Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ready....Set....Lent(with a bang!)

As I said yesterday...."And so it begins!"

Little did I know when I posted  yesterday that God decided that our Lent would start a few hours early this year!

Before I get into our "extra chaos" from yesterday....
Last year, I wrote about involuntary penances.  My definition of involuntary penances are those trials that God sends our way giving us the opportunity to work on all sorts of virtues that  we never had any intention of working on   never realized were going to have to work on during Lent.

I don't know about you, but each Lent there seems to be extra "opportunities" that God sends our way to make us stretch and grow whether we wanted to stretch and grow or not!

I mean, really, I was already giving up things for Lent, God, isn't that enough!

Apparently not!

So, while I was planning on spending this Lent working on a few different areas, He sent Jay and I an opportunity to start out Lent with quite a bang yesterday!  Jay called me late yesterday afternoon very, very stressed out because he was in a patient's home, (his job is home care physical therapy), and it turns out the home had bed bugs.  The reason why he knows it has bed bugs is because there were a few bugs on his bag and his coat that he didn't see until he was already in his car!

I think that, at least in his conversations to me, Jay was able to keep his voice fairly calm despite the amount of stress that I know he was feeling! (I think he was just afraid that I would completely freak out, too)  He had the kind of stress that makes you feel like you will just pop!  (or makes you want to crawl into a fetal position and give up!)

To make everything more difficult, the exposure happened with the per diem company he works for so he also had to call his full time company.  Because all his equipment is in the car together, his main job also had to consider him a risk of exposure.  Now he had 2 computers that needed to be cleaned, bags replaced, and, because the exposure was from his per diem job, he will be responsible to replace things like a blood pressure cuff if the company feels it can't be sterilized and saved.

Stress and expense...oh, joy!

The per diem company is paying to have his car fumigated, but the company can't come until Thursday.  He ended up buying some garbage bags and throwing out almost everything in his car.  He probably went a little overboard, but Jay was so concerned about bringing anything into the house!  The thought of a bedbug infestation in our house....with welt bites on our kids and having to destroy our furniture....was threatening to throw him over the edge!

After disposing of the bags, Jay went to the car wash and completely vacuumed out his car.  When he drove home, he went into the garage and undressed completely and put all of his clothes in a garbage bag.   I had all the kids go into their rooms for a minute so Jay could have a shred of dignity getting to the shower!  There he spent 30 minutes...and all the hot water....scrubbing!  (Again, a little overboard, but unfortunately soap does not wash away fear!)

Poor Jay did not sleep well last night!

I know that God's grace was abundant because, despite my fear of what might happen, I had inner peace.  Before he got home, I knew that Jay was trying to figure out what he had to do to insure nothing came into our home, so Ellie, Jon and I started trying to create some peace in our home so that, whenever Jay finally walked in the door, he would at least have the opportunity to feel a little peace!    They helped me 'company clean' the main living area without complaint.

I was supposed to try a new recipe last night, but Ellie said, "Mom, maybe it would make dad feel better if we made him one of his favorite dishes."  Her suggestion was right on!  She is a very thoughtful girl who loves her daddy!  Thankfully, I actually had the ingredients to make Jay's favorite dish, chicken pie!  There's nothing like comfort food, right!

Even though this whole experience isn't very pleasant...I can't help but be thankful that Jay noticed the bugs before he came home.  That was a blessing!

Even though Jay will have to replace some of the clothing he tossed, all of it was pretty old anyway so he could use an update.  Yes there is the expense involved, but thankfully our tax returns came in last week.  After paying some bills off, what was left we were hoping to save for an emergency fund.  (I guess we just didn't think an emergency would come up so soon!)

Even though this trial is our opportunity to practice having a right response in the face of difficulties, it certainly has increased our prayer life over the last 20 hours!  It also gave me practice putting my husband first and trying to console and encourage him.....and watch my children do the same!  Watching their care and concern certainly made me proud of them.  (And when I told Jay what Ellie had said about dinner he may have shed a tear or two:)

Even Peter was aware of Jay's stress and kept repeating, "Dad had a bad day!"  At one point, Peter randomly read the Bible verse on the back of Jay's shirt(which isn't a common occurrence at all)..."With God all things are possible"....which was a good reminder for us Who is in control!  Comfort can come from many places!

A little love can go a long way to build someone up!

Jay had little glimpses of God's love from others as well.  His co-worker in charge of these types of issues was super kind today.  Her encouragement....and agreement that Jay went a little overboard...helped to calm him.  She even told him that the Bible verse on her daily calendar made her think of him this morning and asked to share it with him...(but I can't tell you exactly until tomorrow what it was bc his coworker has it at home:)

In my experience, the greater the trials the greater the blessings!  If yesterday and today were any indication of Lent's flow for us, we must be in for a pretty amazing Easter!(lol)

So....when there are moments of extra craziness in your home during the next several weeks, just remember, it's Lent!  Maybe we can pray for each other to embrace the struggles and grow in virtue...even the ones we would rather avoid!

I plan to share my triumphs and failures with involuntary penances this Lent!  I would love for you to share yours as well in the comments!  We can share ideas and moral support!

Welcome to Lent, 2014!

 I am linking up with the ladies running: