And then, again.
That’s what my friend Lisa says these types of writings do for her. When God uses me to write His message on her heart. She gets thunked.
As you’ve undoubtedly noticed from my incredible lack of writing lately, there’s not been a lot of thunking going on. Sorry, Lisa.
I need a respite. A retreat. I need to find a way to afford a weekend getaway to disconnect from the world and reconnect with my daughter, my writing, and my God. I need nature. To spend time in His world and renew my view. I need refreshing.
I’m tired. I’m tired all the time lately. The Cookbook Project was so fulfilling, so successful. So exhausting. Through the end stages of ordering product and processing orders, I fell under a bout of anemia. It doesn’t happen often. But if I don’t take care of myself, it can affect me.
I was already tired. So I didn’t cook too much in the last month. We ate leftovers and easy fixings: toast, eggs, oatmeal. It’s not like a homecooked meal. But I tried. Sometimes. And sometimes I didn’t. Which is why my iron levels dropped. I didn’t make the connection until one morning the dark circles under my eyes were darker. And not going away. And neither was my fatigue.
And then I remembered. I’m borderline anemic and I hadn’t eaten meat for much longer than a week. Neither had I taken vitamins.
My eczema has flared up as well. Rough, dry, itchy patches on my legs and hands. Yeah. Real attractive, right? The problem with eczema is the more it flares up, the more I rub/scratch, the more it flares up. Ugh. Talk about your Catch-22. My eczema is a result of cold, dry weather, weather changes, dietary changes, and stress. Hmm. Any of those happen lately? Let me think… I’ll take (e) for All of The Above, Alex.
Just about ten days ago I made a wonderful discovery. Something I’d not known before. Something which makes people who hate the internet, appreciate this information highway just a little. Anemia and eczema are connected.
I mean it. What a sigh of relief to know I don’t have a buzzillion things wrong with me; but rather one thing that is affecting me in a buzzillion ways. If I can get the anemia under control, the eczema will follow.
I’m still tired. Greatly overwhelmed. But I’m hopeful. I don’t expect my body to rebound after one red-meat meal. It will take a little time. Hope is a beautiful thing: Hope, in itself, offers promise and peace.
The anemia isn’t the only cause of my eczema. I need to release my worries and concerns. I need my body to let go of the stress it’s holding on to. That’s so much easier said than done. Am I right?
Let’s have a show of hands: Who has worries? Who has concerns? I thought so.
Worries and concerns aren’t unique. Troubles are a natural part of life. But doesn’t it seem that there are more worries and concerns lately? Isn’t the world around you more troubled than it used to be? Are you losing sleep, too? The deep-breathing thing doesn’t always help, does it? Yeah. Me either.
There’s a lot I’m not doing because I’m so tired. I’ve been unable to tend to my yardwork. I haven’t visited friends as often. And I’m not writing. Not really. I haven’t touched the novel for over two months. I haven’t even read my Bible.
My fatigue makes me feel like a failure. And causes me concern. These projects that aren’t getting done: how detrimental are these delays?
Today was it. That moment when I finally spoke aloud the words I knew were welling up inside of me. “I don’t have energy to be happy right now. I need replenishment.” Thankfully, blessedly, God heard me.
Dot nudged me to go to Church with her. I wanted to just stay in bed. But she wasn’t having any of that. I knew there would be a reason for me to go, so I went. We unexpectedly met some of my Very Favorite People there, who invited us to lunch at IHOP after.
Hey. Free food. I don’t have to cook. And I get to enjoy their company? Yeah. I’ll bite that apple. [Yes, my chocolate-chocolate chip pancakes were delicious. Thank you asking, Kenny.] Two hours later we finally disbanded. And I felt fed. Loved. Comforted. And a bit replenished.
I’ve been waiting for a Big Miracle, when the little ones are right in front of me. I can’t conquer the world. But I can conquer one task. At least, I can start.
So tonight, rather than watch TV, I turned it off and decided to pick up my Bible. I subscribe to one of those little daily prayer magazines. I haven’t looked at it in months. I figured it would be a good way to edge back into the Nightly Prayer Routine. My focus is easily distracted these days, so I can use all the guidance I can get.
After saying goodnight to Dot, I went to my room where the first distraction came about. My adorable cats were cuddled up, waiting for me. I also wanted to post an Instagram photo of my new fox necklace. That’s a separate story; but this part is important: as I was looking at the photos from those I follow, one lovely young lady posted this:
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid or dismayed,
for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
She posted it as a reminder to herself that He is always here. But I think God had her post it so she could THUNK me with it.
In this moment, before I started my Bible reading and prayer time, God is already soothing my soul. I am so very afraid of how terrible our finances are. I am so very worried about getting through each day. I don’t know what to do or where to turn.
But God does. And He chose someone else’s troubles to tell me.
And it doesn’t stop there. After reading that, and feeling a slight rejoicing well up inside me, I opened my little magazine. Today’s verse of the day is Isaiah 35:3-10. Isaiah is a book filled with stories of Strength and Endurance. Just look at the first word in these first two verses:
“Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
‘Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.’”
I guess now I should tell you that before I read, I wrote. My journal is full of letters to God. Pouring my heart out, praising Him in thanks, offering up prayers for others. As you can imagine, tonight’s entry was full of phrases like “Rescue me” and “Fight for me” and “Why is this so hard?” and “What do I do?” I knew He would hear me. Am I so tired that I’m not hearing the answer?
And then I read Isaiah.
That alone made me giggle a little.
You see, many years ago, in choir, I was known as the Teddy Bear Rescue Mission. I’ve always collected teddy bears. Still do, when I get the chance. About ten years ago, I was going through a very rough time and constantly seeking God’s presence. I asked Him to specifically show Himself to me in ways that were meant only for me. Over several months, He blessed me. With bears. Abandoned teddy bears I found on the side of the road, took home and cleaned up. There’s Roadie, Faith, and especially Isaiah. Isaiah was a brand new Ty Beanie Baby bear that happened to be in the middle of the road just as I drove up and stopped for a signal. I only had to open my door, reach down and pick him up. To this day, that bear is a symbol of God’s promise to care for me personally, individually, and intimately. He knows me and knows not only what I need for my body, but for my mind, emotions, and soul. He continues to refresh and replenish me. Even if the world doesn’t see it. Even if the bills still don’t get paid. Even if my anemia and eczema doesn’t go away.
Bears are awesome creatures. They are big. Strong. Yet cuddly. Furious and ferocious. And I have always loved them. And foxes remind me of Disney’s Robin Hood. They are beautiful, quick, quiet. Each of these wildlife animals command respect and admiration and awe. They don’t worry. They live the lives they are designed to live. You don’t see a bear trying to be a zebra, or a fox imitating a bird. They don’t worry about tomorrow.
There are approximately 365 mentions in the Bible to “not fear”. The variations are “Don’t be afraid,” “Do not fear,” and “fear not.” 365. That’s one for every day of the year. I’d say if God says it that much, He must have known we’d need the reminders.
I didn’t have to get away to connect with nature. I didn’t need a retreat to feel restored. And I don’t have to worry about my bills and budget.
I needed only to open my eyes. And be the best Molly Jo I know how. The rest will take care of itself. Somehow.
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote.