Thursday, November 15, 2012


The lights were snapped off early yet there I lay, sandwiched between fleece sheets, fresh off a whispered conversation with Cory, already asleep beside me.

Exhaustion etched my eyes, knots throbbed in both shoulders, my ears rang. I flipped onto this side, then the other. I climbed out of bed and felt around for a pair of socks. So tired. I flipped again, pounded my pillow, wedged it into the crook of my neck.

I did everything but sleep.

The morning had veered off course, I'd spent it at the hospital, me and my boys. I thought we'd be in and out in an hour. (I thought wrong.) Hours later, we walked out with 2 new appointments, 3 new meds, a trough of potential side-effects, and a promise that this was officially a "flare up". (And a Rubik's cube. But naturally.)

How could he be flaring? Just yesterday he played soccer until his hair hung wet. He went to his book club. He bossed his brother and teased his sister. He's strong and smart, feeling fine.

The whole drive home, all I could think was, "Oh, right. This. This is part of my life, too."

This is just one reason why the best year of my life was one of the very worst.

I wish sometimes that my life was more take-it-easy. I wish all the time that my son wasn't sick; that he didn't have to miss his favorite school lunch (French toast) or Officer Janett's visit just because he's got a stupid rash.

I wish I could make myself believe right this minute that everything is fine. Show me some sand - quick. I want to stick my head in it.

I want Robert to find God at my kitchen table, not in jail.

I want my sister on my couch, not in India.

I want Becky's life to cut her a break. Beth's, too.
I want my move, my lifestyle, this right here to be supported, not polarizing.

I plan parties, get haircuts, move furniture, simmer dinner. I drive and write and wring my hands. I layer and lunch. I gripe and yell. I start the day smelling like a clementine and end it wearing the scent of poverty.

This life wraps around and around, holding me tight then choking me out and doing it over again.

I was promised that it wouldn't be easy, so it's no surprise. I'm not supposed to make sense of it all. I understand that He is sovereign, but what will it cost me and can I ever truly believe it?  I say I can, but words are free and life leaves blisters.

I cry in my kitchen and Silas scratches my back, "Poor, poor Mommy". Can this be gift enough? Can I look past this hurt and see the miracle right beside me rubbing circles over my shirt?

Low tide surges forward, clearing the crud away.

But it'll be back. I know it will.

This is the charting of a life. I want to believe that I can want it all. I want to know all over again that my course was long decided; my rescue already promised and plotted.

I kiss their necks. I kiss that jelly-bean lymph node that shouldn't be there at all. I tuck blankets under chins, whispering "I'm so proud of you"s, carrying tonight's Bible story down the stairs and into my heart, my marrow, every cell and fiber, massaging it in until it can't slip off or fall out.

"It isn't how strong you are or how many swords and spears you have that will save you - it is God who saves you! This is God's battle. And God always wins his battles!" - *The Jesus Storybook Bible

I can almost feel the five smooth stones in my palm. Tonight, I plan to sleep.

*I cannot recommend this kids Bible highly enough. It is fantastic in every way.


  1. So beautifully written. Honest and raw. Sending you hugs. xo

  2. Oh, friend, I'd love to give you a hug right now. Sleep tight, you.

    Mr. Lee is on our prayer list, too. Sweet boy.

    That Bible is a gem in every way. Josiah had one and adored it and then he gave it to a friend who had not heard of Jesus before. His idea and it split my heart in two. Guess who got a new one for his birthday?

    1. To clarify, it "split my heart in two" in the best kind of way. :) Mama was proud!

  3. Gasp!! Our copy of the Jesus Storybook Bible just came in today! (Coincidence?) I discovered it at the Library on the new books shelf. Isn't it amazing? I have been wanting to blog on it.
    So sorry to hear about another ugly flare up. My day was nowhere near this upside down! Praying for deep and satisfying sleep for you tonight and healing for Calvin. Lots of love!

  4. ugh, those days. thank God His mercies are new each morning. have you ever said exactly what calvin has? i am not sure i remember readin how he's sick.

  5. He always wins. Amen and amen. We LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible. I'm not ashamed to admit that I've cried during many of the stories. The boys only kind of think I'm crazy. But why can't it be easy, though? Sometimes I ask, "Please God, just for a few minutes can it be about me?" But it's not anymore. Actually it never was. *sigh* I'll be praying for you during some of my sleepless nights now, too. xoxo

  6. So sorry for you kiddo with the flare up! Praying you all get good sleep tonight!

    LOVE, LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible. I use it often in my ladies bible study. It has also been a great evangelistic tool for adults. Every adult I have ever given it to has LOVED it and it has helped them understand so much more! (Did you know she has just released a new book? "Thoughts that Make your heart Sing!)

  7. I love how brave your words are. It's always hard for me to know how honest to be on my blog. I've certainly had upside down days too (today was one)...once again, you've made me ponder. Thank-you for not sugar coating. I pray your family's hearts are lightened and tonight's sleep is great.

