I didn't make my Spring Salad for Easter Sunday. In fact, this weekend really didn't go as planned at all.
As I write, I continue to feel weak and achy all over, trying to get my body on the mend before Cinco signals his arrival any day now.
On Saturday, our family came down with the most terrible stomach virus I think we've ever experienced. We ruled out food poisoning as we and another family were both exposed at the same function a day earlier, with the same repercussions. Though clearly unintentional, it was a preventable disaster, making it all the harder to bear. At 39 1/2 weeks, dehydration and vomiting is not to be desired, not to mention, completely debilitating with the usual aches, pains, and contractions that come with this stage of pregnancy.
Unlike many other times of illness and duress at our home, my dear Preacher could not take care of me. He was completely bed-bound and ailing as well...along with two of our children. Unfortunately, it was the two that don't get into trouble easily on their own. As you can imagine, the other two: a two and four-year old do not do well without parent supervision, and are even more distraught to find no one able to respond to their needs. Drama, drama, drama ensued. And, we as parents were hardly able to respond. We were so thankful when the house was finally quiet and all were asleep.
Suffering such a violent bout of illness also meant that The Preacher could not preach at what he considers the most special holiday of our faith. Each of us looked forward to Easter Sunday, the celebration of the Gospel itself, but instead meditated on the sufferings of Christ as much greater than anything we could experience ourselves. Our church family and nearby friends were amazingly supportive and encouraging. We were lifted up in prayer, offered practical help, and delivered much needed supplies of electrolytes, homeopathic aides, and thoughtful gifts. Community is such a gift from the Lord. I'm often amazed at how the very trials and struggles we deplore provide the very specific forms of love and encouragement we long for and need. Like I always say, He never wastes a thing.
So, as I was up all night trying to stay hydrated with ice chips, I cried out to the Lord for rest, healing, and perspective. I watched the sunrise, and praised Him whose Resurrection gives us hope and joy beyond our present afflictions, physical or non-physical. Despite the pain and weariness we were all feeling, each one awoke, gladly proclaiming "Happy Easter" and "He is risen." Dry toast and sips of water were had by all at the dining table, which was filled with the fragrance of two Easter lilies in full bloom. Most of the family returned quickly back to bed and rested.
How very thankful and blessed we were to come to the end of the day feeling significantly better. The Preacher was weak, but back at his post as family leader, encourager, servant, and my indispensable friend. I suspect that suffering and trials do more to open our eyes to who and what our greatest gifts really are...to what we treasure most...and to God's great sufficiency to overcome that which we have no ability to endure ourselves.
And ironically, though I had worked to prepare the house for the new baby, and had felt it adequately clean and ready; it is now no longer, and will need a good disinfecting, laundering, and going over. Yet, the unexpected trial of this weekend prepared me in a different way. I strangely feel more ready now to embrace labor and the birth of Cinco than I have up until this point. Physical pain, disappointment, and total exhaustion just prior to delivery is not what I would have planned or hoped for, but I'm surprisingly confident that He who gives and takes away, He who knows the number of our days, the hairs on our head, the intimate needs of our hearts...is faithful to provide just what we need when we need it.
The empty tomb on Resurrection Sunday was just that. God perfect provision at the perfect time.
Have a blessed Monday meditating on the celebration of this past weekend!