Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Day

She rolled out of bed late, as usual. She only had to get up twice in the night, not too bad, but sometimes the burning and pain keeps her from getting back to sleep. It's always a good time to pray, especially for the people in her life who are experiencing far worse illnesses. She knows that they may be having a hard time sleeping too. Before she remembers to pray, her mind wanders, remembering things that she has tried so hard to forget. She remembers people, places, sins. She wishes, she wishes before she realizes what folly wishing is. God would see the forgiveness she accepted and say "what sin?" She smiles a little at the thought, thanks Him for His amazing grace, then another sadness grips her, the memory of sins that leave their mark for life, she shakes her head and prays.
Today is going to be a busy day. She can already hear the children stirring. Maybe the shower will wake her up, she's so tired. The children are already arguing, she sighs. Running over the "to-do" list in her mind. Dress the baby, make breakfast, bible study, start the children on their school work, take care of the animals, call the doctor, call the other doctor, start the laundry, check the school work, guide, teach, clean, bake, change diapers, make lunch, put the youngest down for naps....
When she gets a break she wonders how many times she's thought about the upcoming surgery, thinking about what they could find. She tells herself to stop, really she may be becoming a bit of a hypochondriac, but then again.... no, even if they do find... that, it will be just fine! She says a prayer again for peace, calm, a clear mind, that the doctors can take care of the problems, that God will take care of her and her family. She remembers all His promises to do just that. Her thoughts turn toward her husband, his safety at work, her thankfulness that he has work. Her mind again wanders to other things, when will she be able to stop thinking of them? Perhaps she should get some kind of therapy? She laughs at herself. Looking around she sees hers baby coming over for another hug, how she loves those children! She wonders if she is doing enough for them? Are they behind other children their age? Do they behave worse than other children? Are they reaching the milestones on time? Oh, if only she wasn't so tired all the time! And if only she could get her mind to focus better! And why can't she seem to make many close friendships? What is wrong with her? Why is she so socially awkward? It seems like some of her family don't even want to be around her. Does she say the wrong things? At least she has this nice little family of her own who love her, but even on the rare occasion her husband hugs her by surprise, she stiffens. Twelve years, it's been twelve years since arms that were suppose to protect were rough instead, and words that should have been loving and romantic stung, and it still hurts her and puts a wedge between her and a man that actually loves her.
It's time to think of other things, more pleasant. Time to start dinner. The pain has been less today, she's thankful for that. Soon it will be time for bedtime stories and snuggles. Her husband will be home, he will talk about his day, they will make plans and dreams. She will close the day thanking God for another day, a beautiful family, less pain, for the friends she has that are dear, the past hurting her less and less with time. She will pray for relationships to grow deeper, feelings of guilt and inadequacy to leave, for her sick loved ones, to be an encouragement to those facing these storms as well, for strength for tomorrow to do it all over again, only better. And she will sleep.
This is a day in the life of one who was lost and then was found.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Baby James is Born, God's Perfect Timing

"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." -James 1:17

As many of you know my pregnancy with James was a very difficult one. We found out I was expecting our little miracle at 9 weeks, he is an unexpected little blessing and we honestly thought I was just rather sick. When we went in for out first appointment they could not find his heartbeat, which was a very difficult thing for me because according to my calculations I knew I was between 12 and 18 weeks. When his ultrasound came back with a heartbeat and the image of our growing 12 week baby we were completely overjoyed! At 15 weeks I started spotting, that was another trial, I was torn between complete trust that God would get us through anything and fear that I'd lose our sweet little baby. The spotting went on for almost two weeks, but the ultrasound again revealed a growing healthy baby. At 22 weeks, just one week after finding out we were having a boy, I started having contractions and early labor. Those went on for the rest of my pregnancy. I was put on bed rest, had a home nurse come once a week to give me a shot of progesterone to keep me from dilating, I had steroid injections to help James' lungs develop faster, I was on Procardia to try to keep the contractions under control, and I went to the hospital 4 times for IVs and shots to stop labor.We counted every week down as I was in constant pain and our children were passed off to different baby sitters and various meals came and wonderful ladies came to clean, and I rested. Sometimes I rested as one resigned to everything going on and knew that the end result would be my baby boy, sometimes I was rather difficult to be around and the piled up dishes and the house projects not getting done and my husband not understanding how stressful watching him sit when there were a million things to do when if it were in my power I'd be up doing them even if I had a cold or headache, would really get to me. I knew the whole time that if I allowed Him to, God would work in my life more patience, more love, and more willingness to help others in their need.

