Tonight I was pondering just how amazing it is that when you are a child of God, everything works out for good.
I mean, I’ve always known that promise, and I certainly rely on it in tough times. But it’s still amazing to me to see this “working out for good” thing in action. It still surprises me.
Case in point: about a month ago, Curious J was diagnosed with a double ear infection. This was discovered at a recheck after a particularly bad bout of bronchiolitis. I was shocked to hear this, and I agonized over whether to treat her ear infections via homeopathy, antibiotics, chiropractics, or to just do nothing, as the ear infection wasn’t bothering her, she didn’t have a fever, and ear infections can often resolve on their own. I went back and forth, I prayed for a direct sign (which I didn’t get – I never do), I talked to my husband, I talked to my homeopath, I talked to the pediatrician, I talked to my mother, I talked to my friends. (But I didn’t blog about it.) In the end, after trying homeopathy for two days with no change, I decided to give Curious J her first treatment of antibiotics. (Considering that she was almost 15 months old, I knew I had done pretty well in avoiding antibiotics for so long!) The antibiotics were given for ten days, during which time she had three trips to the chiropractor who adjusted her Eustacian tube to help her ears drain. I took Curious J to the pediatrician for a re-check on Dec. 30, where her ears were pronounced to be normal, and she was pronounced “in perfect health.” No bronchiolitis, no ear infection, just one healthy 15 month old child.
One 15 month old child who still woke up at least twice a night to breastfeed.
A new year was on the doorstep. The child had a clean bill of health. The child also had bad sleep habits, bad habits which had gotten worse during the holidays when company was visiting and normal sleep arrangements were thrown off. Bad habits of staying awake for 1-2 hours in the middle of the night to hang out with Momma.
It was time for this to stop.
Starting that night, with Curious J’s clean bill of health metaphorically held in my hand, I put her to bed as usual, and waited for the first night waking to occur.
I didn’t have to wait long. And as usual, there were many night wakings. I ignored all of them. Much crying ensued. Dire protests were issued by the child. Plaintive, heart-wrenching wails were made. But I held firm. “The child needs to learn to sleep,” I said. “She doesn’t need Momma’s Milk Bar to be open all night anymore. I need her to sleep through the night for her own good — and my own sanity.” As I listened to the sobs of my youngest child, I listened also for the dreaded coughing, the sign that told me that the bronchiolitis was coming back, the sign that I could NOT ignore my child’s cries but needed to attend to them.
Those coughs never came.
Now, 27 nights later after that first night of crying, I can say that my baby is now sleeping through the night. For over a week straight she has not woken up in the middle of the night. Her midday nap has lengthened and improved in quality. Her temperament is more cheerful. Her learning has increased. And she still greets me every morning with a big smile.
If she hadn’t had that stupid double ear infection, this might not have happened. I wouldn’t have had that re-check, the re-check that gave me the metaphorical “clean bill of health” that I clung to for so many nights. A well-rested child is a happy child. It makes for a happier momma, too. I am SO incredibly grateful for how everything worked out.
Everything really does work out for good.
So, tonight it was helpful for me to ponder how “everything works out for good.” Because with my husband gone for two days, I was having my anxiety problems again. I was wondering why this happens to me, and wondering how these anxiety problems will work out for good. Plus, how will these days of “single mothering” work out for good? How will my constant fatigue from 15+ months of sleep deprivation, fatigue that I can’t seem to shake, work for good? How will my low energy work for good? How will my cluttered house, clutter that I have difficulty finding energy to clean, work for good? How will the difficult situations in which my family members find themselves work for good? How will the difficult situation in which our church and school finds itself work for good? How will the near-bankrupted-ness of the state of California work for good? How will a socialist-leaning, very-pro-abortion, wants-to-spend-billions-of-dollars-the-country-doesn’t-have president work for good? (And, for the record, I didn’t like when Bush made his stimulus packages and bailouts either!)
I don’t know. Nothing, and I mean nothing, in my life has ever worked out the way I expected it to. But it has always, and I mean always, worked out better than I could have imagined. I know that because I am God’s child, a baptized child of God, a forgiven child of God, I live my earthly life safely in the palm of his hand. I don’t have to spend my life agonizing over decisions, because God has promised that he’s going to work everything out for my good. Futhermore, I don’t need to get worked up over the current problems in my life, wondering if/when/how these problems will ever get resolved. God has all of it under control.
I am hopeful that someday I won’t have anxiety problems anymore. I am hopeful that I will find ways to make plenty of good sleep a regular part of my life. (I think the two are connected?) But regardless, I know that God is still taking care of me, holding me in the palm of his hand. I’m just fine. I don’t need to be afraid. Everything already IS okay.
Romans 8:28 — And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.