I love the word overwhelm. It's just so big and well, overwhelming. There are times when I am so overwhelmed with love for my kids and husband that my eyes fill up with tears and I thank God right then and there for these gifts he so generously has given me. This usually happens at the beach under the bright Michigan sun with the sounds of waves and giggles lapping up to my feet. I had one of those days this week and let me tell you, this refreshment of my soul can carry me through many long weeks of winter or parenting challenges or minor arguments with my husband. I'm also just so grateful that God has entered my life's story so clearly and often. Wait, that makes him sound like an unexpected house guest who enters in and out of my life but really he's always there. It's my job to see that he's with me all the time.
With my mom in the hospital for most of the month of July, our family's normal summer routine was interrupted and we all slowed down, prayed more and played the role of care taker to the one who so lovingly took care of us throughout our childhood. This was a humbling experience for us all but I'm so grateful for it. Grateful that God took this really painful time and brought us closer together. Almost eight years ago, I spent six weeks in the hospital on bed rest awaiting the birth of our fifth child. (We have two baby girls in heaven who Jesus is waiting to introduce us to.) I've shared my story ... a lot. And I often feel embarrassed when asked when did you last feel God's overwhelming presence and this experience is always, always my first thought. I did feel God's presence and his peace but I also felt overwhelming fear and worry and distrust and guilt. But back to my mom's story. She really needed us to be with her in the hospital so our family set up a schedule where two sisters and my dad went to spend time with her every day. I was happy to help and hoped that I could give my mom some practical ways to help her get through her hospitalization. One day as I chatted with my mom she stopped mid-conversation and changed the subject to say, "I'm sorry I wasn't there for you more when you were on bed rest. I understand now." And God healed that nagging hurt that I had been carrying around with me. I told her I understood how hard it was for her to see me laying in a hospital bed overcome with anxious thoughts. I understand now too.