Posts tagged ‘Love’

A Letter to Myself

When putting away the Christmas clutter decorations, I wrote a letter to pack along with them and open next December. I know it will be new again, and I won’t remember writing it, because I wrote a grocery list last week and I didn’t remember anything on that by the time I get to the store.

Dear Me,

You’re looking well.

It’s all over. Another holiday season, another chapter, another year. Your tree was pretty bad. Seriously. Lights on half the tree is not better than “none of the tree.” It’s not usually a choice like that. I know that lights go on sale for 50% off on Boxing Day, but then you bought two packs of lights. If you would have just bought one box of lights three weeks before, you wouldn’t have as much stuff to put away now, and people wouldn’t look at you all sad when they see your tree.

I’m glad you took the whole month off school. It was busy enough! I’m glad you took them to do a few service projects, so that they can be a light to others (not 50% of a light, like your tree) and to teach them the world is much bigger than they are. Metaphorically and literally. They won’t forget that. Now try to be as courageous as your kids- people might not call you “so adorable!” but they may listen and you can be a light too. (Again, a WHOLE light. Not half.) It’s easy to hide behind their cuteness, but make sure you model evangelism and a “fear not” attitude. They will catch on one day, when you are always in the background. They will follow.

The gifts went well. Three each is enough. Every year you get all worried that it’s not enough, that other kids get more, blah, blah, blah. THEY LOVED IT. The gifts were thoughtful, in budget and you didn’t hurt yourself on the sewing machine. Well done.

The Christmas books, movies and activities were fun. You didn’t do all of Truth in the Tinsel, but your kids do not all like crafts, and don’t like them every day. It’s a beautiful thought to make a Christmas ornament each DAY of Advent, with part of the story to go along with it, but you have four kids. Four children X 24 Days= 96 ornaments in total. Are you really just trying to make up for the lack of lights? Either way, they had fun with what we did. Maybe next year you’ll do a couple more. Who cares? Not them.

The family Advent went WAY better than you thought. Special Sunday dinners, reading a litany and lighting candles in your wreath was something all the kids looked forward to. But the way you introduced it to your handsome hubby (Remember? “Hey! We’re going to do this.”) left a lot to be desired. If you have something you want to do as a family, present your ideas thoroughly and don’t get absolutely furious if he doesn’t love them as much as you in the first ten seconds. Good grief. Give the guy a break. Your homemade wreath was fun to make, even if it doesn’t look as nice as you wanted. I’m just proud you didn’t spend any money, and used stuff from around the house. Maybe next year you can find a special one to keep from year to year (and remember, November 30 is NOT the day to start looking!)

The baking. There’s something special about filling the house with yummy smells, and mixing cookie batter with the kids. Flour on their noses, accidentally spilling the chocolate chips in the bowl. Christmas music in the background; making up beautiful platters to bring to all your parties. What are you even talking about?! That didn’t happen. You used a hand mixer once, but other than that, there was not a square/cookie/snickerdoodle/chocolate yum yum to be found in your house. Who cares? Use the excuse that you’re trying to eat healthy or something. No one cares. The kids didn’t, and you were actually a little more peaceful than last year.

The decorating (other than your tree) was fine. Definitely mediocre at best, but you don’t care about that anyways, so why pretend like you do? It took way less time to put it all away in the end.

The date night with HH for dinner and the last bit of gifts was awesome. Do that again. Don’t forget to make his Christmas fun and special too (even if he doesn’t jump up and down like the kids do.)

All in all, I think this year went well. You took time to prepare Him room- in your heart and in your home. The little things either happened, or they didn’t, but they were little anyways. You bulldozed your way through a few things it would have been better to ponder in your heart, but that’s what it’s all about. He came for you just as much as He came for your babies. Accept His grace, His mercy and start fresh again. Marvel over the fact that a baby has saved you.

If I can give you any advice next season, while I am still fresh from this one:

  1. *If something is pushing you or pulling you along, and it’s not Jesus, cut it out.
  2. *If you are staying up late to make something magical the next day, you will just ruin it with your fatigue and lack of energy. Don’t do it.
  3. *Pick a couple things and do them well, and with love. It’s better than a lot of things rushed through and done with impatience.
  4. *Smile more.
  5. *Don’t be embarrassed when you cry through the Christmas songs. Your soul has felt it’s worth!

Love always, your biggest enemy your friend,

Me.

P.S. Buying all your gifts online so that you only went out once- DO THAT AGAIN.

