Thursday, September 4, 2014

Happy, Or Whole?

All I ever wanted was a normal, "happy" life. As a teen I assumed I would marry, have children, and live the average christian life- singing in the choir, teaching children's church, maybe lead a bible study every now and then. When I was called to a "special" ministry I thought I would end up serving in an orphanage in a poverty stricken country, or perhaps be a missionary's wife. I never would have imagined that I would end up in the suburbs near Dallas, not leading bible studies, or teaching Sunday School, but rather, facilitating medical care for three family members with various medical diagnoses. 

Special indeed, this "Special Needs Lifestyle".  Am I happy? Some days, yes. Some days I am a stressed out wreck. Some days it's all I can do to balance it all- and forget about "keeping it together". But I would not trade this journey for all the "happiness" in the world, because this often chaotic life is what teaches me about God's plan for my wellness and healing. 

There's been a lot of buzz on social media regarding whether God wants us to be happy or not. My go to quip is "God wants us to be WHOLE, not happy." On a deeper level, I would add that God created us for fellowship with him. Happiness cannot complete us-Only God can. Chances are, we are going to face a lot of days where we are not happy- and it's imperative to know Who to run to in the chaos and in the calm.

Recently I've found myself frustrated, anxious, and generally under a lot of pressure. Parents of typical kids may breathe a sigh of relief when they send their kiddos back to school, yet I tend to find myself putting on the Armor of God and going into battle. Sometimes the way is smooth and school personnel are knowledgeable and cooperative. Other times, not so much.

This year I am "training" a new school nurse who has experience and knowledge, but has been distracted by the learning curve and her case load.  This past week has been frought with challenges- a veritable emotional minefield.

I felt angry when the new nurse did not focus on our (multiple) conversations long enough to answer her own questions.
 
I felt frustrated when she couldn't find the supplies I had brought to school for his care (important items like insulin and snacks). 

I felt out of the loop and anxious when she called the emergency line at the diabetes clinic each time my son's Blood Glucose level was out of range- instead of contacting me or simply following the care plan.

I felt determined when I called the nurse's supervisor, relieved when the supervisor listened to my concerns, and scheduled a meeting the next day to resolve the issues. 

I felt a lot of emotions this week, and none of them have been happiness. Anger, yes. Comfort, yes. Relief, yes, YES!! As each obstacle has been prayed over and then overcome, I've known God's guidance, provision, and goodness in the midst of my struggling.

I've been reminded to take care of me to offset the stress: to exercise (movement releases stress) and pray, pour out- another way to relieve stress. I've found comfort in placing everything that is out of my control in the hands of the One who can change others' hearts, and heal my own. Release of pent up emotions has been key, and I've found healing as I get out into the green spaces I love to walk and pray, run, and release.

I've also been reminded to rest. Creating new care plans and working with multiple teachers for each of my sons (16 teachers, not including the Counselors and nurses), as well as managing the many medical appointments has left me wiped out physically and emotionally. I am learning to take time to recover in spirit, soul, and body. To BE STILL. To Rest and pray... release and find rest.

Am I happy at this very moment? No- but I am content- and Peace in heart, soul, and body resonates long after momentary happiness has passed.

"Too Blessed to Be Stressed?" Not so much. While I appreciate the reminder of perspective, sometimes I am stressed, regardless of perceived "blessings". At the end of the day- and in the middle, and the early morning too, the true blessing comes as I connect with God. Often, He works not to remove the stressors, but rather to soothe me in the midst of them, granting wisdom to walk through the battle connected with his love, and gentle strength. There is courage in connectivity to the One who carries and equips.

 For me, the Blessing is God, Himself. A precious Presence in my life, this Voice leading, guiding, calming me when medical chaos- or life in general- would otherwise overwhelm me. It's when I get to a quiet place and BE STILL that I recognize he IS the blessing- whether I am "happy" or not, whether life is what I want or not, whether a storm is raging or not.

There is only One who IS the gift in my every moment. The One who holds me in the quiet places, and in the storms too. I am at peace in God alone. Happy? Not recently, no. But joy comes as I connect to the One who is my Source- the One who moves me to greater wellness whether it's enjoyable or not.

I used to want to be happy- and while I don't object to happiness (I still prefer it to those other emotions) at the end of the day I have to confess I'd rather be whole.

~Just Me





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