Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)
By Theresa Kissinger
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I woke up that morning to my twelve year old daughter scratching her head…again. The acute stress response of ‘fight or flight’ took over as I aggressively stripped beds. I went to war against the head lice for the third time.
I had fought a battle against the lice and nits [eggs]. To make matters worse both of my daughters cried to me “Please, mommy don’t cut my hair”. Their hair was long and curly and so thick that brushing their hair had them in tears accusing me of child abuse.
It took two bottles of Rid to get through one little head, and then there were the boys. The oldest had hair like his sisters, so out came the electric clippers and their heads were both shaved.
My adrenaline was pumping and my determination was in overdrive, this would be the end of lice. I decided to “bag” all the stuffed animals…all, no exceptions. This caused an emotional upheaval; with four children we had a zoo. However the ones the children slept with each night were a problem, as I held the beloved possessions up I gave a choice, ‘keep the animal or keep the hair’. Into bags they went. I had washed them twice before and now drastic measures were called for.
We had missed two Sunday services and tomorrow was looking shaky. With the end of school, summer camp and working VBS we had no idea where to place blame. We had to notify the church of course, my mortified daughters however refused to ever return there. It was standard procedure to send letters concerning head lice; we had received one the last week of school. My children decided they would need to change schools rather than go through this again, I almost agreed with them.
With a plan of attack, and another store list I was confident. I descended the stairs with an arm load of bedding bundled into sacks proceeding down the next flight of stairs to the basement. My mind tallying the money it would take to spray the whole house and do every head in it, including grandparents and the dog. I saw the precarious budget begin to falter.
Deep in thought I stepped off the last step and I screamed! I called for my husband who was already running to see what the she-banshee was in an uproar about. He found me standing in ankle deep water holding a mountain of laundry. The image of the faltering budget, like a house of cards, tumbled.
Thankfully he took the laundry out of my hands and suddenly I was tired; the activity of the last month and the on going battle against insects had weakened me. My perspective had plummeted to the basement of my spiritual house. I felt as though we were under a plague. Were we being punished for some unknown infraction?
*“When the enemy comes in like a flood the Spirit of God will lift up a standard against him”, I didn’t understand what that meant? I felt weak and defeated, how different from my outlook earlier that morning. When I heard that the septic system had backed up into our basement I was never more discouraged.
What was bad became worse and all I could see was the work that lay ahead; I was exhausted at the thought of it all. “Well Lord where is Your standard?”
* “In everything give thanks”. I almost laughed out loud, not from humor, more like sarcasm, but I had learned over the years these little Holy Spirit bulletins were memos appropriate for the moment.
I tried to scrape a little of the shattered determination together as I reached for the stereo and inserted the most uplifting and encouraging tape I could find. I turned the volume all the way up and I sat down next to a speaker hoping I could absorb faith from the sound waves. For hours I played that music over and over making myself sing the words to every song, forcing myself to thank Him for everything that came to mind. This was my retreat as hour after hour my gratitude took my focus off of our circumstances and placed it where it needed to be…on Him.
Isaiah 59:19 [NKJV] 1Thessaloanians 5:18 [NKJV]
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