We hoped to make it to at least week 35, and then week 35 came and I rejoiced with such thankfulness, then I prayed for week 36 and it too came. After that I felt really sick, the contractions were worse, I was dizzy, could barely eat anything, it hurt to move, the baby was "engaged" low and there was a lot of pressure from that, so on Thanksgiving day when I was able to tick off week 36 I was ready to meet my little guy, but was praying for God to work out the timing on everything. I had an infection that was not responding to medication so it was decided that I would have another c-section. I was also informed that because of the infection if my water broke or I became dilated too far the infection could reach the baby and harm him so getting in to the hospital ASAP was important. That was very confusing for me, because I had been in labor for almost 3 months at that time, so knowing when it was more of the same or not was going to be difficult.

Monday, November 26th, 36 weeks and 4 days. I had just eaten lunch with our two year old and I was attempting to guide her in the clean up of the crayons and paper she had scattered all over the living room when something felt different followed my a trickle, which lead to some investigations which made me think that just maybe my water had broken, which caused some panic, because, my husband was not home, I didn't have the car or our daughter's car seat, couldn't find her socks or shoes, was in my pajamas, and water breakage was dangerous. I called my husband, he was about an hour away, we knew we couldn't wait, couldn't reach my mother-in-law, I was balling, my daughter was worried, she asked me if daddy made me cry, which made me smile a little and realize that I needed to pull myself together. I assured her that daddy doesn't make mommy cry, my tummy just hurt. My husband had called one of our pastor's wives and she was on her way. When I prayed for God's timing, I thought things would work a little better in the getting to the hospital, but they did work, she got us there, had a car seat and could take Emma, and I am so thankful! Long story short, my husband got there, my mother was called, they determined that my water probably was leaking, but not bad (which was a huge blessing!) the doctor was called and I was prepared for the c-section all with in a very short amount of time.

Here is where God went above and beyond to prove to me that His timing was absolute perfection. We were having a very hard time deciding on my having a tubal ligation, we had such mixed feeling about it. We wondered if it was wrong for us to pick our child number on our own and not just leave it completely up to God, or if making that choice was okay to do, especially in light of the fact that my pregnancies just got more complicated each time and our families were having such a hard time helping us with this pregnancy that any more would be a hardship on everyone. We also weren't sure if we wanted to be done, we loved having our little blessings, and we would never mind having more. Our debate went on and we found out that the insurance would only cover the tubal if we had signed the papers 6 weeks before the delivery. We thought that was our answer, it was too late, end of story. Well, we were surprised that the doctor came in and asked if we wanted it done, I said we didn't get the papers signed and he said that because this was indeed and emergency they waved the 6 weeks and he could do it if we wanted him to. Much to my surprise I wanted him to, and we both agreed real quick. The other small thing is that apparently my first c-section was not preformed very well. The cut was too wide and too low, it made weight loss and recovery of my figure really difficult. Well, due to the timing and the doctors on call, they were able to fix all the mistakes for me, the end result is as the one doctor said, a mini micro tummy tuck to repair what was previously done. Let me just say, that at 3 days post operation my tummy looked better that it had in over two years and is healing so much better than I ever thought it could. This is a very trivial thing, I don't really believe that cosmetic surgery is the right thing to do, I'd never have even thought to have anything done with the mess I was left with, and what was done is so small that anyone else might not ever notice, but I am just so thankful that I won't only look better to myself, but that it already feels much better. Those are just the minor things that were timed perfectly, here is the big miracle. James, even though considered premature, is healthy! He weighed 6lbs 15.3 ounces! He scored a 9 out of 9 on both of his APGAR tests, his color is perfect, he has a head full of dark brown hair, and he has not had a single problem. An extra blessing is that he is an excellent eater! Both of my girls had so many problems eating, they couldn't latch on. James required very little work, basically,  and this sounds crazy, but I told him what to do and he did it. He nurses like a pro and that makes mommy's life so much easier!

