for those of you who haven't known me long...or don't know my sweet man well....or who haven't been in my home much, this may be "new" news to you...but we, on team holzberge,r are all about saving money. we abide by the dave ramsey principles, have our envelopes, have no debt (which ain't easy to do with all the medical bills that keep coming and a comin' each year, trust me! and for some reason, they don't like it if you just try to change your name and move every couple years, not sure why. ha ha, just teasing people, c'mon.)
anyway....one thing we do to help out ol' "mr. budget" is that we keep the thermostat WELL above or WELL below what the normal household does. our old home group used to have to say to themselves (and if you are reading this, you can attest to it!) "ok, we are meeting at the holzberger's this week, so i need to wear an extra sweater and bring my fuzzy blankey" :)
so, throughout the lovely heat that accompanies our amazing great state of Texas for roughly HALF of the calendar year, (i'm being generous, it's more like three-quarters of the year) when the daybreak comes along with the 94 degree temperature and it is already 102 before the darn mailman has even brought your mail (and yes, ours is here by 10:30am!!)...we have our "air conditioner" (please note the use of quotes there because i use that term very loosely and if we were sitting across from each other chatting, i'd be using the good ol' air-quote method of exaggerating this point)....at a steady 81 degrees. well, i say that we do... with we - being my hubby and i...but i am quite certain that my dear, darling, amazing, hubby who i have loved since i was 18, has, on occasion, taken liberty to jack the thing up to 83 or 84 during the day to see if i notice. i generally do. but, we always go back down to 81 at night (sweet, ain't he?:)....and if we know guests are coming over then we bump it down to 80, maybe. if we really like them, (more likely that if we don't know them very well and don't want to sweat them out) we will put it on 79. so...if you ever wanna know how close we are, go look at my thermostat when you come over. if you find yourself uncomfortable, chances are, we are pretty tight! :)
now, lately...as you may have read....i have been spending every bit of my time in my house. generally on "my spot" on the couch...or resting in my bed. occasionally i have to use the little girls room and then every day or two...or three (just keepin' it real here) i get to take a bath. that pretty much sums it up. so, my world, for the last two weeks has been kept pretty solid, at the steady 81 degrees. and for 16 days before that i was in the hospital where i was pretty much locked into the same environment. it may have been a degree or two less, but not too much, really, and all the while, steady. and then, for two weeks before that (once again with a brief three day hospital stay, yes, a different one) i was at home, on the couch....steady 81 degrees.
so....that brings us from about the middle of august up to now, almost all the way through september....in case you were keeping track.
and yesterday, my sweet and faithful husband...who, in the last year has truly lived out the meaning of "through sickness and in health"...insisted that i come out and enjoy this weather..."how, baby? how can i do that? i can't sit up at all?" he knew that. trust me, he needs no reminding. the poor man works full-time as an asst. principal at two different schools (at a brand new job, nonetheless...fortunately, he LOVES it!) and then comes home and does everything, and i mean everything... from changing diapers....to getting supper ready...to ironing his clothes...to washing dishes.....to changing diapers again....to playing with kiddos....to refereeing kiddos....to disciplining kiddos.....to bathing kiddos....to mowing the lawn....to washing the clothes....to mopping the floor.....to paying the bills....to fixing the mower....to cleaning the pool.....to making lunches for tomorrow...to, well....you get the point, but trust me, i could go on and on and on. the point is...he did not need me to remind him that i can't get up. he knows. he lives this every day too. breaks my heart for him. pray for him too, in fact, if you don't mind. since, i have you here. he is so good and so fine and so kind and so faithful. but he is so tired and weary now. we are so blessed to have the amazing help of my parents and other family and friends, i cannot begin to even tell you. (that's a whole blog on serving others, trust me!) but still, this is his home, his family, his wife, his kids, his responsibility. and i know it has been a long year for him too.
anyway...my sweet man insisted that i come out and enjoy this weather. he saw in my face that i would love nothing more than to hear my children play in person in not through the mini-blinds, again. so, he said....well, i'll carry you. (isn't he cute?) now, for those of you who don't know...my hubby is a pretty big guy. (did i mention how cute he is? i mean, i know that isn't like a requirement by any means...ooh he's gonna kill me for typing this too, but, i mean it, he's a hottie! :)
anyway...focus....ok, i'm back. he's about 5 foot 10 and a half-ish, i think and weighs maybe 200 pounds or so.....but he is a "strong-type"....loves to work out (ya, in all his free time!) and although painfully modest, even when i try to show off his muscles, he won't! :) me: "oh c'mon baby, show them your muscles, just lift up your shirt a little!" him: no words, just death stare. :) but, i'll be honest here...i ain't the same girl he carried across the threshold nine some odd years ago. i've gained and lost about 60 pounds three different times (thank you jacob, benjamin, abigail and blue bell ice cream! :) but most recently, i have put on, no lie, at least 30 pounds thanks to the inability to exercise (ok, move around at all) and the lovely wicked amount of steroids i've been on for the adrenal issues. so, i'm looking at him like, "um, ok honey...if you say so" and thinking..."oh lovely, this should be yet another way to get to wear my "humble shorts" today! why don't we bust out the bed pan while we're at it?" :)
so...he did. (not bust out the bed pan, thankfully!) he scooped me up (only adding a few grunts and groans to be funny...i know, he's a stinkin' riot, isn't he!) and carried me quickly to the chaise lounge thingy that he had moved up into our backyard right by the playground and trampoline where the kids were already playing. he had sweet benjamin carry mommy's two pillows and ice packs out there and they were there waiting for me. i was flat on my back again in no time. but....ooohh this view was soooooo much better. i hadn't been lying there two minutes and i 'bout burst into tears.
"honey", he said "don't get yourself worked up, enjoy this." he knows that my little emotional breakdowns that happen occasionally only make my headaches worse...so he was trying to protect me....and maybe the kids. :) they have seen me cry too much. plus, he knew i'd truly want to enjoy it! benjamin, my cuddle bug came over pretty quickly and said "mama, i'm gonna "cuggle" with you!!!" to which i replied, "wahooooo!!!" and he did. we lied there and looked up at the trees. ooooh how i had missed my trees. and we watched the wind blowing them all around in every direction. and i said to my sweet middle child, as i held his little sweaty body so tight, "isn't it so cool how God made the wind?" and he said "yep, it is...and He's blowing it around right now.....oh wait....he stopped......(long pause) i bet He had to go get a drink!" i burst into laughter, and he followed. he wasn't sure why i was laughing, but he knew he had caused it and he LOVES to make people laugh, so he was tickled! and quick to remind me a few times later that day "hey, mama, remember...God took a drink...hahahahaha!!" so fine that boy.
so there i was...just right there in that moment. my heart so.....very....full. i had missed so much about my backyard. it has been soooo long. i could write a whole blog about missing my trees. i mean it. i love my trees. looking up and watching God blow them around makes me feel so small and insignificant and yet so valuable and special, all at the same time. and feeling the wind on my face. i can count on ONE HAND the number of times i've even felt the wind on my face in the past month. (no, trips in a wheelchair from the door to the car don't count....but even if they did, it only makes me count up to two hands) hearing and seeing my kiddos play around, get dirty and call out "mama, watch this!" "hey, mama...now watch this!" was the best song my ears have heard in a very....very...long time. my heart was just.....so..... full.
and later it hit me. my moment with God. my friend (and sooo many others) had commented about how beautiful the weather was. people were just going on and on and on about what a gorgeous day it was. and in my head i was thinking "what's the big deal?" but that is when i realized that is because for sooo long now, i have been lying around inside my house at a steady 81 degrees. i had missed so much.
before i went into the hospital, it was crazy hot outside. 105 some days....too hot for the kids to play for too long. people were miserable. just plain miserable.
while i was in the hospital, it was monsoon like....weird kinda. it rained off and on for days and then we got a tornado. i am not making this up. an actual tornado touched down just miles from the hospital. yes, they rolled me into the hallway "code, black..code black!" and took precautionary measures....although according to chief meteorologist david finfrock, they did that about 10 minutes too late, but oh well :) regardless....all the rain....people were miserable.
then back to hot. then back to rain. then.....oh i don't know. but, it affects people. amazing how we can be so affected by something as simple as the weather. not me, my world has been a steady 81 degrees. pretty easy for me to not be miserable, eh? exactly...easy for me to say.
