Monday, January 29, 2007

Kathy the Israelite

This post has literally been a week in the making. It has been through several drafts and to be honest, I'm still not happy with it. It's hard to write about something I'm ashamed of. But I published anyway, because as Christians, we're supposed to be real. Not all about the happy veneer exterior. So I'd feel dishonest and fake if I didn't share a deep, dark secret...

I was such an Israelite last week!

Now before anyone gets offended, please understand I'm talking about a Moses-led, Exodus-experiencing, miracle-witnessing, wilderness-wandering Israelite. You know... the kind that, back in Sunday school class, you referred to as a whiner and complainer. Yep, that was me last week.

You see, my son had pneumonia. In fact, in his young life, he's had it three times and when his little body is wracked with coughing, I just feel so helpless! And frustrated! (Parents, can I get a witness on that?!) So in between long waits in the doctor's office and pharmacy, in between juggling my daughters' homework and dinner with plying an unwilling, feverish child with nasty medicine, in between frustration with missing work, and all the other nuances of life, self-pity began to kick in:

"Oh Lord, why? Why can't my kids ever make it through winter without getting sick? Why do mine get sick more than anyone else's?" (Not true, but it always seems that way). "They only have sugary cereal for breakfast on rare occasions and they never drink pop. We eat only whole grain bread, and I make sure they have lots of fruit and at least one serving of veggies per day. We try to get in as many Superfoods as possible. I take them to the chiropractor for regular adjustments in order to boost their immune systems. Oh, Lord, how can they possibly be getting sick?"

Translation: God, I'm doing my part and you're not doing yours.

Whoa. Now wait a minute there. If I boil all my complaints down to one underlying issue, that misaligned view must really be what is at the core of all my mental caterwauling. Ouch.

Just like the Israelites, I was focused on me, my immediate and short-sighted circumstances, and had not placed hope and faith where they belonged. As incredulous as the Israelites' wavering faith always seemed to me, I'm confronted with the gnawing realization that I'm even worse than they were! Why?

The Israelites had just witnessed plagues against their enemies and walked through the sea between parted water walls, and they thought the Lord would let them die of starvation?

I have three generally healthy, bright, beautiful kids, and I suggest that God's not doing his job?!

The Israelites had Moses interceding for them and still drifted toward other idols?

I have JESUS interceding for me and I've done the same?!

I didn't craft a golden calf, but I had come to believe that through diet and other "keys to optimal health" that I had some modicum of control over my kids' health. Oh, how I clinched it tightly. But over the course of the last week, God gently pried my fingers loose, showing me that HE is in control and His grace is sufficient for me (II Cor. 12:9). Shane often says, "It's only by God's grace that we can even get up and tie our shoes in the morning." And it's only by His grace that my kids (or any of us) are healthy.

Father, thank you for smashing my idol. I know from your word that you do want us to be good stewards of our bodies and in faith I believe you do bless us in part according to how we manage your gifts. But in Exodus, you demonstrated that obedience to your will came FIRST, even clearly stating you'd protect the people from plagues if they remain faithful. Obviously, that's where I fell short too. I thank and praise you for your forgiveness and your grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Now...I'm off to the doctor. No, really. Lexi has a cough and an ear infection. (PTL!) :-)


JenniferLayne said...

Kathy, isn't it sooo hard to let go. I had similar feelings when we went to Haiti last year--I'll have to share with you what I wrote about that cause it reminds me a lot of what you wrote. Thank you so much for your honesty. It lets this mama know she's not alone. Love you, Jen

Anonymous said...

The whole time I was reading this entry I couldn't help to think of Job. I kept seeing so many similarities with struggles that you all face, and that everyone faces for that matter. I believe that God will never give us more than we can handle. I also believe that sometimes he fills our plates full with hardships out of love to help us realize that we are indeed stronger in him than we give ourselves credit.

I know that this entry may have been a struggle to revise, but keep things real. God knows our imperfections.

Romans 16:19-20

Jen Keller said...

I can relate to what you are saying here...I was doing a little 'wallowing in my own self-pity' a couple of weeks ago...when I had a 105 degree temp and my hubby just didn't know how to comfort me just right ;) I thought...Good Grief God...I don't know how much more of 'being sick' I can take! I'm guilty too. I too need forgivness for being so self centered that I couldn't see 'the big picture'! Thanks for your blog was worth the 'weeks work' ;) ~ Jen Keller

Anonymous said...

Kathy, Thanks for the honesty and confession. James 5:16 say "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." In a devotion I read today it points out that confession is not disgrace, but grace. And had two reasons we should confess one to another. First, it is one thing to read of God's forgiveness in the Bible, but it is quite another thing to hear and feel God's grace and love in the voices of your friends. Second, confession reduces the power of a secret. The beginning of healing is revealing. The purpose of confession is not humiliation but restoration. May God give our both of those today. Love ya, Gretchen