  8. yes shannan.
    i needed this tonight.
    how to LEAN into the story already written, when the plot is a bit questionable in your opinion?
    you are a treasure, friend.
    thanks for sharing yourself.

  9. you weave words into the most beautiful tapestry.

    blessings to you - i am very close to a dear friend walking a similar path as yours on so many levels. mother to a son and daughter both born oceans away. one deals with multiple health issues. they serve a very small, yet extremely needy community. you are not alone. i know from my own unique experiences that sometimes just the knowledge of that makes the rutted road a bit easier.


  10. Those sleepless nights are all too familiar to me, as well. It's funny how much we're caught off guard by how hard life is when the Bible tells us that it would be. You know that, though.

    How can I pray for you?

  11. Yes, life leaves blisters! Your metaphorical writing is so spot on & gets me every time! The crud is washed away, & yes it will come back. Like those waves, is God's grace, peace, hope, love, strength, & presence, tho. They keep rolling in. Never ceasing. Soothing us with the his perfect timing & rhythm.

    I am coming out of a dark time in my life. I lost a close family member. The death was sudden & the worst timing as life has already been extremely difficult. Couldn't even imagine one more thing coming. I became angry @ God. He's all powerful, why not stop the car from hitting him?! There is no good that can come from this! I am overwhelmed with the brokenness all around me... broken bodies, broken relationships, broken creation, broken dreams, broken promises... fear took hold of me. Fear of all the possible what ifs. I picked up the phone & called a spiritual mentor. She heard me. She said God can handle my anger & questions. Then, she told me to ask Him to show up. So, with nothing to lose I started asking Him to show up. That I needed Him. I needed Him to show up for me And boy did He! He showed up in 3 HUGE ways to remind me He's here & loves me. My circumstances haven't changed. I'm still grieving, but he showed up in some majorly real ways!

  12. Just finished up Beth Moore's study on James. James 1:2-4 is so awesome. Awesomely true and awesomely difficult at times to put into practice! I am so thankful for His Grace to enable me to count it all joy when I can't conjer up any joy on my own because life's trials swamp me under.

    The Jesus Storybook Bible is fabulous. Don't you love how we as moms get blessed by reading to our sweet peas? More than once the Bible stories I have read to them have been just for me just for that specific moment!

    Oh, how great His grace is!

  13. Tears.
    And those words from the Storybook Bible - I needed those tonight.
    From one mama who makes lots of doctor visits to another - prayers coming your way and for your sweet boy.

  14. amen to your words and amen amen to the Jesus Storybook Bible. i read it to myself even after the kids go to bed. praying for your siley.

  15. So sorry you had such a tough day; thank you for sharing your heart, as always. I have to agree with you on the Jesus Storybook Bible! My boys (3 and 18 months) squeal with delight when we pull it out. It have been convicted by it myself over and over again.

  16. I'm sorry friend. Getting ready to sleep...saying prayers for you and that sweet boy before I do.

  17. I am praying for you. xoxoxo. Those are hugs and kisses, old school like your grandma gives them.

    I love the Jesus Storybook Bible. I love it. I also love that we serve a God that makes dead trees live, who makes new hearts and miracles and magic and things you can't imagine. You testify.

  18. Dear girl, how bruised you must be feeling tonight. Bruised for your littles, bruised for your bigs and bruised for your own, human self. I'm so sorry that you're hurting. I wish you soul's ease tonight.

  19. "He gives to His beloved even in their sleep."

    Sleep well beloved. <3

  20. Oh boy, that was beautiful and powerful. Thank you for sharing your life with the world.

  21. (((hugs))) Hope you wake to a lighter load today.
    Went to add that Bible to my Amazon wishlist and it said it bumped it to the top as it was already there... This time I ordered it. THANK YOU for the nudge.
    My Great Aunt finishes every conversation and note by saying "God loves you and so do I." Today I' think I'll make that mine....

  22. Isaiah 66:13
    As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.

  23. I'm a pretty patient person. I don't open presents early. (Don't even have a need to shake em.) I usually read books from front to back.

    But, there's one book I've heard so much about that I've jumped around and ended up reading the end already. Skipped right past the chapter on grain offerings. Spoiler alert. He wins. (Even after 3/4 of the way though, our hero is slaughtered. Ack!)

    Hold on tight to those cuties.
    It's not for nothing.
    He has a plan.
    ~ Dana

  24. you can count on my prayers for you and your sweet boy.

  25. Oh FPFG, I so love to read your words, love to hear the genuine cry of your heart, am encouraged by the way you tell the truth...that we don't all march off into the sunset to the strains of the hallelujah chorus with cherubs circling our heads and smiles on our faces. That things can be hard, and hurtful, and require stamina and faith and trust and eyes to see and all the rest. Following Jesus doesn't exempt us from being human and all the frailty that comes with it. I think that's why Isaiah 40:31 says "They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will rise up on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint." We all start out flying, but it's a marathon, not a sprint, and if (when) you fall from the heights, you just keep walking. There is always grace to just keep walking. Praying for you.

