one who got to take it in that day. I had the younger two girls with me. I walked up to the counter, sample in hand, and the ladies at the front went crazy over the girls. “Oh my GOODNESS how beautiful! Look at that red hair!! You going to try for a boy next??” I held up the cup, shook it and said “Nope! Hope not!”

I hope you were blessed by this. I know you, too, probably have something you’re walking through right now. Whether or not you “think” it should be a big deal isn’t the point. The point is that it is to you right now. Making the choice and steering your attitude and heart posture towards God will bring life. Even if it means laying your own opinions down. If you don’t know what it says and don’t really know anyone who does, find someone who will speak the truth to you. Just know that the right person will always always always point you to the Word of God so you can find it for yourself. Be blessed, all!!

 

Challenges Can Teach

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