“I think that you just gotta have the bad days so you can love the good days even more…” -Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
Spring break… a week of relaxing, hanging out, playing games, watching movies, and just enjoying not being super-scheduled. We only had one day planned out where we were going to travel, but it was only a two and a half hour drive, so it wasn’t anything crazy. Heading to Corpus Christi, leaving in the morning and coming home at night. According to my weather app it was going to be sunny and 65 degrees. I packed picnic blanket, egg sandwich with cookies and strawberries for a picnic on the beach before we hung out at the aquarium. Then we’d have a nice dinner & head home. My husband was going to be working for the remainder of Spring Break, so we were all looking forward to a nice day away together.
It started off, well quite honestly, cold. Really cold (Mr. sun forgot to show up). But we found a great picnic bench next to the water. Okay, it was sandy and dirty, but still. My husband and my two boys tossed the football around while my daughter took scenic photographs. I assembled sandwiches. We all ate, including the nice homeless man next to us. The boys went back to tossing the football while I cleaned up. And then it happened.
My pretty, picturesque reality of our perfect little day came crashing down. My oldest son Noah dove for the ball (on pavement) and tripped and fell and tried to catch his fall with his hand. And as I was off in the distance, all I could hear was his crying. Panicked, pain-filled crying. I ran as quickly as I could. Noah was on the ground. As we got him to stand up, we could tell this wasn’t good. He was bleeding on his knee and both elbows. A lot of blood, I thought. This can be cleaned up and might be painful, but will heal. But his wrist. He couldn’t stop crying and complaining of pain in his wrist. We cleaned him up the best we could. We drove to the aquarium thinking they must have a 1st Aid Kit. But as we parked, his wrist pain intensified. We had to decide- should we just go in and see if he feels better or do we try to find an emergency clinic or hospital to look at him. We decided to send me in the aquarium with my other two kids, and my husband and son would travel to seek help.
We were blessed to have friends there that had a connection with a new emergency clinic (thank you Luis & Dionne) and informed them we were coming. Several hours passed. I tried as best as I could to enjoy my kids at the aquarium, but I felt a little guilty because my son Noah loves the aquarium. My other son Joel said, “I wish Noah was here”. Me too buddy… me too.
Finally, a text update- a break in the wrist, he’s in a splint, and we will need to have it put in a cast in a few days when the swelling goes down. And it’s his left hand, and he’s left-handed. They finally made it back to the aquarium, less than 2 hours before closing. He was still upset and visibly worried about how he was going to do his homework and future schoolwork.
Although my perfect little day didn’t turn out as I had imagined (or anywhere near) the Lord showed me that He was still with us even in the mess. I could have easily missed it. So even though the sun didn’t show up, the Son did.
For starters, our friends who lived in Corpus Christi just happen to be friends with the owners of this new emergency clinic. And then when my husband got there, they realized they didn’t take our insurance. My husband assumed he was going to have to leave and find another place, but they said they would see them and not only did they see them, they didn’t charge us anything!! They were so kind- they gave us a cd of the x-rays and texted the x-rays to my husbands phone. Then when they got to the Aquarium, since it was closing soon, I asked the lady if it was still regular price, and she said yes. So it would have been about $45 more, and my son Noah through his tears said, “It’s okay, we can just go home.” I said no, we’ll pay for you and my husband said he would just hang out somewhere. We had mentioned to the lady that they just got back from the emergency clinic and my son broke his wrist. The lady paused, and said, “hang on, you’ve tugged at my heart strings, I’ll be right back.” She came back and said they can both go in…for FREE. Then, as we were leaving, we realized we were supposed to purchase a $5.00 parking chip in the aquarium. It was just a bar that was supposed to go up for our car when we put our chip in. Uh-oh. But we saw a guy working on one and we told him we forgot to purchase our chip and he said, “It’s okay, you can just go through.” I’m telling you, for having things totally not go as expected, God was with us!
Sometimes we don’t see the evidence of God in our crummy days because we’re so focused on how crummy it feels. We can easily get caught up in “why me?” And if we’ve had a particularly hard day/week/life then we start to feel isolated and think we’re the only ones. When my husband was grieving the loss of his brother it was hard to see past the fog. Many people messaged him and shared their own loss- some had also lost a sibling. He told me it made him realize that he wasn’t alone and that there were so many people out there hurting just like him.
When I first moved here, I had a full on pity party. It was one of the largest pity parties to date. I was so focused on how hard it was and on things I didn’t like, that I wasn’t able to see the gift in where the Lord had brought me. I almost missed it.
“Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean we’re not called to it. And just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not good.” Michele Cushatt, Undone.
You see, the enemy wants for us to focus on how hard things are and how stressful this life is. He wants us to focus on that fight with our spouse or how bad our finances are. We feel broken. What this day taught me was that there is beauty in the broken. God wants us to surrender the hard and see the beauty in the unexpected, unplanned, unwanted thing. He wants us to surrender our disappointments to Him. Ask Him what He’s doing through the hard. I bet if you look back, you will see people He brought your way, you will see when that friend sent a text, or an unexpected gift came in the mail- you will see that He walked you through it. The signs of His goodness and love are all around. But sometimes we’re so focused on the broken parts, we miss the beauty. Today, I encourage you, even in the hard, broken places, look for Him. I promise He’s there.
Romans 8:28 (ESV)- “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”