It's a gorgeous, summer Tuesday afternoon. In March. In Wisconsin. I'm loving it!!! (Aside from the allergy thing...but we won't dwell on that.)
I'm sitting on the deck, sipping vitamin filled water, trying desperately to regain some of my health. My dog is sitting in the grass nearby with the wind blowing through her golden fur. And as I sit here, I'm thinking back on an amazing weekend with my beautiful cousin and her six-year-old daughter from Michigan. The fact that God worked out ALL the details for her to be able to come to my side of the "pond" (as we affectionately refer to Lake Michigan) is something I can STILL hardly believe. But I have a boatload of memories to remind me it did in fact happen.
Craziness with Lydia
There were hours of talking, loads of laughter, a few tears, a bonfire, a birthday party, trampoline jumping, loads of yummy food, toenail painting in the sun, late nights, a day long conference in Milwaukee, Beth Moore study discussions, watching the kids run around catching snakes and throwing water balloons at each other (and the dog!), hours of driving around together, craziness and star watching on the front deck, coffee and chocolate, time with some of my closest friends, and just a lot of "I can't believe we're actually together in person" moments. It was SO special to have Erica meet so many of those closest to me here in Wisconsin. It felt like the circle was being completed as she met and connected with those she's heard so much about. And I seriously, seriously, cannot thank God enough for putting Erica in my life!!
I spent a lot of the weekend in a fog due to lack of health and lack of sleep. This Crohn's journey continues to affect my life everyday and each day presents a new opportunity to trust God more and praise Him through the pain. By Sunday I was so dead and fogged over but God still gave strength and happiness to finish off our few days together. Sunday night around nine we were all sitting around the picnic table in the night breeze (marveling at the weather, eating taco dip and chips, and swatting a few mosquitoes) and we went around the table and each mentioned something we were thankful to Jesus for that weekend. I loved hearing the different responses; loved that God helped me stay out there long enough to hear those precious comments even as I was about to double over in pain. I did have to go in the house and lay down right after that and there were a few moments of tears and frustration but God picked me up as always. He also gave me a wonderful conversation with my parents there in the living room as I laid on the couch. What a blessing they are!
Finally, as I reflect on the weekend, it stands out to me that so much of the closeness and specialness of the weekend is due to the suffering over the past few months. It has united us all more closely than ever before. The weekend was another (huge) blessing through the rain. Take a moment to listen to this song by Laura Story. You will be blessed.