Monday, May 4, 2009

It shouldn’t be too complicated getting a tetanus booster. Maybe I just complicate everything. It shouldn’t have been too complicated to pull nails from the old decking boards in our barn.

But I managed to step on the edge of a board and felt the sharp point of a rusty nail slide right through my inch-thick boot soles and through the padded sole of my foot. “Ah…” I took a deep breath. “I just put a nail through my foot.” Tommy looked up quickly from the board he was wrestling with on the dusty floor and said cheerfully, “Well, I hope you’re up to date on your tetanus shots.” Josiah shook his head and sighed. “Um, actually,” I answered, slowly removing my boot and staring at the quickly spreading bloody spot on my striped socks, “I haven’t had one since I was eleven. That’s when I ripped my leg open on a rusty nail in the pond dock.”

So I limped inside and, while the boys finished pulling nails from the pile of lumber, I washed my wound and poured in peroxide. Mom just went about fixing lunch and Papa continued Bible studying. My parents are clearly given to panic. Will having a nail-pierced foot make me more like Christ?

After a year and a half in Arkansas, I still don’t have a doctor. I haven’t needed one. Really, the wound looked pretty good, so all I was concerned about was the tetanus shot. Tetanus is not something to fool with. I lost a baby goat to tetanus—actually, I spent days treating her, getting up with her at night and trying to get her through before Josiah and I finally put her out of her misery. Misery it was, too, stiff-legged and resembling a rocking-horse with spasms shaking her until she bleated in pain. Not something I want to risk getting.

The health department said they’d give me a booster—Thursday. Another doctor we called needed to see me—to the tune of a hundred twenty dollars. The ER, well, that would be expensive. Backi suggested telling the Health Department what had happened, which prompted them to say that I need to see a doctor. Finally the Millard-Henry clinic said I could walk in and get a shot from the shots nurse.

It sounded too good to be true.

It was.

Dathan and Josiah dropped me off before heading over to see Donnie. And then I discovered that I had to be an established patient. The doctor on call couldn’t even see me that day and it would cost several hundred dollars for an appointment.

See, I’m an adult daughter, not a full-time student, so I have no medical coverage. Which makes getting a tetanus shot difficult. Just a shot, that’s all I needed.

I arrived at Choices a little late. The only client on the schedule was an abortion-minded girl who hadn’t shown up the week before. I was limping by the time I showed Becki my foot. “Do you think I can wait for a shot?” She cringed. “I hate to mess around with tetanus.” But she was impressed with how clean the hole was. “It’s deep,” she told me. “I can see into it. It’s at least an inch deep. That must hurt a lot.” I shrugged. Actually, it wasn’t too bad.

And in walked a frightened little couple. “Can I help you?” I asked and they exchanged glances. “I sure hope so,” the young man told me, chewing on a lip ring. “We think she’s pregnant.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: never judge a book by it’s cover. Ponytails and piercings often cover the kinder hearts—beware the people who look like they have it all together. Those are often the most hard-hearted of all.

I’m forced to draw a curtain before much of my visit with them. I spent two hours with this couple and when the girl on the schedule came in, Sherry had to see her instead. At the beginning they wanted an abortion—it seemed like the quick fix. But never did they truly want that abortion. They had some true concerns and some real fears, but as we talked the Lord worked to show them truth, to relieve their fears and also to open the way to show Himself to them—as a very real Creator and sustainer of life. They left clutching an ultrasound picture—the best ultrasound picture I’d seen, though it was only seven weeks—and planning to come back to discuss adoption. In their eyes and words I could see and hear sincere conviction—that child would live!

As Josiah and I crowded into Dathan’s pick-up, I praised the Lord, entirely forgetting the possibility that I might die a miserable death of tetanus since I’d never gotten that all-important shot. The Lord can heal. The Lord is in control. He can move hearts. He is the Creator and sustainer of life and my life is in His hands.

Father, Thou art life and ever living
Thou gives life and in Thy giving
Thou gives all that I might need
To be conformed to Thee indeed.

Every moment death might claim,
But I am claimed by Thy own name
Which is a confidence I have
That I will live beyond the grave.

Friday, May 1, 2009

All day I pushed from my mind the weight of knowledge that was frustrating me. Sometimes I feel like I know more about everyone else's business than they do. Humorously, sometimes I feel like I know more about everyone else's business than I know about my own. Before the Lord I can honestly attest that I don't try to get muddled up with matters not concerning me. Somehow getting concerned in matters that concern others just happens to me. Then arises the dilemma--is this matter secret? I desire to be discreet, though I often lack wisdom. Am I supposed to DO anything with this knowledge? I desire to tell the truth, though I often lack discretion. Am I allowed to seek advice from my father? I desire to be wise, though I often misunderstand the truth.

