Considering Pure Joy

Greta seemed to be feeling better this morning. Her fever was down to 99° and she ate a little. However, as the day progressed she took a turn for the worse. Her temperature went up to 103.3 and she felt miserable. The acetaminophen made her feel better.
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Daddy set up a cozy little nest for her in the basement in front of the TV. Even Piggy came down to spend some time with her. It’s been very hard keeping her away from Nora and very hard to distribute my time evenly between the kids. We gave Greta the option of staying downstairs or going up to her room last night, and she did want to sleep upstairs. She has had some trouble getting used to sleeping in her loft bed so we put another bed underneath and she opted to sleep there.
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She started up with a cough and some congestion in the night, but it wasn’t so bad this morning, which is another reason I thought she was getting better.

A dear friend of mine enlightened me to the benefits of coconut oil, specifically its immunity boosting properties, even for infants! There seems to be a lengthy list of benefits, but I was sold on the antibacterial, antiviral aspect alone! William was promptly dispatched on a coconut oil mission.
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We’ve all been “wallowing” in coconut oil all day yesterday and today too.

Nora is very used to taking her 3 regular medicines and has become quite the little pro at it! We figured out her dosage and gave her a taste of the coconut oil.
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“Bllllleeeeccccckkkk!!!!!!”
20130106-212248.jpg“Wooooo!!!! What the H%#& was that stuff?????”

She took today’s serving without any winces and already we’ve figured out that we no longer need to supplement her high calorie recipe of milkies with Miralax!! The coconut oil will do just fine on its own. Now hopefully it will protect her against the germs in this place as well!

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My parents came over for a visit this evening and we ordered pizza. We’d planned on having them over Saturday to watch the Bengal’s playoff game, but that ended up not working out after Greta got sick. I remembered that Nora has an eye appointment tomorrow, Monday (that we’ve waited 3 months to get!!!). So it was arranged for Greta to head home with Nana and Papa tonight. Obviously she won’t be able to go back to school tomorrow. They will be able to see to her while we are at Nora’s appointment, and she won’t seem so ostracized down in the basement*. (*”basement” sounds so bare and dank – but it’s actually very nice down there. Maybe we should call it the “lower level” so as not to conjure up images of my poor sick little girl locked down in a musty cellar!!)

It’s discouraging to sometimes feel like your prayers are not getting answered in the way(s) you had hoped. Things seem to go from bad to worse, and you might wonder why you even bothered to pray at all. These troubles are so temporary even though they might disguise themselves as never ending. In this era of instant gratification we are so programmed to expect instant results and instant fixes for every little (and especially every great big) problem that arises. “Tired of the old way? Well, try (fill in the blank)!!” Instant answers to factual questions are only a few keystrokes away on the smartphones in our pockets, the virtual extensions of our brains. So when something comes along that we don’t have an answer for and we can’t fix, life can become very, very difficult. It is at this point that we have 2 choices. We can keep worrying about it and wrecking our head into the wall over and over again trying to fix things on our own, or we can give it up to God, trusting that He will do something with it. God has something to teach us with each and every trial that comes our way. There are certainly times that I am a very slow learner, which is why God will take His time in answering my prayers. He’s patient with me, and wants to make sure I get it. He WILL answer our prayers, but it won’t always be in the way that we expected. It will always be better, even though it might not seem like it in the moment. Before Nora was even conceived I felt like I was in a spiritual funk. I felt very distant and removed from God, just kind of busy doing my own thing. One of my prayers was to become closer to God. Um… Prayer answered!!! But NOT in the way that I expected. Way better. I just didn’t realize it at first. How could I possibly have expected God to just wave some sort of holy wand over me and make everything better. That would be boring, and how would I learn anything from just THAT? Instead, God gave me (all of us, really!) Nora. My point is, we don’t go through any astounding periods of growth or spiritual maturity when things are “all good”. Rejoice in our sufferings and trials simply at the realization that whatever we are experiencing is making us stronger and preparing us, and maybe even others for something mighty! I feel like I am writing this to myself right now as I’ve been down and discouraged with Greta being sick. I expect and want God to wave His “holy wand” and cure her immediately, even though a fever is so petty compared to what some other families are faced with. But as I step back and read what I just wrote, I realize I’m learning what it means to be patient, and fully reliant on God. I’m reminded of the futility of worry, and what it means to be joyful amidst trials. It’s a conscious choice, but feels so much better than banging my head against the wall trying to fix it on my own.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 NIV)

11 thoughts on “Considering Pure Joy

  1. Just want to let you know I am always blessed & encouraged by your observations & scriptures you share & the adorable pics! I’m a single mom with 3 daughters of my own who are now 23, 21 and 17. God Is Faithful, Always… I so agree with you – it IS amazing, the treasures He gives to us through what may seem like the toughest times, yet He turns them into the greatest joy! Praying for you all through this “flu” season, and beyond. God bless you!

  2. Aleisa, thank you so much for this. I have been a “lurker” on your blog for many, many months and am always encouraged by what you write, but never like I was tonight. I JUST prayed that God would remove the jealousy that is in my heart that I have towards my dear friends who are all happily married with babies…I am (only) 28 and very much single, and oftentimes feel so strongly that God has forgotten me or skipped over me when He was handing out the blessings of family, which is something I yearn for with every fibre of my being. But through all the encouragement and helpful tips I have received from well-meaning people, none has hit me like viewing this time of suffering as joy…you’re right, though. I DO need to change my thinking and change my attitude. You might have thought you just wrote that for yourself, but you’re wrong…you wrote it for me, too. My prayers and thought are with you guys, as always.

