Was That A Vacation?

Six and a half hours into our drive home, with just a little over 1 hour of driving left, the worst thing that can happen–that dreaded “what if?”, happened.

They say 90% of the time, what you most fear never happens.  I guess that was true on this trip.  More than 90% of the time was fun, but that 10% that was bad, was very, very bad.

9 year old Dash (adhd/autism) would correct these numbers to 1 1/2 hours out of an 81 hour trip = .02%.  Technically, we got off light.  It should have been 8.1 hours of what we feared most, and for this (not happening), I am very, very grateful!

It’s so easy to let the torture of being crammed in a car with 4 children (2 adhd/autism, 1 neurotypical, and one 7 month old) and a husband for that last hour+ with the baby crying, which set of my 6 year old Sketch (autism/anxiety/adhd) into one of those classic autism-screeches that just blows your eardrums out along with the few brain cells that were left behind after childbirth, cloud your thoughts of EVER doing something like THAT again!

But, now that time has calmed me down and blurred the horrors of last night (NOT), I’m ready to think about the other 79.5 hours of the vacation that were really, quite nice!

We went to the same hotel we went to last year, and met Mr. Incredibles parents there.  The main attraction at this location is the indoor swimming pool.

It was truly one of the best vacations we’ve had.  Normally we laugh (read cry) at the thought of a “vacation” because it is so exhausting to take our family anywhere, but this time… I think it counts as a true vacation!

As a family, we had no children missing at any rest stops or during the hotel stay. We didn’t even feel the need to booby-trap the door to our room so if anyone tried to escape in the middle of the night, the noise would wake us up…well, ok… Mr. Incredible did leave a very noisy bag of chips in front of the door the first night, just in case (by the way, have you noticed how loud chip bags have become?  Sunchips are especially noisy.).

We had NO COMPLAINTS from the people staying beside us or below us for noise or stomping or screaming!

During the entire trip, no one bolted!  I am still in shock of this one!

Every single one of the kids surprised me with how much they have progressed in the last year, and how well they were behaved.

Dash slept like he normally does at home instead of keeping his reputation up of 24/7 wakeful hours 3 days in a row. He was wonderful swimming, and compared to last year, he was not afraid of getting his face wet, or going under water. He didn’t “drown” even once!

Sketch handled so much change and even several disappointments very, very well.  He was absolutely amazing in the pool. He  has made so much progress!  Last year he wouldn’t leave the steps leading into the pool because he didn’t want to get his swimsuit wet.  This year, he went all the way in and traveled the perimeter of the pool all the way to the super-deep section of 4 1/2 feet (insert big proud smile here)  and climbed the ladder to get out of the pool all by himself.  He was his very happy self, a side of him that his grandparents haven’t seen before because he’s usually too stressed out by all the changes and the new environment to “be himself”.  But this time, he was hilarious and engaged with a lot of back and forth interaction.  He also coped with no DVD’s for the entire trip. This was an accident, we’d brought them, but we did not have the power cord to the DVD player.  He handled it amazingly well (insert another big smile here).

Princess Buttercup had a great time, as always.  She had a blast playing Dicecapades with her Grambo (what she calls her grandma).  She was a great big helper with her baby sister and her little brother.  She shared a room with her twin brother (Dash) and there was minimal complaining and fighting!  She also practiced playing underwater this year, something she wouldn’t even try last year.  She learned to “sit” on the bottom of the pool and dove for quarters with Dash!

Polkadot was a little angel.  She even slept pretty well for her first road trip!  She was very alert and happy, taking in everything she saw.  She wasn’t so sure about Daddy jumping out of the water unexpectedly with goggles and wet hair, but she adapted after that initial shock just fine.  She had a lot of fun showing off all her “tricks” to Grambo, like zerberting a fresh spoonful of baby food right at her (ha ha!) and sitting up big and tall, “reading” her board books. She even handled her very off-schedule days with no problems at all. She never cried when she was tired, she just would fall asleep and wake up happy.  Quite a big surprise!

And, Mr. Incredible behaved himself as well (hee-hee).

There is so much to be thankful and grateful for on this vacation.  Taking out my treasure stone that I kept to remember the lesson I learned last year about the gifts God gives us (click here for more on that),  I have decided to “let go” of that .02% of yuck, and cling to the wonderful memories and good times we had.

Colossians 3:15-16 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
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Muller Moments

When we don’t behave as Sketch expects, he gets mad.  For example, when we are driving somewhere, Sketch (and Dash too, for that matter!) have strong opinions on what roads we should take to get there.  This caused such problems, since they never agreed on the correct road, that we instituted a rule:  All the time, the driver picks!  It took a few weeks of disappointments when we went our way, but it did pay off and we could have somewhat peaceful drives again.  Sketch continued to request the route he wanted, and we’d faithfully chime, “All the time the driver picks!”  He’d come to love to hear that response, because that’s what happens when he gives a direction.  He could count on it.

