Well, it’s that time of year when the stores are packed and people are running around like crazy searching for that “perfect gift” for the special people in their lives. I can tell you from experience that a lot of those “perfect gifts” that my kids have mentioned don’t come cheap. As the mom of 3 truly awesome boys, ages 14, 12 and 10, I’ve found that the older they get, the higher the price tag. Of course some of the usual big-ticket items are Electronics and the latest video games. I usually just ask my kids to make a “Wish List” at Christmas because most of the time (well all of the time really) I don’t have a clue what they are talking about. They are far more intelligent than me with all the latest technology so if they don’t write it down, then who knows what they might end up with LOL.
There have been a few occasions when I have found the “perfect” gift only to find out it’s broken or doesn’t work properly after we get it home. I’m not the nicest person when this happens either. I tend to freak out (just a little). Seriously, it’s not a pretty site. After all, who in their right mind would want something that doesn’t work when they paid for a brand new version? And it doesn’t have to be something brand new necessarily. That brings me to the infamous (in our family anyway) story of Dalton’s dirt bike.
All Dalton, my youngest son, wanted was a dirt bike. In fact, he didn’t care if that was all he got for Christmas, he just wanted to ride dirt bikes. He had been watching it on TV, talking to friends of ours who raced dirt bike, the whole nine yards. And so, like any good mother, I absolutely refused his request. Of course, also like any good mother at Christmas, I gave in. I live with 3 boys and a husband, so who do you think had the numbers stacked against them? In my house, whatever we spend on one kid has to be multiplied x3 so that meant Dalton wasn’t getting a brand new dirt bike. I left this to my husband, who eventually found one on Ebay for him that fit the bill (financially anyway). When we get the thing home, it obviously needed work so my husband and our neighbor worked on the bike some. As my husband just told me, “we got it to run, but it didn’t run smoothly”. Well that was an understatement. I have to admit that even I was super excited to see my son’s face when he saw his gift. And he was super excited when he saw it. But then they took it outside so that he could try to ride it. I went with them to be the “heavy”, but I was scared to death to watch him. He couldn’t get it cranked! Whew! Bad for him but good for me. He finally got it started and proceeded to go about 2 feet and unintentionally done a pretty cool wheelie. Time to get off! Mama didn’t get Valium in her stocking 😉 But they kept at it but the stupid thing just kept cutting off. He finally gave up but how pitiful he was that he wasn’t able to ride it! And, even through my “scared mom” eyes, I really didn’t want him to be disappointed or sad, especially not on Christmas. But not only was the dirt bike not a new one, it was a broken one to boot. How horrible Keith and I felt as parents that we gave our kid a broken gift on Christmas Day! The worst part was how he would get so excited when it cranked for about 2 seconds, and the hope would be back in those beautiful eyes. But then every time it stopped, he (and I) only felt more let down. And he really didn’t have a whole lot of other gifts that weren’t dirt bike related. He had to have a helmet, of course. But this Mama wasn’t letting him get on there without pads too, lol. And he got “cool dirt biking clothes” as he called them. So when it came down to it, there just wasn’t anything to take the place of his dirt bike that year. But he was such a good sport about it. Even though he was sad, he still had hope that his Daddy could fix it and everything would be okay..
Oh how much like that dirt bike dilemma is life with chronic illness. We wake up thinking we are gonna start just fine and we are excited and hopeful. But then we start to sputter and gradually our engine just cuts off. But we try again. And again. And we keep on trying, every single day because that’s what we have to do to keep our sanity. Sometimes, though, even trying is too hard. It just doesn’t seem like it’s enough. And it doesn’t seem like it’s worth it anymore. I will be honest with you. I’ve been trying to get a blog out for a while now. I wouldn’t say I had writer’s block but more like writers “fog”. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, then you are probably very familiar with the “fog”. If you don’t know what it is, trust me, you don’t want to. But a simple description is that it is exactly the way it sounds. This weird fog comes over your brain and nothing, no matter how much you force it, will penetrate that horrible shroud of funk that your brain is in. It took a pretty sad pity party to make its way through this mess in my head. I was literally at the end of my rope, hanging on with all I had a few nights ago. Or more like mornings ago. I couldn’t sleep-again-so I was up and just messing around my house. As I was going through my house, ALL I could see were the things that were wrong. All the things that had been neglected because of this stupid illness. All of unfinished projects and the messes I had yet to clean up. Literally everywhere I turned was something else that was seemingly slapping me in the face with my ineptitude. All I could think about was what a failure I’ve become. I started sobbing uncontrollably and wondered if this was ever going to get better or if I was ever going to see a glimpse of that person that I used to be. Finally, I did the thing that I should have done first. I called out to my Heavenly Father and I said “You’ve got to fix this. I can’t do it on my own and I don’t want to. If You don’t do something to make it better than this is it. I’m shutting down for good”. I know that’s pretty dramatic, but it was a pretty dramatic pity party, even for me. I had lost sight of that hopefulness that I’ve always prided myself on having. Pride being the key word there. In my selfish pride lately, I had been ignoring the very One I called out to that night. For I knew in the far recesses of that all-consuming fog that I had going on that I could still count on my Father to fix it. Just like Dalton was so sure that his earthly Dad could fix the dirt bike, I should have been sure all along that my Heavenly Father could fix this. Now when I say fix, I don’t mean take it all away or send a flash of light down and heal me there on the spot (although I’m positive that could happen, too) but he could repair it and help me get started and get focused on what’s important. There was a flash, but it was a flash of scripture that came to mind and it was like a balm that washed over me and calmed me down so quickly, I thought I was imagining it. It was like the sun came out and that silly fog started to clear out. This is the verse that was on my heart: ” My sacrifice, O God, is[a] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise”. Psalms 51:17 NIV
Of course! I was broken and He promised to be there always! But caught up in my own pride and self-pity, I didn’t call out to Him. I love the way The Message translates that verse: “Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice”. Psalm 51:16-17 The Message
Yes! Finally! I understood the true meaning of this verse and boy did it fit me! Most of the time, God has to really thump me on my head for me to get it and this was no exception. But I was not only “heart-shattered”, but physically and emotionally shattered, too. Doesn’t matter though. God is in the business of repairing it all. I finally saw that and oh how good it felt to give that burden over to Him. For He had been with me all along anyway, watching and waiting for me to realize what and who I truly needed. I guess He was going to see how many times I would try to start my own engine without asking for help. But on that night when my engine finally flooded, He was there, with the necessary tools, and he helped me get started again. Don’t let yourself get flooded like I did before you call out to Him. He’s ready and waiting, because He knows when you are broken and hurting and in need. And trust me on this too: He won’t EVER let you down. After all, you’ve got a lifetime warranty with Him 😉