Our new normal is very stressful!
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
I read James 1 this morning and I kept re-reading these verses. Until today, I really never noticed two things. 1) the part about “trial of many kinds” and 2)”Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete”
These last few months have been full, and I mean full, of many kinds of trials, let me tell you. Never before have we had so many trials, and so many different kinds of trials, all at once. You know how people always quote, “God will never give you more than you can handle”? Well, forgive me for being so bold as to say, that is a very misquoted Scripture. I believe the Scripture says He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. I believe He always gives us more than we can handle. If we never had more than we could handle, then we’d never need God. Am I right, or am I right? OK, need proof?
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
OK, so my point is, we’ve had to really rely on God to guide us through these last few months. If I’m wrong about the other quote, let me know. The two months in Ukraine were very tough and He got us through those times. He is also getting us through these tough times. We’ve had great, happy times, too. Don’t get me wrong, but this has been a much more difficult adjustment than we ever thought possible. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy and he never takes a day off. He would love nothing more than to destroy our families. For a while, he was having an old fashioned field day with us because we forgot about putting on the Amor of God. We forgot that the battle isn’t flesh and blood..
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
God reminded us that He has already won the victory. Our God is greater. Our God is stronger. Our God is faithful.
Bringing a teenage boy home from another country to live in a house full of other teenagers is a hard enough adjustment for any family, but we really thought we’d be great at this. NOT. Our kids didn’t quite adjust as well as we thought they would. They weren’t real sure about this new kid who took up all of mom’s time and energy and didn’t always treat her with the respect he should. Not only that, but because of some health problems I was having the whole time I was in Ukraine, I had to have surgery as soon as I got back in the country. You know how it is when Mom is down...the house hold just isn’t the same. So, that was another hard adjustment. The kids weren’t used to having parents for 2 months and now we’re home, mom had surgery, there’s a new kid, and things are just not the same. Talk about a stressful time!
After my surgery, my doctor informed me that there were some abnormal clusters of cells that they did not like when they did a biopsy. She highly advised a complete hysterectomy to assure no chance of cancer growing in the future. We agreed to do this as soon as possible, however, this surgery was delayed due to the little fact that I shattered my wrist while roller skating about a week later. Oh my goodness, this wasn’t such a good idea to go out skating in the front of my house! My feet flew out from under me and I reached behind me and landed on my hand, shattering my wrist and tearing my rotator cuff. Never before had I ever had much pain. Oh, and did I mention that my husband warned me not to skate as I was lacing up? Well, he has....several times! :) Viktor was on his bike and wanted to help me up but I told him my arm was broken. He went to tell Bill and I heard him ask, “what means, ‘broke’?” I apologized all the way to the ER. This was all Bill needed on top of everything else. He was already so overwhelmed. And poor Viktor, he was already so worried about my first surgery and now here he was, glued to my side in the truck, riding with me to the hospital again. He was determined to stay the night with me, “No Billchik. Pamchik stay, I stay” but Bill, of course, made him go home. I had to wait until day 3 for surgery because the surgeon was so busy. Again...never before had I ever been in so much pain and again, I kept apologizing to Bill. This is just not what he needed. More missed work. More stress. More worry. More hospital bills.
I had an external pin/bar fixture put on my arm (from my hand to my forearm) because my wrist was, in the surgeon’s words, “like a bag of potato chips”. They didn’t open it up; they just pulled the wrist apart a bit to let the chips fall as they may and heal up. This contraption was to stay in my arm for 6-8 weeks. No hysterectomy with this metal in my arm per OBGYN...too risky for bone/blood infection.
Fast Forward to May 25th. The bar and pins were surgically removed because the day before, the doctor stripped the screws and couldn’t get it off. My wrist had absolutely no range of motion but it is getting much better now, as I’ve been forcing movement every day. June 6th was the hysterectomy and I’m recovering well from that. I’m at the stage where I feel good and want to do house work, like clean bathrooms and mop the floor, but I know I can’t do that yet so I won’t.
During all this time, our pastors have been there for us, calling, praying, encouraging and listening. Our friends have been providing meals and praying for us non-stop. We get Facebook messages and e-mails, which encourage us and help keep us going. We also read other adoption blogs and know that our problems and trials are nothing compared to what some other people go through. Also during this time, Viktor was baptized! Our pastors even had a special Communion time for our family afterwards since Viktor didn’t take communion that morning. What an awesome evening that was!
We have learned so much about unconditional love. Such an overused word that I have grown so used to hearing but am really beginning to understand. My daughter was telling me a few weeks ago how God was really teaching her about unconditional love through this learning time. We have had a lot of ups and downs...such an emotional roller coaster. At times it feels like we’re drowning and other times, things are great. Viktor thinks it’s normal that I cry all the time. I have told him I never cried before he got here but I don’t think he believes me.
We have never cried so much as we have these last few months. We have never argued as much as we have these last few months. We have never prayed as much or seen God move as much as we have these last few months. I am willing to go through this for God’s glory. I am willing to hurt for God’s children. I am willing to give my heart completely away to God and completely away to my family and to the fatherless, or completely away to what ever God calls me to do. Will God give me more than I can handle? YES! He will. Will He expect me to handle it on my own? NO WAY! He promises to be with me every step of the way. He will lead us and guide us. He will never expect us to do anything without Him. Without Him we are nothing. A piece of clay. A blob. I want to be moldable for Him. Like Bill says over and over again. As hard as this is, if God told him to go today to do this again -adopt-he would leave tonight and bring another one home.
Right now, 3 of our kids are out on the mission field and it’s so awesome to watch them serve from afar. Usually, we’re all on the same mission field in Ukraine, serving together in the summer. This year, God called everyone to a different direction. Of course, this summer, I knew my place was at home, even if I didn’t have all the health issues. Our son, Trent, who will be a senior next year, is on the Ukraine mission trip with San Antonio Christian School. This is the trip that I’m on every summer. This is how I met Viktor 5 summers ago. WWW.PassionForUkraine.blogspot.com is the blog that is updating what God is doing there right now. Today they shared the Gospel in a little village where they have been teaching all week. Our almost 20 year old son, Brian, and our 21 year old daughter, Dana, are in India. They just left Hong Kong, where they spent several days smuggling Bibles to China. They will be working in an orphanage in India. I think they are helping to build the orphanage but I’m not sure. Brian will return home at the end of the month but Dana will continue on. She will go to 3 more countries. Their blogs amaze me. They are briandefrees.wordpress.com and danadefrees.wordpress.com And our son and daughter-in-law, Mike and Mer, and her parents are going to Mexico on a medical missions trip this weekend. I love this!!! I love how God’s love is pouring through and out of our kids in amazing ways. The one’s who are not on mission trips WANT to be on mission trips. They are really wanting to go to Africa. Maybe next year?
I’m not sure when I’ll reach ”Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete” but until I do...... I’ll keep trusting in my Savior to guide me through, step by step.
If you copy/past the link below, you can see pictures of some of what this blog talks about. If you're my facebook friend, you've seen them all already :)