Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Rainbows and Tennis Elbow

When it rains it pours.

That sentiment has never been truer in our lives as it is now. OK, maybe we've had other times when one thing after the other seems to be falling all around us or bumping into us or trying to break us.

I know God is faithful. I know God provides.

Right now, it is hard to see the forest for the trees. It's much easier to see the water and the leaks.

It's been raining quite a bit here in San Antonio. I don't just mean our issues, but really that wet stuff coming from the sky. We've had inches upon inches and more inches upon inches. Around here we aren't to complain about the rain because we always seem to need rain. The stories of the aquifer dropping and watering restrictions are ever present. Yet, it never seems to rain just enough. We are either feast or famine. These past few days have been an abundant feast. Our yard looks great.

I'm trying to find a silver lining because along with the rain came the leaks.

We had a puddle of water in our dining room Labor Day evening. Yay for a holiday. Boo for a leak. As I cleaned up the kitchen that evening being ever so thankful for both a holiday from work and gymnastics, I heard a click-like sound and when I flipped on the light in the dining room, I saw a puddle. Ugh.

We have the roofer's name and number so G began a text exchange. I guess roofers never sleep especially when there is a lot of rain because he responded immediately through text and in coming over the next day with a big ol' tarp to go on the roof. Yes, we still have a spot in our roof that needs to be fixed and we have a nice patch of ceiling that will probably need to be replaced.  Silver lining -- we don't have an indoor puddle.

The rain didn't end and neither did our indoor puddles. The puddle moved to our bathroom. Our toilet sprang a leak. I mean, water, water everywhere. But that is water I didn't want to drink. Towels soaked and bonus -- carpet in our closet soaked. That's how I discovered the leak. I walked into the closet and squished around. I looked up so quickly I might have pulled a muscle, but no leak from the ceiling presented. Tracked around the closet and the bathroom and noticed the puddle behind the toilet. Baseboards looking a little warped. Fortunately, my dear friend Sue's boyfriend is quite the handyman and he came to our rescue.

Another puddle issue resolved.

I'd like to blame the rain for all my troubles and my aches, but I just can't, right? Didn't Milli Vanilli blame it on the rain. Well, they blamed something.  Guess what? The nagging pain in my right elbow did not appear when the rain came down, rather it is tennis elbow. FYI -- I haven't played tennis in years, many, many years. I do work out. I lift weights. I do strength training. While I would rest my arm after it seemed to bother me, once it began to feel good again, I'd start working out and well, yeah, it would start hurting again.

When you injure your right elbow and suffer from a fancy worded tendinitis, not only should you not lift weights, you should also not open doors, carry bags or lift anything with that arm. I also write with my right hand. And, I lead my cartwheels with the right arm. (Y'all wonder where Camille got her gymnastics gift from -- look no further. Don't ask Pam, Lara, Tracy or Lizbeth for a cartwheel picture from our beach vacation this summer. I'll deny it was me.)

This right-armed tennis elbow has really thrown me off my game, including my imaginary comeback to tennis game. I've not been working out as regularly as I like. I'm not doing the exercises I like/need. It's even hard to get comfortable sleeping. Holding my book to read at night, or my phone to watch Netflix, becomes painful. I take Aleve PM which worries G because I shouldn't be taking that every night. By day's end, it just hurts. I'm supposed to go buy an elbow band thing from Walgreens. I haven't made my way over there because it seems like an unnecessary expense and we are watching expenses right now. The roof. The toilet. Back to school. All that adds up and I think not spending $10 on something that will relieve pain is a solid savings. (I did buy some pepper-flavored whiskey this week to use for future tailgates. Hmmm, that might help with pain. Fortunately, there hasn't been a need to numb the pain of losing Baylor games, but still the elbow pain. Wait, how can I do Sic 'em Bears? I digress.)

