last weekend's activities and stresses were simply a warm up. Round two, was far worse. Though I am not in favor of these writings becoming a theater for complaint or a stage upon which to proclaim to the world "look how difficult my life can be...", at times, I cannot help but spill over some of the more, shall we say, septic details. You'll see what I mean.
This past weekend, my family was revisited by our old nemesis the flu....again. And again...and again. A family of seven and four of us were crippled under the intestinal churnings of a viral and microbial gut twister that necessitated frequent trips to the restroom. With seven people in the house, I've pondered if we shouldn't install revolving doors anyway. This past weekend was confirmation. It's amazing how long a six year old can take....
This past weekend, however, we seemed to have garnered the special attention of the enemy of our souls as he sought to pull us completely out of our Christianity. I imagine his thoughts went something like this:
"Now that we have them sick, what can we do to two parents under the weather, with two sick children that will overwhelm them and have them pulling their hair out and praying for world's end? Yes, the other three acting out is a decent answer. Certainly, interject a little tension on the 'fosterparent-agency' relationship side of things, that's not bad. OH! I'VE GOT IT! Since they're sick with the flu, why not have their entire sewer system fail and all of their toilets, sinks, and shower back-up into their house? It will be like hell on earth!"
Toilets bubbling over. Water coming UP the bathtub drain. One very desperate germ-a-phobic bride staring at me in OMG-open mouthed amazement as aqueduct-Armageddon unleashed before our very eyes. And then a small, high-pitched voice, vocalizing our nightmare; "mommy, I have to go to the bathroom..."
Six hours later, after procuring tools, purchasing home-owner plumbing repair items, tearing apart and re-assembling my bathroom and toilets (and a whole lot of nasty), I successfully stood up, sore, smelly, and victorious. A plumber I am not, but today, I was enough of a handyman to save my family! To them, I was a superhero with a capital "P" on my chest (I'll let you figure that one out). My bride promised to kiss me as soon as I showered and thoroughly decontaminated myself and though the day went in the absolute opposite direction I had ever imagined it could, I went to bed feeling good about my ability to take care of my family...
...until it happened again the next day. We were already going to have to miss church for the sheer number of people under the weather under our roof when my sweet daughter nearly overflowed the toilet again. I was in bed, not feeling well when the shriek went up "IT'S DOING IT AGAIN!" Again, I had to take apart a toilet, open up sewer lines, work in filth and all of the things we just don't want to think about here, do we? But this time, I was failing. Nothing was working. I was getting desperate. I called a friend for tools and he did not have what I was needing. There were no answers on the phone with the rental facilities. I began to panic. Kids had to go to the restroom. My bride had to resort to taking them to the local gas station (which is always clean). Standing over an open sewer hole in my bathroom, feeling the nagging cramping sensations of the flu-bug gnawing at my own body, I finally cracked. "ENOUGH!!! I can't take this anymore!"
Ever have one of those Elijah moments (1 Kings 19:3-5)? You know, those times where you seriously ponder if God shouldn't just take you because your life seems so miserable at that moment that you'd just rather not fret with this temporal any longer?
To shorten an already long story, thanks to additional tools procurement, continued work, and most importantly, prayers by my bride and children, repairs were made, a sewer line cleared, a toilet was rebuilt and a family was returned to sanity.
What stuck with me throughout all of this was the word "enough". I began to ponder and roll it around in my thinking. I had come to what I deemed my stress breaking point and exclaimed this word, in negative connotation. Like Elijah, I had had my fill and was fed up with what was happening to me. I won't go so far to say I was ready to hop a flaming chariot out of here, but I certainly would have welcomed Ed McMahon at the door with a cash-able check. My "enough" was that I was tired of the assault and I wanted it to cease. It was my white flag. "Enough already - I surrender -I'm defeated."
But there are other uses for this word. In Isaiah we read that God has had His fill as He conveys that He seeks relationship, not rote obedience to regulations.
“The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats."
We all try to make sure there is enough in the checkbook to pay the bills, buy the groceries. Some have turned this into an obsession to gather more and more unto themselves. To those, God has said:
"Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless."
We are blessed in this nation because most of us will not leave the dinner table tonight until we've had enough food to satisfy; whether they be the rounded healthy meals consisting of the proper breads-to-meats-to-vegetable ratios or junk food like pizza and pop. We tend overwhelmingly to have enough than not.
Many of us struggle with insecurities. We're not smart enough, young enough, old enough, thin enough, liked enough, talented enough, capable enough. Just as was asked in Job, God would ask you:
"Are God’s consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you?"
You see, to God - you are enough. You were enough 2,000 years ago when he gave up His only Son. If you were the only human being to trample the grass of this earth, you would be enough for Him. Enough is more than just satisfying. Enough is abundance, it's ample, it's sufficient, it's plentiful. Look it up, see what it means. You are all of these things to God. You aren't some deficiency in His plans that He has to make allowance for. To Him, you were enough to set this whole world in motion. To Him, you were enough to scatter the stars across the heavens for, you were enough to balance the tides and call forth the mountains. You are important enough to Him that in Jeremiah He states;
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;"
In fact, Jesus tells us in Luke 12:7 that we are important enough to the Father that He has even numbered the hairs on our head. Who counts head hair? Apparently One who is so profoundly in love with you to desire to know exactly how many you have left.
You were important enough for Him to place you exactly where you are, right in the middle of your own life. Whether it be raising your kids, or working your job, or engaging that difficult individual; It could be as taxing as fixing the sewer or, more importantly, navigating that monstrous storm that has blown upon your family - you are enough because He is enough and He is in love with you! Find your security in Him and His Word. By yourself and in your own strength, you'll always come up short. But in Him, you'll always have more than enough!