I just thought I'd share the added blessings. We are thrilled beyond words that our little boy is healthy and thriving. He has a wonderful personality, he is adorable. We could always feel that someone was missing from our family, we had that tiny void, after I had Emma and we thought we would have to be done, we were devastated, we wanted another child, we wanted to have a son too. I know we don't deserve to have been so blessed by God to have the little boy of our dreams, but He saw fit to give him anyway. It wasn't an easy journey, I'm honestly very thankful that it wasn't. Every moment of labor, every tear, every fear was worth it, and God once again showed me that He will never fail me. It all worked out the way we wanted it to, no NICU experience, when we needed help the most with the girls, or the house work, or a meal, it was taken care of. Every little detail was lovingly planned by our heavenly Father long before. I am just so thankful for God's absolutely perfect timing!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hope and Promise

I don't much like the morning after a sleepless night, but I've found that God gives me sleepless nights as little gifts. When I can't sleep I know He is trying to tell me something. Tonight it's a message of hope, it's a message of peace, and it's a reminder of how much He loves and cares for me and this little one growing inside me. It is a reminder of what He has done for me and what He promises to do for me always.

Emma is our second daughter, she has strawberry blonde curls and a smile that would melt even the coldest heart. She loves music, she loves to go into the kitchen and turn on "her" CD of classical music and dance. She insists on listening to "her" music in the car and singing at the top of her voice, and I must say for a two year old she has a lovely voice. Every time I look at her I'm reminded of what a miracle she is.

I had a very difficult time with her pregnancy. I was weak the whole pregnancy, I just felt sick and tired. At about 6 weeks I started bleeding and went to the doctor and was given a 50% chance of miscarrying. They couldn't find her heartbeat on the first ultrasound, I spent a very tearful two weeks of follow ups to see if my baby would make it or not, the only thing I knew for sure is that I loved my little one, and even though I had faith that God would carry us through anything, I didn't want to say goodbye, I wanted to hold that baby, I wanted to kiss that baby, nurse that baby, raise that baby, hope for that baby, dream and plan for that baby. God had given me that baby, and He had given me a love for her so deep even though she was the size of a bean. We waited the two weeks and came out of the doctors office with joy. There was a heartbeat and the cause of  the bleeding was found and was on it's way to healing, the doctor gave us a 90% of a successful pregnancy.

The weeks went by, I felt weaker and weaker, but that baby was growing, and that was what mattered most. Around 20 weeks we had another ultrasound and learned that Baby Teghtmeyer #2 was another girl.  So I knew my little baby was my little Emma, and Emma means "strong."

Week 30 came and with it some early contractions that sent me to the hospital. There the alarm for my blood pressure kept going off alerting us all that my blood pressure was at least 140/90. The nurse commented on it maybe being because of the pain. It was established that the contractions "weren't doing anything" so I was sent home and told to rest.

Week 31 came and I went to the doctor and he was a little concerned that my blood pressure was still around 140/95 and that my face and ankles were swollen beyond recognition and that I had rather a lot of protein in my urine. I still had no idea what all that could mean, I was told to watch for an increase of my blood pressure, headaches that wouldn't go away with Tylenol and rest, more swelling, contractions, and I was told to rest. Week 32 came and with it the worst headache I'd ever had in my life complete with seeing those little floating guys and flashes of light and my blood pressure was up, to about  150/97, and when I talked I sounded like a drunk. When we told the doctor this he said to get to the hospital, right now!

This time I didn't get to go home. Through the fog of that headache I could make out phrases like "deliver the baby tonight," and "seizure," and "steroid shot to get the baby's lungs ready." It was like a really bad dream. They had called an ambulance to take me to a hospital with a Newborn Intensive Care Unit and a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist. I was so scared, I felt the panic of what was going on, the possibilities that my baby may not make if she were born now, the possibilities that I might leave my oldest daughter without her mother, and the whole time the headache pounded making everything spin and the ambulance sped and rocked and creaked and there were kind hands checking my vitals, checking my baby's heartbeat, and there was God, who was holding us both and giving me back my calm.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, I felt a little more with it. I was able to answer some of the questions the nurse asked as I was placed on the hospital bed. The specialist came in and explained that they were going to begin me on blood pressure medicine and wait to see what happened, the goal being give the baby as much time inside of me as possible, and explaining that this was Preeclampsia, and that the only cure would be to deliver and I would most likely not make it to term. Then I was allowed to sleep, it was after midnight and I was more than ready.

