we're living in a hotel for two weeks while we wait to close on the house. not a big deal, (praise Him) it is only two weeks.
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sometimes i wonder what changed in my life that i needed to be reminded so frequently of my utter dependence on Him alone. before this happened, had you asked me, i would've told you that He is the Vine and we are the branches. i knew the truth.... but not like i know it now.
my mom says she first noticed my ocd around the age of twelve. i was slightly obsessed with a place for everything and everything in its place. i didn't notice it until i was married. my poor I do, i am sure he wondered what had he gotten himself into! the toilet paper had to come over the top, toothpaste must be squeezed from the bottom, i scrubbed the kitchen down many times per day, i needed to vacuum daily - keeping those lines in the carpet clearly visible. (i remember playing the newly wed game with friends, he had a difficult time deciding which chore i performed most often. he went with scrubbing the kitchen and i went with vacuuming - we agreed it was a draw). i praise our Father in heaven as i most often had a sense of humor about it. we had a friend who came by on two separate occasions simply to run through our house and mess up the carpet lines :) nonetheless, it was what it was: i had ocd. and it really wasn't that big of a deal.
then came nursing school. i did not see it coming, and i honestly do not know exactly when it did. but oh, did it happen. ocd germophobe.
fast forward thirteen years to today....
30 minutes in my head:
"let's go lovies, time for breakfast." we three enter the hotel dining room. boy love and girl love happily go about checking their options, loading up plates, pouring glasses of juice and milk, and grabbing a strawberry jelly. i head towards the coffee containers. Father, i need you. thank You, Lord. i am going to touch the container, push down on the handle - afterwards i cannot wash my hands. i have to eat with these hands... let it go, lay it at His feet. the opposite of fear is faith. trust Him. i grab a paperboard coffee cup. i wonder if these fell on the floor and someone picked them up and set them back up here... make yourself keep going; i've seen that happen with my own two eyes. focus. i proceed to place the cup under the spout and push down. focus, focus on Him. think about what you're thankful for, praise Him. i head to the cream and sugar. just keep going, don't think about it. just do it. sugar - check. cream - check. ugh! the stirrers. just last night i saw a little girl playing with them, swirling them around, telling her daddy how pretty they looked. he smiled and then told her to let them be... i turn to reach for a lid. that man just grabbed two, he put one back. no big deal, i'll pick up four and take the bottom one. of course i have definitely seen these dropped on the floor and picked up and put back in place. deep sigh. just. keep. going. o.k., i set the coffee on our table and move on. napkins, we need napkins. i grab a handful. don't think about the possibilities. remember Edmond in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, don't think it because 'it' becomes your fear.... i place one to the left of each place setting, except mine of course - three to the left of my plate. i won't use the one on the table. oh i wish i could pull out one of those plastic adhesive placemats, like the kid one's at Chick-Fil-A. now for food. a cup of yogurt, it's sealed. the rest of the food is buffet, open to all. i walk to the bread. someone left the lid open. all of the germs floating around this entire room are landing on the bread. the opposite of fear is faith. thank You, Father for reminding me. i pick up the tongs. i wonder if they wash these daily, last night that man with the head cold dropped a set of tongs on the floor when he sneezed at the buffet. trust. i need You. thank You, Jesus; where would i be without You? place the bread in the toaster. tell yourself the heat will kill the germs, until it lands in the base plate where everybody and their sister picks up their toast with their hands instead of the tongs. of course with the sneeze guy it may not make that much of a difference. then again statistics say only 70% of people wash their hands after going to the bathroom. why? why would you go there? my toast drops down. with the tongs i retrieve it and set it on the plate (one that was a few down from the top). i pick up a peanut butter and a honey packet. i stop by and pour myself a small orange juice. i wonder how many people have poured from this container today? i wonder what the staff does with the lid of the container when they refill the pitcher.... i need a knife. yesterday boy love put an used plastic knife back in the container, no telling how many people do. all those hands. not to mention someone had to touch them to place them in this container, and who knows the last time someone washed this container? to the table. i have to pull out my chair. in my mind i can see that little love who was here yesterday morning with the runny nose, she was sucking on a finger and smearing snot with the others - wasn't she leaning on this very chair? with two fingers i gingerly pull out the chair, hoping no one is looking my way, noticing. i sit down, place one of the top napkins gently in my lap and proceed. i thank my Heavenly Father for everything and move on. i eat and chat with the kids. amazing, for all of five or six minutes it is all forgotten. and then i remember that it was forgotten. it is still there. Father, thank you. it felt so good to have a "normal" mind. such freedom. a beautiful reminder of the days before germophobe became a resident in my mind. and a beautiful reminder of this thorn. boy love drops a bite of bacon on the floor, he bends to retrieve it. i begin to gag (literally) at the thought of his hand touching the floor and then him continuing to eat with that hand. "stop!" calm. "we'll get it after we're finished." we finish our meal. we clean up, i pick up the bacon with a napkin. dispose of the trash. we head back to the room, we reach the stairwell and i turn around and bump the door with my behind so as not to touch it. we reach the third floor, i pause and boy love opens the door. we pretend it's chivalry, but we all know mommy has issues. we walk to our room and i pull the hotel key from my pocket, i have already wiped it with a clorox wipe so it's 'ok'. the kids love to open the door, great by me, i don't have to touch it....
sometimes it's not this bad and sometimes it's worse. and Alleluia! there are moments when i've lived ten minutes and it wasn't there at all. but then it's there again.
it is what it is.
yes, i have prayed. and yes, i believe. in fact, i know. He is God. He. can. do. all. things. He is omnipotent. and yet i still have germophobe ocd. if i could pray it away with fervent, believing prayers it seems it'd be gone. if others could pray it away with fervent, believing prayers it would definitely be gone. but it's not. so where does that leave me? it leaves me right where i need to be: at my Father's feet. acknowledging that i can't make it through a single breath without Him. and: it's not about me.
don't get me wrong. many times i am frustrated and i want it gone. many times i find myself whining because i don't want ocd germophobe. (sometimes the truth is crummy) too many times i let myself get worked into a frenzy because i have not stayed in communication with Him, neglecting all that matters - Him.
... I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12 NIVoh, to boast and delight like our brother Paul. but that means a thorn, yes?
i am studying First Peter. chapter four verse twelve:
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you...in light of this passage (and these too: Phil 1:29, Psalm 34:19, Acts 9:15-16, 2 Cor 1:3-7, 2 Timothy 3:12, 1 Peter 2:20-23, James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:6-7, 1 Peter 4:12-19), it seems to me that trials and suffering are to bring Him glory. i may be wrong in drawing this conclusion, but it is right for me. to bring Him glory. and so i pray that He would be glorified in even this, my germophobe ocd.
forever grateful, forever counting His blessings....
- being together again, the fantastic four and bunny too
- hiking up a mountainside with girl love and boy love
- the way my family and friends love me so beautifully, even with my struggles
- leaves falling from the trees, orange and gold blessings raining down on me
- the beauty of the hillside when the sun shines bright on the hues of autumn
- a warm place to sleep at night
- the hope of closing on Wednesday
- Mom flying in Saturday
- K love flying in the next
- God's grace, He is more than enough; His grace is sufficient for me!
Grateful Friends, thank you for meeting me here. listening to the ramblings of this forever Floridian (now a joy-full New Jerseyan); and will you join me in praying for K love's mama (Mom 'E' to me) as chemo begins next Monday? ((thank you))
joining Ann and Emily