Tuesday, August 5, 2008

God Blessed This Mess (And Health Updates)

Many, many, many, many times after entering our son Daniel's room, Shannon and I have looked at him and said in our most serious of voices, "Son, you are going to have to find a new place to live."

Of course, we were only kidding sort of.

Most of the time after me screaming asking him to clean up his room nineteen a few times, he does a pretty decent job of it.

But his closet...........well, that is another story.

Most of the time the door to his closet remains shut.

There is a reason for this.

A very good reason.

And that is what got me to thinking.

For the first time EVER in my life, God used Daniel's room and closet to reveal something to me which was quite a lesson with a blessing. And please understand when I tell you, only the Lord could bring a blessing out of the depths of Daniel's closet.

I'm just saying is all.

I'll start by showing you what Daniel's room looks like on an average day. (Average meaning after I have screamed asked him nineteen a few times to clean it up!)

If you just walked in this room you might think, "Wow! For a thirteen year old he really keeps his room neat. His parents must have raised him right. They must be so proud of him. I wished my thirteen year old would keep his or her room like this."

Of course, those are just some of the things you might think if your own child lives in a pig sty like my boys do most of the time.

While I was standing in Daniel's room looking at that shut closet door, I realized that God was pointing something out to me.

So many times we look at other Christians and think, "Wow, they have it so together. They are at church every Sunday. Their children are always dressed neatly and on time. Their children never misbehave at church. And look how in love that couple seems. I wish my marriage was as happy as theirs is."

Again, these are just a few of the things you might think of a person or persons in your own life. And if you start comparing your life to their life, sometimes you might feel like you come up short.

At one time or another, we all have played the comparison game. Sometimes we look better, sometimes we don't.

The thing is you may look at a person and think that they have it all together.
(Much like Daniel's neat bedroom.)

You may think there is no way you will ever be as pretty, as rich, as happy, as good a Christian, etc., etc.

But more important than the things that you know about people are the things that you don't know.
The things that go on in their house behind closed doors.
Only their family and God knows what they are really like.

Those same people that you see as rich....may be spiritually poor.

Those same people that you see as happy....may cry themselves to sleep every night.

Those same people that you see as the most in love couple in the world....may not even speak to each other in the privacy of their own homes.

I could of course give you example after example, but you get the point.

No one knows what goes on behind closed doors except for the family living in the house.

And no one really knows what is going on in your heart and your spiritual life except you and God.

1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

It's a worn out saying, but it's true, "Don't judge a book by it's cover."

The same is true of people.

I know so many times in my own life I have just beat myself up in comparison to others, only later to find out what I thought was true wasn't even close to the truth.

So the next time you are comparing yourself to someone else in a negative way, remember that God looks at your heart. He loves you for you. He does not expect you to be anybody but yourself.

And if you are tempted to compare yourself harshly, remember Daniel's closet door.

It looks great on the outside.

However, the inside is an entirely different story.

And only Daniel, God, and unfortunately Shannon and I, know what is really happening on the inside.

John 7:24
"Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."

(I wanted to update you all on what I found out at the neurosurgeon's office and on Allie's condition. First of all, my visit went well; I just have an area of concern to deal with. My foot has been hurting me quite a bit, which is possibly due to some swelling or scar tissue that is still pressing on the nerve in my spinal area. The doctor said that it is not "normal," but that it does happen. He gave Shannon an exercise that he has to help me do twice a day for two months. The doctor's hope is that after doing this exercise for two months, the swelling will go down, therefore eliminating the pain. If it doesn't, he wants to see me again. But if the pain goes away, I do not have to return to his office. I can also get back to normal life; he just said that it would take me quite awhile to be "normal" again. Allie's visit did not go as well as we had hoped. Her condition had not improved any, so the vet wanted to increase her meds. So we did, but she cannot keep the larger dose of meds down. We have to go today to get her two new medications to try. He still cannot give her anything to help with the pain or inflammation caused by the torn ACL , because there is still too much fluid in her lungs. His hope is that she will be able to keep these new medications down, so her heart health can finally start to improve. I want to thank all of you for your prayers for me, my family, and our Allie Girl. I have been completely blown away by the outpouring of love. You bloggy friends are a special group of people, and I am so blessed to have met each one of you here in Blog Land.)
God Bless,


Dianne said...