And my emotions raged up and down, around in circles, roller-coastering from confusion to anger. While showering, I showered a far distant person with a piercing lecture, expressing the truth from my perspective. Before I'd finished drying my hair, my anger had melted into understanding and compassion. We all act out what has been acted upon us: Fear leads to insecurity. Lack of intimacy leads to lack of commitment. Hurt leads to pretending that we don't hurt. Stifled sensitivity leads to insensitivity.

And then I am reminded of the Lord's grace to me in my failing and flailing and confusion. I am forced to kneel and plead forgiveness for myself again and also plead the Lord's mercy and grace that my own life would be a cause of encouragement in the Lord and that the Lord would protect all those I love from me, even in the best of my intentions.

What a mercy that the world was not given into my hands to govern.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I had a dream. In my dream, white and black walked side by side.

Not racial equality. A bride and groom.

Actually, the dream began with me asking Lin N if she’d mind a little matchmaking. I knew a guy I thought would be perfect for her. Could I give him her number? She assented. And I did. And they got married. And I sang at their wedding. Then I awoke and, behold, it was a dream.

A couple of days later, Emily sat patiently by, chatting with me as I labored on a jacket-dress. “How’s Lindsey?” I asked. Because I hadn’t talked to her in some time. In fact, the last time I’d talked to Lin N she’d been sharing how the Lord was working in her heart to desire to become a homemaking wife and mother and how she was loving cooking and how she had her school debt almost paid off and how she was content in the Lord. A very good time to keep track of a girl, if you ask me. “Fine,” Emily answered, which is what she always said.

And then the funniest thing happened. I never intended to tell anyone about that dream, but I opened my mouth to say something and it toppled right out. “I had the weirdest dream about Lindsey.” When I finished, Emily gave me a funny smile. “That is funny,” she said. “Did you know who the guy was?”

Ah. Yes. Who the guy was.

Indeed I did.

“It was Tim.”

Then her face became a study in comedy. “Was that just out of the blue?” A million thoughts raced through my mind before I answered, “Maybe not entirely. I might have thought of it before.” Because I had. Lin N and Tim were in the same general vicinity. But they didn’t really know each other. But they should. They really should get to know each other well.

“Can I tell Lindsey?” Emily asked me, and my mouth must have hit the floor. That seemed like a stupid thing to do. Tell Lin N? Like she needed any distractions. “If you think she’d find it funny.” Emily snickered, “Yeah. I think she’d find it really funny.”

That night my conscience hurt worse than a stomach with too much wedding cake. How indiscreet. I shouldn’t ever have told Emily. And I shouldn’t have let her tell Lindsey. Embarrassed, I called Emily to apologize. “It’s fine,” she assured me. “Really, it’s fine.”

Then my mind went clackety-clacking. So did several others. For real, it was fine?
Today a letter arrived in the mail. A letter signed by both Tim and Lin N. A letter informing their friends that they'd decided to share their lives. With each other. Emily and Bruce were the sole confidants. Everyone else was awash in amazement. Well, I wasn’t exactly awash in amazement. Surprised, yes, that it had happened so fast and so secretly. But delighted. I don’t think I’ve been this excited since…well, maybe since Tabby and Cliff became engaged. I called Lin N. only to discover that I didn’t have anything to say. Mostly we giggled.

Lin N. has always inspired me with her passion for truth, her hungry heart for obedience and her unflinching standards of modesty and purity. God demonstrates Himself strong in her life and testimony, turning her into a woman who fears Him and is worthy of praise. And Tim is a gentleman, a man of integrity and a sincere seeker of the Lord.

I suppose we could all say this is a dream come true?

Thursday, May 14, 2009--Getting up to Speed? Maybe.

I sat down at my desk yesterday to reconcile bank statements and catch up my budget and finance records. That's when I noticed that my calendar was still turned to March. For everyone who cyber-stalks me and wonders why you were all left hanging in March, rest assured that the oversight has extended to most of my life. In fact, until the past week, I had created a bin of "unthought thoughts" in my mind, to be sorted out and organized later. That's how crazy life has been.

BUT, Papa's back at work, the eight-week solid wall of company has dissipated (slightly) and our schedule is resuming normalcy. Whatever that is. So, perhaps, just perhaps I'll return. Poor Jacindarella says I'm long overdue for a post.