When the Hospital Gown Doesn’t Fit

Has it ever happened to you? You’re in the doctor’s office or getting an x-ray and you can’t find a gown that fits right?

One day I was at a doctor’s appointment with my two year old daughter. The doctor ordered a knee x-ray, but I had jeans on. A nurse came in with some XL shorts to put on so I could walk down the hallway to the x-ray room. Seems simple enough, right?

The fact is, for some people, XL simply won’t work. For many years I have struggled with my weight. This isn’t a measly 30 pounds or so. Think “top-of-the-BMI” charts super morbid obesity. No matter how much I tugged, the shorts would not fit.

hospitalgown

We try again

I’ll go find a gown instead,” the nurse said as she left the room.

When she walked in with a regular gown a few minutes later, I sent her out again to look for a large sized one.

She was gone for what felt like a long time. In reality, it was probably 5 minutes. But it was long enough for my mind to track down it’s familiar paths of self-hatred. While nothing was spoken out loud, my head was filled with,

I am so embarrassed. This is ridiculous. How can I be so stupid to let myself get this fat again? I hate this. I’m so gross.”

Finally, the nurse returned. After a thorough search, she had not been able to find a large gown. Instead, she returned with another regular sized gown and suggested that I put one on front and one on my back. It was hot and stuffy in the office. I managed to get both gowns on, but they were painfully pinching my upper arms, and my rear STILL wasn’t covered!

Third attempt

Feeling terribly uncomfortable and annoyed, I rigged up a solution. I put the first gown (barely) on the normal way, leaving several snaps undone. I put my t-shirt back on over that, and then tied the other gown around my waist, so it covered my lower half. At last there was a way to walk down the hallway without improper exposure.

By this time I was red-faced, irritable, and the inner thoughts, rambled on full of self-loathing and disgust.

Ugh. I’m so gross. I’m so fat and ugly. This is hopeless.”

Initially, my two year old curly-haired daughter had been quietly looking at board books. I was so absorbed in trying to get covered, that I nearly forgot she was in the room. Turning around once more to make sure I was fully covered, I was startled to see her big blue eyes looking up at me in awe.

MOMMY?” she squealed.

Mommy!” she said again, in a hushed, serious tone,

You wook wike a pwincess!”

Tears filled my eyes. Her words were such a contrast to what had been going on in my mind. The room was quiet and suddenly my thoughts were halted. It was a gift from God, her speaking to me that day.

Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you. 1

I no longer cared that the hospital gown didn’t fit. I only knew I was loved. Yes, loved by this darling toddler. But also loved by my heavenly Father, who didn’t want me to keep talking to myself negatively.

It’s true that I am overweight. I have sinned so many times with overeating the food God has blessed me with. But the reality is that I also have a loving, amazing, forgiving Heavenly Father who calls me His child. My 2-year old was correct.

Royal Daughters Come in All Sizes

I am a princess. His princess. He looks at me through the blood of Christ, who suffered and died on my behalf. ALL of those sins have been forgiven. Even the many, many times I have run to food instead of Him.

My ambition is to feast on the love that He has for me. His grace is the only motivation that will make me long to eat and drink and do all things for His glory.2

Four years have passed since that episode with my daughter. Occasionally those thoughts still crop up in my mind, but it has become less and less. I am staking all my hopes in Christ; I am basking in the love He has for me. My weight struggles continue but I have hope that I will be able to win this battle. Thankfully, the war has already been won.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.3

By His grace progress has been made, and will continue.

1Jeremiah 31:3b (AMP)

2I Corinthians 10:31

3Psalm 34:6 (ESV)

Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

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One Word 2015

One word.

