Two and a half years ago:
It’s a cloudy Saturday. The dishes and laundry scream “clean me!” My to-do list is so long it could be used as ribbon to bedeck several beautifully wrapped packages. I try to remember why I ever wanted to have children (who make messes, yucky smells, and lots of noise), the imperfect carpet and linoleum grind at me, I can’t remember what the word vacation means, my husband and I are in a rut in our relationship, my jeans are too tight, and I am too busy to make a dentist appointment much less squeeze in a coveted hair cut.
Then it happened. “MOM!!!” Four-year-old screaming bloody murder. My husband and I run into the other room to find our son’s forearm hanging gruesomely crooked as terror fills his beautiful blue eyes. I try to keep from throwing up, reminding myself to breathe as I wonder what to do next. Between sobs he tells us he jumped off the couch and hit a desk chair (which he knows is a no-no). Tim gathers a few things as I throw together a sack of hopefully edible items to send with my two men. Baby and I remain at home, and I ask God to keep my son and our family safe.
They are off to the hospital, and I dissolve in a tirade of tears. I call my pastor. He remembers. Same song, different verse. Two and a half years earlier, when my adorable boysie was learning to walk, he fractured his leg. It was minor, but because we weren’t sure how it happened (we figured out when it must have happened after the intimidating doctor visit), our doctor informed us that she had to submit our name to the Department of Child Services to be investigated for child endangerment. I struggled with shock and anger while our betraying doctor assured me, “I know you would never do anything to hurt your child.” We went through the worst trial we had ever experienced, only to be waved through at the end of a grueling month as “probably not dangerous.” Violated. Hurt. Labeled. (Reminds me of Someone I know.) I heard my pastor at the other end of the line saying, “Sara, you need to trust God.”
I calm down as I cry out to God. While fearing the worst, I know my God . . . I can trust the Creator of the universe. A couple hours later they come home. My boy’s arm is safe and secure in a new shell. Tim looks tired, but he says it went pretty smoothly. He didn’t feel that anyone doubted what happened. It helps when the child is old enough to explain this time. I start to breathe again.
Suddenly, even though I am completely drained, I look around and notice that my home is not hum-drum anymore. I am so thankful to be here. The linoleum is looking shinier, and the carpet spots are hardly noticeable. My husband and I kiss and hold each other a little longer. After a nap I have an urge to clean my family’s clothes and cook them a delicious meal. I don’t mind having toys all over the floor, and wall smudges have become my art gallery. As I glance in the bathroom mirror, I think perhaps I am looking prettier than I have in days. And at supper the whole family seems happy simply being together. In coming weeks my heart warms at the sight of my boy with his orange cast and matching Tigger overalls. I can’t help but giggle, while in the same breath praising and thanking God. God got us through and did what He does best – turning ugly things into His beautiful artwork. He used a terrible day to sprinkle sparkles of joy on my heart.
What happened? Did a broken arm suddenly and miraculously change everything? No . . . the carpet was still blotched, the laundry piled high, and my hair seriously in need of reshaping . . . and, yes . . . God adjusted my heart and healed my blindness. If only it wouldn’t take hospital trips to make me truly appreciate God’s blessings. By God’s grace, I’m getting there.
God’s joy is always there for the taking. In fact, it has your name and mine written on it by God’s hand with the most expensive and the most powerful permanent ink imaginable: Jesus’ precious blood.
This Christmas will you join me in taking time to open up, admire, put on, and gratefully enjoy His gift of joy? Let’s close our eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, and accept this lavish gift. With thankfulness we receive Your gift of joy, Father. We know this gift is ours because of Jesus. For He has come . . . and will come again.
Special thanks to http://poppiesatplay.blogspot.com/2011/11/joy-to-world.html for the above image.