Friday, May 26, 2017

He Is everything I’m Not, and I’m Nothing That He is.

So, a few things have changed in our world. Mama Belle is now working, and I am now Mr. Mom-ing it for the next few months or so. I’m trying to do some consulting things here and there, to be a blessing to smaller churches who can't afford a full-time media guy, plus playing a few jazz gigs and worship services as they come along, but, mainly, I’m La Petite Belle’s main caregiver.

This has its share of challenges for me.

I’m used to being the “fun” one. 
(Here she is dressed as me for the fall festival one year.)

I’m used to being the one the girls can look at and roll their eyes when Mama Belle turns Mama Bear. I’m used to being the one who earns the paycheck and controls the finances. I’m used to being in charge.

Even though we’ve been inpatient for almost all of 2016, and then over seventy-five percent of 2017, I’m still used to being out in the world, and not in the hospital. I don’t EVER want to get used to the hospital life. Never, ever. Never. Ever.

With all that said, this particular hospital stay has been especially tiresome and straining. I don’t have a job to go to. I don’t have other people to talk to. I don’t have my wife here with me, to take turns throughout the day. It’s all me, and it’s exhausting. And I know me, and I know when I’m reaching my limits with things, and I know that, although I can’t predict with relative certainly how I will react, I KNOW that I WILL react.

Tomorrow, three friends of mine are coming to visit me. They’re bringing handguns. We’re gonna go shooting and then consume large quantities of meat. I think I just grew a little more chest hair as I typed that statement (although, in full disclosure, the statement, as was the rest of this post, was typed on La Petite’s MacBook Air with a floral-pattern protective case). It was a comment in a text conversation with one of the guys coming that I got the idea to write this post. He wrote this:

“You set the tone when it comes to being a man.  The true definition of manning up!!!  You inspire others!”

Instantly, tears filled my eyes (as they are now, even as I type this out on the aforementioned girly laptop). People see me way differently than I see myself, and they don’t know what goes on in my head and heart, 24/7.

Here’s a prime example of my wonderful, bar-setting, inspiration-inspiring dad moments:

Yesterday, the physical and occupational therapists came over to do some work with La Petite. To say that she hates doing PT/OT is as much of an understatement as calling Drew Brees a “good” quarterback. And it’s the same old story with her, almost every time. She doesn’t feel good, she’s tired, she’s nauseous, blah, blah, blah. Granted, she does have a lot of pain and nausea, but sometimes I can’t tell what is real and what is fabricated because of teenage drama (and La Petite has never been short on the drama). At that point, I pretty much had enough. When she asked for ice to take an anti-nausea pill, our nurse offered to get it, but I jumped up and said, “No. Let me do it, because only ‘daddy’ can do those things.” (A little back-story here. There have been NUMEROUS occasions where she was to get an injection or some other thing that nurses do, but she didn’t want them to do it, but, rather, me. At first, it was endearing, but now it’s become quite cumbersome.) Another reason I went to get it is because this particular nurse, although great, isn’t exactly the fastest moving person, and I wanted to get the PT/OT show on the road, knowing that the anti-nausea med would take some time to work. On my way out, I told her that I wasn’t putting up with her drama, and that she was gonna do what they wanted her to do, with no questions asked. I could instantly tell that I had embarrassed her.

But that didn’t stop me.

When I returned to the room, I poured her tea over the ice and said, in the company of her nurse, and two PT/OT workers, “I have put my entire life on hold to see you regain your health, and yet you choose to continue to disrespect that by not doing what you should be doing.” I gave her the pills and sat down. The PT/OT girls took over, conducting their evaluation, then took her out and they did some walking (after much more balking on her part).

Later that day, she quietly and humbly told me I embarrassed her, and that I owed her an apology, and before I could speak she also said that she owed me an apology for not trying as hard as she should. We both apologized, and that was it.

Until I got the text.

When I read it, I had this thought:  I get frustrated with my child, and I'm quick to remind her that we put everything on hold for her (I’ve done it before). God did so much more than that when He sent Jesus to be beaten, spat upon, humiliated, cursed at, and ultimately, to die for us, naked on a cross, and He never throws that in our faces. He simply waits, mostly in silence, for us to come to our senses, and repent.

He is everything I’m not, and I’m nothing that He is.

1 Samuel 15:22-23 says this:

But Samuel replied:  “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”

My “sacrifices” mean nothing, and my arrogance is idolatry. And when it is all said and done, I do not want to be rejected by God.

God, help me to be the dad You want me to be. Help me to see that obedience in the position I hold, no matter how horrible, tiresome, or lowly, is better than any sacrifice I could ever make, for that position is my calling for that season of life. Help me to see that my worth is not in my income, status, or anything other than what You were willing to pay. Help me to see my worth in the eyes of my daughters. Help me to see my arrogance for what it is, and help me to run from it as I run to You.

You are truly everything I am not, but You are everything I aspire to be.

Please pray for La Petite Belle and us as she is still inpatient with this pneumonia. We, along with her doctors, have some decisions to make. Please pray that we all make the right one and for continued healing for our sweet girl. A more lengthy update will be posted as soon as we have answers.

If you would like to financially support Katie's (aka La Petite Belle) journey to healing, 
All gifts are tax deductible. All funds go to cover medical bills and exp