Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Search of Rest

Vacation is defined as "a period of time devoted to pleasure, rest or relaxation." My husband and I set off with our three little girls (and his mom) for an extended weekend away in a search of such a time as this.

I was to meet my husband at his mom's house (a half way point from his office) to pick them both up and start out on our vacation. When the usual 25 minute trip took me almost an hour, I was determined to stay positive and hope this beginning was not indicative of the rest of our weekend away.

Our 4-hour trip to our destination went amazingly smooth. Only stopping once to use the bathroom and get dinner for the kids, the whining kept to a minimum and we got to our hotel at a decent hour. I thought to myself that I was glad I didn't get all bent out of shape with the detours and traffic that delayed my arrival to my mother-in-law's. What a fabulous start to our weekend!

We unpacked the van and assured the girls that we would swim in the morning. A full night of rest would give us all a good start to our vacation. Settling down to a movie, everyone went to sleep in hopes that this time of rest would lead to pleasure and relaxation tomorrow.

When our 8-year-old woke us up in the middle of the night to announce that her tummy hurt, I jumped out of bed informing my husband he needed to care for the now crying 23-month-old as I could not be in two places at once. Thankfully we had a two-bedroom suite and my husband and the baby were able to get back to sleep. I did my best to allow my mother-in-law and 4 1/2-year-old to sleep even though the bed they were in was right next to the bathroom.

I listened to my daughter's account of attempting to soothe herself prior to waking us up. Her belly just would not stop hurting. I filled the bathtub and encouraged her to think about floating on her back in an attempt to relax her. She complained of a headache and I gave her some Tylenol in hopes that the pain would diminish and we could both rest again. She decided she wanted to try to sleep again but wanted me with her. We laid down for a little while until she informed me her belly hurt too much again.

After conveniently placing the garbage can next to the bed "just in case", I went to grab my shoes so we could walk around the hotel. It was in that moment that I heard her belly erupt. She did her best to get it all into the garbage can (a difficult task in the dark). I knew I had a mess to clean as I ran to her and found my feet in wet carpet next to her.

Thankful that I left the bathtub filled, I got her into the bathroom and cleaned her up. I did the best I could to clean up the carpet while attempting to let the others in the room sleep. My mind was calculating the hours until morning when the maid service would be available. There wouldn't even be any assistance from the front desk until well into the morning. Once it seemed my daughter's stomach settled a bit, I asked my mother-in-law to keep an eye on her as I attempted to rid our room of the stench by getting the garbage outside.

I sat on the bathroom floor close to the ceramic bowl with my daughter. I was so thankful my mother-in-law had paid for the hotel so we weren't camping as originally planned. It was about 2 hours later my daughter's belly finally relaxed enough for her to fall asleep on the bathroom floor with her head on the pillow in the hallway.

Sitting next to my daughter, I found myself asking God to heal her little body so we could enjoy our vacation. That thought was followed up immediately with the gratitude that I have for the blessing of healthy kids. My mind went to my dad's battle with cancer and the slight glimpse I now have into what it must be like to care for a child with something that does not disappear in 24 hours or a few short days. As I still asked God for a healthy family to enjoy our weekend away, I knew this was a moment I was faced with a choice. I could succumb to worry or not. My mind wanted to determine if this was some bad food or the flu. I could not help but wonder if this was going to pass through everyone else during our vacation. How would things play out? I knew it was my choice as to whether or not I would allow my mind to worry about the future or simply give it over to God.

As I stroked my daughter's hair and watched her breathing even out, I prayed for her heart. I asked God to bring her to a point in her life where she loves Him whole-heartedly. My request of God was that she would understand that following God's laws is all in response to first loving Him which is in response to His first loving us. I prayed for her friendships and her future. As I prayed, I realized I was making my choice. I would not worry. God may not answer my prayer for the weekend full of pleasure, rest and relaxation, but God could calm my heart.

It was a moment where I met God. There in the hallway sitting next to my little girl curled up on the bathroom floor, in front of the toilet, I communed with God. As I cared for my little girl, I knew a peace of God caring for me. A peace found only in God. A peace I didn't even know I needed to be in search of.

I didn't get much sleep that night but I experienced rest for my heart. In the morning, my husband went out and got Saltines and PeptoBismol. A few hours later, we were in the pool swimming and enjoying our day.

As I woke up to thunderstorms the next morning when we were hoping to catch a parade, I knew I was faced with the choice again. It does no good to worry. And as I watched the parade with my family and later enjoyed the beach, I knew worrying would have simply been wasting a lot of precious time.

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