The day started off normal. Then we had one catastrophic trip to the grocery store where the long week finally hit my boys and they had major meltdowns in Kroger. (Don't tell my nutritionist that I tried to calm myself with a Starbucks!) I got lunch on the table as soon as possible and we got halfway through the meal before Micah threw another fit about eating his potatoes. He cried for 10 minutes at the table before I finally got him calmed down. I remember thinking at that point, "Wow, I had a lot of patience just then. Go me! Cancer's given me more patience with my kids. That's awesome. Thank you Jesus!"
And here's what I think-- I think the devil's listening. I really do. I think my family and I are under attack. Since chemo's been over we've been hit with several other small problems that are starting to mount up. Our car broke down on our way to our celebratory "no mo chemo" dinner. Then the car was broken into, Terry's truck has been out of a/c all summer, our garbage disposal broke, etc, etc. If you believe that "when it rains, it pours," you should definitely bring your umbrella to my house!
It's been hard to take the trauma and drama of the last two weeks, but I think Terry and I have handled it ok. It's hard for anything to phase you in the wake of cancer. But it wouldn't be the truth if I said we've let it all roll off our backs. We've had to constantly remember to look to God through it all.
Pam recently said in a marriage class at church that we shouldn't be surprised if we come across marital tiffs while we're attending the class because Satan will try to attack what we're building up. And 1 Peter 5:6-8 says,
"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith."
So there I was today patting my own back for navigating a temper tantrum with Micah when the day went from hard to horrific. Other moms can identify when I say that there are some days when nothing goes right. I'd be in the middle of cleaning up one thing when I'd get pulled away to change a dirty diaper, then I'd rush off to clean a spill, stop to argue with my three-year-old, take out the trash, clean another spill, etc. Which would be like any ol' regular day at home, except it's also the day I'd designated as my "major cleaning" day. Which means each task I ran off to do left a half-mopped floor or half washed window behind. Soon the house was littered with cleaning supplies and toys and I was frazzled. So this time when Micah had a breakdown that resulted in two long hours of him crying in his room, I lost it! So much for patience!
As I was angrily throwing a soiled rug into the washing machine, I had one rational thought amidst all the fist-clenching, teeth-grinding frustration: go read the Bible.
So I ignored the mess and the messy kids, eased into my comfy chair and I did. Well, I tried. I read about two scriptures before mommy-duty called. As I was hoisting myself out of the chair (Yes, hoisting. Months of chemo-induced inactivity has left me weak!) I realized, "For Pete's Sake, it's Thursday!"
It's Thursday. I should be getting chemotherapy today. But...I'm...not.
And now here I sit. Housework nowhere near close to done, but for now all the supplies are put away. The boys aren't crying; they're playing. And I've gotten perspective. In the time it took to read two short scriptures God reminded me how far I've come in my cancer journey. And I remembered how far I've got to go before I'm anywhere near the knowledgeable, strong, morally upright Christian God wants me to be.
I let troubles and stresses seep in when I wasn't looking. I made improvements in my life (regarding patience with the boys) and then left myself wide open for Satan's attack.
So next time I thank God for something, I'll remember to give it back to Him to protect from my enemy. I'll remember to put my armor on!
"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes" (Ephesians 6:11).