I spent 2 or 3 days on the hospital in the Special Care Unit. When I was released my blood pressure was still high but no longer creeping up there, I was put on strict bed rest and sent home with a 24 hour urine collection kit, the second of many as I had already done one in the hospital. They had to know just how much protein was in my urine at all times because if it got too high, they had to deliver the baby. My how I hated that red jug and that "toilet hat."

I spent 20 hours a day sleeping, the other 4 were spent eating, going to doctor appointments, turning in my collection, and collecting my collection. I later learned that at that time my kidneys were shutting down because of the internal bleeding from my blood pressure, one of those things they don't tell a pregnant woman because she'd become hysterical, and that was why I was sleeping so much. I sometimes had the clarity to pray, I couldn't focus my eyes to read. Mostly I just slept knowing that there were people praying us through this and that God was still holding us both.

I made it almost 2 weeks at home. We went to the doctor on May 25th 2010, and I felt even worse, too bad to even recognize the headache or mind the spinning. When the doctor came in he looked at me and said "we have a problem." I thought, well duh! Apparently I wasn't so far gone to have lost my weak sense of humor. He explained that the last 24 hour urine test had the highest level he had ever seen in almost 25 years, he said it had to be wrong, it just had to be or I was peeing cream cheese. He wanted us to go to the hospital for our scheduled non-stress test and for more tests. At the hospital they determined once again that I needed to go back to the specialist and back into the hospital, the blood pressure was up to a very dangerous level, the protein was too high and they started me on anti seizure medicine because they expected me to go from Preeclampsia to Eclampsia at any moment. It was all so very reassuring, I think I had a panic attack if memory serves me right. My husband just held my hand and said, "it is going to be OK." I asked him how he knew that,  looking around every nurse on the floor was in my room, that blood pressure monitor wouldn't stop with that alarm, they kept talking about an emergency cesarean today, another ambulance was on it's way, how did he know it would be OK? He gave me that look he gives me, the one I fell in love with, the one where I know he means what he is saying with every fiber of his being, and repeated, "it is going to be OK."

He was right. I made it 3 more days, celebrated his birthday and the milestone of making it to 34 weeks.  Then the blood pressure went back up, I don't even know what it was, but it was high. I felt like I was dying, and I was. The doctor came in my room the morning of the 28th looked at me and said I looked like death warmed over, call my husband, get him there, the baby was coming today. Those words met me with calm, I was alone in that hospital room, hearing them all, and I was calm. I tried calling my husband, I couldn't reach him, and I was calm. I tried calling my mother, no answer, and I was calm. Two nurses began giving me more anti seizure medicine and I was calm. I finally heard what was going on in my body, I felt a little panicked, but it was replaced by that calm. A NICU nurse came in to explain the possible complications my baby might face at 34 weeks, and again the initial panic was replaced by calm. My family and husband finally arrived and there was a lot of talking and monitors going off, and the buzz of nurses coming and going and a building headache and the side  affects of the anti-seizure meds making me too warm, then too cold, then sick, and the hours ticked by. And as the team came in to take me to the operating room, our daughter, Lilly arrived to see mommy off and hear that she was about to be a big sister. And God placed on my heart that it would be OK, that no matter what happened in that delivery room, life or death, it would all be OK. It was the most beautiful moment of my life. I felt God right there with me going down that hallway, going into that O.R. being placed upon that table, receiving that spinal block that I was previously so afraid of. He was right there when the doctor began cutting, right there when he pulled our Emma out of me and she gave that first wonderful cry that meant her lungs were working, right there when I heard the nurses declare over her red hair, right there as I stared at the wonder of that tiny little 4 pound baby who was just fine.

Emma spent 2 weeks in the NICU. They were hard weeks, I was recovering from the c-section, trying to spend time with my three year old as much as possible, and wanting my baby home with me. My husband had to get back to work. Emma was declared a grow and feed, meaning there was nothing at all wrong with her except that she couldn't eat on her own yet and needed an NG tube and she needed to gain weight. It was such a blessing that she was healthy. I don't think anyone can understand unless they've been there, but being in the NICU, even if your baby is doing well is hard, to say the least. While spending my time rocking my baby and trying to get her to learn to nurse, I heard fathers planning funeral arrangements for their babies, mothers weeping. doctors giving bad news, monitors beeping, nurses rushing around, it isn't exactly a very peaceful place, you can't have your family all come and celebrate the arrival of your miracle in a place like that.  By the end of the two weeks I was emotionally drained just because of other people's babies, it did help me be even more thankful for the health my baby. And through all of that, God gave me strength, looking back I should have been exhausted, commuting from my parent's house to the hospital, getting up every three hours to pump milk for my Emma, having my arms literally ache to hold her whenever I wasn't with her, dealing with the emotions of my three year old who just wanted mommy to stay with her, and trying to recover from the c-section, not to mention how sick I had been before they delivered her, but He gave me the strength to deal with all of it. He promises us that strength. And He always keeps His promises, always.

