Tag Archives: Christ

Oh Taste And See

The days are full of trying on dress up shoes, yard work, pretending to be human excavators, and playing in the dirt. As with every season of parenting this far, I’m learning much about my kids, my own personal bents and failures, and about life. More than ever, I feel acutely aware of the brevity of this parenting gig. The opportunity to plants seeds, water, and pray. To teach, love and forgive. And to offer kindness- again and again.

I think back to my own childhood often. I was a rebellious child – there’s no question about it. I was mouthy and stubborn. I seemed to suffer from complete lack of self control, mostly with my words. But I was SO sick of myself, sick of my shame and confusion and continual discord with others. And in the summer between 6th and 7th grade, through a Bible study a lady at my church personally invited me to, I discovered who Jesus really was. I committed my entire life to Him, and from then on I have been very cognizant of how much the Lord pulled me out of the PIT of fear and destruction.

The change in me was immediate. Just ask my Mom. I went from knowing about Jesus to really knowing Jesus. My whole life turned upside down, even though I grew up in a Christian home. My relationship with my parents went from being tense to harmonious. 

And this is my prayer for my children. If they have to live years of rebellion in order to really know brokenness – to really know, love and submit to Jesus- then so be it. Whatever it takes, because Christ is the ONLY thing that really matters in this life. The last thing I want is to have kids who are outwardly Christians but whose hearts are far from Christ.

And yet… how wonderful it would be if they do see their true depravity and choose to follow Christ from a young age.

Either way, I’m on my knees, crying out to God for the hearts of these beloved kiddos of mine. 

Lord, please help me to train up our children well. But more than anything, I pray that they would turn to you with humble hearts. 

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8

 

 

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Day 3. I’m Glad My Mother Let Me Fail.

When I was a kid, I spent about 75% of my growing up years outdoors. We lived in the country, where peach orchards mostly surrounded our house. We had a horse, a dog and two cats. We had a couple of neighbor kids too, all of whom were boys and around the same age as me and my older sister.

My mom would let me go outside and peruse the country on my bike or on our horse, Wally. I skated and climbed trees and built forts. I shot about a million basketball hoops in my neighbors’s front yard, and then in our own yard after I got my own hoop for my 9th birthday. The neighbor boys and I would build ramps for our bikes to jump off of and we would take turns flying over them on our bikes. My bike was a used but good quality girl’s Schwinn — a pink frame with a brightly flowered banana seat and “U” shaped handlebars. We built these ramps higher and higher and had great fun until one of the boys took a tall jump on my bike (I guess there’s no shame in riding a pink bike like mine you’re only 9?), landed incredibly wrong and broke his arm. Sadly, that put a swift end to our bike jumps that summer!

My childhood was a little messy at times, but I had a Mom who gave me guidelines and set boundaries and then set me free to play and master all sorts of skills outside. She was in no way a helicopter parent, nor was she ruled by fear. At the same time she was intolerant of disrespectful behavior and was constantly on me for my “attitudes.” She and I battled a lot over this issue until the Lord saved me when I was 12. From that time on, I remember very few battles with my mom, and my Mom still marvels at how much the Holy Spirit transformed me quite immediately following my conversion.

Now that I’m a Mom, I find myself looking back at my childhood through a new set of lenses. I have great respect for my Mom, who worked full time from home with 4 kids, one of which was disabled. I don’t know how she did it, but she carried on well and still does as she cares for my disabled sister.

She let me make mistakes and she let me fail, often. I still remember sitting on my bed in my room, sobbing my eyes out. I was 11, and I had just gotten kicked out of horse back riding lessons. I had my side of the story, and some of it made sense at the time, I guess; but the bottom line was that I had given up, and that I was stubborn. When my Mom came to pick me up from riding lessons that day, my instructor told her that she couldn’t teach me anymore. I was officially expelled. My Mom didn’t try to fix the situation or make excuses for me. We got in the car and came home, and I was sent directly to my room. Later, my mom calmly came in, sat down on my bed, and told me how utterly disappointed she was in me. I’ll never forget it, because I felt utterly disappointed with myself as well! I had to grapple with that shame, and although it brought a lot of despair at the time, it contributed greatly toward propelling me straight to Jesus.

She also let me fail in piano lessons (also kicked out), school (not entire grades, but in several projects and tests), and in friendships. She let me learn from my mistakes. And for a driven, people-pleasing person like me, I still remember a bit of the ache of rejection that came from those failures. But even more so, I remember the lessons that I learned.

So when I think back to my childhood, I’m thankful for my Mom, who undoubtedly had way more on her plate than I ever realized as a child. I’m thankful that I wasn’t ever coddled and that I rarely ever got away with stuff, because my mother happened to be incredibly perceptive (I just thought she really DID have eyes on the back of her head!). I’m thankful that she let me run around and play without hovering. And I’m thankful that, as much as it hurt, she let me fail. Because I would quickly discover that there was nothing on this planet but Jesus that could heal those wounds.

 

 

 

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Why I’m Glad Postpartum Blues Happened to Me

Two weeks have whirled by since Rachel’s birth. It’s amazing how much easier taking a newborn home from the hospital was this time around. For the most part it was a breeze, until the postpartum blues hit with sudden intensity. We were released from the hospital in the morning and I was elated to be going home and to be able to see Josh again. But as we sat at the table eating the nice lunch my sister had prepared for us, the tears came and they wouldn’t stop. Throughout the next nine days, although there were periods of happiness and relative normalcy, eventually my mood would change and the tears would come back.

