Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Adventures of the less-than-desirable variety

"Seek the Lord and His strength;
seek His presence continually."
1 Chron. 16:11

A new school year and new mercies. We're in week two and I'd say it's shaping up to be a pretty good year.

New mercies. Yes, I need them every day and in every way. I am thankful because when things take an unexpected turn and when work and fatigue increase, God is faithful still. His strength and His presence carries me through another day.

As each new school year approaches, I wonder how I will be able to fulfill all of my household responsibilities AND school my children. I make lists and schedules, I work hard to establish good routines, and I strive to train my kids to pitch in wherever needed. This all helps, but I still wonder how the addition of several hours of schooling each day will actually fit in. As the first few days unfold, it gets a little crazy and I wonder about my decisions; then soon the dust settles as things begin to fall into place. Compared to the summer, there begins to be a new rhythm, a faster beat, and greater accomplishment by the end of each day.

But just as my confidence begins to build, the unexpected happens. It's the kind of thing that broadsides you and leaves you in utter disbelief.


We joked that his itching was lice, then for good measure I called my son over to the kitchen sink to have a look. He leaned over our white sink as I searched the back of his head and he yells, "Look! A bug just dropped!" I bend over intently looking into the sink to see the tiniest of insects. Panicked, I begin searching his scalp only to confirm an infestation.

It's what every parent does not want to find. I gave myself a couple moments to collect my thoughts, suddenly beginning to feel like bugs are crawling in my own hair. I checked the others, but no one else had any signs of lice.

Lice! The word itself is still such a shock.

I instructed the kids to stay away from each other, I stripped the beds and gathered towels and clothes. Let me just say that my poor machines have been workhorses. After consulting Google, the infested boy and I jumped in the car and went straight to the store for poison shampoo because now was not time to experiment with healthier alternatives. There was no time to waste...

As I rounded the corner leaving our neighborhood, a calming thought came. It was a new mercy from God.

"You know," I said, "God only gives good things to those He loves. God is sending us these lice because He knows this is good and needful for us right now. I don't know how this is a good thing yet, but I trust He knows best."

"Yeah," he answered in a tone that expressed greater-than-expected agreement. It was a new lesson about the sovereignty of God right there in the middle of our day, and an unexpected mercy that it was brought to my mind and received by my boy.

Even though I have grumbled and complained at times, there were mercies throughout all of this drama. These were evidences that there's goodness all around me for which to be thankful, and reminders that God is working in me to change me. I have been thankful for Jon bringing home dinner on a couple nights, for a reliable washer and dryer, and thankful for closeness and conversation with my kids while I nit-picked (I have a new understanding of that phrase now!) or checked for bugs. I have been humbled, too: Aren't dirty people the ones who have lice?! I was encouraged in ways I may not have been otherwise, through middle of the night embraces and thankful words whispered in the dark.

A week later now, and we seem to have it beat. In addition to the poison shampoo, my boy did his school work with his head basting in olive oil under a shower cap, I did about 1000 loads of laundry, repeatedly vacuumed, filled our freezer space with straw hats and hair ties, boiled brushes and combs, and nit picked for hours! No one else contracted the lice, which is amazing given the physical closeness of my family, and my one affected boy has been free bugs and nits for several day now. What a relief! Just in case, though, we are taking precautions and acting like they could still be present. I'm combing through his head daily, checking the others, and postponing Jacob's sleepover b-day party to a later date. (Jacob is happy because now he gets two birthdays! Not a bad deal for him.)


Enough of that. Really, I've had enough! Moving on...

I think this will be a good school year. For once my kids were at least somewhat eager to get started on a new year, and it seems each of them are motivated to see progress. I have two boys that have decided they enjoy reading now, one that is going crazy-long on his writing assignments, and another that seems to have figured out the benefit of learning his lessons. Olivia has always been an eager learner, and this year will stretch her in new ways and she is up for the challenge. Me? I don't know. I just go along for the ride and try to learn with them and cheer them on as best I can.

A few recent pictures:

A little family get-away down town before school started. Thank you, Jon!

Out for an afternoon walk

Making slime-- a summer favorite

Andrew's completed Popsicle stick house

The roof flips open on one side, revealing an attic bedroom with bed, side table and lamp, desk and chair.

The interior rooms can be seen when the second floor is removed

Cozy dining room with chandelier 

Another bedroom

A place to study

Fireplace and chairs, ladder/stairs to the attic

Olivia was his trusty helper and companion during construction. Here, Andrew's reaction after she planted his cheek with a kiss...

The school day is over, and my kids are still up in the school room coloring medieval art and listening to a supplementary history curriculum on audio (with an "after school snack").

Always some sort of  project on the go

The boys found the binoculars in the school cabinet

A helpful tool for me this week. If you ever find yourself in my predicament, this is your best bet.

A helpful reminder stuck on someones school record book for me to see daily this week: "SEEK the Lord and His strength; SEEK His presence continually." I am not to be passive in this, but rather I must continually go to Him again and again...

This recent event has been a reminder that life is not about me. When unpleasant, inconvenient, or disastrous things happen, how I respond will show others if I believe the world revolves around me or if I strive to live for God. My response to a disrupted schedule, ruined plans, or dashed dreams will prove what I believe, whether life is about my glory or God's. My kids especially will see through what I say if I am not careful to keep my attitude in check. And it's not easy. So everyday and in every way, I need God's strength and His presence continually.

Another mercy: I have laid down late at night with a contentment that did not come from me. Who would be content in the fight against lice? Who would wish to spend her days combing through hair and wondering if her own hair was infested? I sure would not volunteer for that. But there was a contentment in knowing that this very thing was my work given to me by God. There was no question about it, it seemed so very clear. I found fulfillment in doing His work to my exhaustion, knowing that my days were not squandered. It seems strange, I know. But it tells me God is at work in me.



  1. You always kept one of the cleanest homes I have ever been in, even with four young ones running around, so I can say with certainty that if someone in YOUR family had a lice adventure, then lice adventures can happen to ANYONE. :) I recently had an adventure of the less-than-desirable variety stemming from a bag of grains I had recently opened, but if the Lord chooses to send another adventure of that sort my way again, I hope to have a response more similar to yours. Thanks for your openness and the example you set.

    1. Aw, thank you. If you could see my house today, you might not think it was so clean! And my responses, well, they are not always "clean" either. I was thinking about works-based religions today and it's such a comfort to know with full confidence that Jesus' righteousness is my hope and rest! I trust you are well...

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