Safe - Blueandgreentogether.com

I spent the last year reading a Psalm and Proverb pretty much every day.  (P.S. This was one of many Bible reading plans you can get on with the YouVersion app–highly recommended!) That’s 12 times through the book of Proverbs.  Every day there would be new truths and surprises, as if I had never read them before.  However, one verse often caught my attention:

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. (Proverbs 18:10)

Here is another Proverb my husband often quotes to me (in a kind way, of course!):

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. (Proverbs 29:25)

Finally, we just started with Heart of Dakota curriculum in our home school.  The kid’s verse to memorize this week just happens to be this one:

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

I admit it, this last verse is where I need the most help.  Often you will find me awake in the wee hours, worrying about my family’s safety.  I’m the queen of finding worse case scenarios.  That’s why my word for 2015 is safe.  It’s a reminder to myself that with the God the Father’s protection, we are always safe.  His Word says it.  It’s true. It’s true even when things happen don’t feel safe.  (Think about the situations David was often in when he wrote the Psalms—fleeing for his life.) Time to put my faith in action and believe.  Incidentally, believe was my 2nd choice for one word 2015.

Wouldn’t it be nice to sleep better?  That’s my hope for 2015.

Come to God

Come to God, then, my brother, my sister, with all thy desires and instincts, all thy lofty ideals, all thy longing for purity and unselfishness, all thy yearning to love and be true, all thy aspiration after self-forgetfulness and child-life in the breath of the Father; come to him with all thy weaknesses, all thy shames, all thy futilities; with all thy helplessness over thy own thoughts; with all thy failure, yea, with the sick sense of having missed the tide of true affairs; come to him with all thy doubts, fears, dishonesties, meannesses, paltrinesses, misjudgments, wearinesses, disappointments, and stalenesses: be sure he will take thee and all thy miserable brood, whether of draggle-winged angels, or covert-seeking snakes, into his care, the angels for life, the snakes for death, and thee for liberty in his limitless heart! For he is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

-George MacDonald

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I was going through a file and found the above quote from a sermon of George MacDonald.  It was something I hand-wrote, word for word several years ago, but don’t remember my source at the time.  Thanks to Google, I found the entire sermon written out, so if you like, you can see the context here

It’s October Twenty-Eight

This is a beautiful fall day in Michigan.  The sun is shining and the leaves are vibrant.  I’m busy homeschooling, cooking and running errands.

But I’ll admit it. My heart is feeling a little broken inside.

  1. The anniversary of my first marriage was 10-28 and it would have been twenty years today. God has worked all things for the good, and I am utterly blessed to be remarried to a kind, wonderful man.  However, 10-28 was significant in my life.  While I no longer mourn the ending of the relationship, I am reminded every year of the death of a marriage.
  2. It was on 10-28, a few years ago in the doctor’s office that we learned we were having a miscarriage, and would never meet our third baby.
  3. Our fourth baby was also a miscarriage and today was a possibility as a due date.

I wonder why God arranged for those losses to be remembered on the same date?

I don’t know a specific reason it happened that way in my life, but God tells us Himself:  It’s not a bad thing to grieve.

 October 28 or not, there are days where we are called to mourn.  Perhaps for ourselves, perhaps with others.

Despite the pain, mourning comes with promises.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  Matthew 5:4

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. Psalm 55:17

Probably for the rest of my life, October 28 will be a mourning day.  Yet it is also true that there are beautiful ways that God has “turned my mourning into joy”. I have been comforted by Christ, the sure hope of eternal life, and the kindness of friends and family.  I sure would love to have a newborn to welcome into our home this month.  But I will see my babies someday.  I long to hold, snuggle them and kiss their faces.  Bliss! 

Today I can also remember that someday there won’t be anymore October twenty-eighths.

How about you?  Do you have any “October 28’s”?  How has God comforted you?

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  

My Greatest Insecurity is….Insecurity (link up with The Loft)

The Loft

The Loft

Recently I joined up with The Loft after hearing about it through one of my favorite bloggers, Arabah Joy.  The topic for writing this week is “Your greatest insecurity”.

I’ve been pondering this one for a few days–trying to pick just one–and realized that insecurity itself is my greatest insecurity!  I simply want my loved ones to be safe, and I want to feel safe.  This is a basic concern for most people, but I have a particular knack for thinking of the worst case scenario in every situation, especially at night when it’s time to sleep.

Painful insecurity comes from having a marriage dissolve after eight years.   A vow I took and intended to last until death was grievously dissolved in a court room one day as if it never happened.  At that time, every aspect of life felt insecure.

