I was so close to a dream this week I could taste it. I’m a dreamer by nature so it’s not hard for me to get caught up in the planning and visioning of what could be if only…
I’m usually pretty guarded though. I’ve learned that dreamers sometimes get disappointed (okay a lot of times). I’ve learned to temper my dreaming. Keep it far off in the distance and not let it run too wild.
But this one…this one was so close. I imagined what if, I imagined our family there…growing up…growing old. It took off before I could reign it in. And I let it. I let it carry me over the possibilities.
And I crashed today. Hard.
It’s been tough for me to not throw a temper tantrum, and honestly I have. I’ve been
near in tears numerous times. I’ve struggled against spewing dreadful things at my family so instead I’ve been quiet and sullen. Short with my words for fear anger and disappointment would spill over or worse yet…I’d end up in a puddle if years like a two year old.
Sometimes dreams are fun, sometimes they happen, and sometimes they don’t happen. For me, today it’s a bitter pill to swallow. And I am disappointed.
So about a week ago I shared my goal for this year. In 2014 I want to Find the Joy.
I have prayed each morning for God to help me Find the Joy in each day. And I’ve had a week…with some great days and some not so great days. It’s been a tough week.
It started with me getting sick. I mean sick….with influenza. Fever, cough, achy feeling yucky. And of course it was right after my dearest husband had to go back to work after break. So last Thursday I drug myself out of bed…barely and tried to make some semblance of the day. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, backed over and then hit again. As I’m laying in the recliner with half an eye on the baby and the big boys watching TV (I totally admit to TV time when mom is sick)…I remember my goal…Find the Joy. Seriously? What joy is there in being sick? In feeling so exhausted and rotten that you’re not sure how you’re going to make it? This was going to be way harder than I thought.
But then lunch happened.
We’d joined my brother’s family for supper the night before and my sister in law sent home leftovers! They might have been hotdogs and brats, but they were easy to heat up…throw a piece of fruit and some carrots and we’ve got a meal with minimal effort. That was my joy. Easy lunch…blessed by leftovers. For me that day, it was something simple, something I would have overlooked before. My joy for day 1 was hotdogs.
Friday brought a broken fever and a bit more energy (which means I totally over did it that morning). Thankfully my in-laws were willing to pick up the big boys and watch them in the afternoon for me so I could get some rest. And my afternoon was filled with things like this…
And so it goes. I’ve been purposefully finding my joy each day. Little things and big things (like having a warm home on very very cold nights).
And then my morning started this morning at 5am…with my son next to my bed…”Mommy, I don’t feel good” New sheets, a drink and emergency barf bowl just in case, along with a 3 year old brother who woke up in the process and said sickie 5 year old all cuddled in bed together. As I snuggled with them…exhausted before the day even started…I sighed heavy…Find the Joy.
And I did. Fitful sleep for another hour or so. While he dozed on the other side of the bed his hand reached….searched under the blankets for mine. I lay there with his palm resting in mine and I found Joy knowing mine was the hand he was looking for. Even in his early morning fever stupor he searched me out. And I thanked God for the blessings cuddled around me and sleeping in the next room. The blessing of children and family.
And I rested.
This week marks 2 years ago that our lives, mine especially, was shaken to the core. Two years ago today our son Knox was born at 16 weeks.
The days leading up to his birth have replayed in my mind. On the first we’d had our sonogram after not being able to find heart tones for a couple of days. I can still picture the black hole in his chest, where his heart was no longer beating. My heart still sinks when I close my eyes. On the second we met with an OB doctor I’d never met and scheduled the induction. It was God’s providence that we made that relationship with him. I’m so thankful for his care. Because little did we know that 6 months later we’d be in his office again staring at a lifeless body in my womb and scheduling yet another induction for our daughter Lily.
And then today.
