Monday, September 14, 2009

An Oatmeal-Encrusted Body & A Pileated Woodpecker

My home.
Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

We are two seconds from leaving our house for church, when my torso starts to feel hot and then begins to itch.

I scramble into the bathroom to inspect for the cause. I'm horrified by the mirror's reflection.

My stomach, back, arms and legs are covered in a red rash. Suddenly, my entire body is on fire with the pain of it.

Grabbing my Aveeno oatmeal bath supply, I make a paste and smear it where ever there is discomfort.

"I can't go to church like this," I tell Brent. "I'm sorry."

And I am.

I have been looking forward to this particular church service for a week. Our pastor Pete His is going to talk about what happens to someone 30 seconds after they die. I've been hyping the event on my Twitter page, my Facebook page and my other blog, Kingdom Treasures. Already I have been fielding questions about it from my friends and followers.

The rash, though, is the cherry on top of horrific days. I've been battling a sinus infection, plus I have been in extreme pain and will undergo surgery at month's end. My entire week has been spent in my living room recliner, mostly feeling sorry for myself.

And now. Now I have this .... RASH.

But I quickly learn there is a reason I am allowed to suffer.

I open up my church service on my computer, where I can see it live. I am surprised to discover two of my facebook friends there. They have all kinds of questions as the talk about death and our immorality unfolds. I realize ... I'm an instrumental part of their lives. Sure, anyone could speak to them in the chat room, had I gone to church and not had this rash. But to be present for them -- to be able to interact with them as they processed the somber message -- is a gift straight from Heaven.

Suddenly I hear a faint rustling at my dining room door.

I look up from the computer to see a Pileated Woodpecker, sitting on the edge, staring into my eyes. He cocks his head to the side, studying my house. He is beautiful. His shock of red feathers top his crown like a Robin Hood beret.

And then he takes flight into the trees.

He is my second gift from Heaven.

I don't know how things will turn out with my friends, whether they will fully absorb all of the information they received yesterday -- and whether they will admit it into their hearts.

But I can tell you that in that one moment when I saw the woodpecker, I was grateful for my illnesses. Had I been to church, I would have missed all of this!

When you have a bad day or a health scare or a disappointment, where do your thoughts go? How do you accept what has happened?

"All things work together for good," the writer of Romans tells us.

Do you believe that?

I can honestly tell you that despite my oatmeal-encrusted body, I was living with joy -- joy from the ability to share with my friends and joy from the ability to see such a beautiful and rare creature ... on a day when my first choice to go to church had been painfully demolished.

What about you? What are you struggling with today? Do you see the blessings in the midst of hardship?

How can I pray for you?


  1. Here's what I think. I think you are like JOB. Mercy goodness! We should ALL be praying for YOU! Sick, again, and awaiting sugery..just when you were "blasting down" on your real job, along comes an infection, then a rash, then, the woodpecker. What a GORGEOUS bird he is.God has placed so much beauty in the "treetops" where you dwell on a high cliff overlooking the lake. Were you at ground level you would never have seen those that backyard wild turkey with her 7 baby turkeys. They would have dashed away, but you were "high on the deck" and you SAW! Look to the heights and keep focus on the glory of God.