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Hey, mamas! It's been a doozy of a week for me, and I've been praying about what to write for you all week and just haven't gotten any inspiration. Until now. It's 8 am Monday, July 5th, and this blog post is supposed to be published at 10 am. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! I tried to write this yesterday but the inspiration just wasn't there and I don't write well without inspiration. I want to speak to you ladies from my heart, not just fill a post because I'm supposed to.

I'm sorry if I have been talking about limitations too much lately. It's what I'm going through right now, and I figure that God wants to use the hard things we go through to help each other. 

On Wednesday I had to drive 1.5 hours to get to an appointment in a bigger city. It was to pick up my maternity compression hoes to help support my enormous varicose veins (talk about limitations, those things are a workout to get on in the morning, haha). The kids' Grammie had some projects to do with them, so they stayed with her and I made the trip alone. Which was really good, because we have our summer cold this week and I wanted to spread our lovely germs around as little as possible. So I took the trip alone and was able to fit in some shopping for our upcoming camping trip. After the 1.5 hour trip home the kids unloaded the groceries and I started making dinner. 

That is when the pain really started to intensify. The shopping and driving must have been too much for me. I could have asked my husband or older kids for help in the kitchen, but he was sick and they were all still working on putting away my purchases. Besides, I wanted to be able to make dinner. I felt like that was something I should be able to handle, for goodness sakes! So I did it, even though I was limping and crying the whole time I was in the kitchen. 

The pain wasn't too bad when I sat at the table, so I lingered there for a while. Then I stood up to put my plate away and, wow, the effort to move my right leg to take a step caused so much pain that it took my breath away. I struggled to get through the kitchen, but by the time I reached our long hallway, there was nothing to do but get down on my hands and knees and crawl the length of it in order to get to the bathroom. 

As I was crawling down the hallway, my thoughts were, "I can't believe I really have to do this right now!" and then I couldn't help but think, "I'm so thankful that I know that the hot water will help and that crawling doesn't hurt". The hot water did help. And then I propped myself up in bed for the rest of the evening. I crocheted and read books to my kids. The next morning the pain was mercifully not as intense, but I made myself sit most of the day. I sewed fourth of July outfits for my kids. 

In the past, before the most recent surgery, sometimes the pain would be so intense that NOTHING would give me relief. I would eventually fall asleep crying. And, if I was propped up correctly, the pain would be a little less when I woke. It was that bad. I lived through that. It amazes me, because there were times when I didn't possibly see how I could handle it anymore. 

I think it is important to remember the past in order to appreciate the blessings of the present. 

I wanted to type, "Living with chronic pain is terrible," here, but that is not true. Chronic pain is terrible, that is true and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. But the living has a way of being amazing even in the hardest circumstances.  And there is always something to be thankful for no matter what you are going through. I'm not saying that because I look at the world through blind-to-difficulty-Polyanna-eyes. I'm saying it because it is just the honest truth.

It being Independence Day weekend, I have been thinking about Galatians 5:1 a lot. I believe that there are many different forms of slavery. The most intense is a slavery of the mind, which we put on ourselves by the way we choose to think.

If I choose to focus on how hard parenting is, I become a slave to the the challenges and don't allow myself to feel the immense joy of parenting. 

If I choose to focus on how challenging it is that my husband and I think and react differently to things,  we will have a hard time navigating those differences and coming to a better understanding of each other. 

If I choose to focus on the pain and how it limits me, I will fall into depression and miss out on the things that I actually am still able to do in spite of the pain. 

All of these limitations are real, hard things. We can't just ignore that parenting and marriage is hard work, and I'm certainly not strong enough to just ignore my physical pain and behave as if it wasn't there, but I feel like it's really important that we don't let our challenges rule over us. 

I want to encourage you, mama, to set your mind on the things that are lovely and true. Set your mind above, where Christ is. He has set you free, live in that freedom. And remember that you are more than a conquerer. YOU CAN DO THIS! You have been through a lot already, and you are STRONG, and you are AMAZING.

Much, much love!


Here is a picture of my four youngest in the outfits I made for them. Happy Independence Day!


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