I'm sitting here remembering all of this. It is like God is reminding me of His promise now to carry me once again. He has already brought me through things that would break a person if it weren't for His love and strength. He loves me and He loves this precious little guy I carry even more than I do. I know that whatever happens it will be OK. I am not promised tomorrow here on this earth, my baby is not promised tomorrow in my womb, but I am promised hope and eternity, I am promised that all things will work together for my good. I really do feel that my little James will be just fine and that I will be just fine, not sure what will happen in between, if we will have another NICU experience, I'm praying that we don't, but I know that The One who holds us will never let us go.

If I have learned anything these last six years, it is that God uses our children to teach us. He shows us what love really is, he shows us a small measure of how He must feel when we go astray, He shows us what sacrifice is. And He has shown me what it means to really trust Him with my life and the life of my children. I can place my hope and trust in Him.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Home-Sunday School?

I've been put on rest. I'm now 26 weeks pregnant, but I'm having contractions. Not those painless "Braxton Hicks" things, I mean contractions. Both of our daughters were premature, the first one just came early, we had signals that she might and I spent a couple of months on bed rest, the second came early because of other complications, so I'm already classified as "high risk." I'm having P17 injections in attempt to keep the contractions from causing dilation, but I have been warned that there are no certainties and that the high risk remains.

I had intended to make it to church this morning, I'm allowed to get up and do things as I feel I'm able. It's been 4 weeks since our two year old has gone to Sunday School, and our six year old has gone once over the past month. My husband helps in the sound booth and has to arrive about an hour early to help with praise team practice, so it is often difficult for him to take our girls to church because he is busy from the time of his arrival until he leaves.

It was apparent at about 2:30 this morning that I wasn't going to make it again. It was one of those sleepless nights, pain, heartburn, contractions when I came downstairs to get my medicine. I brainstormed all of the possibilities, could I send our six year old and have her color until Sunday School this week? No, we have Missions Conference going on, and I wasn't sure if she would even have Sunday School. Could I find someone for her to sit with, not from 9:00 A.M. until 3:00P.M. No, it was apparent that the girls would be staying home with mommy this morning, again. I planned on getting out one of the many children's Bibles and giving them a coloring page, then we could watch our church family worship together. I was really concerned about teaching them Hebrews 10:25 "And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." I also wanted to make sure that they don't start missing the routine and the extra Bible training. 

It was clear by 7:00 this morning that my "Home-Sunday School" would be more like a couple of Veggie Tales videos and a coloring page because I was finally ready to go to sleep as the girls were waking up. So, that is what we did. They watched Veggie Tales while I took a nap, then I got out the crayons and turned on the 10:15 worship service on the computer. I realized at times like this, and every day, it is how we deal with all of our moments, not just Sunday morning, that will mean the most to our children. Yes, I want them at church on Sunday, but how we show our love to them and our love for God during the rest of the week is far more important then where and how they heard God's Word on Sunday from 9:00 to noon. They did hear The Word, they did see my attempt to connect with our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Long story short is I'm learning more and more every day, even though I should know this by now, that more often than not things do not go as we plan. This pregnancy isn't going as we planned, although at first we expected it to be worse considering my history, the house projects we are trying to get done before our baby boy gets here aren't going as planned, I really can not plan on doing this or going to that these days. My days are planned by God, in fact they were planned by Him before I was even born. It is hard to let go of control and let whatever is going to  happen happen, but it is going to anyway. I'm trying to learn to go with the twists and turns without so much resistance and bitterness. He knows whats up ahead, I truly am just along for the ride. 