i haven't had to trudge wet kids through a parking lot with no umbrella. thanks rain.
i haven't had to hear them whine because it is time to come inside again because it is too stinkin' hot to be outside. thanks heat.
i haven't had to change any plans, cancel any plans....shoot, even make any plans.
exactly. that is what hit me. how steady have i really been? really????
if only you could read my thoughts like God can. well...i sure am thankful you can't. trust me, you should be too!! my heart, friend...has NOT been a steady 81 degrees. not at all. some days i am steady. some days i am not. i probably shouldn't even lump it in groups that big, really....some hours i am steady. some hours i am not. i could really break it down to minutes, let's be honest, that is more realistic. and clearly...more unsteady...
sometimes i am 105 degrees inside and upset...mad....frustrated....sooooo over having to live my life like this. life? if you can call it that. i cry out to God about how tired i am with it all.... the lying around...the pain...the unanswered questions...the "watching" my kids from the sidelines, but not feeling like i get to really be their mom right now....the heavy burden it is placing on those around me who love me most....oooohh bitterness tries hard to creep in here...and he brings his friends, fear, pity, and the need for control.
other times i am a cool, chilly 62 degrees inside....distant from God...lazy about how much time i spend with him during the day.....not "feeling" like i want to read anything else about Him and how faithful He is during trials....i just sit back, turn on the tv and chill. ooooohhhh complacency tries to creep in here....and he brings his friends along too (they never come alone, do they?) his friends are laziness, apathy, and hopelessness.
isn't it awful? the answer is yes. truly not something i am proud of. but it's the truth.
and what does my God think about it?
rev. 3:16 "so, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
i don't feel great about making God want to throw up.
but i am thankful for his abundant grace, that is for sure.
romans 5:15 "But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!"
oh, i am so happy to be one of the many! and i have learned a lot about these "feelings" that have been so lukewarm....for it is these feelings that deceive me. my belief in God isn't wavering. but my "feelings" about this whole trial do waver. the key is not to be led by, overcome by, or consumed by these feelings. i heard joyce meyer speak once about her ministry. she was asked about her many mission travels all over the world to feed and help the starving and desperate cultures of people. they asked her if she was "excited" about going. she said "no, i'm not terribly excited." this surprised them, until she explained. she basically said that she had been over there so very many times. the first time, she was excited. but then, on the 21 hour flight home, she got a stomach bug and threw up the entire way home. it was awful! the time change, long flight, insect bites, stomach bug...all that she knew was coming, didn't make her "excited". but what was important was that she was committed. even if all of those things happened again, she was committed to serve God, and had a faithful heart about it...excited or not.
i can absolutely respect that. am i always patient and trusting and humble during this looong "flight" i am on?? absolutely not. but, whenever these "feelings" come...these feelings that make me waver, make my thoughts go briefly (and sometimes not so briefly) to where they shouldn't go...i remember, that GOD IS FAITHFUL. it is ok if my feelings get the best of me sometimes, because i am committed. i will cling to God through this. i will trust Him the very best i can each day. i will stay committed to whatever it is He is allowing in my life. in spite of my "feelings".
i think some of the lyrics to an amazing song by mercyme fit very well here...("bring the rain")
I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain
friend...it isn't easy. moments will come, those 105 degree times, followed by the 62 degree times. and girls...let's be honest, it happens to us even more often...let's say every month or so, eh?? but, i have great news!! and trust me, i am needing truth upon truth to stand upon lately...so KNOW THIS...whatever you face....heat stroke days that make you feel parched, dried out, alone and forgotten...or monsoon-like days where you slop around soaking wet, beat-down, and frustrated that you've ruined your best shoes....regardless...HE CAN HANDLE IT!! HE IS IN CONTROL!!! and He loves you. that's right... YOU! He's got this covered... read below...and thank Him for His faithfulness, despite our lack of it...i know i am.
isaiah 58:11 "The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
thank you for strengthening my frame God. thank you for making me like a well-watered garden in the middle of the desert. only you can do that. without you, i am all dried up.
isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you"
thank you for not letting all of this sweep over me, God. thank you for the truth that when i feel waist deep in water with nowhere clear to turn...you are with me.