My Toilet Paper Moment
Heather D. Nelson | 8/14/2013, 2:21 p.m.
Let me caveate this particular column as a slight diversion from my usual style. I’m going a bit deep here into my faith but if you will just hang with me, I promsie it’s good!
My day on July 11th, 2013 began like any other. Hit the ground running with a morning bootcamp style workout for my sanity, then back home for a quick shower and then it was the usual breakfast rush. And when I say rush, I mean RUSH. No matter how much they eat the night before, my kids wake up RAVENOUS hungry – Angry hungry. HANGRY! And it’s a bit like feeding time at the zoo where you just try to shove the food into the lion’s cage while keeping a safe distance. But I digress. THIS day was no different and after I got hubby out the door to work I packed up my crew and off to my church we went for a bible study I had signed up to attend. In truth, I was going cause my husband made me. “you need to get out of the house” he said. “you need to talk to other women and get away from the kids” He said. So fine, I said I would go and I did. And in truth, it was NICE to get out and let the kids play with other kids while I got some grown up conversation. But boy…HOWDY…I did not see the lightening bolt coming that was about to nail me between the eyes.
The Bible study was called Beloved by Beth Moore. And that day in particular she was talking about the righteous anger of Jesus in the temple. I swear, it was as if she was crawling out of the TV and grabbing me by my shirt collar and talking to me! I was so convicted about the frustration and anger I had been harboring and I really truly knew, to the core of my being, that I was supposed to do something. I was SO FIRED UP that I filled out the bible study pages and written in every margin, and cried thru the whole thing. I just knew the whole room was watching me as this epiphany overcame me and my ability to keep a cool head melted into the kleenex wadded up in my hands. When the video was done and the group filed out of the room, I hung behind and the facilitator of our group and one of my friends stayed with me. I was so emotional and ranting because I was supposed to DO something. I DIDN’T KNOW what it was. I was crying and emotional and excited and terrified and just KNEW I had to do something! SOMETHING! I didn’t know what it was, but it was important and urgent and big. As I left there, I tried to call my husband but he was at work. I tried to call my mother-in-law but she was unavailable. I tried to call my own mother, my aunt, ANYONE that I could talk to about this moment in my life that I was both TERRIFIED of and EXCITED about and completely clueless over. Looking back now….i was an IDIOT! Who gets that worked up over “something”. But don’t worry, this crazy train has a point so allow me to get back on track. I went home and was unloaded my kids. They had their lunch. I skyped briefly with my husband inbetween all the lunch rush stuff and was trying, FRANTICALLY to explain to him how significant my bible study was that day. I was typing as fast as I could (as if he could READ the intensity of my speed over the number of typo’s I was creating in my haste). I even used all caps, and lots of exclamation points. Surely if I typed HARD ENOUGH he would get it right?! Ahahaha. I began typing to him intermittently in the middle of the day at 12:20pm. I can go back now and review some of the things I said to him. I was urgently pulled to find my bible. He told me to just use the app on my phone. I kept telling him, “NO! I need to find MY bible.” He knew better than to question me and just laughed that I needed to just BE STILL and wait on the Lord. Pfft….as if God would make me the way I am, get me all shook up, and then make me sit still?! NO WAY! I shifted back into mommy mode and got the kids situated for their afternoon nap. In the meantime I ended up on the phone with that same friend of mine from earlier. I was talking with her, about the day, when I began rummaging thru boxes. I told her of my urgency to find, “My Bible.” I kept looking while we chatted. I found The Message version of the bible. But that wasn’t what I was looking for. I found one of my husband’s bible’s that had his name monogrammed in gold on the front. Nope…that wasn’t the one I was looking for either. The whole time while on the phone with my friend , I just keep digging around in boxes. Suddenly, in the downstairs guestroom closet was an open box and sitting smack on top of it was – you guessed it – MY BIBLE! Small enough to fit in my hand, brown soft-leather cover, my name and a small dove in gold lettering on the front. It was my most perfect bible just for me. A good 6 or more years prior to this I spent an hour trying to select just the right bible to be mine. I didn’t know what I was looking for but THIS little brown cover bible was the winner then. I loved the translation, the way it felt in my hand, hard to explain I guess but I knew it was mine. Knew it so much that when we moved from Idaho to TN, it got shoved into a box and then never saw daylight AGAIN until this weighty moment. Nice huh. Spend forever searching for the perfect bible and then move and never let it see the light of day! As I chatted more with my friend on the phone, I lifted my bible out of the box it was sitting in and exclaimed to my friend , “There it is!” I notice that shoved back in between pages was a piece of toilet paper sticking out. I cracked a joke – as is my style – to my friend that God clearly wanted me to remember to put new toilet paper in the guest bathroom. I think I even smirked that the bible had a book about HAGGUS in it. It was the book of Haggai. I had never heard of this book of the bible before much less did I remember shoving toilet paper in it. Then I looked at the page it was on…and the verse….and the words….and the lightening struck and my heart skipped a beat. Haggai 2:18,19 Think about the eighteenth day of December, the day when the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid. Think carefully. I’m giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you. – New Living Translation
I began to read those words outloud to my friend on the phone and my voice cracked from the tears. I know she didn’t understand what was going on and if I sounded crazy Shannon – SORRY ‘BOUT THAT! I immediately had to hang up and call my husband and even he didn’t fully get the significance of this passage. He kept questioning the specific verbiage since apparently my bible’s version is the only one he could find that used the calendar stating the 18th day of December. He didn’t understand the significance to me though, so I had to explain to both of them, and now you, what this all has to do with me and my life as a mommy to a Type 1 Diabetic Toddler.
You see I’ve talked a lot about the day our world was turned upside down by Diabetes. I can remember where I was on December 19th in the doctor’s office fighting for my son’s life and discovering all my fears were right. I have talked about the ups and downs of those early days and the sacrifices and changes our whole family has made ever since in the past year and a half. I’ve talk about my personal struggles with grief and anger and frustration and anxiety and worry and all of from the perspective of sitting on a ledge waiting on God to show me what to do next. But this passage, suddenly, shifted my focus so violently that I could barely catch my breath. I felt that God was shaking me and yelling, “NOT THE 19th STUPID WOMAN…THE 18TH…THE 18TH!” You see, as pivotal as the 19th of December was for us, the 18th of December was crucial for me. THAT was the day my Dear Dr. Sainted-Sent-From-Heaven happened to answer the call of this fractious worried mother…on a Saturday…when her practice had not even opened its doors. That was the day she spent over an hour on the phone with me as I tried to describe what was happening with my son. That was the day I was blessed to find a doctor who listened, who cared, and who gave me the backbone I needed to FIGHT! December 18th, 2012 was the first in a long line of blessings carefully laid down before us that we could have never seen coming. Yes you read that right, BLESSINGS. Beautiful gifts planned out to carry our lives thru what would prove to be the hardest days yet. The 19th of December, as rough as it was, did not happen as a surprise to God. He was there, with us, even then. I remember one of our church pastor’s wife Sue taking me into the hallway of the emergency room and putting her hand squarely on my shoulders and looking me in my eyes and saying, “God is already here…He knew this was gonna happen and He has it all worked out.” At the time I was screaming in my mind, “how will this EVER WORK OUT and be okay again.” And her words fell sadly on deaf ears as I sobbed my ever-loving-guts out. But now, from the flip side of the ledge I was on, I see it. Instead of standing on the ledge waiting on God to place my steps, I was suddenly looking backwards and seeing each and every step God had already placed for me. From that first momentous call with my sainted doctor who gave me courage. From our home NOT selling until my much needed surgery was completed by doctors I knew I was safe with. And then our house selling RIGHT when it did just DAYS after my uncle’s job shifted him oversees, thus freeing up my aunt’s home for a toddler siege that was 10 months long. My husband’s new job landing in his lap, unsought, just as we realized we needed benefits and mortgage help. The new home we have now, in a part of town we didn’t know existed, but was right up the street from the church we now Proudly call home…the church providing a growing line of people willing to learn about our son’s condition, and love on us, and help us in a very real and physical way. December 18th. While the seed was in the barn….before we ever knew what was about to hit us…God Blessed Us. Before our family had any idea about the ride Diabetes was about to be shove us into, God Blessed Us. We weren’t thrust into a cross country move too soon, we were GUIDED thru one at just the right time. We were not stuck as houseguests overstaying our welcome for too long, we were GIVEN a safe haven to hide in while we found our footing. And we were NOT shoved into the world of diabetes alone, scared, and uneducated….No. We were placed, swiftly, into the hands of just the right people, at just the right times, to care for our precious baby and love on us in just the way we needed. And to anyone out there reading this right now who may be just receiving word that their own precious baby has been forever labeled with a tragic and/or lifelong condition…allow me to place my hands firmly on your shoulders and look you in the eyes and tell you too….
God is already here….He knows what is going to happen…and He has it all worked out.
And believe me, this ride is not one I would have chosen for my family and this epiphany of mine has not made me immune to days of frustration and worry. But now instead of feeling like someone hollowed out my insides and left me to fend for myself, I feel as if God has poured His grace into me and I’m now renewed to fight a little longer. It’s been one heck of a whirl-wind adventure and looking at it from the flip-side of things I can clearly see, God’s Got This…and God’s Got Me…and God’s Got my Marriage…and God’s Got our Finances….and God’s Got my Kids…and we are very much NOT ALONE. And neither are you. So, diabetes, BRING IT ON!
ps - Don’t Forget – Jackson’s Rockstars are walking for a CURE FOR DIABETES this year for the JDRF Walk For The Cure happening in Dallas on September 23rd. If you want follow along you can, I’ll write about it, but I’d sure appreciate you helping us find a cure. Just click here to donate http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/JacksonsRockstars
Heather D. Nelson – Author
God Had Other Plans – Keeping Faith thru Infertility and Pregnancy Loss
Follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/GodHadOtherPlans
Original Artwork by Jonathan House – Graphic Design/Illustration/Marketing Genius-For-Hire.
See more of his work at http://jonwhouse.blogspot.com