I remember walking in to the hospital the day’s events. I remember how scared I was, how sad. His birth, so thankful to be able to hold him and admire God’s handiwork. Thankful for nurses who made footprints, took pictures and prayed with me. Sobbing when they took him away. I remember the OR, fighting anesthesia with fear…waking and asking before my eyes were open if I was still whole, if they’d saved my uterus. And the next day being so weak, having my first allergic reaction ever (super scary for me) and then watching as someone else’s blood made it’s way through the IV tubing into my own arm. And leaving. Pale, weak and exhausted. Hollow and leaving a piece of me behind.
As I mourned I wrote. I wrote this series as I grieved his loss. Writing was often the only time I didn’t feel completely numb. It was my therapy.
Two years has passed since. The pain is less, but it’s still there. I still wonder how different our lives would be if he’d survived. I still wonder why he died. But through his life and his death I have learned much. God taught me a lot about trust, control, grief and caring for others. I gained a new perspective as a patient and hurting mother. I learned a lot about wrestling with God…and I did wrestle, I shook my fist, I cried out and I surrendered.
It’s been two years. His footprints still hang on our wall. A heart in our family tree to mark his presence in our family. And brothers who still talk about him…and a brother who bears his name (Zebediah Knox). A brother who will learn about the one who came before, the one he will meet in Heaven.
God is faithful. He is good even when we’re grieving the loss of a child…even when it doesn’t feel like He is good. I am thankful for the joy that He has shown me on the other side of this loss. I am thankful. Losing Knox allowed me to be teachable, mold-able…God used that experience to shape me more to the image of Christ.
So today, I remember the birth of my son whom I will meet for the first time with his sister and two other siblings in Heaven. What a glorious day that will be! Today our family remembers our Knox and we are thankful.
When I was studying for my Master’s degree, we spent whole courses exploring how people learn and why we teach the way we do. We took quizzes about kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learners. We talked about how we often teach the way we best learn. So when it came time to teach my own children at home I started thinking about the ways they would best grasp concepts within difficult subjects. And while I’ve employed some of these strategies and theories to learning…the best tool I’ve found to teach my children is to ASK QUESTIONS. Lots of them.
I started thinking about what I want my end result to be. Do I want them to just be able to regurgitate information for a test or a room full of people like a trick pony? And the answer is no. I don’t want them to be vats of useless knowledge…full to the brim of facts and statistics, theories and formulas with no ability to apply them. I want my children to think for themselves…to know where to go to find information, how to put that information together and draw a conclusion that is right and real for them.
When I teach my nursing students, it is so tempting to just want to open their brains and dump information in. I do lecture a fair amount, but I try to ask questions, to get them to take the next step to a conclusion on their own. I can’t tell you how many times potential employers would say “Just give me someone who can critically think…I can teach them to do any skill.” I think the same goes for my children.
I ask questions to teach them…to let them think things through. I want them to process the information, consider the options, weigh the results and determine why, when and how. It’s not enough for them to spit it back at me, I want them to be able to tell me why they picked what they did.
It doesn’t just go for school, but more importantly for their faith. I want my children to own their faith…not mine. I want them to follow Christ, to seek after Him and to do His will. I want them to know the Bible is true and that is sufficient for EVERYTHING. But I don’t want them to know it because I said so…I want them to know it because God said so and He called them to follow Him. I want them to find the path God has for them, not the one I want. I want them to wrestle with the tough questions, the challenges they face and I want them to ask questions and find the answer God has. More importantly, I want their faith to be tangible to them, not some paper thin replication of mine, but the kind of faith that is sturdy, the kind they’ve built with God themselves and I want them to be able to defend it to a world that will tell them they’re wrong.
I ask my children questions to teach them, to guide them, so that they can ask the questions and find the answers for themselves. By asking questions, I hope to allow my children to make what they are learning their own. I hope they will be able to know what they believe and be able to defend and articulate it. Because that’s the important part…not just the “correct” answer, but why.
This past Sunday we made the difficult announcement to our congregation that we would be leaving. Our hearts broke, but it has become apparent that we would be more beneficial to the Kingdom if we serve in a different place than our current church. Our church has been such an easy congregation to love. They have loved us too and we’ve cared so deeply for them. Our hearts are heavy at the thought of leaving. I can’t tell you how many tears we’ve shed over this decision. How many sleepless nights and how many prayers cried out to God. While it isn’t what we’d hoped for when we came here, He has clearly given His answer. And we are to go.
