Perfect Weakness

It was a rainy Washington afternoon, we were headed to Whidbey Island to spend Christmas with The Mouws, and the chaos of getting a family of three (plus the furry one) packed, and out of the house for a week, was completely overwhelming me.

One last thing as the garage door closes and we back down the driveway... THE MAIL! No one will be around to check it all week and we get way too much mail during the holidays to let it pile up, so it was very important that I checked it the day we left (we aren't always great about checking our mail so it probably had already been a few days since we checked it). I jumped out of the car, opened the mailbox, collected a few Christmas cards, a couple pieces of junk, and a package... addressed to me. I hadn't ordered anything so I wondered what could possibly be waiting for me in this small, brown box? I instantly recognized the perfect handwriting on the front, it belonged to a dear friend of mine. But what could she possibly be sending me? We don't make a habit of exchanging gifts so it truly was a surprise to find a package from her in my mailbox.

I quickly opened the box as we pulled out of our driveway and were on our way. Inside was a present - wrapped beautifully and tied with a bow. I opened the card and it simply said this:
"A friend of mine introduced me to this book and I think you'll enjoy it, too. It's been a great source of comfort and peace to me - hope you like it as much as I do. Love, Carrie"

Carrie is my reading buddy, she's recommended many terrific novels to me. In fact, I kind of piggy back off her reading list because of her impeccable taste. So naturally, I couldn't wait to see what she had in store for me next.

I took a deep breath as the weight of finally being out of the house lifted off my shoulders, and I unwrapped the present.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a devotional inside. As January was quickly approaching I had already been thinking about what my 2012 devotional would be and kept reminding myself that I needed to swing by the Christian Bookstore. The devotional is called Jesus Calling. I recognized the cover but hadn't heard anything about it. I read the introduction that night and was quickly on board.

A month and a half in, and I am already finding humor in God's perfection. This book is quickly changing my relationship with Him. It is a small, daily read, that is written from God's perspective. It is intended for the reader to receive a message directly from God... daily.

If you aren't reading this book, you should be. I am convinced God is timing each devotion with specific purpose and perfection. No matter what happens during my day, God has something to say about it. He is present in my circumstance, and I find that I am no longer frantically searching for God's will, I am frantically searching for God.

Throughout our struggles with Zachary, one of the most common questions I get is "How do you do it?"

Well, to be honest, I just do. There's no magic trick that helped me survive 2 straight weeks of absolutely no sleep. I just did. There is no volume control that made it possible to take a break from the screaming, I just listened. What I usually answer is "I don't have any other option". And that's the truth. I'm not going to put my son up for adoption or run away from home, so I just did the best I could. I assure you I was not always patient, I cried... A LOT. I locked myself outside to drown out the sound, weekly. I fought with God, and I prayed. Oh how I prayed. Desperately pleading for this all to be over with.

I assure you, if there would have been an "easy" button, I would have pressed it. But my option was to hold my child, rock him, bounce him, nurse him, and get through each day as best as I could.

I believe there is power in weakness. I vulnerably admitted to many people that I am not strong enough. Every single day I said "I don't know what to do" at least a dozen times. But by me admitting that I am weak, I am confirming that God is strong. I found that my faith in Him grew stronger the more that I fell apart, let go, and cried. I kept thinking that I needed to be strong for Zachary. But in reality, I needed to show Zachary that God is my source of strength (I needed to show myself that, too). 2 Corinthians 12:9 says "for my power is made perfect in weakness". How often that has been true for me.

We are now in the "trial" phase of Zachary's MPI. It is not going well. So far we've tried rice cereal, green beens, sweet potatoes, carrots and apples - none of which have passed. With even one bite of these foods he reacts just like he did before we switched him to formula. He vomits, he screams through the day and night, and he has blood in his diapers... it's awful.

I feel like we are going backwards, and I'm back in survival mode. I'm thankful that we have the formula to turn to, and that between trials we are able to get him happy and stable again, but I just want my son to eat. We have about 10 more foods to trial that are in the "least likely to cause a reaction" category and then we don't know what we'll do.

But, through all of this suffering, I can still hear God's voice. He is speaking loud and clear. I am thankful for my weakness, as I am able to confirm His strength. Jesus carried His message to my doorstep through a dear friend, His timing is perfect and we know that His beauty will carry through Zachary's disease. We are comforted in the faith that God has a plan, and we are grounded in the peace that we have a God.