Sandra

How about you? What did you learn (maybe the hard way) this year? What saved you time or heartache? What is the most important thing to remember about Christmas with little kids? I’d love to hear from you!

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Love heals.

Well, it’s been two weeks and two days since we lost our baby. I can’t believe the outpouring of love and support that I’ve felt from friends, far and wide. I also can’t believe how many people have been touched by the loss of a miscarriage. One in four pregnancies end this way. I even know a bunch of women who have suffered multiple miscarriages, and by multiple, I mean more than three or four.

So if it’s this common, we need to equip ourselves with tools we can use when a friend, co-worker or someone we know goes through it. Not only that, but in my previous post I touched on some of the stupid things people said, and I don’t want that to be what’s left in everyone’s mind. I can’t believe how loved we are, by our Father, and our friends.

So what can we do when someone loses their baby, before they see their face? I have asked a few of my close friends who have gone through this, and these are the most overwhelming parallels:

1. Acknowledge it.

It’s easy to celebrate and go through the happy times with family and friends. Equally important is being there in the hard times. Just say something. Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing. If you do, say sorry and get over it. It’s way better to say something, than nothing. I can’t believe how many facebook messages and texts I got. They literally sustained me. Knowing that there were people praying and thinking of me, and that knew I was sad and were sad for me made a huge difference. I even got a few phone calls, though I didn’t answer the phone. But I saw it, and it meant so much. I can’t say this enough: Acknowledge the loss. Text, phone, facebook, carrier pigeon: whatever the case may be, if there is someone in your family or circle that is going through a loss, you say something. One said, “Suffering people don’t need space, they need love. . . when we fail to acknowledge, we run the risk of pretending that the suffering did not happen, which is entirely false. Our sufferings are real, and if we are helped through our loss, we have a greater opportunity of turning the suffering into our ever needed desire for growth in holiness.” Always err on the side of love, not space.

2. Be there

To talk, hug, etc. Just let them know you are available, whether they take you up on it or not. Just knowing that you are a safe place to vent, cry or sit beside makes the difference between being alone in your darkest moments, or being loved unconditionally. One of my closest friends texted me on and off the next week, just to say hi and check in. I knew that I was being prayed for, and cared for. Our midwife was AMAZING. She sat with me at the hospital when I was going for final bloodwork. She responded to emails right away with questions I had. She even called me at 9:00 pm to let me know the results, so I wouldn’t have to wait till the next day. She let me cry without feeling stupid, and told me to call whenever I wanted to chat. Honestly, I know I go on about midwives, but you just can’t compare.

3. Shower with love

We were blessed by meals, flowers, gifts. I am still in shock. The meals gave me a huge break in the day, especially when I was in so much pain. Chopped and fresh veggies were also a huge blessing. I had the most annoying, brutal afterpains for almost a week. Having fresh stuff in the house to throw at the kids made life easier.  One of my friends made me a cheesecake with my name on it. A friend stopped by just to hug, and brought beautiful flowers. Cards, visits (if they are wanted), flowers on the table, all of this goes back to the first thing we should do: Acknowledge the loss.

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4. Let them grieve. Don’t offer platitudes.

When a friend dies, no one says, “Well, at least you have other friends!” Or, “You can always make a new one.” There is nothing wrong, and everything right, about grieving over your baby that died. Allow them that. Don’t try to make it better by pointing out blessings. Jesus grieved over the loss of his friend. Grief is a beautiful way of acknowledging life, and a life lost. If you accidentally say something along the lines of trying to help them get over it, or to see the “bright side,” realize what you’re doing and say sorry. Then be quiet and cry with them. “Grief is not lessened by minimizing the value of the life.” Aptly put.

5. Know that no grief is the same, and there’s no time limit.

It can strike at the weirdest times. Years later, seeing a child at the age your baby would be can bring it all back up to the surface. Obviously I’m not at that place, but hearing from other women tells me that most of all, our friends just want permission to be real. To feel pain and grief and hurt, and not pretend it’s not there because it’s been a few months or years since the loss. We are created to feel and love. God didn’t make a mistake there. If a joke that you heard or funny story you lived years ago still has the power to make you laugh ten years later, so too the memory of the baby you lost can still make you cry and feel the hurt just like yesterday.

