Updated Carlettini Christmas – Joy, Suffering, and Growing

This is an update on my previous blog with updates about Mindy and updates to the final portion of the blog, please read both.

The past month and five days have been a whirlwind for my family and I. We have added little baby girl Sarah (which for me has been the biggest adjustment of any of our children or marriage) with which Mindy had a little bit of bleeding complications and sickness afterwords that scared us a bit. Mindy was sick with an infection that caused a seriously high fever that led to an ER visit a few weeks after delivery, I had a minor surgery a month after Sarah was born, four days after my procedure Mindy was rushed to the ER once again but this time for extreme hemorrhaging, and on Christmas Eve I had to take Dylan to Urgent Care because of some kind of urinary infection.

Mindy’s last visit was clearly the most frightening in that Mindy lost a tremendous amount of blood (eventually needing a transfusion), and there were multiple times that the Docs told us they had taken care of everything to only have extreme bleeding once more. In addition, at one point I was kicked out of the surgery recover area (much like on TV shows) as my wife began bleeding profusely again and passed out. Later on during the night Mindy’s doctor literally stayed in our room for over an hour keeping a close eye on Mindy, yelling at nurses down the hall to get this and that stat (most of which I had no clue what she was asking for). There was at least two time I truly thought my wife could die and from the looks of fear on the nurses and doctors faces I think they were justified fears.

Then on Monday December 28th, we ended up making two trips to the doctor’s office as Mindy experience some additional bleeding. It was not anything compared to the previous experience but enough to cause us and her doctor to want to see her again. On the first visit our doctor did not see enough that would allow her to take further surgical measures, and instead gave Mindy addition medicine to help her uterus contract further as it was struggling to do so. Then when we returned our doctor was very encouraged by Mindy’s progress and thinks things are looking really good. We have a follow up appointment on Wednesday morning and would love nothing more then to not have any more doctor’s appointments for a very long time.

All of this made Mindy’s other ER visit and post delivery bleeding complications more frustrating as her entire visit was caused by problems that were missed in both of those previous experiences. The trip to the ER when she had an extremely high fever was the most frustrating medical experience I have ever had as we were there in the middle of the night and payed a ridiculous amount for them to do essentially nothing. They made no attempt to discover why she had an infection that clearly had something to do with her recently having delivered a baby.

So today I found myself at home taking care of my wonderful family and reflecting on all of this. The interesting thing is everything I thought I might think and feel was much different from reality. To be honest I never thought why, felt abandoned by or disappointed in God, and really was more afraid for my children than myself. If Mindy would have died, I would have surely been a wreck, but as I told Mindy tonight I probably would not have even really grieved for five years. We have a 5 year old, 3 1/2 year old, and 5 week old, there would have been no time for grieving. I was scared, yes, but scared because of love. Scared because I love and adore the amazing bride Jesus has given me, and even more because I love my children and want them to grow up being loved by and experiencing God through that amazing mother He has blessed them with.

Through all of this difficultly of this season I have learned and been reminded of much, and have become thankful for even more. Today much of the world celebrates Christmas and some celebrate Jesus the Christ as Emmanuel – God with us. Here through the past month and five days I have seen God be here with us, hear listening, here answering, here moving, here healing, and here guiding. The hope of Israel the Savior of the world has been bring hope and salvation to our family each day, and for Him we are forever thankful, even when the circumstances do not turn out as we hope and pray. If I would have become a widower with children ages 5, 3, and 5 weeks I would have been in pain, shock, and surely be an absolute mess, but I do know with certainty Emmanuel would be with me every step of the way. I would still have had hope and faith in Him, even in devastation, even without understanding.

Another thing God has been teaching me is to get over it, to laugh more, to enjoy more, and to live with less frustration. I have been aware for years of my “laugh-o-meter” running extremely low. God reminded me through this that all circumstances are out of my control and in His control. That life is full of difficultly, hurt, suffering, frustration and disappointment which comes from people and circumstances. We live in a fallen world with disease, sickness, injustice, etc. and we live together with other sinners and at some point we will all let each other down. Jesus knew this and was hilarious in the ways he called people out and used sarcasm. The prophets (who I relate with more then any) are hilarious in the midst of seeing and sharing the worst of messages to those who had no desire to hear it (again, I relate so much in every way).