As I contemplate "preparing myself" for when the home nurse comes at 4:00 for my next injection and knowing what is in store for me, the headaches, the mood swings, the hot flashes, the pain for the nest 2-6 days. I know I can't really do that, I have no idea what will happen next, really. I could end up in the hospital. I don't know if I'll have someone to walk my six year old to school every day this week. I could even have less side affects this time, I could even have a contraction free week and be able to do things. I don't know, but God does and He has it all worked out.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Our News and The Importance of being Real

Well, it has been awhile. So much has happened since I posted last! Our family is growing, we are expecting a son in December! We decided that for this year we would send our 5 year old to public school because of the difficulties I have had in past pregnancies and because we felt that the classroom structure would be very good for her, at least for now. My husband started a new job and the extra pay has been a huge blessing. There are also some weddings coming up that will gain us a new Aunt/sister-in-law in November, and an uncle/brother-in-law in May. Lots of happy things going on for us, but today I have some thoughts on being real about the struggles we all have and why it is important to do so.

I think we've all scrolled through Facebook and thought whine, whine, complain, complain, can't anyone be positive! Then there are days you scroll through with a lot on your mind and see "be happy" "think positively" "there is always something to smile about" maybe it's just me, but usually on those days where I am struggling with something those posts are a reminder of how I am failing because I don't feel like being happy, I am having a very hard time finding a positive, and I really am having a hard time focusing on those things that make me smile. Now this reminder can be a good thing, it reminds me that I am still a woman in need of a savior, that I need to have some quiet time and focus on the things that are good and lovely and pure and not on the junk. Very needed kick in the teeth? Sometimes.

On the other side, the complaints of others can be used as a way to see into the struggles they are having, it is a way of knowing exactly how to pray for that person, and in a lot of cases what they are going through is something very difficult, even if it is only difficult for them. It is also an opportunity for us to realize that we are not alone in our struggles. Sometimes on my really hard days realizing that other people struggle with the very same thing I do is more reassuring to me than a "just smile and be thankful for the blessing." Not because I want to see other people struggle, but because I can see in these people an invitation to be real, to share my pain and struggles, because they understand pain and struggles, because they aren't afraid of breaking the look of having it all together by saying, "hey, I'm having a problem with this, could you please pray with me about it."

Today is Monday, I've already browsed my Facebook, I saw some "ugh, it's Monday" posts, and I've seen some, "God is always good, even on Monday" posts. Both are real. One may be more pleasant to read, unless your dad just died, your cat ran away, and your first born is in the hospital. I guess the bottom line is, I like real! I want friends who I can be real with. I want friends I can pray for, and friends I know will pray for me and not just tell me that God is in control and everything will work out for my good and His glory. Real. I don't want to fear sharing my struggles because someone will know I'm not perfect. I love God, I read His word, and after I've shared my real He usually quiets my heart with His real, which is so much better than a reminder that sounds more like a reprimand. Most of the time our Christian friends know that God is working all things for their good, what they really need when they are crying out is a gentle reminder and an "I'm praying for you, I understand pain and hurt, and I've felt the very same way about this very same issue, and God can and will make this better for you in His time." That would be priceless.

These are some of my real struggles right now, the ones I have to keep on giving to God, the ones that I have to remind myself may be my real, but are not His real:

