(our children at Legoland, FL)
I am obviously NOT perfect. I’m still very human. I need Jesus desperately EVERY MOMENT of EVERY DAY or I will mess things up majorly!
I thought some of you may appreciate a few real life examples of how a wife might have obstacles and problems to deal with but might handle that in a godly way without complaining and being negative and might actually still enjoy her husband and family – by the power of God, of course!
I take the following command from scripture VERY seriously:
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of life. Philippians 2:14-16a
I fully realize that many of you have much more burdensome and painful issues to deal with than I do. If you have learned to live with God’s peace in the midst of difficult trials, please leave a comment about your situation and how God is working in your heart to bless other women!
I am blessed by God beyond measure and very thankful for my health, my family’s health, jobs, home and income. But I know these things could change any day and I put my trust in God alone to take care of us and meet our needs. And – the truth is that the way we handle the small problems is the way we will handle the big problems. We can’t complain and whine about every little tiny thing and then handle a big trial with grace! It doesn’t work that way. So it is important to handle the little things well, in my view! Then we will have practice for handling the BIG problems in a godly way.
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23
OK. I am going to warn the men who read my blog – this post will have TMI for you. You are now warned!!
I’m going into detail for the sake of the wives who might benefit. I normally don’t talk about this stuff at all – and really, none of it is a big deal to me anymore – but I hope to show a godly example for other wives who don’t have a mentor to help them work through these kinds of things.
WE SET THE TONE
Ladies – we set the emotional tone for our marriages and families. We decide if the family will be peaceful, loving, warm, accepting, encouraging and grateful. We decide if everyone will enjoy their time together – largely. Or we have the power to make everyone completely miserable with our negative attitude, harsh words, negativity, resentment, anger and discontentment. We have SO MUCH CONTROL here. I want us to catch that it is NOT really our circumstances that determine how content, peaceful and joyful we are. It is our decision to have a godly attitude and to allow Christ to empower us to be content, peaceful and joyful.
A FEW CHALLENGES OF GOING ON VACATION LAST SUMMER
(Let me say that I don’t even think about the negative stuff much anymore – so it sounds funny to me to even talk about these things. I was EXTREMELY thankful to get to go on a wonderful vacation with my family.)
There are certain medical conditions all women have to deal with. And then we each have our own unique situations we deal with, too. There are things I could complain about. I used to have a long list of complaints every day. Here were my potential medical challenges as we were leaving for vacation:
- I have chronic sinusitis (so I wash my sinuses out twice a day – haven’t had to take an antibiotic in almost 7 years by doing this!) – but I was having a flare up the night before and day we left for vacation
- I have EXTREMELY dry eyes from having LASIK surgery 12 years ago and they tend to get infected easily. I was having a flare up of that, too. that day.
- In the hot summer time in the south – that can cause issues for some women like me. Not going into detail here – let the women understand.
- My period had just started with lots of cramping.
- I have IBS – in my case because of muscle spasms in the lower back and pelvis – (it used to be almost debilitating daily) – but have learned that if I run as fast as I can, even for just a few minutes a day – I can keep it under control usually. I have also found that an anti-inflammatory diet can be quite helpful.
- I have lower back problems, they have been seriously debilitating at times – but if I run and do my back exercises faithfully, I am usually fine. Riding in the car for 8 hours could easily aggravate my back.
- I am allergic to 65 of the 79 things I was tested for at the allergist’s office. But I was allergic to the shots and couldn’t take them. Allergies are a daily issue.
- I am now allergic to UV rays. (Yes, you actually can be allergic to the sun. I know – I am WEIRD!) Sunscreen doesn’t help at all. If I am in the sun for a few minutes, my arms, chest, neck and jaw break out with very itchy whelps hours later. So I must wear long sleeves and a hat even when it is 100+ degrees outside. I kind of feel like a vampire – I can go out after dark without a problem! (Note 3-30-2017 – I have been on an anti-inflammatory diet for 2 years now, and that has helped me not break out in the sun anymore!)
- I have insomnia – most nights if I get 5.5 hours of sleep, I’m doing pretty good. If I get down to 4 hours of sleep or less, then I have a challenge the next day with functioning. But I really can’t drive more than about 15 or 20 minutes without starting to fall asleep.
- My husband has some allergies and snores sometimes – that makes the insomnia worse for me. He is treating his allergies and things are a lot better – but sometimes it is an issue.
- Our two children and I have food allergies – so we need to keep an Epi-Pen on hand in case we are accidentally exposed to something we are allergic to.
So – planning a vacation where we’d be outside in the sun, humidity and heat in Florida could bring up some health issues for me. But I actually didn’t worry about these things and just prepared so I could enjoy being with my family and enjoy our time together. Not a big deal – I know my limitations and know what I need to do to feel my best and I plan to take care of myself. I don’t talk about it unless I need to get something at the store.