Some insecurity relates to health issues and fear of accidents.   I worked as a respiratory therapist in various areas at the hospital and witnessed the effects of numerous diseases, as well witnessing injuries from accidents, violence and mishaps.  Every symptom experienced by myself or my family is a potential cause to run to Dr. Google.  Talk about finding worse case scenarios!

How about the security of living in a long term home? Since leaving my parent’s home 25 years ago at the age of 18, I haven’t lived consecutively in the same home/apartment/trailer for longer than three years.  The moving has often gone hand-in-hand with financial insecurity related to unemployment or job changes.

Natural disasters?  I’ve been in the direct path of two tornadoes.  Violence? I’ve lived within 2 blocks of a man who drove through areas that surrounded our normally peaceful neighborhood one afternoon, randomly shooting as he went to kill others intentionally.  I’ve had a person I trusted threaten to kill me and prevent me from calling for help. Wild animals? I hit a deer with my car 3 times.  No! Let me correct it for the record: The deer have hit ME!  

I’ve had one of those most dreaded phone calls one Sunday morning, hearing that a dear  friend/cousin died suddenly, unexpectedly in the heart of her mothering years.  We waited for several weeks to hear results from the autopsy report that she had a rare heart condition. Life itself is fragile, and it is shattering to lose someone my age.

Being a mom brings up all sorts of insecurity and fears for my children.  When my children were babies, I rarely slept at night, feeling I should be on alert and reassuring myself that they were breathing.  As they grow older, new fears develop. Like a Mama bear, I want to protect them, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The fears and worries about my pregnancy this spring did nothing to stop another miscarriage from happening. I have had two babies in my womb that I simply could not protect.

Last week our pastor preached from Luke 12, the classic passage where Jesus tells his disciples “Do not worry.”  I copied something pastor said in my notes:

We can’t change even the smallest things by worrying.

Confession:  In my head, I get this crazy idea that by anticipating tragedy, perhaps I can prevent it!  Worrying makes me somehow feel more secure, as if I can prevent things from happening by preparing for the worst outcome.

Can I stop another deer from crossing my path?  Can I stop another tornado from forming near my family?  Can I keep my husband safe on his drive home from work? Stop a terrorist attack?

The symptoms of post traumatic stress have affected me over the years, and I have found that counseling and medical help have been beneficial for processing events and managing physical symptoms.

However, when it boils down, the only antidotes to my every day insecurities are two things:  Prayer and thankfulness.

Philippians 4:6-7

 

Prayer

Only the hope of the gospel allows me to cry out to God for freedom from my insecurities, when I am weary of my sin.  I start to feel ashamed, and then don’t want to pray.   If I cannot come to Him to begin with, how do I place all my insecurities in His mighty hand?  How can I pour my heart out to someone that I am afraid of?   The gospel (GOOD NEWS!) reality is that He has forgiven, justified, redeemed me from any insecurity I might have that prevents me from approaching him. Approaching him humbly, confessing my sin, and bravely trusting that I am forgiven enables me to pour my insecurities and worries out to Him in prayer.  Talk about stress relief! (Praise God that we can have mustard seed faith, right?) People!  I have not mastered this yet.  I am preaching the gospel to myself.

Thanksgiving

Just a few weeks ago, Ann Voskamp (guru of gratitude) posted a blog about her daughter asking “Why is there all this loveliness?”  I’ve been pondering that thought.  Aren’t we  also commanded to think about whatever is lovely, good, pure, etc.?  My thoughts naturally tend to mull about the evil, the bad, sickness, death, sin and bad news of the day.  But how about the good? In the midst of insecurity, there is much reason to give thanks. I cannot even tell (it would take pages and pages) all the kindness, friendship, prayers, love and support I have received from the family of God, my family, and my husband.  The comfort and healing from God Himself through the Psalms soothes me without fail, whenever I seek it out.  Then there is the soothing beauty of music and Lake Michigan sunsets and falling stars. Why is there all this loveliness?   A heart focused on gratitude to God builds a fortress against insecurity.

 

 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.
 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
    he also hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145:17-19)