My stomach tied in knots as the thermometer beeped. 102.8. The numbers stared at me, demanding that I take action and make some decisions. Both Micaela and Adela were sick with fevers and a cough. A few hours later we had all missed school and a nurse was shoving a long cotton swab up their noses.
Now, I need to confess, I have never been an overly fussy mom when it come to colds or the flu. I have always did the normal: pushed fluids and make sure they rested. The girls typically went from yearly check-up to yearly check-up without seeing our family physician. I have trusted in their bodies' ability to fight off infections. But, then came COVID and the numbers on a blinking thermometer arrive with a thousand questions.
What do they have? Is is something they will be able to pass on to others even after a few day? Do I need to have them tested? What if it is COVID and they shut down the school? Who has been in contact with us recently? Should I call them?
Yesterday the doctor gave us the verdict: no COVID, no flu, but probably a different virus such as RSV. The doctors orders: push fluids and make sure they rest.
I had to admit, I felt so very frustrated. In my anger, I had to take a good look at something I battle: indecision.
Indecision is where you feel like a battle is going on inside your head. You don't know what is the "right" thing to do. You might even make a decision and then continue to beat yourself up about why it wasn't a good choice or might not be a good choice. This is so destructive. The end result is an accelerating feeling of fear, frustration, and anger.
Instead we can follow these steps:
1. Evaluate our priorities. If you know how things land in your list of most important to least important, it is easier to make a choice that is in line with your values.
2. Praise God and pray for guidance and protections. Sometimes re-connecting with God and the Holy Spirit will give us clarity and peace before we make a choice.
3. Make a decision and make it final. Don't keep revisiting your choice or beating yourself up.
4. When the dust settles and the situation is over, evaluate your decision to see what you can learn for next time.
That is pretty simple. When I go through those steps I realize that I am thankful for the choice of taking the girls to the doctor. I was both getting them looked over by a medical professional and potentially protecting people at school from whatever their little bodies were fighting.
Today I am home with the girls. They are doing better. I try not to grieve for the days gone past when I could parent in a more simple way, but then I remember, God has not changed. The God who protected and guided me and mine before the pandemic is the same God who watches over my little family today.
Try out those four steps the next time you are battling indecision. I pray it brings you some peace and confidence.
Let me level with you: Life is full these days. I purposefully chose not to say "busy", "crazy", or "chaotic". I just want to say that it is full. Full like a dish at a potluck where you keep trying to slide just one more item on your plate. You might even take a self-conscience glance around, and dump some brisket on top of the potato salad and then shrug and say, "It's going to the same place anyways."
That's my life right now. It isn't bad or stressful, because I choose to believe that it is exactly how God designed it to be. The reality of it is, my husband is in veterinary medical school, I'm teaching and designing curriculum, Adela is active with a dozen interests and projects, and Micaela remains a cute complicated kid. Throw in the farm and keeping a home and my potluck plate has started dribbling juice on the floor.
I did though, have a moment where I almost...almost...lost my grip. I had carefully choreographed my evening and believed I could get two loads of laundry done, dried, and sorted between cooking supper, helping the girls with homework, and putting out some home fall décor. I pulled the soggy clothes out of the washer and dumped them into the dryer. I smiled, enjoying the scent of clean clothes and the wealth of shirts and pants my girls have been blessed with. Then, prepped the machine and pushed the button. Expecting to hear the bumps and whirls as it got into motion, I froze when I heard a single bump followed by silence.
My world came crashing down.
Frantic, I opened and closed doors, flipped breakers, checked settings, and pushed the button like a monkey.
I backed away, as if the machine were a snake. I fell into a chair. My choreographed dance of work transformed into a failed disaster. I bowed my head and prayed, asking God for peace or a new dryer. What he delivered instead was Adela, wanting to know what I was doing (she doesn't see me sit down much these days). I explained the dryer's condition and from her wise nine-year-old lips she shrugged and said, "Well, we can handle that."
I gave her a half smile. Yeah. We would handle it.
We don't get to pick what our days throw at us, but we need to learn how to give life and loved ones space. Accepting, loving space. Instead of demanding that things continued to go in the direction I had planned for the evening, I needed to be loving and accepting toward myself, replacing my fear and anger with trust that God's plans are always good.
The concept of giving space actually comes from psychologist recommendations for good listening. When someone is telling you their problems, you give them space to talk, to sort out their worries and feelings. You do not fill the space with your own ideas. You listen with concern and curiosity. You do do not listen while mentally deciding what you are going to say when they take a breath.
We must give our day space too. Whatever happens, whatever needs to be cared for, whoever needs to be loved, we must to give those situations space and acceptance.
After all, God's will is that we love one another beyond agendas.
This week as you welcome the chaos of family and holidays, I pray you give space to your life so that it might be filled with love.
Are you frustrated by a person or situation right now? You might need to trust God with your time and give the situation accepting, loving space to simply be part of your life.
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"...and God was already there with me."