HOW I HANDLED IT
I brought all the stuff I knew I would need. Rx ointment to prevent problems, tennis shoes so I could run every day, a hat and two UV SPF 50 long sleeve shirts to keep me from breaking out in the sun, supportive walking shoes, homeopathic eye drops that keep me from getting conjunctivitis, Sudafed and Allegra to help keep my sinusitis under control, all the normal feminine supply stuff, my sinus wash bottle and salt, our Epi-pens, ear plugs in case the snoring was an issue, Benadryl to help me sleep, a rolled up towel to put behind my back for the car ride, (a lot of meds in case of unexpected illnesses), my Bible and prayer journal to keep up my time with God.
DID I COMPLAIN?
I let my husband know in a non-whiny, pleasant tone of voice (once) that my period had started and I was having a sinusitis flare up and headache. I did tell him around 11:30 that night before we left and we were still packing that I was getting pretty tired. (I had worked 9 hours that day, then we had dinner and went shopping at two stores for the trip then we were packing till midnight. Then I planned to work 3 hours the next morning at the pharmacy and then we would leave immediately for the trip. Being tired can be a fairly normal issue – so I only tell him about that when I am REALLY exhausted.)
I don’t think I complained about anything during the trip. My philosophy is that if something gets a lot worse or changes – I let my husband know once so he is aware of what is going on, especially if I am going to need help from him in some way. Obviously, if I am having some kind of emergency, I would tell him immediately with urgency – and hopefully still respectfully!
It was HOT – of course. But I didn’t mention the heat. Everyone knew it was hot – no need to reiterate that point. My husband didn’t complain either – and that is one of the things I admire most about him!
I thanked my husband for bringing water with us. I thanked him repeatedly for bringing us on such an amazing vacation. I smiled a lot. I enjoyed watching our children have fun. I let my husband lead the way around the parks and kept the children together, held their hands and rubbed their backs. I encouraged our children to thank their Daddy often. I took pictures and hugged my hubby and children and smiled at them when we were waiting in long lines. Sometimes I even danced the Shag with our little girl to the music that was playing. I talked about the things I appreciated and enjoyed. I was calm and peaceful the whole time – like normal the past few years. And that is totally a GOD thing!
A FEW DAYS AFTER WE GOT HOME I DISCOVERED A NEW PROBLEM
I found lice in my hair! I guess it was from an auditorium seat in one of the parks? I’ve never had lice. A few years ago – I would have TOTALLY freaked out about this situation. I checked my children and husband. Our daughter also had some small lice in her hair. I got oil to treat our hair and a metal nit comb and began washing all the sheets and pillow cases and clothes in hot water with bleach (for things that could handle bleach). The next day, our son had it, too. (Yes I know there are lice shampoos with poison in them – but as a pharmacist, I have seen so many cases of resistant lice that I decided to go the oil and smothering route and use the nit comb frequently – especially since the poison is a neurotoxin to humans. I do have some on standby just in case, though!). UPDATE – the oil didn’t work too well, so I used Vaseline and a shower cap for 8 hours and that did the trick! It is hard to wash Vaseline out of hair but I don’t care!!
My husband offered to go to the grocery store and he got everything on my list and got some new hair stuff for me and my daughter, and a bunch of cheap combs that we could just use once and throw away for the next week, and shower caps to put over our oily hair to smother the lice. I thanked him A LOT for getting what we needed.
I did cry a little one time when my husband started combing my hair with the nit comb and the comb was ripping out a LOT of my hair (the comb’s fault – not my husband’s fault!). My hair is REALLY long, and I grew it out because I knew my husband loves it long. So, in a few weeks, I know I will have little tiny hairs sticking out all over my head after all this combing. That made me sad. I told my hubby I was sad about that – once.
If there is a problem, we will work to find a solution and we can handle it. Most things aren’t a big deal. Plus, we have God’s Spirit to help us! And now I trust God to use even these little medical conditions and lice to make my faith more mature.
I look for God’s sovereignty now even in the trials.
In fact, I took my children aside and had a Bible study with them after we all found we had lice. My son was REALLY upset about it – understandably. We read James 1 and talked about counting trials pure joy because they would increase our perseverance and faith and help us become more mature. I trust that my HUGE God is sovereign even over us having lice and might use that for His glory in some way that is beyond my understanding.
So, the 3 of us all wore oil in our hair and plastic shower caps all day yesterday. We are combing our hair twice a day with the nit comb. I am washing all the sheets and pillow cases in hot water with bleach every day for 10 days. I sealed up the stuffed animals the children played with in plastic bags for 2 weeks. And we all had a great day yesterday together! I am taking care of the problem – but I am not focusing on the lice. I am focusing on loving and trusting God, loving my family and being thankful for all the countless blessings in my life.
The children played games and we read books and did chores. We are staying put so that we don’t share our little “friends” with anyone. And I am at peace. If you had told me 4 years ago I could be at peace while having a lice infestation in my house – I would have NEVER believed it! But here I am. God is empowering me to do things that I couldn’t do on my own. When I trust Him, His perfect love drives out all fear.
(My husband and me at a restaurant at one of the parks. Check out my UV SPF 50 long sleeve shirt! 🙂 I know you’re so jealous! )
For a real life example of someone finding God’s peace and joy in the midst of extremely difficult trials, check out Petr’s story.