We are a few weeks into the school year and trying to find our routine and our budget. This is the first real full week of activities -- football, practice, gymnastics, work travel, Awanas and a sprinkling of homework -- and it is taking a toll on us. We've been here before. School is something we do. Football is our jam. I travel for work. Chris has beginning of the semester expenses such as books and a big stock of groceries and toiletries. Maybe we are struggling because we had summer which was so nice without a schedule that required lunches and regular bathing. Or it could be we have a rhythm as a family when we are all together and when school starts back up, we get a little off beat. We have programs and assemblies to attend. We have kick-off activities. We have babysitter needs. We have school supply needs. We have needs that require money. We need to spend a bit more.

Other than Camille's gymnastics and G's football, our evenings are like anyone else's evenings, I think. Dinner needs to be made, homework completed, baths (occasionally) given and lunches prepared. I'm super organized, have the calendar and feel like I can keep up with the best of them. I mean, I get fourth parts all the time. They've just been coming too late in the evening They've been starting around 10 p.m. That's supposed to be Jill's in bed time, not sitting down to watch Bravo time.

Oh, yeah, gymnastics. Gymnastics until 8 p.m. three days a week is tough. Camille gets home around 8:30 p.m. and Caroline is starting to get into bed. Camille needs to eat and wrap up homework. It makes for late evenings.

Wednesdays, Camille doesn't have gymnastics. Caroline has Awanas at church. It's a good mid-week break for Camille and Caroline gets an activity all her own. Camille has solo time with the babysitter. Caroline enjoys Wednesday night supper with her grandmother.

This Wednesday, Camille and I had to run over to a kid's clothing resale shop to pick up my whopping $8 I made from selling some of the clothes they've outgrown. Some of you might be wondering, really, Jill, $8. Driving in the rain to get $8? Here's what happens to me when I see the money being spent at a faster pace than it is coming in or going to savings. I begin to process things in a manner that makes zero sense. We could sell the car and I take the bus to work. We can have a garage sale. I make G crazy with this. He reminds me all the time that we are fine, but I tend to overact. (A skill it I hope none of my kids receive from me.)

As Camille and I left the resale shop, $8 in hand, she whispered to me, 'is that a rainbow.' I asked her where a few times because I wasn't looking for anything hopeful. I was thinking of the $8 and the need to pay a few bills and that payday was a couple of days away. I was thinking if I needed to get gas between now and payday. I was blowing everything up to an extraordinary size and not seeing what was right in front of me.

A rainbow.

After all the rain these last few days, after all the house troubles and my elbow pains, after all the beginning of school expenses we had to cover, there right in front of us was a rainbow.

We all know the story of Noah and the ark and the rainbow presenting as a promise. It was a covenant from God that He would never again send another flood to destroy all life on Earth. Genesis 9 reveals that promise. Can you imagine? If you were one on the ark, you've been trapped in a boat for quite awhile with a whole lot of animals and all the sounds and smells that go with that. You trusted Noah who kept telling you God is in charge and in control. You didn't really know the end game. You did know the present -- friends and family, gone -- as you sat on a boat. Your life as you knew it, over. And, the animals, all the animals.

Not only did that rainbow present, God's mercy showed through. He knew each and every person on that ark was scared and unsure of what was coming. I mean, the grace. Now, He didn't say there would never be another storm (right now we are watching the news in our house about Hurricane Florence), but God did say the rainbow will remind us of the everlasting covenant (Genesis 9:16). Think of each and every bit of rain that came after the great flood. Noah and his family probably suffered a bit of PTSD. But the reminder in the form of a rainbow. God doesn't forget. Why do I?

Why do I not rest in his assurances that He will forever care for me? Why do I get all stirred up about things and not place my trust in His promises? (By the way, it hurts to stir, people. How can this tendon be affecting so much in my life?)

I found an online prayer from that had words I needed to read today. Words I need to repeat now  and over and over again.

'Life is filled with tragedy and pain, yet it's the sun shining through the rain that creates the beauty of a rainbow. So shine through our circumstances and show us Your beauty and glory in the midst of the storm.'

Clasping my hands together in prayer doesn't hurt.

Saying the prayer doesn't hurt.

Responding to that sweet whisper when the rainbow was noticed doesn't hurt.

I promise.