The question is now “What next?” And the truth is we don’t know. We don’t know where we’re going or what God has in store for us. But we know that it’s time for us to leave. I’m reminded as we’re in this time of transition of Psalm 119:105 that says “Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.”
Several years ago we were camping with a group of friends from church. The ladies decided to make a trip to the bathroom in the dark, using the lantern to light our way. As we were walking along the single file path to the bathroom, we commented about how with the lantern we can only see the next step in front of us. We can’t see the whole path laid out before us, but only the one step ahead. We took one step at a time, trusting the path would carry us closer to the bathrooms.
It’s like that with God some times (much of the time really). He rarely, shows us the whole big picture. He may place a call on our lives, give us an idea of where we’re going to end, but He doesn’t often show us the whole process of getting there (lest we think we know a better way and try to go our way instead of His and jack up the whole process). Instead, God tells us “this is where I’ve called you…take one step.” He shows us one step at a time and we are to walk in faith and know that His word will light the way.
As much as I’d like to see the whole path, heck right now I’d like to see the end point (or at least the general direction), God has only shown us the next step. His word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. If we continually turn to Him and His word, He will light the way, giving us direction and guiding us to the place He has for us. God’s word is true, it is relevant and it is sufficient always and for everything. Even when we don’t know what comes next.
I am saddened to be leaving here. I don’t always understand and to be truthful I’m not always happy about it. But I TRUST that when we are faithful to Him…He is faithful to us. When we hold to the standard He’s called us, when we honor Him and when we are obedient to Him, He will direct our path.
So for now, we continue to serve Him, love His church and trust Him knowing that He has a perfect plan for our lives. We covet prayers for our family, the church and the leadership here. We are thankful for the time we’ve spent here. We have loved and cared for His flock here. We are sad that we have to leave, but we know God is faithful. And so we take the next step…
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will make your paths straight.
Waiting…that’s the name of the game here lately.
We’re (I’m) waiting kind of impatiently for this little baby to get here. I have a little while until my due date, but am close enough to know that if he decided to make his appearance now everything will likely be fine. It’s hard to wait, it’s hard to ride it out.
But I know this baby will come in his time and in God’s time. He can’t be rushed and shouldn’t be. So we wait.
I am doing okay and am thankful to have been fairly comfortable until the last couple of days. I’ve had a terrible cold this weekend and that is probably compounding the whole discomfort thing too. I hope that I am well by the time the baby comes as I don’t want to give him anything and don’t want to be dealing with a cold while adjusting to life with a newborn. Another good reason to keep waiting.
We are mostly ready for the homebirth, I say mostly because I’m sure we’re forgetting something. I’m much more laid back about getting things in order this time than I was last time. So I’m pretty sure that I’m forgetting something. I have all the essentials ready and in line so if there’s something missing we probably won’t know it until we think we might need it.
Here is a recent picture. The boys keep asking how big I think he’ll be. I have no idea to be honest. I don’t think I’m much bigger or small than I was with the other boys, so we’ll see. Kerry is much better at guessing than I am when it comes to baby weights. He’s been within an ounce or two with each of our boys, I haven’t asked him yet where he thinks this one will fall.
I have a confession to make…in the evenings while Kerry puts the boys down for bed I sit at my computer to work (I teach online) and have the TV on in the background. My two default channels are HGTV and the Food Network. The more time I’ve spent watching, the more disgusted I get.
Now, I like watching renovations or watching people search for the perfect family home as much as anyone, but they’re starting to make me sick. I see these couples or families (rarely with more than 1 child and certainly not 4+) looking at homes that have 3500+ sq ft. And you know what they say? “It’s too small!” or “We would never be able to fit all of our stuff in here.” My thought tends to be…Maybe you have too much stuff!!