  • Looking in the mirror and being one of those pregnant women who just look fat. When I'm not pregnant I struggle with my looks too. Yes, there is a silver lining to this and I do see it, no fear of people touching my stomach and saying "oh how cute, when are you due?" So, yes I can smile, but it is not really the kind of smile I'd like to have. I've struggled with eating disorders and this may be harder for me because of that. I do know the truth, that God made me, He loves me, I am His work of art. I eat right, in fact I eat better than most people I know, which also makes it hard for me to still look like this, but the truth is, I am loved by God, I am cherished by Him, he calls me His child. These things I know, I tell myself the truth when I feel bad, I refocus on Him, but the struggle remains daily. It is something I could use your prayers on. 
  • Feeling foolish, silly, stupid, etc. when I make a mistake. Two factors play into this, I was in an abusive relationship for 3 years, and was frequently told these things whenever I'd do something as simple as bump into someone, or forget to do something, or spell something wrong, you get the picture. I often hear the stupid, foolish, mantra in his voice in my head when I make a mistake. Also, I am having trouble with my daughter being put back into Kindergarten. She simply wasn't reading well enough for first grade, I home schooled her last year and I keep thinking if only I'd done a better job, ordered a different curriculum, spent more time on this, didn't bother in the first place....she wouldn't have had to go through starting school in the first grade and moving up in Sunday School and having her hopes set high for moving to the "big kids" Wednesday night club only tho have to go back. Now again, I know the truth, that God has a plan for all of this, that He is working in this, He is working on me, He is working on Lilly, and it is going to be so good, I can even see this, and yet every tear she cries about it, every time she acts out because she is frustrated, I have to fight the "this is all your fault." Just another area I need prayer in.
  • This house. Our house is not organized, it is not always clean, it is, in fact falling apart. The living room needs all the potentially lead filled paint out of it, it is currently stacked high with my husbands e-scrap, tools, and junk. I look at it and it is depressing, I'm overwhelmed with knowing that if something doesn't get done soon I am going to be bringing yet another baby home to a disaster. I don't feel like having people over, I just found out I'm going to need a home nurse coming over weekly, and I have to show her into this wreck of a house... My health at the moment does not allow me to just get in there and go to work, my husband, bless him, comes home tired with a sore back, and he also has not been feeling well, so there it is, this house, and not being able to do anything about it. Yes, the truth is that God is using this time to work on my patience, to reassure me that the condition of my house is far less important than so many other things, to be content (or at least He is trying to get me to be content, I'm being rather stubborn) and I know that He will allow us to get done the things that absolutely need to be done before this baby comes, and anything that doesn't get done is not absolutely necessary, but this is still so hard for me, so very, very hard. As a matter of fact, I think this is my number one struggle at the moment. I want to have things in order, I want to have a home, I want to be the perfect Proverbs 31 women, it feels impossible in this house. I read so many devotionals about having your home in order, having things clean and tidy when your husband comes home, those devotionals are sometimes heartbreaking for me. Yes, I need to focus on the things I can do, and not dwell on the ones that are out of my control. still a struggle. 
Those are some of the areas I need prayer in. I don't have it all together, I don't always find the good and smile about it. Sometimes these things overwhelm what I know to be true. This is my real. I struggle and I fall. I don't always focus on what I know I should. Please pray for me. And Please let me know how I can pray for you!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Catching Up, and Another Lesson in Grace

It has been awhile since I've posted. This homeschooling mommy has been very busy lately. Our family seems to finally be recovering from a particularly bad winter sickness-wise. I just started a new homeschool curriculum with our Kindergartner. We are back in the swing of Bible Studies and Wednesday night clubs.

One little lesson of grace learned recently was actually by our five year old, Lilly. Our little girl is the typical strong willed child. Very hard headed little girl, prefers to learn things by experience. I thought her lesson is worth sharing, Prodigals current and former all have to learn things the hard way. I hope this is a reminder to us all.

We sent our little Lilly to Wednesday night Word of Life Club, Gopher Buddies, last week. I was feeling a little under the weather, so I stayed home with our toddler, Emma. Lilly was running around having a good time, she was told to line up, she didn't want to. Strong willed children rarely do things just because they are told to you know. She had her warning and she still chose to disobey her coaches and run away. So, they brought in daddy, who was running the video for another class.

Lilly ran away from daddy when he came to get her. Daddy, not being one to put up with disobedience, swooped up the little girl and took her to the auditorium while he continued to run the video with the instruction for her to sit. Lilly decided to run away again. This time it was dark, this time she couldn't see what she was doing, this time there was a stair and a chair in the way, this time she fell and hit her eye.

I got a text to "come pick up Lilly." I was a little confused there was still an hour of club left. When we got to the church and found Anthony, my husband, Lilly was nowhere to be seen. I asked him what was going on, he told me that she was with one of our friends who is a nurse because she ran into a chair while she was running away from him and had a black eye. When I saw Lilly it was bad, her face was swollen, her eye was black and puffy. The girl was a mess.

After I got her home, I asked her what she was thinking when she ran away from her coaches and her father. She very honestly told me that she "wanted to show her coaches that she was old enough to make her own decisions." It didn't take much time to figure out how to handle this one. I told her no one is ever old enough to make there own decisions. I told her that even daddy and mommy can't make their own decisions, we have to ask God by reading His Word and praying before we make a decision. When it comes down to a decision to obey someone in authority over us, especially when that person loves God, like her coaches do, then we must do what the Bible says and obey.

This experience has really rocked Lilly's little world. She has been in deep thought for a five year old over the fact that going against God and making our own decisions usually ends in pain. She didn't want to look into the mirror for a few days. Some moments she behaves so mature and is so obedient, only to have the next moment be utter chaos. She is struggling so hard with the truth of what she has learned for herself. I know she gets it now far better than me telling her time and time again that she could get hurt if she doesn't listen. I know she gets it because she is fighting so hard with herself.

