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I Can Do All Things ... With a Forced Smile

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." ~ Philippians 4:13

Whether you're Christian or not, you've probably seen this Bible verse used as an inspirational meme on your Facebook page. Just about everyone (save for maybe Two Corinthians walk into a bar Trump) has heard it, seen it.

Your reaction to it probably depends on whether you're a person of Christian faith of not. It may inspire hope if you fall on the Christian side or perhaps an eye roll if you don't.

It's actually a little of both for me.

Taken literally, it's a little silly. I can't fly. At 5 five and a whole 3 inches, I can't even dunk on my portable basketball hoop. But there's a lot in The Bible that shouldn't be taken literally.

I take it to mean, I can do more than I think I can. And when I think I can't, a little prayer and faith go a long way. (Coffee helps, too.)

This is not a come-to-Christ post, so don't exit out if you're worried about that. It's just that the verse has been on my mind as I juggle more than usual these past few days.

On Monday, my husband had surgery to repair yet another hernia, and the recovery is not going well, to say the least. Perhaps it's because the surgery ended up more involved than expected. It could be the tubing he has sticking out of his stomach for a blood pump. Maybe it was a poor choice of pain meds by the doctor. I don't know what the cause is, but Aaron's pain level has been so high he just lies in bed slightly moaning; it continues even in his sleep. Getting him out of bed to pee elicits yells of agony, and thus urination has been the only motivating factor for him to move.

I've been Aaron's wife-nurse through surgeries before, including a hernia repair last year and a gallbladder removal the year before (in which he also had a hernia repaired). So I know something is very different this time. He's not this big of a baby.

But as a result of whatever is different, I've been extra busy administering to him while attempting to keep the house clean and working from home to meet writing deadlines all at the same time. I did not expect nursing my husband to suck up so much of my time -- and my sleep -- but it has.

While being at the every beck and call of my husband, I've run into chores that would normally fall on the Aaron side. Rather than take the easy route and just skip them, I womaned up and got creative.

To that end, I loaded two containers of roughly 50 pounds of dirty cat litter (it's Aaron's system, don't ask) onto a furniture dolly in the backyard and rolled that dolly down the side of the yard, through the garage (that is littered with half finished furniture projects, cans of paint, and boxes spilling over from their stacks) and out to the garbage can. Because obviously there was a new combination pad lock on the backyard gate, and of course the side light is broken, so actually going the direct route in the dark was never even an option.

I pulled out the measuring tape, screwdriver, hammer and nails and rehung giant pictures that I just now -- after years of being in the same place -- decided were hung too high. I actually debated whether to tell Aaron I did all this on my own for fear next time I ask him to hang something large and heavy, he'll remember I can not only do it on my own, I don't even need to ask him to adjust it five times and then still obsess over whether it's straight or not.

The Lord has provided that much needed strength to climb mountains ... or rather the DIY wood shelves in the garage to check the top shelf for my Easter decorations. And of course I did this in my socks (because why would I take 10 seconds to protect my feet with shoes), and naturally I ended up scraping my right leg in the process. But Heaven help me, I survived my dangerous-yet-effective method of retrieving my collection of stuffed bunnies when normally I would stand a safe distance away and point at the boxes I tasked Aaron with checking.

While I can't claim to know what it's like to get up with a newborn baby all night and morning, I have experienced the equivalent with a grown man who needs my help with every little thing. At least, like a baby, he naps frequently so I can squeeze in time to email sources, decorate the living room, do the dishes, clean the litter box (another one of Aaron's chores) and take a bath.

So, no, I can't do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But I can take on a lot more than I thought I could and do it all with a smile, or at least a forced one. After all, when my husband was still loopy from the good surgery drugs, he made it a point to tell me how much he loves me and my breasts, and that's not nothin'.

Heck yeah, I rehung that huge Grease picture like a boss.

And if you're worried about my husband's pain level, as I have been, please know I have called his surgeon's office, and he did get new pain meds yesterday that at least seem to help him sleep more.


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