This morning I finally started getting back on my best routine. My best routine as in "if I'm not up and moving before the children I won't be at my best". As in "if I want to have a good day I'd better get my lazy carcass out of bed." As I was out of town for about six weeks attempting to be of some help to my Mom and grandparents, I got out of the habit of running. There was much to be done and not much downtime so I was running pretty hard, especially with the three kids to look after as I cooked and cleaned and tried to help, but there was also a reunion. Me, Ben, and Jerry. Mmm. My favorite is "Whirled Peace". At least (censored) pints made it down my gullet and to my rear while I was in Heavener. All the more reason to get back to my best routine.
So I pull myself out of bed at six thirty. Okay, my husband, who knows what's best for me and what I really want, pulls me out of bed. Thanks for that, Eric! I stumble past the still not quite empty suitcases from the trip and into the bathroom. Ugh. Wet swimsuits. Gotta do something about that. No, not now. Gotta run. Bleary-eyed, I brave the half-unpackedness to locate my shorts... not those, they don't fit right... dig a little more... yeah, those. Find a sleeveless shirt... not that one, doesn't match... but really, does it matter? Nope. Okay, now socks... oh yeah, those made it into a drawer! Score! Trudge to the kitchen, look longingly at the coffee. Not now, dear caffeinated friend, but later for sure. Water. Need water. Okay, got water. Flop to the floor. Enter Jedi... sure, I'll let you out. Back up, let the dog out so he can quit dancing up and down with his paws crossed. Back down to stretch. Lean down, pull feet in... there's a staple in my shoe.
Not just any staple. This one is old and big. It's the kind you use to stick carpet padding to the floor, as evidenced by the chunk of padding that's still hanging on. I noticed this staple about five weeks ago as I sat down in one of the many doctors' waiting rooms I frequented with Nanny and Grandad during the trip. Mom and I had spent the day before at her new-old house, the house where she grew up, pulling carpet padding and digging staples out of the long-forgotten hardwood floor. You'd be amazed what you can do with a wide putty knife and a flathead screwdriver. I showed Mom and we both snickered about it and I'm sure made some snarky comments and laughed harder as we usually do, then for some reason I got up and kept going. I likely had to, either to get a bottle, change a diaper, or maybe the nurse called us in. Who knows. But I left it there, with intent to remove it at home.
Before we left with our little five-person and four-paw family for my hometown on June 30, we thought we were going to work on Mom's house and enjoy visiting family. Instead, through medical and other (we won't go there) emergencies, it turned to five and a half or six weeks of cooking, cleaning, referreeing, doctor's offices, hospitals, nursing, and just plain trying to be of help. Before we left, I'd told our beloved life group that we were going to move my Mom into her house while we were gone, and I meant that.
Now that's not a bad thing on the face of it. It's not bad at all. There's nothing wrong with wanting to help your parents. I did try. I pushed to be down there and clean, pull, scrape, and fix. But working on Mom's house was my plan, or at least what God used to get me in the mood to work while I was up there... I'd have gone anyway, so I can't say that's what He used to get me there. The point is that it just didn't turn out like I wanted it to turn out. Life is like that. Oh, sometimes it goes exactly according to plan, but the tricky part is realizing and being cool with the fact that life always goes according to God's plan. I've been in both places recently. In the spring and at the beginning of the summer, I was doing so amazingly great! My life was as perfect as I can imagine it being, and I realized this one morning as I prayed through the prayer list on my run. "God, I just love my life!" I said. "I just can't imagine it getting any better... we have awesome friends, Eric's job is simply wonderful, we're in good health, our kids are great and our family is complete, our church is absolutely fabulous and we look forward to being there every chance we get! Thank you, Father, for this mountaintop!" Then the sick feeling hit, as He spoke to my heart... "Beware, child, where your peace and joy lie. Mountaintops are short, pointy things."
Then our friend and pastor resigned the next day, and that was just the beginning.
It's so hard to see with our fleshly, human eyes and hearts that these things are good. As I told him after I found out, I wanted to run to their house and grab them both and jump up and down and throw my best two-year-old tantrum. NO! NO NO NO! You can't leave! You're great friends and I love you guys, and what if the next guy is a jump-up-and-down-and-scream-er? NO! But that wouldn't be right. As much as I love the Griggs family and I know so many others do too, all our love combined isn't even a drop in the bucket toward how much God loves them. He has given them another place to serve, and another setting in which to read the next chapter He's written in their lives. New characters, new plot, but the same theme. The same goal. The same purpose.
To glorify God in all they say and do. To study God's word for doctrine, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16) To encourage others to love like Jesus. To allow God to use them to speak to these new characters as they spoke to us in love and encouragement and when necessary, in Godly discipline as the Word teaches.
We are to do the same. We, as a church family, as a life group with a large hole, are to do the same. To stick to God's word and together as we seek to become like the church at Berea. To roll with the changes.
Why? Because God says. He knows what's best. My husband, who seeks to love me like Jesus loves us, knew it was best for me to get myself going. He knows my state of mind is better, my body is better, and I have more energy when I'm excercising. He knows I enjoy life more. He's right. Thankfully, I wasn't a stinker and listened. If I hadn't I might have missed the staple.
After noticing the staple several times... and it's obvious if I look at the bottom arch part of my shoe... I decided to leave it. It's ugly, rusted, big, and has a dime-sized chunk of yellowish padding stuck under it. But it is a great reminder, not only to pray for my Mom as she cares for her parents without the love of her life, but that things don't always go according to plan. And that's a good thing.
So Godspeed, Clayton, Tammy, Haley, and Spirit. Godspeed and may God bless you as you've been a blessing to us. Thank you for your love and encouragement through the last few years, and for allowing God to use you all. Your smiles will be missed, but we are joyful and thankful for your new adventure and for all the lives He will use you to bless! The Senzigs love you.
By the way... the staple's still in my shoe, and for now, it'll stay.