I am one of those annoying people who blows holidays out of proportion. I build them up in my head, what conversations will be had, all the feelings that will be felt and the memories that have to be made. It’s a recipe for disaster, obviously, and Erron usually gets the brunt of it when it all implodes. I’ve been this way since I was a kid, it’s still in work in progress.
Last Thanksgiving was not my favorite. Clearly, we had everything to be thankful for but it was a little too surreal for me and the whole experience was just overwhelming. I ended up hiding out in my closet, hyperventilating at how close we came to a Thanksgiving without Shepherd. This Thanksgiving felt a little strange for the exact opposite reason, Erron was tired coming off a crazy work week and I was feeling high maintenance. There was little talk about what we felt thankful for, and while the food was amazing, and family was nice, the whole thing just left me feeling unsatisfied. This is a personal problem, I could have changed the course of conversation, I could have lowered my expectations to something realistic and I could have admitted it was my attitude that was the most out of joint. If I’m telling the truth, I haven’t been feeling thankful lately, I’ve been anxious…then I feel guilty for feeling that way when I know better, I’ve experienced enough to know better….but it is frustratingly easy to forget sometimes. The whole emotional merry-go-ground just makes me annoyed, but I can’t always figure out how to step off it quick enough.
Erron and I are in a season that is kind of low-grade stressful all the time. I’m pretty sure it’s just a season, but it feels like it’s been a long one, and we are over it. We are ready for a change in the weather. Erron and I were both feeling the weight of our situation yesterday when we finally went to church. I say finally, because we both volunteer first service, but we hardly ever go to second service ourselves. (I coordinate a team of sweet volunteers for Shep’s age group and Erron drives golf carts) Anyway, once we get done with our jobs, we always panic that we might be stretching the kids past their limits. Usually, we are so late getting out the door we don’t even feed them, so we grab them and bounce, opting for lunch instead. But yesterday, we randomly decided to go and it was a sweet relief. I sat there next to Erron, feeling annoyed that I wasn’t feeling grateful. I finally looked at my husband and said, “This will work out, we’ve been through way more stressful things.” He nodded. He knew. And my heart started to thaw out as the service continued. Last night I went to bed in prayer, pleading for a change of heart and asking for trust instead of anxiety.
Now, I am not a girl who hears from The Man Upstairs directly, but when I woke up this morning the verse about not being anxious and instead being prayerful and thankful was rattling around in my head. Literally on repeat.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~Philippians 4:6
And then it happened. I pulled out my wallet after coffee and began making the calls I needed to make. All the doctors’ offices that I had been putting off. First call in, our biggest bill…the woman on the other end tells me it’s been run through the system incorrectly and re-adjusts. Our mega bill is cut in half. Then I check on our med-flex account to make sure they received the payment they needed and hear there is enough money in there to cover the rest of the bills. Like, all of them. Paid in full. I thought we had drained the account months ago. This morning was such a gift. And completely unexpected. The timing couldn’t have been sweeter.
Since my experience with Shep, little by little I’m learning how God can sometimes whisper in your ear by laying words on your heart. I have to say, it’s my favorite lesson so far about the nature of The Man Upstairs.