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6. Genuine help for the friend who’s miscarried:

Some books that have been recommended include Empty Arms, Mommy, Please Don’t Cry and Streams in the Desert. I haven’t read them all, but I’m interested because they have helped friends. Obviously the Bible is full of hope. I’m so thankful I know where our baby is. This song has been hugely helpful to me, and this one has been suggested by a friend who’s been there. Don’t watch that one with makeup on.

Also, a ceremony can also be a good way for closure. A lady whom I treasure has been through six miscarriages. She spoke of having her own ceremony, with a balloon for each baby. Eventually, she had to cut the string of each balloon and let them fly away. She said that it was like cutting steel; but it helped her in letting go.

Another lady spoke of sending white roses down the river; watching the water carry them further and further away. Being surrounded by nature in its rawest form can be such a meaningful way to say goodbye.

roses

And one last strong woman spoke of asking Jesus to show her the four babies she lost. “Healing truly came when I asked Jesus to show them to me and He showed me a picture of these 4 little boys sitting in His lap – all different ages – big brown eyes – blond curls!! It was beautiful!! They looked so happy! I know they are waiting for me….”

It is so easy to love each other in the happy times; to attend weddings, celebrate with showers, host a dinner because of a new home. Let’s not shy away in the dark times, but be friends and family through it all, not being afraid of the beauty of deep love, emotion and grief. This is where love is.

Thank you for everyone who’s prayed or loved on us. We’re okay. Super sad, but okay. Today the pretty one was sitting on the floor crying. Impatiently I asked, “What’s the matter?” 

She replied, “I just miss my baby.”

I get it, girl.

I know there’s a plan. I’m not mad. 

Darn, I just miss my baby.

Quick! Your Tolerance is Showing!

Sometimes the ones that preach tolerance the most, actually are the quickest to judge and condemn.

Oh, do I love Facebook. It is, literally, my only outlet to the outside world on most days. Like, where grown ups are. I don’t know if your newsfeed looks like mine, but sometimes I get so angry, I have to get off of Facebook or I’ll say something. Would that be wrong? Would it be wrong to discuss opinions, beliefs, research, news, etc?

In a word. 

YES.

This is because some people post with only the goal to wound and hurt. They are not looking for discussion: they are looking to get a rise. To judge. To press buttons. If you even ask for a “why” as to what they have posted, or “why” they have a deep rooted bitterness against a whole establishment of people, or “why” they only accept evidence or news from biased news sources, you know what will happen.

You will be unleashing a toxic stream of words that will just go further than the original post, which is already offensive to hundreds, if not thousands of people. The black sludge of their accusations will be like none you’ve heard, and based on complete ignorance. You will be the one to stand in the gap between that anger, that condemnation, that judgement and usually, that error of their belief or opinion. And is it worth it?

I ask myself every day.

Is it worth it, to feel the brunt of their fury at whole groups of people and take it on yourself? Is it worth it, to raise your hand and say, “Hey! I’m kinda one of those people you hate! I know we’re ‘friends’ and all, but what you are saying, well, it is a complete slander against me and my family. And like, it hurts my feelings, you know? So, do you want to talk about what I believe, and where you are kinda relying on wrong info there? Or do you want to just resume hating ‘me’, because, I kinda have just as much evidence about what I’m saying as what you’re saying? Either way, it’s cool, yo’!”

It isn’t worth it. Nine times out of ten, it’s not. 

Now that’s “friendship,” in the year 2014. You have the right to post whatever your heart desires, to completely judge thousands of people with a single picture and then get mortally offended, angry and hurtful if someone so much as questions the validity of your stance. 

Please. Teach me how to love, respect and be tolerant to all people. I’m just not getting it.

Some say Facebook is a smokescreen of what real people are. That you can’t know what someone is really like down deep in their hearts based on their “likes,” posts, or “shares.” 

I beg to differ. Sometimes, I think you can see exactly who people are. And sometimes, it’s ugly.

Soaring Up the Stairs

Drip, drip., drip.

You know how annoying water dripping from a faucet is? I feel like that is my life right now. I am so blessed. I am married to an incredibly good-looking man who treats me so good. I have four healthy, beautiful children. I am a part of a church family that loves me no matter how much I mess up. I live in a home that is big enough for our needs, the cupboards are full, two vehicles are working. I have a few close friends whom I trust. What more could I ask for?

But I am getting so TIRED. The counters are always cluttered, no matter how many times I clean them off. The hampers are always full, even though I do laundry every day. There are always innocent-looking toys shaped like jagged glass on the floor. I will clean them up, but new ones fall from the ceiling before I finish. I spend days cleaning up. What is the point? It’s just going to get messy again.

