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Strength to Care

Lessons from Matthew & Isaac – Our CHARGE Syndrome Journey

Grace…not so amazing for you?

Most things that Matthew does either makes us laugh…or cry. Which ever one we may be experiencing gives us the opportunity to learn something. Recently Matthew started the morning frantically searching for a sock. A single sock. After summoning one of us to his bedroom closet to clear the multiple levels of security to be opened (which, by-the-way, needs another level), he found a prized sock and placed it on his hand. As with most cases where he triumphs and completes something on his “list” if things to do…he did not make his normal happy noises. Instead, he went about his day with his socked hand raised up and out in front of him. We were quite curious to find out what was under the sock. Matthew was not about to give up his sock and the mystery without resistance. It took a little restraint to hold him firmly and to get a hold of the hand with the sock which was writhing around and avoiding capture much like an anaconda. Upon removing the sock we found a small sliver of wood jammed under a fingernail. With a little coaxing (and more restraint) we were able to tweeze out the sliver. Matthew kept looking at his hand, first with concern, then with a smile and finally a laugh. The sock…tossed over the back of the sofa and out of sight. So simple…have a problem, a pain, a concern? A little exposure and a willingness to ask and accept help is all it takes. Easy, right?

I have to confess…I have a sliver too. Actually, I have many slivers I try to cover with a sock. Slivers, or sin that I purposely try to cover up and hide from an all-knowing God. A God who is so desperately waiting with tweezers in hand. The only difference in this analogy is that God will not hold me down and restrain me. I have to come to a point of wanting change. It is then He wraps his arms around me, holds me tight,  takes off the sock, and pulls out the pain.

I like a quote that Dave Ramsey uses frequently on his radio show…He also used it in his book The Total Money Makeover. In this case he is talking about money…but may be easily transferred to the stink of sin in our lives.

Change is painful. Few people have the courage to seek out change. Most people won’t change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change. When it comes to money, we can be like the toddler in a soiled diaper. “I know it smells bad, but it’s warm and it’s mine.” Dave Ramsey

“it’s warm and it’s mine.” It is comfortable, at least for now. The pain or guilt isn’t too bad, at least for now. I have been reading a book by C.J. Mahaney called Humility, True Greatness. In it he talks about how sin bogs us down and makes grace…not so amazing. We become less effected by corporate worship or less sensitive to repetitive sin in our lives. I think of the many ways I pull out a sock and try to place it over the pain of sin. I think of the ways I fill my life with being busy…busy enough to not sit quietly and listen to the screaming coming from under the sock. I ignore the fact that God is ALWAYS by my side, ALWAYS ready with the tweezers. What are your socks? What do you use to cover up the sin. What do you use to quiet the throb of pain. How do find the strength to pull off the sock?

I believe God had a plan in place when he gifted each one of our kids to us. More recently, with Isaac, it was to pull us even closer to his embrace and his grip with the tweezers in-hand. God knew that I would have much more focused time that I could choose to spend with him. But it has been a deliberate and not an easy choice at times. Now that Isaac is home more often than he is in the hospital he requires 24 hour observation and care because of his trach which requires constant sectioning to allow him to breathe. We do get some help in the form of nursing care at night. We have a nurse from 11:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. Theresa stays up later to greet and brief the nurse…I get up at 6:30 a.m. and get a briefing of the night. That is where my day begins…a full hour and a half to two hours before anyone else stirs in the house. That is where the choice begins. What could I do with that quiet time? A respected author friend of mine, Dan Miller, frequently talks about the first minutes and hours of the day being pivotal in determining the outcome of the day. He refers to this time as being the rudder of the day in a devotional book he put together of the same name. The Rudder of the Day: Stories & Wisdom to Kick Start Your Workday

Another book, by C.J. Mahaney called Humility, True Greatness, describes the first part of our morning as a time to speak truth to ourselves in opposition to the many lies we feed ourselves:

Most of us spend more time listening to lies than we do speaking truth to ourselves. And the listening process usually starts as soon as we get up. The alarm has rudely interrupted the gift of sleep, and the listening begins. As we stumble through our morning routine, we’re not directing the thoughts in our mind – we are simply at their mercy. We entertain complaints about what happened yesterday and worries about what’s coming today. We look in the bathroom mirror and assess the damage, then brood over how we feel. We’re not in charge of our thinking. We are just there.  Humility: True Greatness C.J Mahaney

There are piles of socks all over our living room, next to Isaac’s crib and over the back of the sofa. The piles grow as I start each new day. When and where do you take time to pull the socks off and allow the tweezers to come? As with Matthew, first there will be a look of concern, then a smile, and then laughter.

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