02 May 2011

Multitude Monday - 1000 Gifts ~ How am I supposed to give thanks? Especially when...

  • I've been sitting on and mulling over some thoughts for a few weeks now... my response to a situation that simply put, infuriates me. I don't believe the anger is sin... because the anger is directed at specific sin we've been trying to deal with here... and because some involved continually find a way to excuse the sin as an issue of culture instead of recognizing, confessing, repenting, seeking forgiveness AND letting God penetrate and change culture where culture is wrong?
  • or when I've know about a problem, I've tried more than once to do my part yet no one listens or wants to deal with it and then someone... or sometimes many someones... get hurt and God's name is dishonored because those who have claimed to be His people do the opposite of what they have said they will do?
  • or when I watch my baby go from happy, healthy, playing to lethargic, hurting, burning up with a fever, inconsolable and I know in my heart that once again it is malaria or some other malady that if we didn't live here, our kids (and their parents) wouldn't have to deal with these deadly and blech-y parasites and bugs?
  • or... and I'm sure I could continue this list...

I was skyping with one of my friends while Tim took Mary Michelle to the clinic the other night to have them run a blood test for malaria (we often use the French name for it here as we speak our franglais, "paludisme," or just "palu" for short.) I'd called to see how things were going and he said that they wanted her to start immediately on a malaria treatment. I know other moms and dads all over the world understand this... that scared feeling in the pit of the stomach until a sick child begins getting better, wondering if the diagnosis was correct... wondering if the medical decisions we are required to make will be the right ones... or if the medical treatment necessary will even be available... even if God's plan is to restore health to the child or something different... so I by no means think I'm the only one. Unfortunately for me, this was just one of those times where knowing I'm not alone in the boat didn't... usually doesn't... really help.

The exact words I wrote to my friend?

"Have I ever told you that I do hate palu and I'm going to be finding it extremely hard to be thankful in this thing...?"

I'm blessed to have such a friend because the immediate responses, literally only seconds apart (which I know because Skype keeps track of the time each exchange is made : ) ) included:

     "Yes, I know.  We can be thankful that...
  • this has been identified.
  • that you are not in the middle of the night waking up to this.
  • that Tim has carried this in one sense...taking her to the doctor and dealing with the doctors.
  • that we have meds to treat this with..."
And while I cannot pretend that my heart started immediately bubbling over with gratitude for what God was doing through Mary Michelle's present illness... or through any of the frustrating situations described above, my friend clearly reminded me that there are things to give thanks for in all circumstances and at all times... for some gemstones shine the best and brightest in the darkness...

this week's gratitude list
(#'s 1065 - 1089)

such a friend (and chauffer) for such a time

my friend's use of the word "we" because I did immediately feel less "alone"

clinics open 24/7... even when you have to wait for them to unlock the doors

helpful and friendly early morning guards at the pharmacie de garde

anger without sin at the things that anger God

sleeping with the AC on... all night...

work colleagues and carpooling partners who help out when I can't

baby teddy bears wearing homemade knitted tuques that arrive in suprise gift packages at church and are perfect for laying a sore hand on while sleeping

watching her wear that tuque and then pull it down over face and claim she's a "scary goon!"

sponge baths under the fan, the only thing that worked to lower that stubborn fever

parents chatting with me through the night, keeping me calm and distracting when necessary

once again - God-sized work that I can't do, reminding me that He's the One Who does His work and simply allows us the privilege of partnering with Him

God's unexpected and amazing ways of preparing me for what He has in store

being allowed to serve our friends

overnight company and shared french fries at the pool

doctor who will step out of a Sunday meeting to come and look after our little girl

doctor with lots of experience and who will keep looking at the pieces (and for additional clues) until the puzzle at least starts to make sense

working on the harder relationships - and then seeing that God was actually the one doing the work all along

finding that those harder relationships can be worth it, even if they never become comfortable or easy

poolside chats

looking forward to swimming and water polo... this week!

Anna wanting to learn how to cook... particularly today, to make pancakes

Nadia teaching her sister how to make pancakes... and taking care of lunch for the family

seeing the morning after grumpiness start to subside and that beautiful, playful spirit reappear.


  1. I’m here from Ann’s link today. I’m not a mom, but blogging in this community I know so many – I understand more than I ever have how o mom is tied with her children, how you feel their pains as if they are your own. Your baby being sick like this – I know a little what it feels like. I’m sorry. And because I am fining that we need each other – just learning it really – I pick from your list as my favorite one “parents chatting with me through the night, keeping me calm and distracting when necessary” I so enjoyed reading this today – really did. God bless you and your family.

  2. thanks, craig, for your kind and encouraging words. keep learning over and over again that God is good, all the time... even when it doesn't feel that way.


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