Well, one day we found out how much he counted on it.  Usually, we turn right onto his favorite road, but it was a day with heavy rain, and part of the road was not paved, so we opted to go a different route.  This time, as we approached the road we usually take, Sketch requested, “Go straight!”  Typically, we would have said, “All the time the driver picks” and turn right anyway, but on this day we did to go straight because of the rain.  Sketch reached near panic level when we went straight, even though that was the way he said he wanted to go.  A full fledge tantrum the rest of the way home, followed.  All because we didn’t do what he expected. We didn’t behave.

Recently, it seemed to me that God wasn’t behaving either, and I felt like having my own tantrum!  I thought there was some “rule” in the Bible about how many “big problems” God would allow a person to go though at one time?  I was still in the middle of finding out I was struck with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Still had yet to see the Rheumatologist.  Still very crippled from the raging pain in my joints.  And then God allowed another “big problem”.  Mr. Incredible may loose his job!

God didn’t behave as I expected, but he did behave according to His promises.  He upheld every one, and our family as well.  He let me experience a taste of what George Muller experienced as he believed God for providing his every need, and every need of the orphanages he created.  I call these experiences, “Muller Moments”.

Here is what happened:

My “Mueller Moments” happened a couple months ago when my husband got word that there was trouble brewing with the parent company where he works.  That was Wednesday, September 28th.  By Friday morning, in an unfair and un-real set of events, he and all his coworkers were fired and the office was shut down.  This was the last day of the month, meaning we were also suddenly without health insurance.  To complicate matters, Cobra wasn’t even an option since the entire office was shut down, there was no insurance group to “Cobra” to.

There are no words to express the panic and stress that followed the news on Wednesday.  We were unable to sleep, literally sick to our stomachs….  I was still in the beginning of understanding my illness. How could He allow this to happen now?  How could He let this happen with a new baby to care & provide for?  God was not behaving the way I thought he should!

Thursday, Mr. Incredible went to work and cleared out his office, in expectation of the worst occurring.  I tried to recapture some of the sleep that I had missed the night before, so I took Polkadot to the changing table to give her a clean diaper before tucking her in.  As I looked at those diapers, seeing how many were left I worried about how we will buy diapers if we suddenly have no income.

I took Polkadot up to bed and attempt to sleep…my head was buzzing from the adrenalin that had been surging in my mind.  After about 40 minutes, I finally felt myself start to nod off to sleep.

RING! RING!    RING! RING!

Of course, the phone rings!  Frustrated to be woken, I answer the phone. It’s someone from our church. She wanted to know if we could use any size one diapers, since her son just outgrew them.

“Yes, we’d love to take them! Thank you so much!” I said.

Wasn’t I just worried about how we’d get diapers?  Did this really just happen?  I mean, I know God says not to worry, but it is really hard to apply that when fearing the very floor of your house is about to be ripped out from under your feet.

When Mr. Incredible was done packing up his personal things from his office, he came home…  Because of how badly the RA was raging through my joints, I needed his help to make dinner.  I didn’t really feel like eating, but was very grateful to have as much food in the house as we did.

I add the final touch to the dish I’d made, sprinkling cheese on top.  I secure the lid and let the heat melt the cheese.  The table has been cleared off, and I go to the cupboard to get the first plate to load a serving onto.

KNOCK–KNOCK–KNOCK

Who on earth could that be?

“Hello?” I answer the door with the blue plate resting in my arm.

“Hi, I’m Theresa, from ladies Bible study. I brought you a meal.” She had a still-hot, ready-to-eat meal in her hands!  I’d forgotten it is Thursday, and the people from my Bible study were bringing us meals since it was so painful and hard for me to cook.

“Thank you, very much!” I said as I flash back to a story I’d read about George Muller, who started orphanages in England, and would only ask God for the things he needed to start and maintain it.  He never asked a person for anything.  God always provided.  One time though, things got really tight:

“I hate to bother you , Mr. Muller, ” began the matron, “but it’s happened.  The children are all ready for breakfast and there is not a thing in the house to eat. What shall I tell them?”  

George stood up.  “I’ll take care of it. Just give me a minute,” he said. 

Before going to the dining room at Number One Orphan House, George walked out into the garden.  “Abigail, Abigail, come here, ” he called.

Abigail ran up to him. “What is it?” she asked.  

George reached down and took her hand.  “Come and see what God will do,”he said as he escorted her to the dining room.  

