I learned the value of sitting still. I can drive my husband, friends and family crazy with my tendency to always be doing something "productive." If we're watching a movie, then I must be folding or ironing laundry. If I finish today's to-do list, then I should start on tomorrow's list so I can get ahead. If I have a friend come over it seems logical to clean a bathroom while we visit so I can kill two birds with one stone. (I'm ashamed to admit I actually did this one time.) I over-commit to outside activities in order to please those around me and prove that I can do it all. When I was lying in bed for most of the day just trying to smile at the kids as they walked in, I made an interesting discovery. All of my children, but especially the two and four year olds, were happy! They were so excited that they could curl up next to me and I wasn't in a hurry to go somewhere, do something, or call someone. I read more books and listened to more stories than I had in years. We sang songs, played "This Little Piggy" way too many times, and took naps together. At a time when I thought I was letting my children down, they were pleased to be able to find me at any time of the day.

I learned to let other people help. Ugh. I hate this lesson. I like to be the one who's helping. It's that pride thing again. If I help someone then they "owe" me. Learning to ask and receive help, especially when I knew there was no way for me to repay it, was so humbling. Ladies from our church brought meals, my mom did my laundry and ironing, I had a housekeeper come and clean, and my poor husband had to fix dinner almost every night. The guilt piled up to the point that I wanted to sit and cry. I'm sure the Lord received my prayers with a small smile, knowing that when I set my pride aside I would accept help with an attitude of gratefulness instead of feeling like I owed everyone. At that point the people who were giving so generously to me were able to enjoy their blessing from the Lord, and I was able to quit feeling sorry for myself and pray for the opportunity to help someone else down the road.

I learned that I'm not in control--no matter how hard I try. Wow. You'd think I'd have learned that lesson a long time ago. Let's face it. We all try to hold on to the reins. I thought I had this pregnancy and delivery thing down to a science. What I learned was that my plans are just that--mine. God's plan will not be swayed by me no matter how hard I try. This delivery was my first c-section and I was very disappointed. I sat in my doctor's office with tears running down my face, certain that she was wrong in her diagnosis of the problems of delivering this baby. There could have been serious complications had I not followed the advice of my doctor. Learning that God has placed people like doctors in our lives to protect us was vital for me. Your problem may not be a tough delivery, but I'm sure that at least one time this week your plans were turned upside down by something unexpected. It could be as simple as a washer breaking down or as big as a medical emergency. Whatever it was, you found yourself sputtering and spinning in a circle, trying to figure out who took the reins out of your hands and ran the horse in another direction. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that plans are in the hearts of men, but the Lord determines our steps. I had to realize that God knows where I'm going, and although His plan may not be easy, it is divine and intended for my good.

I learned how much my children were capable of. The fruit of years of training made this time in my life so much easier. My older boys kept the house running smoothly and took care of the younger kids when I couldn't. Thinking of this still chokes me up. I don't want to take advantage of my kids or make them grow up too fast, but seeing their maturity manifest in learning to step up to the plate when it was necessary was so rewarding. As I started to feel better and take back more of the responsibility, I also enjoyed the genuine gratefulness from my family. They had a taste of everything it takes to keep our home running, and we all learned it works a whole lot better when we are a compete team.