Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thanks for the Spaces Between

From my absence around here the past two weeks, it may appear I'm no longer among the living.  Yet, blood still pumps warmly through my veins.

My sporadic appearance stems from a different reason. 

When I started this blog over two years ago, I promised myself two things.  First, I would be real in this space.  I wouldn't make up something just for an audience.  I wouldn't paint on a happy face if I felt lost, frustrated, or depressed.  I wouldn't fake an intimacy with God that I didn't feel in the marrow of my bones. 

And secondly, my family would always come before my writing.

Both have played a part in my scarce writing of late.

Since before Thanksgiving, someone has been sick in our home.  After three children with sinus infections came all five of us with the stomach flu.  The Friday after that, I contracted a serious case of salmonella poisoning at a local restaurant, knocking me out of the kitchen for two solid weeks.  Then came the colds in all three children. 

As of today, I'm still wiping snotty noses and rubbing lotion on fever-chapped cheeks and dry, split lips.  When these seasons happen (and they seem to occur every winter), I find myself in a cycle of praying 'round the clock, begging God for relief almost every other sentence--in other words, knocking so loud on heaven's door that I can't hear God over the noise. 

And when I do hear God speak in the details of life, I find the writing about it would take away from my family who needs me or that I am simply too tired to write after pulling up covers for croupy child for the fourth time in one night.

In the midst of all this illness, though, joy still has permeated our lives.  Or perhaps it's because of the incessant illness that joy has abounded so much, for when sickness just won't go away, I find I express love more and receive love more than usual. 

What's more, in those days, hours, or even minutes between the storms, I find I am also more grateful for those spaces between.

Christmas Day was one of those spaces between when I felt my husband's love when he did all the cooking--a killer gumbo and fresh greens from the garden.  We were blessed to have my parents, aunt, and Grandmother break bread with us.  Grandmother will turn 90 this year, so we count ourselves blessed to see her smile.
Saturday, with two still-croupy twins, we celebrated Wyatt's birthday for two hours at the Arts and Science Museum in the city.  After playing with cool science gadgets like this pulley system, my silly husband scared Wyatt screaming out of the mummy's "tomb," so we made a hasty (giggling) retreat away from the frowning employee.

New Year's Eve saw two little ones with fever but also saw those same children giggling with equally joyful adults playing games of Guess Who! with Grandmama and Granddaddy.
And today amidst the Kleenex and sore throats started Christmas for us--yes, I said started.  My brother and his wife arrived just this afternoon for a week's stay, meaning our family is together again for six days of gifts, food, and as much filling up our love tanks as we can stand. 

We will hug, share, hug some more, build Lego's (yep, that's me trying to help Wyatt build a Sphinx), and laugh more in one week than we will in the next six months.
This is what a life of gratitude for all God gives us is like.  It is not without pain, discomfort, sickness, sleep deprivation, financial hardships, or sadness.  Rather, it is a search for the joy, the laughter, the sweetness in the midst of the bad. 

My prayer for your family and mine this upcoming year is that we will always remember to turn away from our circumstances, turn towards Him--even when times are rough--and to give thanks.


  1. OH my word, Jennifer! You've had a rough couple months! Also, Jennifer, I really like what you say about blogging, being vulnerable and honest. You've demonstrated that again and again here. I so appreciate you. God bless you -- and your writing! -- in the coming year.

    1. We are shooting for just 7 days with fever below 99 so the twins can take a vaccination the doc says will help boost their immune system. Help us pray for that. Bless you for all your encouragement.