I think often on the quote, there is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that it ill becomes any of us the criticise the rest of us. I do try to remember not to judge becasue as you say, we never can quite know what is happening on the inside.

I recently had such illusions devastatingly shattered and am still struggeling with the situation that seems to defy reason, but I have experienced many blessings for comfort.

I'm so sorry things aren't going better with Aliie, and that you are expereinceing such discomfort at this time.

Our continued thoughts and prayers are with you.

Tracey said...

Thanks for the lesson...not judging a book by it's cover. I have to remember this everytime I meet a new group of students. I have also been keeping this in mind when thinking about the birthmother of my child. She is one of God's special children, no matter her choices, decisions or circumstances. We are all loved the same in God's eyes. Thanks.

A note to read to Allie...

Allie, you're in God's hands. He's taking care of mom and he's taking care of you. Tell mom to not worry about closets and to take a nap. She loves you. God Bless!

TnFullQuiver said...

Great Post!!!! A picture is worth a thousand words and you gave us a great picture. I will continue to lift you and Allie up to the Lord. I understand the feelings of loving your dog. I am a dog lover too.
grace and peace,

Technonana said...

Oh Sweet Amy... first of all 'boys will be boys'.. give him time he will finally 'get it'. Secondly... what wonderfully wise lessons our Lord teaches us from things that we encounter each day... DO NOT JUDGE.. and do not compare yourself to others...nothing is ever as it seems...
Yep... just keep gittin'up everyday and taking hold of His Hand to walk through each day.
Praying for you!!!

Dee Dee Wike said...

I learned a long time ago why God gives us such a soft spot for pooches and why they are His favored pet (at least in my opinion) -- Dog is God spelled backward. What other animal COULD He give the letters of His own name?

I'm praying for your recovery, Amy, and for "your little dog, too." I know what it feels like to see them in discomfort -- ours has a bad patella that gets out of whack on occasion. When Madison can no longer pop it back into place -- or we win the lottery, whichever comes first -- we'll have her knee repaired. Until then, we just keep praying for her comfort in the loving hands of the One who made her.

Prayers for you and Allie --

Dee Dee

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Thank you, Ames, for this very encouraging post. I too oh so often compare myself to others and it's very damaging to my spirit. I even walked away from Beth Moore's conference thinking how she has it all together. She even falls to her knees EVERY time she prays. She is so spirit-filled and I found myself comparing me to her and falling majorly short. I compare myself to so many people and especially married people it is VERY cripling. I can't hear this message of yours enough...I could use a daily dose of this word you spoke.

Glad you are doing well for the most part. We'll continue to believe Allie girl will get the right meds and be on a road to better heart health.

Beandip71 said...

I will continue to lift you and your health up in prayer. I am so glad to have met you in blogland too. :)

God bless,

P.S. Your ovulating comment on my blog today was hilarious!!

sa061545@bellsouth.net said...

Hey, baby girl! that was a great post!!!! But who would expect less? It amazes me every day I read your post on how you are able to make lemonade from lemons!
Mom :)
Give my grand-dog a hug from me!

Michele said...

Your post has really ministered to me today. I needed to here that. So often I compare myself to others and feel I do not measure up. Thanks for the reminder. I have really been struggling lately.
Prayers for your continued recovery and for your sweet Allie girl!

My Goodness said...

What a VERY true post about 'life behind closed doors'. I know MANY people who live a completely different private life...and it's sad. Very good post.

Glad you got a pretty good report from the doctor...I hope those exercises help the pain in your foot to go away...and soon!!

