Friday, January 31, 2014


2006 was a particularly bad year. My dad died. My son contracted a blood disease that necessitated a blood transfusion to save his life. Dave felled a tree that landed on a neighbor's shed and flattened it. My son fell headfirst onto protruding stone and split his forehead open. I could go on.
On January 1, 2007 our family celebrated the fact that 2006 was OVER! I prepared a big breakfast. We drank a toast. Dave and I locked eyes across the table and I said, "It's over. May we never have to live a year like that again!" And I kid you not, at that very moment, Grant choked on a piece of bacon. Choked, as in, couldn't breathe. After several frantic moments we sent it flying and Grant went back to his eggs blissfully unaware of the fact that he just ruined our party.

This January felt something of a repeat of that. 2013 wasn't necessarily terrible but it did end badly. Dave and I felt all beat up and let down and we just wanted to spend January regrouping. On the 16th I had a doctor's appointment for Avonlea. We had done some tests and were going to get the outcome of them. I am a very positive person. It really didn't even cross my mind that anything could really be wrong with my thirteen year old daughter. So when the doctor told me that she tested positive, 100 percent positive, for Lyme disease, I went into shock. Instead of the doctor sitting before me, I saw a 2 year old's chubby face. Avonlea's little baby face. The baby I sung to and laughed with and prayed for. The baby whose whole future was just altered by what this man said to me.

"I'll wait till your eyes stop dilating and you can focus on my face."

He was talking to me. The baby face disappeared and I fought to focus. The doctor went on to say that she had also contracted several viruses and heavy metals because her immune system had been compromised. He went into a treatment plan that left me reeling.

We left the building after the appointment and I bawled like a baby in the front seat of the car. Bawled for a baby that I had dreamed of having a healthy life.

Avonlea answered my questions on the way home. Of course she still wanted to go on her mission trip this summer. No she wasn't scared or sad or angry. "Actually," she said, "I'm kinda happy to have something exciting to say in my testimony."

Ah, exciting. I had somehow missed that part of it.

Later that day Grant tried to get Avonlea off the computer and I heard this, "Grant, be gentle with me, I have Lyme disease."

As the days have rolled by I've asked myself some questions. Can I accept this as being God's plan for my daughter's life? Am I scared or sad or angry? Can I let go of the "perfect" healthy life I envisioned for my daughter and help her thrive regardless of what her body endures?

Yes. Yes. And yes.

She asked me last week, "Is my Lyme disease in submission?"

I answered, "No, it is not in remission, but yes, it's in submission."

And so am I.

Monday, January 13, 2014


I learned my default early on. Default, the position my heart fell into when not consciously being deliberate in my faith.

Sixteen years ago, Dave and I spent our first Valentines Day up in a cabin in the woods. A group of friends came over and we went cross country skiing. After dinner they left to drive the hour or so back home. Not five minutes after they had gone, Dave realized one of them left their cross country ski rentals at our cabin. Dave is a man of action. He grabbed the skis in one hand and the car keys in the other and bolted.

I dimpled up at the thought of surprising him when he came home. I lit a myriad of candles in the living room, got a full fire going, and slipped into something less, well, less. I settled into a flattering position on a chair next to the fire, arranged my hair, and waited. And waited. And then I heard the sirens.

Unbeknownest to me, Dave was unable to catch his friend, so he just decided to go into town and find the ski shop his friend had rented them from, and return them for him. The town was half an hour away. Then were several ski shops that had to be located and inquired into. It took him a long time. This was pre-cell phone era.

Meanwhile, the fire's dying (literally and figuratively). At the sound of the sirens, tears started sliding down my face. My thoughts ran like this, "I am a 23 year old widow. Dave is dead. I don't have any nice black clothes to wear to the funeral. I am all alone. Forever. I'm too sad to go shopping but I don't have any nice black clothes. Dave is never coming back to see how cute I am sitting here. Poor Dave." etc.

Two hours later Dave came home to his bride. He had a blizzard from Dairy Queen in each hand.
He found me in fetal position, sobbing, swollen faced, and muttering something about black dresses.

Eventually I recovered enough to eat the blizzard.

I learned several things from that brutal Valentines Day. But the most important thing I learned was this, my default is fear.

If you recall, I said earlier that my husband is a man of action. With that statement comes the assurance that I've had many, many chances to reaffirm that, yes, my default is fear. Add children who largely take after their father, and yes, my default is fear.

But I've learned something else over the last 16 years of marriage, God can reset your default.

So I've made my homepage my Bible and the face book I peer into is the Book that shows me the face I want, the face of Jesus. I slowly trade in my fear for the peace and joy and faith that He offers. My default changes. My husband doesn't change, my children don't change, but my default changes.

We celebrated New Years this year up at the cottage. The children were asleep and Dave and I were playing cards when a storm came up. It was sudden and violent. Dave and I looked at each other in alarm. We knew that there were 3 very dead, very big trees directly behind the cottage. We weren't expecting a storm before we had time to cut them down.

"Let's get the boys. Stay away from the windows."

My husband is a man of action. Within minutes, we had the boys moved downstairs on cots, out of the vulnerable position of the room nearest the trees.

Rowan awoke in the process and wanted me to stay with him downstairs. I curled up on the couch while Dave went upstairs where the girls were.

The wind was possessed. Debris flew past the windows. The rain appeared to be horizontal. With every gust my default spoke like this, "God thank you for your protection. I know you will never leave us nor forsake us. Thank you for a roof over our heads. Thank you that you love these children even more than I do. Thank you for your grace that is always sufficient. Thank you for your peace that passes all understanding."

When we listen to God's Words more than our own words, more than our friend's words, more then this world's words, our default changes. The storms rage, but we don't.

The default the Lord offers is praise.
I open the Word and reset.


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