To the question: How are you?
Wow - what a complicated question.
So many levels to that after a 7.5 quake just 30 km from our home, just after midnight last night.
Firstly - safe. No injury and no major damage to our home (there are some cracks - but it's liveable). And only a couple of things that had fallen out of cupboards or off shelves. For this I am very thankful. I have seen photos of homes with almost everything out of cupboards or off shelves. And with the amount of shaking and the length of it - we are very thankful.
Stressed or anxious? No. Even through the quake last night and the bigger aftershocks since - I have never been anxious or stressed. I am thankful for the container that we could all sleep in after the quake - as it did help everyone feel a lot more safe. Especially with no ceiling to potentially fall in.
Despite these blessing though - I am drained. Why?
My plan for this morning?
Rather simple really - Asher at preschool for 3 hours while I get loads of food prep done.
A slightly stiff body from squashed sleeping arrangements.
A grumpy Asher who has put up a fuss with basic daily things (like getting dressed and taking medication).
A stressed Hannah, who hasn't wanted to be in a room on her own and took until after lunch to get the courage to go outside for a bit.
And juggling watching Asher while getting the basic food prep done (forget about all the extras I was hoping for).
So I find myself irritable and emotional. Not a place I want to be. I feel alone and overwhelmed.
I know I am not alone. I know God is always with me.
With lunch finally made and Asher sitting at the table with the others, I head off to my room to pray (and cry). The Lord settles my heart a bit and I join the children to have my lunch.
And then the Lord answers my prayer for someone to talk to. Out of the blue a friend calls to find out how we are doing. Even though we only talk perhaps once a year, this is someone I can trust and be open with. I share my struggles and my burdens. My friend sympathises, encourages and prays for me (and the whole family).
The Lord starts answering that prayer straight away.
I feel encouraged. I have more peace. I am reminded about the heart of my God who loves me.
The prayers for the children are answered as Asher becomes more manageable. Hannah starts coping better with the aftershocks and even has the courage to go outside for a play.
The request for support is even answered as I get messages and calls from people who ask if there is anything they can do to help (even offering to drive out from town). They have been praying for us through today. Little did they know how much prayer support I needed. Not for anxiety or stress about the quake, but just the struggles of life with a special needs child.
I reflect on how people can feel drained through times like these because of all the Adrenalin that is rushing regularly through their bodies. It makes me think back to when that first earthquake hit this morning. I was up in a flash, ran to Hezekiah to get him off his bed (top bunk). I knew Brendon was sorting Asher out, and so I got Hezekiah, Hannah and myself in a doorway. There was no panic. Yes, I was working quickly, but there was a calm through it all and through the next hours of bigger aftershocks. I wasn't even aware of Adrenalin - but I'm sure it was there. It made me realise that this is jut "normal" life for me. And it has been for almost 3 years now. Although it may be "normal" it's not healthy. I can feel very clearly today how run down my body is.
So please continue to pray for our family. Pray for peace and calm for the children. And can I ask that you pray for me especially? That the Lord would give me the extra patience and gentleness and energy that I need. And if the preschool is closed again tomorrow, please pray that I would be able to priorities things and get the "basic" things done. A good night's sleep would do us all the world of good too. :-)