Inside they found three hundred children standing in neat rows behind their chairs.  Set on the table in front of each child were a plate, a mug , and a knife, fork, and spooon.  But there was no food whatsoever to be seen.  George watched as Abigail’s eyes grew wide with astonishment.  “But, where’s the food?” Abigail asked in a whisper. 

“God will supply,” George told her quietly, before he turned to address the children.  “there’s not much time. I don’t want any of you to be late for school, so let us pray,” he announced.  

As the children bowed their heads, George simply prayed, “Dear God, we thank you for what you are going to give us to eat.  Amen.”

George looked up and smiled at the children.  “You may be seated,” he said.  He had no idea at all where the food he had just prayed for would come from or how it would get to the orphanage.  He just knew God would not fail the children.  

A thunderous din filled the room as three hundred chairs were scuffed across the wooden floor.  Soon all three hundred children sat obediently in front of their empty plates.  

No sooner had the noise in the dining room subsided than there was a knock at the door.  George walked over and opened the door.  In the doorway stood the baker, holding a huge tray of delicious smelling bread. 

“Mr. Muller,” began the baker, “I couldn’t sleep last night.  I kept thinking that somehow you would need bread this morning and that I was supposed to get up and bake it for you.  So I got up at two o’clock and made three batches for you. I hope you can use it.”

George smiled broadly.  “God has blessed us through you this morning,” he said as he took the tray of bread from the baker.  

“There’s two more trays out in the cart,” said the baker.  “I’ll fetch them.”

Within minutes, the children were all eating freshly baked bread.  As they were enjoying it, there was a second knock at the door.  This time it was the milkman, who took off his hat and addressed George.  “I’m needing a little help, if you could, sir.  The wheel on my cart has broken, right outside your establishment.  I’ll have to lighten my load before I can fix it.  There’s ten full cans of milk on it.  Could you use them?”  Then looking at the orphans, sitting in neat rows,  he added, “Free of charge, of course.  Just send someone out to get them.  I’ll never fix the cart with all that weight on it.”  

George dispatched twenty of the older children to help, and soon they had the ten cans of milk stowed in the kitchen, where it was dispensed with a ladle.  There was enough milk for every child to have a mug full and enough left over for them all to have some in their tea at lunch.

Half an hour after George and Abigail had entered the dining room, three hundred orphans with full stomaches filed out.” pp 166-168 from George Muller, The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans, by Janet & Geoff Benge

As the picture of this scene replayed in my mind, I stood in shock at the door with my empty plate.  I put the plate down and received the hot meal.  I turned to Mr. Incredible and said, “We just had a Muller Moment!”

Funny thing is, that we didn’t need a meal that night. We had one, literally ready to be dished out onto plates.  But God burned deep into my soul, that He is aware of what is happening, and He will provide. We can count on it. He even provided when we thought we’d be in need, but actually had plenty, so that we wouldn’t worry. So we would trust Him.  So I would know that He is my provider, not a job, not any person, but God alone.

Friday, it was official that everyone lost their jobs. I was sick, still, thinking about how badly things could turn out.  There was no way we could sell our house.  And just imagining having to move and find new in-home supports, new schools, new IEP’s, new teachers, new doctors, new specialists, all while Mr. Incredible (hopefully) starts a new job, was overwhelming!

Remembering George Muller, and how he would not worry, but believed God to provide for everything, thinking about how he prayed specificially for every detail of his needs, I decided that I was being called to do the same thing.

I went upstairs and prayed over every single bill we had, every upcoming expense, every need I was worrying about.  I was specific, to the point of praying for long sleeve onesies for Polkadot, and some jeans. The weather was getting colder and she only had summer clothes in 0-3 month size.  I asked God to provide for everything. I didn’t ask a person for anything, I didn’t mention what I had prayed for to anyone.

The next Tuesday our Bible study met again.  A friend greeted me with a gift bag, a belated baby-shower gift since she was in another state when Polkadot had her shower.

I could not believe my eyes when I opened that bag and saw some long sleeve onesies and a pair of jeans!  And, in 0-3 month size!  Most people buy up for a new baby, but she bought the exact size she needed right now.

God provides.  He promises it and tells us not to worry about anything. He knows how hard that is for us, but he also knows how good it is for us to not be anxious about anything.  So he promises us that He is our provider, and He always keeps his promises!

Everything has turned out ok.  Mr. Incredible was offered a temporary but full time (with benefits) job the same Friday that he lost his job.  We thought we had no insurance for October, but in some unknown strange set of events, the insurance we had with his previous company was reinstated, retroactive to October 1st and his new insurance started November 1st!  God took care of all the details.

As Beth Moore said in the video sessions for Believing God:  Sometimes God doesn’t move the mountain, sometimes he splits the mountain in half so we can walk through it.

That’s exactly what happened.  When there was no way, God made a way.

I don’t know about you, but I’m Believing God!

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