It drives me crazy to hear women say “Well I don’t cook, but I still want a pretty kitchen.” or “I don’t like the white appliances…they look so dated!” It disappoints me to hear them say “But it only had one sink in the bathroom and I don’t want to share a sink with him.” I’m sitting there thinking…well you married him didn’t you?
And I think, more often than not, one of two things…The first is “please don’t let my boys marry a woman like that” and the second is “please don’t let me raise my boys to think that white appliances and one sink is the worst thing that a house could have…please let me raise them to be content. Please let me be content.”
I think what it comes down to is the materialism of it all that disappoints me. The fact that we fail to see the hurt and the need around us…in our own backyards and we ignore it all. We shut out the need with our triple car garages and gigantic master en-suite bathrooms and our two sinks.
I want so much more for the world around me and my children. I want for them to not care about white appliances and double sinks. I want them to care about people around them…the things that matter. Sure…I like nice things, I enjoy a home with 3 1/2 bathrooms (they all have one sink) and more space than we need (we are blessed to live in the church parsonage). In our current home, each of my boys could have their own room if they wanted, but they don’t. All four, and soon to be five, share a room. But you know what else? All this space…it doesn’t do much good unless I’m willing to be hospitable to my neighbor and open my home to those around me. As a follower of Christ, I am called to be hospitable. And that doesn’t just mean to people I know…the word actually means to open your home to strangers…complete strangers! Gasp!
I want for myself and my children, to look past the “stuff” and to people. To see needs and meet them, not to be hesitant when reaching out to others. We take for granted that we have clean water on demand, we can buy fresh food, we have flush toilets and in general we don’t have to worry about our safety…we can sleep soundly at night without fear of being attacked, victimized or homeless the next day.
As a mother, I struggle to keep this in perspective for myself and for our children. Kerry and I both work to teach them to keep things in perspective and to look around, to be grateful for the blessings we have. But sometimes we wonder if we’re doing enough.
So how do we do this as parents? How does this goal of breaking down materialism and consumerism culture change our conversations, our actions and our thinking? We’re still learning and refining what goes on in our home, but we are implementing some changes in our family to help our boys (and us) think about more than just ourselves, to think about how we can bless others and to be in a position to be used by God.
Because life and service is about more than white appliances and double sinks.
There were so many moments in the last year I was sure I would never see 30 weeks of pregnancy again, yet here I am and oh so very thankful. Sometimes when I think about the next 10 weeks it seems like they’ll take forever to go by and other days it seems like the time is flying by.
I have been working through some tough stuff mentally the last few weeks. It’s like a couple weeks ago I realized I was pregnant for the first time this whole pregnancy and I was terrified to be honest. I think I have been waiting so long for the other shoe to fall, to lose this baby too, that I had guarded myself against the possibility that this baby could live and I would actually have a live baby to hold at the end of it all. It caught me off guard. And there were moments where my mind would dream up the highly unlikely, completely unreasonable fears of “what if” with this pregnancy. I would think of all the rare complications, some that I’ve only seen once or twice in my nursing career, that *could* happen and would make me lose the baby. Almost like I was looking for the rare to happen again because it’s happened twice before with Knox and Lily. I am thankful for a midwife friend and several others who I could vent to and talk about this with. Most of all though, I am thankful for the patient. loving Father in Heaven for helping me deal with my fears and give me peace about what is to come. I’m feeling much better this week with what lies ahead.
I suppose that every mother wonders if she’ll be able to make it through labor again. Me included. Especially since, after 3 c-sections with my oldest, this will really be my second non-induced labor. So to a certain extent I do wonder what it will be like, if I will be blessed with a super fast labor and birth like I was last time (I’m so hoping this is the case). I’m doing the things I need to be to get myself ready for that marathon at the end. We ordered our birth supplies a couple of weeks ago and they sit neatly in a box in the corner of our bedroom. I’m not sure Kerry knows where everything is yet, but hopefully he will before we need them. I have “extra hands” on call if we need them, something that was a huge answer to prayer last week.
