Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Penny

I am so frustrated with my doctor right now I could just scream. If I had the energy to that is. Yesterday I spent much of the day sleeping or too groggy to do much more than lie in bed. Today I missed my best friend's bridal shower because of this medication. The shower I had spent weeks planning. I haven't been able to take Ian and the kids to the fun places I wanted to because of this, and now our camping trip next week is in jeopardy as well. I start on a double dose of the medicine on Wednesday, the day we are supposed to leave. I don't want to spend five days up at a campground sleeping on an air mattress with the bathroom several hundred yards away. I'm struggling to not feel like a complete failure to my family and friends because of having rheumatoid arthritis. I know that other people have it and are able to live a fairly normal life, why can't I? I've been praying to God for strength the last few days quite a bit, especially as my mind is under attack from all of those hateful thoughts of failure. He's given me strength when I need it, and after reading the book I reviewed today, I've been noticing the pennies He's been leaving in my path. Small things that may not matter much in the grand scheme of things, but things that get me through the day. Mother Theresa once said, "Do small things with great love." and that has been my motto for the last few months. I try to focus on the small things that I can do, even when I'm sick, to try and show those around me how much I love them. Maybe God's allowing me to put pennies in others' paths as well.

The Penny by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford is the bittersweet tale of Jenny Blake, growing up in 1950s St Louis. This young teen espies a penny in the pavement and her picking it up sets off a chain of events that changes the course of not only her own life, but her entire family's and those around them as well. The authors tackle the tough issue of sexual abuse and handle it with delicacy while facing up to the damage it does to families. Jenny's father rules his family with an iron fist, and her older sister Jean can't wait to escape from his abuse and his attentions. When Miss Shaw, the local jeweler, hires Jenny to work in her store, Jenny is given the opportunity to see Christianity in action. Her friend Aurelia also shows Jenny what friendship means. Jenny clings to the penny as she gives her heart to the Lord, but then is disappointed to go home and find that her father still comes into her bedroom at night. Jenny speaks for all those who give themselves to God expecting every circumstance of their life to change immediately and become disheartened when they don't. Jenny and Aurelia's friendship is tried by both Mr. Blake and the racial tension in their schools. The authors do a wonderful job of creating the racial tension in the 1950s South, even if they do sound a little preachy on occasion. Jenny starts giving out pennies in hopes of bringing change and light to others' hearts, and when her world starts to crumble, pennies start coming back to her from the lives she helped. Ultimately the penny gives Jenny the courage to stand up for what is right for Aurelia, her family and Miss Shaw. This is a book to make you start looking for the pennies that God puts in your path and encourages you to look for ways to put pennies in others' paths as well.

I'm really hoping to make it to church tomorrow. Have a wonderful weekend!