Last Friday was one of the most blessed days I have had in awhile. Ironically enough, it was also the day Heidi puked her guts out for the first time.
I am blessed all the time…regardless of where I am, what I have, and who I’m with. In fact, ever since I started noticing my blessings more, jotting them all down in a journal for safekeeping before I lay my head down at night, I have noticed how negatively I used to think. All the time. I would actually do just the opposite at the end of the day, noting everything that went wrong and didn’t get done. Talk about depressing.
But after a few months of training myself to see God’s gifts in every day, I’m finding myself staying afloat, even (and especially) on the bad days.
Heidi had been acting normal all morning last Friday. In fact, we were enjoying a play date with our friends and had been outside at the playground most of the morning. They left just before lunch. I fed Heidi, read to her, and put her down for her nap. Less than an hour later, she woke up crying. Since this was a shorter nap than usual, I considered letting her go for awhile, but decided against it. It was worth checking her diaper or to see if her leg had gotten stuck in the crib slats…again.
To my surprise, I went in to find Heidi had thrown up…everywhere. I didn’t gag, shockingly enough. In fact, I was so heartbroken by the sad and scared look on her face that I picked her up and held her close…thus getting barf all over my shirt. I think it’s a total mom thing that I didn’t care. The real me would have probably thrown up on her and then called my mom to come clean us up and take care of us both. I peeled off her clothes and plunked her in the bathtub, even though she hated it. My mind was racing…did she have a fever? Would she throw up again? Did she have the flu? Was she aching all over? (Am I the only one that freaks out and gets all dramatic when my kid bumps her head or gets sick?) Her little eyes were swollen from crying and her face pale from throwing up. I put her in clean pj’s, wrapped her in a warm blanket, and put her in front of her favorite thing in the entire world…Tangled.
I went to her room to assess the situation and started to stress about how I would clean up the chunky, stinking mess. My heart sank when I realized our washer was still broken. I gathered all the dirty sheets and clothes, rinsed them in the bathtub, and then swallowed my pride and called my neighbor.
My neighbor, Ginny, is the sweetest woman. When she found out I was pregnant with Heidi last year, she told me several times that if I ever found myself suffering from the “baby blues,” I was welcome to call her to come rock Heidi while I took a shower, went grocery shopping, or did anything else to take time for myself. It took me months to work up the courage to ask for help with baby Heidi. If you’re anything like me, you like to try as long as you can to prove you can do everything by yourself. Then you crash and you burn and you’re a hot mess and you’re crying and you’re shoving chocolate in your mouth…. THEN…and only then… you finally ask for help. (Is this just me too??) Ginny has been a huge help over the past year, babysitting Heidi for me while I get little things done here and there.
Ginny came through for me once again on Friday in a way that blessed me immensely. I was embarrassed to ask her if I could wash Heidi’s puke-infested laundry at her house. She insisted it was not a problem at all. When I showed up at her doorstep with a garbage bag of grossness on one side and Heidi tucked in on the other, she immediately took the bag from me. She rinsed out the laundry a little more, stain-guarded it, and threw everything in the washer. She sat with Heidi and me for a bit, reassuring me Heidi would be just fine. When I had to leave so Heidi could rest at home, Ginny told me she would bring the laundry back over when it was clean. Which she did…all of it neatly folded. She also had a bag from the grocery store with Pedialyte, bananas, chicken noodle soup for Heidi and a bag of chocolate for me. I am pretty sure I teared up from relief.
This was definitely not the best day I’ve had in awhile. In fact, I could probably tell you why it was the worst…but talking like that would completely defeat the purpose. No, it was not the best day, but it was a blessed day. Blessed in that way you can only be blessed when things go wrong. Blessed in realizing you didn’t die when that thing you dreaded most happened. Blessed when you counted all the things that happened that helped you through that trial. Blessed because someone came through for you in a way you really didn’t expect them to. Blessed because you had to humble yourself and admit you couldn’t do something all alone…and blessed because someone lifted a heavy burden for you.
I had so much peace Friday night and Saturday morning, and I don’t doubt it was because of the kindness shown to me by my neighbor. I also realized, by counting my blessings that particular day, things could have been much worse. I am deeply blessed my daughter just had a little bug and nothing more. And I’m blessed to have had the things I needed to make her feel better.
At the end of this day, I was actually bursting with thanksgiving to God. I was uplifted, thankful and humbled….joyful, even. It was definitely a testament to the power of gratitude. It makes the good days completely amazing…and it makes the bad ones deeply blessed. When I force myself to see the good stuff on a bad day, that’s when my heart is transformed. That’s when “count your blessings” turns from a trite saying to a way of life. One I find myself clinging to because there truly is no other way to live.
“How can Satan control us if we are going to be joyful and thankful no matter what our circumstances are? Admittedly, this kind of lifestyle requires a sacrifice of praise or thanksgiving, but I would rather sacrifice my thanksgiving to God than sacrifice my joy to Satan. -Joyce Meyer
“We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises – human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live 24 hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God – but we do not. We have to be exceptional at the ordinary things of life and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people – and this is not learned in five minutes.” -Joyce Meyer
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.