Friday, January 30, 2015

What I Learned in a Taiwanese Hospital

Since starting our family in Taiwan, I've often lamented, "It would be so much easier to have kids if we lived near family."  (For the record, this is true.  You can't beat grandparents!)  But about a month ago Kalan gently pointed out that I often use this phrase as an excuse to throw myself a little pity party.  "Kayt, God has called our family to live in Taiwan.  It is hard, but using this little phrase to complain just makes it harder.  It sounds like you don't want to accept the work God's given you to do.  Do you think you should keep saying it?"

I wasn't ready to hear that.  So you can imagine what I was thinking when Jude was admitted to the hospital a couple weeks ago. Those four days may have been my most stressful and exhausting experience yet as a parent.  Then, just a few days after we returned home, we all got the stomach flu. But somehow God's been using this chaos and sleeplessness to teach me a few things.

First, He showed me that we do have family here.  The evening we were admitted to the hospital, our church family started to pray for us.  Over the next few days, they came to visit, brought meals/toys/coffee/baby snacks, subbed for Kalan's classes, folded our laundry, and watched/fed/ even bathed our daughter.

Second, God showed me that even when I felt alone, He was taking care of us.  The first night I told the nurse there wasn't any toilet paper or soap.  She chuckled and said, "This is a city hospital; you need to prepare those things yourself."  Kalan was home with our sleeping 2-year-old, my phone was nearly out of minutes, and there was no internet access.  A moment later, an arm holding a packet of tissues popped out from the other side of the curtain.  "We can share," another tired-looking mom said.

Third, the Lord reminded me that He will give me strength I need for the task at hand.  My job is (to borrow from Nike) "just do it."  For example, one morning I told the nurse that Jude's sheets were dirty.  "There's where we keep the clean ones, and there's the room for soiled laundry."  I don't know why I was so surprised.  Well, it turns out that it is physically possible to hold a baby attached to an IV while putting new sheets on a bed.

Fourth, God reminded me that even when I forget Him, He doesn't forget me.  Like when I came home to shower on the third day and our apartment electricity had been shut off--which meant a warm fridge, laundry half-washed, and no way to update my family in the US.  I called Kalan and had a complete meltdown over the phone.  After I hung up, Keira looked at me curiously.  "Mama, eyes wet!"
"Yes, Keira, I feel very sad and tired, so I'm crying."
"Oh.  Hmm...Mama pray?"
Nothing's more humbling than getting a much-needed kick in the pants from your toddler.  We finally prayed and then I called the power company.  We had electricity within an hour.

Lastly, God showed me that distance is no obstacle for Him.  We were blessed by our parents, siblings, and church family in the U.S. throughout this ordeal.  Many people wrote to us to let us know they were supporting us in prayer.  A dermatologist from our home church considered Jude's case, offered helpful opinions, and explained what was going on in plain English.  Even from across the ocean, God used His people to encourage us.

God's given us family around the world.  He takes care of us when we feel alone.   He gives us strength to do the work He's given us.  He never forgets us, even when we forget Him!

In light of all this, I've decided to stop saying, "It would be so much easier if..."


Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus...

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Week in Review, Vol. 14

This week was a sick one.  Literally.  After the kids recovered from bronchitis last week, I thought we were in the clear, we're fighting an enterovirus.

So, this week was one of those weeks when we ate from a pot of chicken soup for five meals in a row and grabbed our clean clothes from a giant, jumbled pile in the living room.

It was also a week of playing dress-up and having tea parties.  In bed.

On a brighter note, Jude turned 9 months old this week!  

Even when he's sick, he's a pretty smiley guy.  :)

On our days-between-illnesses, we went for some family bike rides, now that Jude has his own seat on the bike (thanks Kermit and Collette!) 

Another highlight of the week month was that our friends watched our kids for an entire afternoon while Kalan and I went for a soak in the hot springs.  (Thanks Caty and Dillon!)

What a refreshing day.  Thank you Aunt Amy, Uncle Bret, Aunt Renee, and Uncle Fred for the Christmas gift!

Chinese classes resumed this week after a few days off for New Year's.  This week's topic was rather interesting...

抽大麻菸=to smoke marijuana cigarettes
Fortunately, besides the names of illicit drugs, our vocabulary list included slightly more useful words such as "infect" and "virus" which came in very handy at the doctor's office this week.  ;)

In closing, I want to share a verse that I've been thinking on this week.  (My brother-in-law recently started doing this on Facebook, and I thought it was a great idea).

" make him glad with the joy of your presence.
For the king trusts in the Lord,
and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved."
(Psalm 21:6-7)

In reality this is really, really hard.  Because when I hear a sick kid crying in the wee hours of the morning, my immediate thoughts are neither glad nor joyful!

  So this week I asked God for grace to forget myself, remember Him, and find joy in measuring out medicine, cleaning up bathroom accidents, and finally folding that pile of laundry.  

I'm slowly learning that this is what it looks like to walk as a mother with God.

Have a great weekend,