    ~Christina from British Columbia, Canada

  3. I often find it so *interesting* that many times I seem to be going through the same exact lessons that you are. Our troubles are very different but at the same time, very much the same. Being a single mom, going through a terrible divorce, and two really terrible custody battles- seeing God provide over and over and unmistakably showing up and covering me once built my faith in such incredible ways and I learned to be so thankful for those times and often said that I wouldn’t change a thing or trade those times for anything because of what I gained with God from them.

    But then, a time came during the second round of custody battles (which I went into with full faith because I just knew from all that previous experience that He would cover me) ….it seemed very much like He left me completely alone and things didn’t turn out at all like I had expected or hoped or had prayed so hard for and not only have I suffered greatly because of this but have had to watch my one and only child suffer greatly time and again because of the way things turned out and I tell you – even after I saw with my own eyes how very real and close God is through all those very hard previous years, I just about completely lost my faith again…and I had always thought I was so strong in this area. Ha.

    These things coupled with becoming a full time care giver for my Mom who has Alzheimer’s which brought with it a whole new set of challenges and difficulties, not only with her but terrible ongoing battles with family members and then watching her disappear slowly day after day, well, I’ve reached my *max* quite a few times.

    But some how, some way, He always finds a a way to break through again, show me that He really is there and that NONE of this is a surprise to Him, and convinces me once again that He really is working ALL together for good.

    Hard lessons indeed on the way to that next level of faith but, then again, what’s our choice really…to remain stagnant where we are? To get comfortable and complacent and just do our best to skate by until He calls us to our real home? Fat lot of good that would do for the Kingdom here and now and for our future there.

    As my Mom is just now entering the extremely dependent ‘infancy’ stage with this terrible disease and coming off the terribly defiant and challenging ‘toddler’ stage….my heart has being quite wrecked and reshaped at the moment once again.

    Like I said before, I had learned to be thankful for these light and momentary troubles AFTER the fact (and I knew that I had already survived them lol) and was able to look back and pick out and nicely label all of the good that came from it. But this whole, “considering the PURE JOY thing” right in the middle of the hardest things I’ve ever faced…well it’s sensationally new and extremely exhausting territory for me.

    Thank you for this and all of your posts and for bringing that delicious looking sweet sweet baby into this world. Has she any idea what a blinding ray of hope she is in a very dark world?

    Prayers of health and healing sent.

  4. I look forward to reading your posts every day and love looking at your pictures! Today’s post speaks volumes to me with everything our family is going through especially with today’s appointment right down to the perfect Scripture verse! I can not express enough how grateful I am of your Christian witness.

    The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!Numbers 6:24-26

  5. if Nora’s milkies are warm, you could probably put her coconut oil in them; it would turn to liquid and grease up the milk, but she wouldn’t taste it or feel it. I put coconut oil in cups of hot tea often – just make sure you drink it before it cools down too much or the oil turns back to a solid form! lol

  6. The “yuck” picture was hilarious …I think I’ve made that ” yucky medicine face” a time or two. Praying everyone gets and stay healthy this winter.m

  7. I loved the expression on Nora’s face! Boy, she showed you how much she liked that first taste! We are still praying for Greta!

  8. I was given your site by a friend of mine and I read it from time to time.

    They also just gave me a devotional. The subject matter of today was and I am paraphrasing, don’t get lost in “doing” but get into the “being”.

    Your blog and that devotional page for today emphasizes to me that God does have a plan and that I need to rest in it.

    For me its very difficult to not “do” and to just “be”. I thought for years I was living in the moment but I really wasn’t. Always in search of the woman I would have in my life that would make things right. That has not served me well.

    Well after coming through some trials of my own and God putting me in a place meet people, I have met a woman that is so much different than any I have met before. We are just friends, so don’t say, “awwww” 🙂 … but she is younger than me and each day she teaches me something. I admire her thirst for Jesus and appreciate her.

    I am learning to search for God and not to put a relationship with a woman ahead of Him and learning that the trials I experience are a growth process. That I need to praise God through the trial and circumstance and rest in his plan.

    Very difficult for me to do but I am really trying to do so.

    Thank you for your blog and the things you write about. I am a man and these things too affect me and they give me direction, hope and shed light on things that would normally be in the dark.

  9. YOUR BLOGS BRING SO MUCH THOUGHT INTO MY LIFE. I WAS THINKING HOW SICK MY SISTER WAS AND HOW WEAK SHE GOT. I TRIED REALLY HARD TO THINK SHE WOULD SOON BE IN A BETTER PLACE, AND SOME OF THE VERSES YOU HAD IN YOUR BLOGS CAME IN MIND, AND ALEISA WITH ALL THE SADNESS, WHAT YOU HAVE SAID REALLY HELPED ME GET THROUGH EACH DAY WITH HER. ON A BRIGHTER SIDE, THE FACE NORA MADE WHEN YOU GAVE HER THE COCONUT OIL WAS PRICELESS. I HAD TO LAUGH WHEN I SAW HER SWEET LITTLE FACE. HOPE ALL IS WELL AS I WRITE THIS. LOVE TO ALL. GOD BLESS

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