However, God is using all of this to help me realign my perspective. We all experience hurts in our lives and we all experience goodness and beauty. It comes in many different ways through circumstances and other people, but no matter who you are you will experience both (I will not use any specifics as the previous specifics have seemed to cause some unnecessary confusion). I could spend all Christmas Eve and Christmas being overwhelmed by the hurt and frustration of all that has happened lately in our family, or I could allow the difficulty to magnify the grace and blessing. I choose to see the truth, get over it, and allow the truth of both good and difficult of things to magnify God’s goodness. Please understand, I am not upset about the things that have happened, in fact I have grown from them so that I am not upset. You have a choice just as I do, when hurts, pain, suffering, frustration, and disappointment come will you allow it to consume you and direct your perspective and approach to life? Or, will you allow it to magnify all the good, beautiful, wonderful, and grace-filled that God is doing in your life and in His world?

Now for the best, during all of this I have seen God’s hand of blessing upon us through our friends and family. I am naturally wired and spiritually gifted in a way that causes me to be more independent and self-reliant, and many of my life experiences beginning very young have instilled this into me as important (even to a fault, yes, at times I have major trust issues). However, in the last month and five days I have been overwhelmed at how I have seen God move and show Himself through our friends and family. I have removed the hurts, frustrations, and disappointments section from all of this as it became a distortion of the message that was intended. They were not listed to make anyone fill guilty, to pity me or my family, or to think something is wrong with me that needs to be addressed. They were listed to give real, practical examples of the truth I have been explaining that God has been teaching me to help the reader think and examine their own heart in this area. My hope was not that one would think, “Oh no, Did I let the Carlettinis down or hurt Jason?” The point was to cause each of us to think about how we let life impact us, to consider what we focus on, and consider ways that we each need to take action. In processing that, it might leave you encouraged or convicted in some way and either way, that was the point. As 1 Timothy 1:5 says, our aim in this life is love. I think it is safe to say we can each love more then we do and we each need consistent reminders aim for God’s love and not love of our-self. As a result here is the amended ways I am thankful for how I have seen God recently at work through others. However, I am also thankful for the frustrations, hurst, disappointments, pain, and suffering I have recently experience as they only make the following that much better a picture of God. I hope you will learn to see the it all (good and bad) as something to be thankful for.

I am thankful for those who have shared in our joy over Sarah’s life, those want to be a blessing to her and us as they show our whole family who Jesus is.

I am thankful for those who stood beside us through all this illness by helping with the kids, cleaning at the house (especially cleaning up the blood, wow), for the three amazing ladies that were like super-women and made it to the house in record time, wrapping our kids Christmas presents, bringing meals to the house, bringing clothes, food, phone charges, etc. to the hospital, taking food to the amazing family who watched Sarah, truly spending time in prayer, texting with genuine concern, calling with genuine concern and love, coming to see us at the hospital or trying to make it up there, coming up to the hospital 2 or 3 times to see us, for the encouraging words, the times of prayer, for just sitting there with me as I wait, wonder, and hope, for those who cried with us and for us, for those who allowed God to use our time of struggle to allow God to teach them, and for the two men who came and sat with me as soon as they new Mindy was having a procedure. There are many other things that I know I am missing, and others who were not aware all this was going on but have touched us greatly by your but I am so eternally thankful for all of you.

I am thankful for those that do not allow me to be isolated, self-reliant, and independent. Your love means more to me then you ever will know, you love and encourage in amazing ways.

I am thankful for good doctors and nurses, and friends who are ones. You take such good care of people and have genuine compassion as you do, you allow God to use the gifts He has given you, even those of you who have no clue who He is.

There is much to be thankful for this Christmas and I hope each of you are able to see all that there is to be thankful for, but most of all I hope you are able to truly reflect and understand the gift of Emmanuel, Jesus the Christ. We find ourselves very thankful this day and I wanted to share what God has placed on my heart. I know I am forgetting a lot, and for that I am sorry. May you experience Jesus this day as you celebrate His gift of God with us today, and may you continue to experience Him each day no matter what the circumstances of the day may be.

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