After numerous meltdowns and crying on my Handsome Hubby’s shoulder, I realized I needed a break. But I don’t have anywhere to go, and where is he going to take all the kids for the few hours I need? I left the whole thing with him, and he came up with a God-inspired solution: I would stay home from church, and he would take the kids with him. Absolutely beautiful. Let me tell you, those kids were ready a little early this morning. I was on a mission.

I started scrapbooking our homeschool year, and got a few pictures cut out before our beautiful New One had a diaper malfunction on me. So I changed her, and started again. Well, now she needed to burp and go down for a nap. When it was all said and done, I think the 2 glorious hours I looked forward to evaporated into a broken up 30 minutes of frenzied cutting and pasting, until I ran out of photo tape. Fun, fun, fun!

The page I ended with turned out to be Valentine’s Day. We had a great day: fractions and math while making pancakes, hand/eye skills with cutting out hearts, creative writing while describing the things we love about each other. We also read 1 Corinthians 13 together, so I wrote that out on the page. Even if you are not an avid Bible reader, I know you’ve heard “Love is patient, love is kind. . . ” While reading, I put my name in the place of “love.” See, I have heard that this is a good idea to determine if you are living the way the God wants, seeing as how HE IS the God, and the Maker, of love. You know, 

I am patient, I am kind. I do not envy, I do not boast. I am not proud. I do not dishonour others, I am not self-seeking, I am not easily angered, I keep no record of wrongs. . .

PERFECT! I feel so much better now! Ugh. I suck, I suck. Lord, what is the POINT?

I always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere.

It is so easy to say those words. Hope. Persevere. What do they actually mean?

Hope: to desire with expectation of obtainment

Persevere: To persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The clean counters won’t remain. My house will not stay clean. I may not get the daily requirements of fruits and vegetables into these little mouths. The children will not always act and live the way that we are training them to. It is very easy to say that there is no point.

But I will have faith in this: God made me. Jesus loves me. The Holy Spirit is in me. 

I will have hope in this:  God has a plan for my life. He has a plan for the lives of our children. I may not know what the “point” is, and I may never know. I still don’t know how to fold all the towels exactly the same, or why it bothers me so much in the first place. But I believe that I am where I’m meant to be.

And I will love these children. I will love my husband. I will love my home. Even when I am so annoyed, impatient, tired.

Faith, Hope and Love will remain, even after this crazy month is over, after my bad attitudes fizzle, even after the kids grow up, even after I die. 

“Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:28-31

Oh, Lord, help me to soar, even when I’m too annoyed to walk up the stairs AGAIN.Image,

 

Well. I never professed to have it nailed. 

Ok, let’s rehash. First, know that ever since I posted the article on submission, I have done nothing but backpedal. It’s quite embarrassing, actually. But, my closing argument was that submissive women are just as strong as those who don’t. In fact, some might think stronger. I’ll let you decide that for yourself.

Ephesians 5:21-29 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Submission: Accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.

What does this look like in the year 2013? Women have made many strides since the Bible was written. We can vote, have high powered jobs, hold government office, and I don’t want to brag or anything, but I am now a person! I know, it’s great. But does the Bible change, even though society is virtually unrecognizable from those days?

I’m going to say, wholeheartedly and emphatically, NO.

So what does submission look like?

The biggest one for me: REALIZING THAT YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING

For real, I don’t. So why is it so hard to admit that? I mess up around our home every day. I’ll forget to set the timer. Leave a load of laundry in too long. Forget a child in timeout. Forget to pick up something at the store. Drive past the gas station, while on empty. Believe me, I could go on. These are just the things I FORGET. There’s also my mistakes: ignoring a child while I’m on the phone. Getting impatient with the Pretty One. Not following through on discipline when I just don’t want to fight. So why can I not allow my husband to do these things? At one time, and really, my natural state wants to nag him when he forgets his lunch at work. Or criticize him when he doesn’t handle the children like I would. At work, he is trusted with vehicles worth waaaaay more than the equity in our home. But I feel the need to look over his shoulder and say, “Well, you can cut his toast like that, but that’s not the way I would do it.” If we wonder why so many men feel the need to stay at work longer than they need to, look no further than the fact that men, in a lot of cases, are not welcome in their homes. They get yelled at when they help, and yelled at if they don’t. I know I am guilty of it, anyways.

MATCHING UP PRIORITIES

I can count on my two hands the amount of times that dinner was NOT ready when my handsome hubby got home from work. Seriously. He calls me when he leaves, I have it hot and ready when he gets home. The food, I mean. This was important to me, because all husbands want that, and it makes me a good wife. Right? NOPE! I’m realizing, now, years later, that he needs a shower at the end of a long day to ease into the hustle and bustle of our home. He is exhausted, and just needs a few minutes to clean up and get in Daddy mode. Huh. Kinda makes sense. Too bad I completely resented the fact that he didn’t seem to appreciate it. I told him to care and everything! Also, most days (the percentage was much higher before Baby #4, I think we’re now hovering around 70%) I had the house picked up when he got home. As in, nothing on the floors, toys picked up. Well. I can expect all the praise and accolades I want, but he would much prefer work shirts in his drawer, as opposed to still in the laundry basket (They were at least clean, okay?). So, now I write, with toys by my feet, coffee in hand, but, wait for it. . .  clean shirts in the drawer. It’s even easier. By adjusting my priorities to his, life is actually much simpler. Are all men like this? Have no idea. I’m only married to one. But it’s worth the question, “Hunny, what EXACTLY do you care most about?”

MAKING DECISIONS

Here’s the one we’ve all been waiting for. . . . letting him make decisions! We can say that we’re equal and all that, but when it comes to making decisions, especially with money, do we let our husbands? When faced with a decision, how many of us put in our two cents (or whatever it’s worth, the penny’s gone, and if you round down. . . ) and then get angry if they don’t listen to us? Or give them the silent treatment, or wait for them to fail so we can say, “I told you so!” That doesn’t seem like equal to me. I think that puts the pendulum totally on our side: if they don’t follow what we believe to be right, we get resentful. And I don’t know if you know the proverb about that, but a troublesome wife is compared to a leaky roof. Eek. That’s pretty annoying. And expensive. I don’t want him to be annoyed by my “having to have it my way.” I love him. I want him to want to be around me. Of course, in saying this, please realize that I am totally guilty of this. Actually, two days after my original post on submission, I blew it pretty good on this one. My HH made a purchase, without consulting me (he does not HAVE to.) I didn’t freak out or anything, but, um, my displeasure was known to all, believe you me. I gave him a good dose of girly mama attitude, but I didn’t yell or say anything straight out (NOT AN ACCURATE PICTURE OF BIBLICAL SUBMISSION). Well, wouldn’t you know. He worked hard, and ended up not having to pay for the purchase at all. Simple as that. It was given to him freely. Huh. If I would have worked through what I believe and truly feel in my heart before coming to rash judgments and, umm, emoting, I would have left it to him and God, and I would have been so blessed by it. But now, I was wrong and I had to apologize. Living and learning, I guess. I wish I would have knocked that one out of the park, and trusted him enough to mess up. See, I have found that there are TWO end results in letting my HH make decisions:

1. He is wrong. And he’s allowed to be. I am, all the time. I would much rather give him the grace and space to make mistakes in his own right, then ever stand in his way of something he believes in, or to regret something because of me.  If he messes up on his own, he is far more likely to apologize, not do it again, and learn from his mistakes. If I never let him take risks, either he won’t, and regret it, or he will, and will be too ashamed to come to me. I love him. I love him through the good and the bad. The thought of him not coming to me when he’s disappointed, and having to carry it on his own, breaks my heart.

2. He is right. And we, the family, are blessed by his decision, his knowledge and his leadership. ‘Nuff said.

Obviously, I am working on this one. Case in point. I totaled our car, and did NOT want another one. Mostly, I didn’t want to sell our holiday trailer to pay for it, because I love “camping” with the family as much as we can. He found a good deal, and he asked how I felt. I told him, truthfully, that I didn’t want a vehicle for the sake of our trailer. He overruled me. He doesn’t want me out in the country without being able to leave if there’s a problem. With the four kids, we can’t just ask someone to pick us up. So, he bought a car. It cost a little more than our other one, but it’s WAY better. The trunk’s bigger. Less mileage. Both fenders are painted. The speakers boom, almost like my old car. I love it. Yup. I was wrong. He was right. Good thing he listened to what he knew was better for us, rather than me.

