Wednesday, March 30, 2011

From the Archives: Confessions of a Not-So-Super-Mom: Part Uno

This was written last year shortly after Elliott was born. I'll be posting Part Dos soon so wanted to re-post this one as a refresher before you hear more details of my awesomeness as a mom over the last year :)

I would say that I threw away all my parenting books, but the fact is I never bought them to begin with.

I didn't even crack the pages of What to Expect When You're Expecting and not once did I step foot into a Lamaze class. My only experience with children was the few times I'd held my out-of-town cousins when they were babies and I had been quick to pass them off at the slightest grunt or stinky diaper discovery.

I was destined to be a bad mom.

I got off on the wrong foot from the beginning when I gained ** lbs (yea, you wish you knew ;) during the pregnancy because I gave into my cravings for sugar and Taco Bell bean burritos and found it difficult to exercise with a growing waistline and waining energy level. I didn't take my multi-vitamins religiously and I was known to drink some coffee on more than one occasion.

Never once did I read to my child en utero and didn't bother to put headphones over my belly to fill his ears with Beethoven's 9th.

Surely my child was doomed.

I ate lunch meat without heating it and I'm certain I consumed some Crystal Light at some point during that 9 month stretch. I travelled out of the country twice and even did a 2,000 mile road trip at eight and a half months.

Someone should have called Child Protective Services and had them standing by.

As the delivery date approached, I was suddenly confronted with the controversy of hospital deliveries vs. birthing centers and didn't even know there was a dispute over epidurals.

Immediately I began filling my mind with all the things I had to do in order to be a "good mom" and ensure my child didn't become scarred for life in the first few moments after his delivery when he was surrounded by beeping machines and didn't make immediate contact with his mother's skin. I was convinced my child would arrive with only 7 fingers and possibly no toes at all given my lack of attention to what made for a "healthy" pregnancy.

Stories of superwomen who endured the hard labor pains like champs and didn't think twice--make that once--about anything to ease the pain consumed me as I convinced myself if I didn't do it that way, I was an indisputable failure as a woman. After all, we were "made to do this"!

You can then imagine my dilemma when my doctor suggested I be induced because my hips hadn't shifted. "Induction" is almost a curse word these days. The controversy is merciless. I nearly gave myself an ulcer before deciding to heed my doctors advice. After scheduling my induction I beat myself up wondering if I had done the right thing. My reasoning seemed to fall on skeptical ears when I would suggest that God had given doctors wisdom and my doctor had certainly gained more experience in this than I had.

This poor child.

So, I had made my decision but thought I would suffice those critics by going "all natural". Bring it on labor pain! After all, women had done it for hundreds of years and that pain was nothing for my steel resolve!

Until I hit 6cm, the contractions where a minute long every two minutes and I was told it'd likely be another 5-6 hours followed by 2 hours of pushing. At that point, I was on the verge of cussing if they didn't do something quick!

So an epidural it was and to make matters worse, I didn't feel a twinge of guilt as I lay there within moments of getting my "happy juice" free of the torment that I had endured only moments before.

What was wrong with me? I should have been guilt-ridden!

To top it all off, my son was stubborn as a horse and refused to drop. After 13 hours of labor came the dreaded words. The words that everyone had said would happened if I weas induced. The words that would "deprive me of my birthing experience". The words that would no doubt make my son a rebellious, D-student one day because his mother had failed to do what women were made to do.

I would have a cesarean section.

So they wheeled me to the OR, prepped me for surgery, and asked if I was ready. "Ready as I'll ever be," I thought to myself. Just minutes later I was staring at my little boy for the first time as the doctor held him in front of me. But within seconds he was taken to a little table to be examined, poked, and prodded. This child would no doubt be scarred. After all, he wasn't held by his mother for at least the first 45 minutes and who knows what was going through his mind. He probably thought he wasn't loved and immediately got a complex that was irreversible and.........................

Those were my thoughts.

But the moment I held that boy in my arms, those thoughts were out the window. Every one of them. He was perfect. Ten fingers, ten toes. His heart was good. His lungs were strong. He had survived and arrived a healthy baby despite my lack of following "the rules". Despite my lack of reading and class taking. Despite my worries and doubts. He had made it.

That's when it hit me. It wasn't me who was making this baby. It wasn't me who was calling the shots and forming his little body. It wasn't up to me how he arrived. There was a much Higher Power at work and no book reading or rule following could alter that.

I didn't go wrong with not following the modern day idea of the ideal pregnancy. Women had healthy babies long before these ideas and rules surfaced and the human race is proof of that. But where I went wrong was not having faith in the hands of the Almighty God. I doubted HIS ability to give us a healthy baby boy when I doubted my ability to carry him.

Sure there are important precautions that we should take. God did give us brains. But I learned a lot about pregnancy and being a mom and it didn't come from the experts. It came from holding that boy in my arms and realizing he was God's.

I just get the privilege of loving him as his Mama. And no expert mom or book can change that.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday: God's Goodness

In the past two months espcially, I have been overwhelmed by God's goodness. He has used so many people to bless us in so many ways. I don't understand why. But I think that's the point.

He's just good like that.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Anxiously Awaiting?

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
2 Timothy 4:8

Yesterday was not a very good day. Just one of those days when everything seems to go wrong all at once on every level. Obviously, it could have been worse, but it's the little things that satan likes to get you with.