Sweet Allie...I hope she does better with this new medicine.

Have a great day, Amy!

Fit Healthy and Happy said...

What a beautiful anaology ~ must be something with boys and their closets ~ same thing at my house!

Fit Healthy and Happy said...

What a beautiful anaology ~ must be something with boys and their closets ~ same thing at my house!

Mia said...

That exact verse in Samuel has been so comforting to me for alot of years. Our eyes should be firmly fixed on Jesus NOT others BUT we just can't help ourselves can we?
Poor Allie! Bless her sweet little canine heart. Still praying for her here AND her mama!

Liz said...

Hi Amy. This was a fabulous post, very well said and so true. Do you teach a bible class? B/c you should.

I'm still praying for your back and for Allie. Thank you for keeping us posted.

Sharon said...

Thank You for a wonderful encouraging post.
Amy, I am so sorry to hear about your foot. I am prayinnnnng for YOU! Amy, my heart hurts with yours right now about allie, I know the pain of helplessness. My girl Liberty had something, to which they could not cure, I had to make the choice.

I am praying for you along with all the other women here, we are all in one accord.
God Bless you and your family

Glamorous Life of a House Wife said...

What a great illustration you have going with the closet. We will always be frustrated and down on ourselves if we are constantly trying to measure up to the next family. We are called to have one single, solitary focus through this life and as long as our gaze is fixed on Him, we can find perfect peace and contentment. Thanks for a wonderful post! :)

Pleasant Drive said...

Isn't it awesome when God uses our own messes to teach us lessons? I love the Lord!

Denise said...

Hi Amy. This is a great post! What a wonderful way to show such an important lesson for all. Thank so much for sharing this. I'm so glad your doctor visit went well and I'm hoping and praying that the exercises will be the cure.

Bless little Allie's heart! I will certainly pray that these new meds will help her so she can eventually get all fixed up. I would love to meet her - I love her so much just from seeing her pictures. Of course I will be praying for her too.

Take care.

Ellie said...


I loved this post! Truly amazing.... As i read on one of the comments above, boys will be boys..... :) I hope your foot pains go away and prayers for Allie

<3 ellie :)

hulagirlatheart said...

Excellent analogy with the closet door. A good lesson for me today. Sorry Allie is still not doing well, and oh so glad you are mending nicely.

Kellan said...

What a great post and it is so true - you can not judge a book by it's cover!

I'm sorry about Allie Girl and your painful foot. I hope your pain goes away with the exercise and Allie Girl gets better real soon.

Take care - Kellan

tiggerdaisy said...

Great lesson on what we "perceive" to be true and what is actually the truth!

I just love your blog, girlie. You are so real, so honest. You have a quirk about you that suits me. Love to you and your Allie...and to Shannon who is helping you with your exercises!

Prayers and blessings,

Laura said...

It really is an epidemic among women: comparing ourselves to others and finding that we come up short. I had a patient ask me today why women try so hard...(of course, there was much more to the context, but that was the gist of it). We do try to be so much, to so many. God frees us from that, but we just pat Him on the hand and go back to being busy! I'm going to keep that verse close to me to keep my head on straight this week!
I'm still praying for you and Allie. Bless both of your little hearts. I love your perspective which you so graciously posted about on my blog. this time of trial has been a time of discovery for you, it sounds like (of course, the Lord should know that we are not Columbus!! Come on already!!!) you bless me with your grace, Amy.

Kenny said...

Great post. I will never look at my closet the same way:)
Let me know when you want to venture out for lunch. You can forget your money like last time and I will pay:)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Beautiful analogy.

For good or for ill, I'm all too happy to expose my "junk". Hiding it takes too much energy. It's one way I've learned to diffuse the enemy's schemes toward me.

Love u. Continue to mend. So glad you're in my life.


Lelia Chealey said...

This was very good Amy!! I love how God will show us a lesson in something like our teenager's messy closet. Awesome word!!

Will be praying for you and your family!