PUTTING HIM AT THE FRONT

I’m not talking about priorities here (although I do have a strong opinion on that too.) I mean, letting him protect us. Not long ago we had problems with someone. It was bad. Our hearts were broken. There were many phone calls, screaming, crying, arguing, fighting. I dealt with it, to protect my HH. I would answer the phone, I would debate, argue, everything, to try and make them see how we felt. After one conversation with our pastor’s wife, I realized that I was trying to do what my HH is supposed to do. I let him handle it. He calmly laid down rules with this person. Problem solved. Completely. The crying, screaming, everything was over. I stopped making the situation worse by trying to make it better. He just eliminated the situation, and all relationships were restored within months. Even on facebook, I have a lot of old friends, and a lot of old guy friends. By putting my HH’s name before mine, I know that some people, guys especially,  think twice about what they say to me. They don’t know who they are talking with. I am not put in uncomfortable situations. I know one would say, just don’t be friends with them! However, I know that a few have been blessed by our family and our relationship, because we are SO MUCH different than how we used to be. I want to be a light to the world. But to do that, I need to be protected and sheltered by my husband. This goes hand in hand with. . .

LETTING HIM SHELTER ME

Especially, from myself. Up until a few years ago, seriously, I will commit to anything. And crying and not sleeping, I will follow through. I love to do things, to schedule things, head up and organize things. At the expense of myself, for sure. So now, I ask him. When I was due for the Pretty One, I asked him if I could organize VBS. I was due on the Monday of the program, and I went overdue with the baby before. . . and he said no. I am so darn glad. Then my mom, the other main leader, had a stroke, and the whole thing was cancelled. You know what? Life went on. My sanity remained intact, or at least at the level it was before. As it turned out, I ended up having our little girl the day before it was to start. Imagine how plain dumb that is? There is so much blessing in allowing him to decide my schedule. Obviously, a lot of it falls on me. But when the going gets tough, if I stop jerking at the chain, it is so much smoother. A couple months ago, when I was still pregnant, we were supposed to go downtown for ministry. I was so tired, and just over my head in life. He came home and said, I already cancelled it. All of a sudden, a weight went off my shoulder with a whoooosh. What a way to prove how much he loves me, and our family. If he would have “asked” me before cancelling, I would have said no. I hate not following through with what I say I would do. But, he knew ultimately what was best. He totally saves me from myself.

Please know, I am not a theologian. But I can read, and this is what it says to me. Now, to me, this is only the first part of the verse. As in, “Submit yourselves to your own husband.” There’s more to it than just a few nice and easy bullet points. It says, “as unto the Lord.” Oh boy. Also, this does not talk about what it means if you positively know that your husband is not listening to God, or have your best interest at heart. And mercy, that makes me sad. I’m praying about it.

What do you think? What areas do you struggle with? What irks you about all this? Love to hear your thoughts! Please, fight me. I don’t know everything. How many times do I have to say that?!?

What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Expecting

This is just for fun! Lucky for most strangers in town, I love Jesus, and do not reply as I do here. And again, this is from STRANGERS. I don’t know if I live in a filter-less town, or that the affliction of saying the first thing that pops into your head to random people is normal. Either way, just some silly things that my husband has had to hear all about since I started showing.

#9: You’re pregnant again? Have you figured out what causes that?

       No, please enlighten me. As a matter of fact, could you show diagrams?

#8: You’re [ x months along]? You are so small!  

        Really? You think I’m this size normally?

#7: ALL these children are yours? [with an incredulous/shocked face]

         No, but we live in the country. It’s common practice for people to drop off strays, and once you start feeding them. . . 

#6: How are you going to afford all of them?

      We plan to work them from an early age. Or live off the system. As a matter of fact, could you spot me a twenty?

#5: You’re going to have your hands full!

       And I notice yours are empty. Could you please grab my purse/diaper bag/child #2?

#4: How are you going to handle them all?

      Option 1. Leashes.

      Option 2. We kidnapped Mary Poppins, and refuse to give her up.

      Option 3. I haven’t thought that far ahead. Meh.

      Option 4. I expect the system to cover all our shortcomings.

#3: So, are you guys DONE now?

       Well, we are still praying about birth control and it’s effects on the modern day family and marriage in all of society. I know for me, personally, I don’t agree with almost all of the options, although I am learning more about Natural Family Planning. My husband is still praying about it, and as the head of our home, I trust him, ultimately, with whatever he decides. What kind of birth control are you using? How do you and your husband feel about that? Do you have an email where I can reach you to let you know our decision?

#2: What are you going to DO with them all?