It’s really a form of depression, but they call it the “blues” because it’s only supposed to be temporary– two weeks after delivery or less. After two weeks of the blues, it’s then called postpartum depression.

At the time it seemed incredibly unfair. Here we had overcome infertility and stage 4 endometriosis, a subchorionic bleed, pregnancy induced cholestasis, and a preterm delivery –and how did it all go? We ended up discharged from the hospital two days after delivery with a healthy beautiful baby girl. There were zero complications — I couldn’t have even asked for a better experience! Yet when I should have felt elated by how well things went, I felt overwhelmed and depressed.

I only had postpartum blues for ten days, but trust me — every day my husband and I made it a priority to get my mental health back into shape. The first thing I did was exercise. The day I got home from the hospital my sister suggested we go for a walk and I found that even though I had just given birth 48 hours prior, I felt totally fine! So began the daily walks in which I listened to sermons, prayed, and just enjoyed the cooler fall weather. Even though the blues are gone now, I’ve kept it up and I look forward to my walk every day. I also read that omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D3 help with depression so I started taking those as well. Lastly, my family pitched in and supported me through it. My older sister called daily to check in with me. My mom made extra trips to visit us and we made fall wreaths and apple pie together and bought Rachel some baby clothes. My little sister visited on the weekends. They were all praying for and with me, and it made a huge difference.

I didn’t expect it, but the postpartum blues brought about some better changes in my life. My sister and I decided to fast from facebook for a while — at least a month. I’m taking time to pray not just during my walks but also while nursing Rachel. I’ve been reading more and really just enjoying a deeper thought and prayer life and less distraction. As I have been more intentionally seeking the Lord, I’ve noticed a greater satisfaction and contentment with my life.

Postpartum blues aren’t all that uncommon, but I guess I had a bit of a severe case while it lasted for those ten days. I can’t imagine the poor mamas that cope with depression for weeks or months after their babies are born. My heart goes out to them. But I’m learning again and again that God loves to stretch and grow us through hard situations– growth that can’t happen when there is less need to desperately cling to Christ.

So, now that it’s over, I’m thankful for the changes postpartum blues brought about in my life. And I’m thankful for these two kiddos!

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The Hardest Day of the Year

At the brink of Mother’s Day comes Joshua’s 2 month-old birthday.

And I am undone. Memories of past Mother’s days filter through my mind. Images of church baby dedications come to focus. I hear the bursting applause celebrating all the mothers standing around me. A father holding a small child on my left. An expectant mother on my right. My own flat belly in view, void of children. I am left with the undeniable feeling of utter inadequacy and sorrow. Tears pooling, then falling.

As the memory fades, I think it’s safe to say that Mother’s day used to be the hardest day of the year for me.

I haven’t made it through an entire church service on mother’s day in three years. I always went into it with a light heart and the desire to honor my mother. But as the day unfolded, I was a tear-laden, sorrowful mess. The ache and sadness of being barren struck the deepest on Mother’s day. I desperately wanted to be a mother and to experience all that came with the title.

I spent some time on the phone today with a friend who’s in the same shoes I was in. My heart aches for her and her situation. She is facing the same familiar infertility crossroads and praying about the next step. Just in time for Mother’s day. And did I mention that she just got the news today that a good friend of hers is expecting?

And even though I’m no longer struggling with infertility, this struggle is no light skirmish. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that infertility can be a full-on battle, and it will suck every last ounce of hope and happiness from you if you are not careful. When I was going through infertility, I had to ask myself– again and again– Is Christ enough in my life? Children or no children, will I take Him at His Word and trust that He is sufficient? Will I refuse to make an idol out of having children? (Because it won’t happen passively.) Will I choose to believe that I will have joy and peace if I don’t have a future of being a mother?

I reminded my friend that sometimes being joyful is a really hard choice we have to make while going through infertility trials. And sometimes we have to choose to be hopeful about our future, even though all we may be feeling is despair. But we cannot let feelings dictate our lives, as hard as it may be when we feel like we’re only sinking into a pit of hopelessness.

I probably felt hopeless about our situation a thousand times during the years that I struggled with infertility. I failed many times to choose to be hopeful. So I do know how hard it is. But choosing to despair is never the better choice. It will take you to paths you do not want travel on, trust me.

I don’t know what the future holds, but if there’s something I’ve learned through this experience, it’s that God is a God of surprises. I never expected to be able to have children. We went through IVF and I was so certain that I wouldn’t get pregnant that I never even blogged about it. I suspected that I was headed for a hysterectomy. It was a terrifying time for me. I pleaded with God for a child, but I knew I could never “expect” God to bless me in that way. I don’t deserve children (or anything good for that matter). But God was gracious, because that is His nature and His character. Even if He didn’t bless me with a child, He would still shower mercies upon me. Just read my previous (pre-baby) blog posts for evidence of that!

Last year during Mother’s day I wouldn’t have expected that in a year’s time I would be typing these words as our precious son sleeps peacefully in his crib. But Joshua is not my peace, my fulfillment, or my hope in this life. Christ is. And if Mother’s day is a bone of contention in your life (like it was in mine), make the day about Christ. Celebrate His goodness and His perfect love for you. Hope in Him. Place your future in His hands.

Because all else will fail you. But Christ never will.

Happy Christ Day!

 

 

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