  26. Thank you for this.

    It was a rough morning. One of those where one more thing gets added to your pile hard things. I read your post and sobbed (at work). It's funny how something so simple from a children's Bible could be all of the encouragement you ever really needed. I guess God's truth really is that simple and all we really need to keep on going.

    So, I'll hold on to that Truth, and I'm going to keep on going. Because it's God's battle anyway.....and He always wins! Hallelujah!

  27. I am so sorry Shan. So, so sorry.

    I love your leaf banner.
    I love how you find light.
    Through the darkest days and the dreariest nights, you find the light.

    You are my hero.

  28. You have been so faithful in using your have blessed my heart and ministered to me in very which way. You've cast your bread on the water and I'm praying that it truly comes back to you with every wave. Keep slaying giants, FPFG. We're here, believing with you. Blessings, blessings, blessings.

  29. Hugs to you and Calvin. And kisses for your blisters.

  30. May you be filled ways that are ways that shock your socks ways that ways that ways that are never ending.

  31. The Jesus Storybook Bible is so good for kids and adults!!! I would also recommend a GREAT CD that goes along with it. A group called "Rain for Roots" made a CD of songs with lyrics by Sally Lloyd Jones' "Hug a Bible". They are so good! I bet you could find them on NoiseTrade or email my friend you worked on the project -
    Thanks for a wonderfully worded post from your heart! May the Lord lift you up and continue to use you mightily for His kindgom!
    Rebekah T.

  32. P.S. The album is called "Big Stories for Little Ones."
    From,Rebekah T.

  33. Beautifully written. Thank you for continuing to look to Jesus to guide your path and for sharing your heart. Your blog is a highlight of my day. So sorry your sweet Calvin is sick. Hope you get some answers and help for him soon. I was going to highly recommend Big Stories for Little Ones/Rain for Roots too. It is FABULOUS!!


  35. Why am I always a day late and a dollar short? Good thing it's never too late to pray. Hope today treated you well!

  36. I agree, we have the same bible and the boys love it...and so do I. Praying for you all.

  37. Oh your words bring me to tears. Again. Thank you for sharing yourself with us here. Have you mentioned what it is that your precious boy has that flares up? Maybe you dont want to...just didn't know if I had missed it. Thank you for sharing.

  38. (((((HUGS))))) I hope he will be okay. Sorry that you have to go through so much with him. He does realy look healthy.

  39. C.S.Lewis said,"Its not that we doubt that God will do his best for us,but that we are afraid of how painful the best will be."
    How true. So we just keep holding on to Him. And cry when our heart breaks.
    Holding you close in my arms tonight.

  40. Sending you a virtual hug and some virtual salsa.

    I'm so sorry. This made my heart hurt. Praying for healing and good news for you and your little one.



  41. I'm so sorry ... praying that God heals that sweet boy.

    That's my favorite children's Bible too ... I can't read it without crying. It's taught me parallels that I truly never knew and I've been going to church since first grade.

  42. Shannan,
    Hi, I'm MissPam sometime commenter. I have twin preemie(grown now but still home) that have many many health issues.
    I don't mean to stick my nose in but do you know about The Deeming Waiver? It's for folks who might make a bit too much to qualify for regular help but have a child with continuing medical needs. It picks up your co shares and sometimes more. I would urge you to get online and find a parents support group they share all the good scoops. And google the deeming waiver. Email if I can help you with anything. My husband is a retired Army Chaplain. He's gone back to school for his PhD at Dallas Theological Seminary so we're in Texas. Soon to be moving to South Carolina. So you know that I'm not a kookie stalker. I'm Pam Yates.

  43. have you mentioned this jellybean swollen lymph node before?
    do you mind sharing more about what's going with your sweet boy?
    praying now...

    1. i know i've read before that he has some health issues, but i'm hoping i haven't missed some details...praying your heart is infused with hope from the only one who can give it.

  44. i don't know you, but I'm always touched by what you inspiring your journey is...i wish i had your courage...please keep sharing your wonderful stories...:)

  45. Oh I wish I could share my heart in writing like you do! But I can't even share the real details of our life on our blog for security reasons! But anyway...YES! I love that Bible sooooooo much! Somehow in all the paring down and selling our stuff and deciding what was worth the weight to pack, I accidently packed 2 of those Bibles! : )

  46. God always wins his battles! amen.
    i have missed you these past few days.
    your dining room is absolutely beautiful and looks like a magazine...truly.
    your motherhood stories and carrying pain make me feel like i am normal.
    i have someone out there that really gets hurt. really gets confusion. frustration. and says it.
    i love that about you.

    and i am on the fence about the .10 socks....just being honest.