       We plan on voting out the least popular one at the end of the season. It works on Big Brother, and that is certainly an accurate depiction of a household.

#1: What are you? Nuts?

      Yes. Extremely. Over-the-top-crazy-in-love with our children. 

These are all things that I’ve heard in the past six months or so. And my handsome hubby is very proud that I never actually responded the way I did here! For real. He told me he was, and he had a kind of worried face. It’s been very hard to not sarcastically lash out and say what I am feeling, because this touches a nerve deep inside.

CHILDREN ARE GIFTS FROM GOD.

I cannot express that enough. Capslocks and BOLD do not do it. I know who I am. I know my faults, my history, the things I do wrong. I do not deserve the perfect, beautiful children we have. Society doesn’t owe me children.They are not possessions, things that we own or control. Every single one that God has blessed us with is a gift. However, there are no guarantees: I have watched some friends go through the loss of a child, and the heartbreak that I simply can’t imagine. When we took each of our babies home from the hospital, no nurse followed us out giving us a guarantee of life through age 70, or a receipt stating that there will be no special needs that will bring us to our knees in desperation. The fact that we have THREE children who are healthy is enough for me to raise my hands to the heavens in deep thankfulness. That doesn’t mean that I can expect it forever, or that our fourth one will be the same. I still have no idea what our parenting journey will bring; how our children will break our hearts, make us proud, show us Jesus. I only know that I need Him every step of the way, because I want so badly to be the Mom He was looking for when He gave them to us. Each of our children are so different, and so filled with purpose. I can’t do the same for one as I do for the other. Their temperaments, strengths and weaknesses are completely unique to just them. The plans that God has for them are completely their own; He is going to do things with our children that are going to petrify me. I am going to want to shield them, protect them, help them. He wants to mature them, grow them, bring them to Himself. I get to watch His love for all of mankind, from the outside. I get to see Him at work in their lives, before they can even see it. And it makes me see again how much He loves me. As much as I love these children with a passionate, all-consuming love, He loves them more, and He loves me more. 

 

So, we are anxiously awaiting the birth of Gift #4. Anxiously. We thought for sure he or she would have been here by now. A week ago. This could have actually led to another Top Ten list of things never to say to an overdue pregnant woman, but I understand that most of it is said in love, and I’m so thankful that people think of me, and pray for me. Two or three days ago, I must admit, I was grumpy, and did ask our oldest son why this baby was taking so long to come out. He responded right away, “Oh no. Did it die in your tummy like Auntie’s baby?” Nothing like some fresh perspective from a five year old! I’ll be patient. God and the baby will decide which day to make his or her own. Until then I will marvel that I have been given another opportunity to bless the world, to carry on Jesus’ name, and to hold this baby right near my heart. 

So, what do you say to a mom with a few young children?

You say, with a smile:

Do you want me to grab something for you?

Do you need help with anything?

They sure are cute! They must take after their daddy.

I am praying for you.

I know, when my cart is empty, and my ducklings are gone, that I will say:

My, what a beautiful family you have. You sure are blessed. 

 

***I love hearing from you! I can’t believe people actually read this. Comment and tell me what you think, or hit me up on Facebook. I love hearing from old and new friends.

The Sanctity of Life: You are Important

This has nothing to do with gun control, abortion, or any other hot topic issue (although if you would like to debate, I am here!) but what has really been on my heart is the sanctity of life, and how I believe we all fall short on preserving “life,” or at least, I certainly do.

Now, this isn’t to say that it’s the same as shooting in a school, or any other violent act where people die needlessly. It usually isn’t premeditated, but sometimes, it is. Is it a big deal? I don’t know. I don’t know how we got from sitting on our porches in the summer so we could visit with our neighbors, to not knowing who said neighbors are. Everybody is busy; lots has been said on that. But I think the “neutral evil” creeping in to our society is indifference.

I think we are in danger of destroying lives by simply not caring. We all understand that absolutely everyone and their grandmother are busy and tired. I think we need to just get over that. I don’t think it will ever change, well, at least, I’ve lost hope. So if we are going to be busy and tired forever, we will eventually have to just suck it up and ignore it. Now that we have dealt with the biggest excuses for not caring, let’s give it a “check” and move on.