Any-who, one of the [many] things was Richard's flights back from Jamaica. He has been away from home since February 24 and, even though I was with him for about a week of that time, it's been a looong couple of weeks. There have been a lot of good times, but sometimes traveling can just wear you down. I think all of the exhaustion from the past couple of weeks culminated into yesterday. He first flight was delayed which caused him to miss his second flight which put him on a later flight... whew! He finally made it in last night around 8:45pm and as I sat in my car hoping each person that walked out of the airport doors would be him, I felt a little tugging at my heart from the Holy Spirit....

Am I that anxious for the return of the Lord?

Do I look forward to the day that He breaks through the clouds and calls us to be with Him forever?

Maybe the more important question is: Will I be ready? Will you be ready?

I know that I'm ready in the sense of my eternal destination, but would God be pleased with how I am spending my life right now? What am I doing for His Kingdom? How am I growing closer to Him?

When Richard finally came out my heart skipped a beat. He got in the car and kissed me and then kissed Elliott and we talked the whole way home about his trip and about Elliott and all the things he had missed while he was gone. I thought to myself, "Will my meeting with Christ be this way? Will we be in such close communion and have such sweet fellowship?"

 Food for thought, but more than that it's a challenge to my soul.

Anxiously Awaiting?

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
2 Timothy 4:8

Yesterday was not a very good day. Just one of those days when everything seems to go wrong all at once on every level. Obviously, it could have been worse, but it's the little things that satan likes to get you with.

Any-who, one of the [many] things was Richard's flights back from Jamaica. He has been away from home since February 24 and, even though I was with him for about a week of that time, it's been a looong couple of weeks. There have been a lot of good times, but sometimes traveling can just wear you down. I think all of the exhaustion from the past couple of weeks culminated into yesterday. He first flight was delayed which caused him to miss his second flight which put him on a later flight... whew! He finally made it in last night around 8:45pm and as I sat in my car hoping each person that walked out of the airport doors would be him, I felt a little tugging at my heart from the Holy Spirit....

Am I that anxious for the return of the Lord?

Do I look forward to the day that He breaks through the clouds and calls us to be with Him forever?

Maybe the more important question is: Will I be ready? Will you be ready?

I know that I'm ready in the sense of my eternal destination, but would God be pleased with how I am spending my life right now? What am I doing for His Kingdom? How am I growing closer to Him?

When Richard finally came out my heart skipped a beat. He got in the car and kissed me and then kissed Elliott and we talked the whole way home about his trip and about Elliott and all the things he had missed while he was gone. I thought to myself, "Will my meeting with Christ be this way? Will we be in such close communion and have such sweet fellowship?"

 Food for thought, but more than that it's a challenge to my soul.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We Probably Could End World Hunger... But....

I was listening to one of our local Christian radio stations the other day when I heard something that made me say, "Hmmm..." but not in a good way.

It startled me.

I missed the initial question asked by a listener, but from the answer it had something to do with how Christians spend their resources and whether or not it's "ok" to do things like the Music Boat Cruise, a Christian cruise featuring several Christian music artists. I turned up the radio, interested in how the host would answer.

It went something like this:

"I guess we all know that there is more that we can do, but it's not like any of us are going to have our water turned off just because there are people in the world without water. No one does that. I mean, my family is going to go on vacation this year and we'll do things we like to do. I think God looks at your heart and as long as we're doing something.... I mean if we don't sponsor any children, then that's a problem. But as long as we're doing something...."

And here's the kicker:

"I mean, we probably could end world hunger if we never did anything we wanted to do!"

That's the part where, as I mentioned before, I said, "Hmmm".

That's a far cry from what we see in Acts 2.44-47:
"And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."

So that begs the question, what if the Apostles had said, "Well, we probably could spread this good news, but then we wouldn't be able to do anything for ourselves. Besides, God looks at our hearts."

Don't think that would have led to the Lord "adding to their number day by day those who were being saved."

So, while I was initially startled that this came from the mouth of a DJ on a Christian station, my next thought was, "Isn't that the attitude I have?"

Maybe I don't vocalize it like this guy, but there are a lot of areas in my life that say it loud and clear.

What would God be doing through me if I weren't so selfish?

What If We Don't Die Young?

I'm a worrier. It's something I've struggled with as far back as I can remember.

For example, one time in fourth grade, a girl came into our class saying that she was late because there was a car wreck on her way to school and the traffic was backed up. I burst into tears because I just knew that that was my mom and that she was hurt and they had to rush her to the hospital and.... Yeah. I was nine and I worried that intensely. (By the way, it wasn't my mom.)


Anyway, the other day I tried a little "reverse worrying". It went something like this:

What if something bad doesn't happen to my family?
What if Richard doesn't get in a plane crash?
What if Elliott does stay healthy?
What if we are able to make first contact with a people group and they receive the Gospel?
What if we do get the rest of our support raised and go to the field next spring full time?
What if my family doesn't ever face tragedy?
What if I don't die young?

And the list continued. Why did I do this?

Because I realized that I have no control either way so it makes just as much sense to worry about "good" things happening.

And what if I do spend the rest of my life worrying and when I get to the end I realize that God was in control all along?

I have a feeling that would be a very embarrassing thing to stand in front of an all-powerful God who already promised He'd never leave us or forsake us and try to explain why I worried so, so much.



"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13.5




"But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20.24
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