The only thing I’m struggling with is drinking red raspberry leaf tea. You’re supposed to to help condition the uterus and get it ready for the birth…and I’ve done it with my previous pregnancies, but this time I can barely stomach the stuff. It isn’t “robust” enough for me, I want the strong coffee flavor but it just doesn’t have it. So, for now I’ll choke down what I can, but it isn’t my thing this time. That and eating. Eating is still a challenge for me. Nothing really sounds good, still and when I do have an appetite the baby feels like he’s so high that I run out of room before I really get to enjoy much of what is on my plate. It is what it is I guess, and this is pretty typical for me when I’m pregnant. So I eat because I have to, not necessarily because I want to. I explained it to Kerry like this…it’s like eating every meal with a terrible cold, not being able to taste anything or enjoy what you’re eating. After a while, it’s just “eh” when it’s meal time.
The boys are getting very excited and still ask several times a day “Mommy, how many more weeks?” Zeke is getting anxious to hold the baby and thinks that the baby will want to sleep with him when the baby gets here.
We are excited about the next 10 weeks and the time when baby comes. We pray every day for his safe arrival and easy birth at home. By the way, we don’t have a name yet. We’re talking about it though. 🙂
I’m a little behind in my reflection of 2012 I guess. I saw this survey a couple of days ago and thought about my answers. Kerry and I were asking each other what our best memory of 2012 was, but it was hard to come up with a big monumental moment or memory. Instead, it was the memories that were built and the lessons learned in the small moments and corners of our lives this past year. The way God revealed Himself to us in moments of despair, feeling lost and scared. But here is my attempt to answer the “best of 2012” list.
The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?
Crazy Chicken. When I first tried this recipe I thought for sure the boys wouldn’t like it, but they ate it up and ask for it regularly. They love it!
The best book you couldn’t put down?
1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp I rarely re-read books, but this is one I’m picking up again as the New Year starts and am reading again. I am also doing the devotional and would love to start the small group study in our church this spring.
Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent. I’ve read this book before, in fact several times, but I delight in reliving the stories of this midwife and she shares her experiences and the lessons she’s learned.
The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?
Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave. I get lost in this song.
The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…)
I don’t wear jeans very often. So I’m going to go with my maternity jeans right now. I’d really rather wear a skirt.
The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best?
I have totally enjoyed my Kindle fire but to be honest, the thing I’ve enjoyed the most since we’ve moved is the pull out cutting board in my kitchen. One of my favorite things ever.
The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)
Quitting my job before Kerry had found employment to support our family. Without a doubt, turning in my resignation was the scariest but most freeing thing I have felt in a long time. Right up there is the “risk” of trusting God with our family size. We experienced major hurt losing two babies in 6 months this last year, but God used those losses to teach us so much and we risked TRUSTing Him. We find ourselves now 27 weeks pregnant and are thankful for everyday.
The best laugh?
My boys bring so many laughs each day. I can’t narrow down just one, everyday is filled with another quip or comment that has me in stitches.
The best living?
In the moment. For God in everything we do. Our days are sweetest when we spend every day bringing glory to Him.
The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? (Happiness comes to them who pursue hard things.)
Move. I was excited for what God had in store for our family, but I didn’t want to leave the family we made in Pueblo. It was tough and it took some adjusting (it still is), but God called and we answered. Here we are and we are blessed.
What was the best habit?
We started the year reading the Proverb of the day as a family. By far this has been a highlight for our family, reading together and praying as a family. It’s been a wonderful blessing.
The best holiday?
Christmas. As my husband said “You can’t celebrate His first coming without being prepared for His second coming.”
The best gift?
The gift of life, both those still living and those who we learned so much through their death. And most of the all the gift of salvation.
The best sacrifice? (The best way to have more is to give more…)
Raising my children. This is where I’m called, I’m supposed to be here, but the selfish side of me wants something different. I have learned that the best sacrifice is to lay down my desires and be obedient to what God has called me to do. In doing so, it turns out I am blessed beyond measure and it ends up not being such a sacrifice after all.
So… what was the Best of Everything 2012?