When I see the horrible black eye on my little girl I am reminded of my disobedience, my running away from God, my pain. Every time I've run away from God to try to prove to Him that I could make my own decisions, it has ended in pain. Emotional pain, physical pain, spiritual pain. When I see my daughter I am reminded that we all struggle with ourselves, and that we all have a choice, to follow, or to run. What direction are you going? Are you going to follow and enjoy peace, love, and safety, or are you a runner who knows about the pain. It isn't too late to turn around. You may have a black eye, but God wants to heal it and keep you from tripping and falling again. Just let Him.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lessons Learned While Hiking, I still have a long way to climb...

I'm taking a break from what I have been writing. I just got back from an anniversary get away with my husband. We went hiking at Clifty Falls State Park. I had a lot of thoughts on our hikes and for better or for worse I will share a few of them.

We wanted to hike to the bottom of the cliff and hike along the creek bottom. First of all I just want to say, I don't like heights and I don't like water, but I do like my husband so down the cliff to the creek we went. A second thing you should know is that I've spent the last two months at home either being sick or taking care of sick children. On top of sitting around for the last two months, I'm not in very good physical condition to begin with. It was difficult for me to hike to the bottom, I was scared a few times and my legs ached, but I made it down with hand from my husband. Once at the bottom I couldn't help but remember other trips with an abusive boyfriend. I remembered being yelled at for fear and hesitation, being ridiculed for not being fast enough. I was sitting at the bottom of a cliff in a creek surrounded by God's beautiful creation, in one of the most relaxing situations I could wish for, with the kindest man God ever created, and I remember all these bad things. I realized that years later abusive words still hurt. Time doesn't heal all wounds, God can, but time doesn't. I hadn't really given all that hurt to Him, I left it to time.

My husband wanted to cross the creek using a rope to hang on to. That combined two of my biggest fears, water and falling. I became extremely stubborn at this point. I even crossed my arms and told him he could go on, but I was staying right there. Well, after a little bit of feeling bad I at least tried, I made it half way across, found it difficult and turned back, causing my husband to turn back as well. There are so many things I can take from that alone. How many times a day do I let fear hold me back from doing something, in this case I missed out on a chance to see the waterfalls from the creek, what do I miss out on in my day to day life? In this case I caused the man I love most to miss out on something he really wanted to do, how many times do I cause others to miss out on something because of my fear or stubbornness? And the biggest question I ask myself is, if I would have had water proof boots or an easier time getting across, would I still have stubbornly gone back because it was the easiest way?

These thoughts bothered me the whole way back up the cliff, I cried and I was mad, mad at my husband for thinking I could even try to do this, mad at myself for being scared, mad at myself for being weak, mad at myself for being so stubborn, selfish, and non-submissive. It occurred to me that our oldest daughter's strong willed behavior could very well be my fault after all. God healed a lot of my anger on the way up that cliff. He soothed a lot of guilt and shame. He used my husband's kind words to "let it go, it's okay," to ease the hurt and humiliation, and to remind me that I am no longer in an abusive relationship, unless I count the relationship I sometimes have with myself.

After that hike there were several other hikes. I found myself in another unhealthy thought pattern. Instead of focusing on the time spent with my husband, or the absolutely gorgeous scenery, I was thinking about how many calories I was burning.  And when we stopped to take pictures I thought about how fat I looked. In one of my previous posts I wrote about how I still struggle with those thoughts, they do not take a vacation. It is really hard to battle those thoughts when you are trying to relax and enjoy yourself. I want to come to a place in my life that I am fine with how I look all the time. I want to be healthy, yes, but being thin does not equal healthy, especially for me. I know that God can help me to gain victory over the thoughts just like He helped me have victory over the actions of my eating disorder. I just need to actually give up those thoughts to Him every time they come instead of holding on to them, and why would I want to hold on to them...

So, the lessons learned. Obviously, He is still working on me, and will be for the rest of this life. I can choose to give Him my baggage and hurts, my anger and pain, and He can give me victory. I just need to get over my stubbornness. I've taken the first step up the cliff, and if I let Him, He will carry me the rest of the way, and that sounds better than doing it myself, my legs still hurt.