How do we not care? I remember moving into this rural area, and driving by other vehicles on the gravel roads (yes, there are roads here that haven’t been paved yet.) As I would meet up with other vehicles, I remember them, especially the older folks, waving frantically with a big smile on their face. I would ignore them, at first, because I didn’t know them and it must be a mistake. Now I realize that is probably precisely why they were waving: they didn’t know me! That was fun to get used to. Now I can navigate the snowy, ice-covered gravel road in the dead of winter, and wave at the same time. We also have four wheel drive.

This reminds me of what is must have been like, back in the day, in SmallTown Canada. Everybody knows you, you know everybody, and you said “Hi” to everyone you meet. If there was a need in town, you’d work together to fix it. People would go to town to visit, they would sit and have coffee. They would chat about the mundane, and the important. They watched each other’s children grow up. 

What does this have to do with the sacredness of life? Everywhere around us, there is pain and hurt. But we can’t care anymore. Some people seem to drain the life out of us. We just have nothing left to give. Whatever the reason is, people will stand in an elevator for an undetermined amount of time, 18 inches away, and not make eye contact. We will sit next to each other on a bus, touching jackets, and not say hi. We will go through a checkout at the store, and not ask how the cashier is doing. We will see pictures of a friend’s family portrait on facebook, and not bother to click “like.” We will see a friend’s status about pain in their life, or other drama we don’t want to bear witness to, and we just scroll down. These are little, minuscule things. They are certainly not the end of the world. I don’t even know that they are “sins.” But the end result is the same. We are telling each other: you don’t matter. Your life is not important to me.

I can’t count how many times in the last few weeks, with the busyness of a wedding and Christmas, I have not been able to show our children that they matter, in the little things. When they ask you to come “see something right away!” And I finish what I am doing, really quick, but the magic is gone. I have shown them that they don’t matter as much as the dishes.

Because there’s scientific “life,” and think whatever you may want of that, and then there is LIFE. The core of me and you. The physical, emotional, spiritual, every component wrapped up into one whole person. The ending of a heartbeat is not the only death you can feel. People can die emotionally, to the point where they don’t care anymore. 

I remember working in a coffeeshop, so many days, and all of a sudden having this wave of epiphany. “These people don’t care about me. They wouldn’t care if I lived or died, as long as the new girl learned to make their coffee right.” Everyday I would serve the same people their drinks, smile, chat with them about their problems, and yet, to them, I was a nobody. We were not actually friends; I worked for them and served them, and they would tip me a dime. My whole life felt like an utter complete waste. I got over it and married one of the customers, but the point is the same. Everyone feels that they are unimportant at some time in their lives. I imagine, a lot of people reading this feel that their life doesn’t matter. They won’t actually do anything drastic, but what a heaviness it must be to get out of bed, to go about your day, when you feel that you don’t count, that what you do makes no difference to the rest of the world. That there is no point. This is when the indifference comes full circle.

How many times have I walked by a person who feels no love by the world, and not smiled. Or said, “My, your baby is cute!” “Merry Christmas!” Or seen the miserable lady in the checkout, and not said, “I love your jacket.” None of this is earth shattering. Telling the tired mom her baby is beautiful is not going to help her get more sleep. Smiling at a stranger is not going to pay his bills. But it’s the only way I can think of to show them that their life is important. That I see you. And I see your struggles. Can’t do a darn thing about it, but I love you. Your life is sacred to me. You matter.

Once we stop caring about people, really, what is the difference. Obviously, it’s not an utterly heinous act that will land you straight in the pit of hell. Not liking a friend’s stupid meme on facebook is not telling them they don’t matter to you. But when we stop caring about the people we see each day in real life and on the Net, and their lives, their struggles, their hurts, I believe we are saying to each other: You are not important to me. You do not matter. Your life is not sacred.

After my last blog, and all the feedback I received, I got really nervous about writing another. I had no idea what I would write about, thought about it a few times, and nothing. But then a couple days ago, I felt this on my Spirit so heavy. I felt God saying that ALL life, every aspect is sacred. We need to show others that their lives matter. Their picture of their dog in a tuxedo matters. Their text matters. Their car stalled on the side of the road, it matters. The people in the mall matter. We see each other, and our lives and the things we do are so important. We are not just walking through this mess of a life with our eyes down, not starting a conversation, but with our eyes up and a smile on our lips, happy to see you.

If you don’t feel like you matter to anyone, please message me. I would love to chat about the Best Friend you’ll ever know. But if you know you are important and that your life is held so dear, share that feeling with everyone you meet. 

Hope you have a Merry Christmas. I love you! 

I would LOVE to hear feedback!Image