Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On this day

On this day one year ago I was in labor. I went to a normal OB appointment and didn't get to come home because despite being 3 weeks and 2 days before my due date, I was very much in labor and dilated past 4cm.

I haven't forgotten the pain. I remember how terrible I felt being pregnant. I was sick all of the time. Everything made me worse. I was put on bed rest because of early contractions and started dilating a full month before my child was due. I was completely miserable, and even worse than that, I was scared. I was scared that she wouldn't make it and that it would have all been for nothing. I was scared that I couldn't do it- that labor would be too much for me. And to be honest, I was scared that someday I would look back and regret having a child. I was afraid that it wasn't worth all that I had to go through. Being pregnant, having labor, having morning sickness, having a million tubes in me at the hospital, having my blood pressure taken so much my arms were bruised, and having someone cut through me with a knife and staple me shut- that was the worst pain I have ever been through. It was hell. Recovery was hell.

The thing is, even though I can't fathom worse pain and suffering than what I went through, I would do it again. Even with as vivid of a memory as I have of the worst of it, I still know that I WILL do it again someday. She's worth it. My little Violet is worth every single bit of suffering it took to bring her  into the world.

The more I think about my own beautiful child and her birth, the more I am forced to think of Jesus and how much more suffering He went through so that I could be reborn. The truth is that while the suffering I went through was the closest I know to Hell, it wasn't the real thing. I was never once separated from the Lord. I never had to know for a second what it was like to be without Him. When I was cut and bleeding and in pain I was able to cry out to God and know that He heard me. He heard me because of the suffering of Jesus. That's huge to me. He was broken and bleeding and went through it all just so that He could have a relationship with me. ME. This selfish, whiny, lazy woman who complains about the littlest things. He said I am worth all that He went through. Anyone else think that's some crazy love?

I don't know if I'm connecting the dots as well in words as they appear in my head, but what a picture! My child can be difficult and whiny and downright exhausting. Some days I get frustrated and I know that as she gets older the struggle will continue, but it's worth it. I love her so incredibly much. I would do anything to have a relationship with her. There is nothing she can ever do that would for a second diminish my love for her or longing to have a great relationship with her. After just one year with her, this great mystery of the love God has for me has become so much more clear because I feel that way for her. If I feel so strongly about my child and would be so willing to endure great pain and suffering for her, how much must Jesus love me?

Praise God. One year ago I tasted the punishment for sin, (Gen. 3:16  "To the woman he said, "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.") but praise the Lord I don't have to pay the full price. Thank you Jesus for taking that for me. Just as there is only one way for a baby to come out for life and that is through the mother, there was only one way for me to have eternal life and that was through Jesus.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Summer... oh Summer.

 Dear Spring,

I'm burnt out. I give up. You win. I agree that I've taken on too much stuff. Therefore, I'm doing what I do best and walking away from it all. Between the allergies, billion trips to the doctor to make sure it's really just allergies and not something contagious, and the five million excuses and apologies for not showing up because my kid's eyes are crusted together or I sound like I'm dying from emphysema, or we have to go back to the doctor, it's all just too much. I'm looking forward to summer. No more allergies, no more music class, bible study fellowship, MOPS, childcare for the other MOPS group, quilting class, or even MDO. That's right, this summer we are forgoing Mother's Day Out. Violet is big enough to play with other kids now, so I'm just going to set up play dates for her and we will take it easy this summer. I'm done with all of the "mommy" activities (for now). I will continue learning to sew from Pam as often as we can arrange to meet, but that's it. Everything else is on hiatus for summer because this momma just can't keep up. In the Fall I'm thinking the only thing we will be doing is bible study fellowship.I love all of the things we are doing right now, but I couldn't do them all at once for very long without losing my sanity. I hear I need a little bit of that if I want to raise a somewhat stable human being. So today, on the first official day of Spring (as if that even means anything in Texas where it's been Spring off and on for over a month), I give up.

I expected things to be different by now, but they're not really. I thought that by this point I would be a pro. I would have everything together with a schedule full of educational activities to make my baby smart, she would be running around, I would have lost a bunch weight chasing her, and I would have regained my energy and quick thinking from before I had Violet. None of that has happened. She doesn't even walk yet, I'm still fat, can barely keep up with what day of the week it is, and just started our first "educational activity" a few days ago. By the way, DK's "My First Words" touch and feel picture cards are awesome. Violet really gravitates to them. (Purchased on Amazon).

Yeah. As it turns out, I'm not quite the mom I thought I would be. All of my visions of my sweet baby playing in the room we went to so much trouble to paint and decorate were just dreams: we never play in her room. It's just a place where laundry baskets full of clothes that never get put away go to die.

That's okay. I am in the process of changing our busy life so that maybe this summer, we might actually spend the afternoon playing in her room. It could happen.Oh Summer. I'm ready.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Good Enough Mommy

I don't make any claims to being a great mom. Honestly, I'm not trying to be a great mom. I'm happy with good enough. Anyone who knows me at all, (or for that matter has read this blog at all) probably already knows that. I'm not a perfectionist and never have been.

 All I've ever tried to be is good enough. When I was younger that seemed like an impossible standard because I was judging good enough by what I perceived were others' expectations (which I don't believe we can ever really meet). Now, I take a much more reasonable approach. I aspire to good enough for me, and good enough for God. This is a big shift in priorities. First off, it's a huge load off my shoulders because there is no guess work involved. I know what I expect, and I know what God expects. Even better, I have Jesus standing for me in front of God. That gives me freedom. 

As far as meeting my own expectations, well, that part is awesome. It means I give myself permission to be who God created me to be. God created me to be at home. He created me to be a mom. He created me to cook and sew and take care of the grocery shopping and manage the household accounts and schedule.

Right now I'm learning a skill I've wanted for my entire life- the ability to sew. After years of desire,small gifts of experience along the way, and miraculously two sewing machines given to me, God has graciously placed in my life two very different ladies and both with the willingness to teach me. One is teaching me to quilt and the other is teaching me to sew clothes and mend them. I don't aspire to be a great seamstress or to use my skill for profit, I just want to be able to make the most of my family's wardrobe, create useful gifts for friends and family, and someday pass the skill on to my own children. I don't have to do things perfectly. Not every stitch has to be exactly right and if I mess up a little here or there, so long as it doesn't compromise the integrity of the garment, who cares? Not me. If you are looking at my baby's outfit close enough to notice my sewing imperfections, you are probably looking too close at my baby. I'm good with good enough.

I had intended to make this post completely different and write a controversial piece about "Easter" and my beliefs about how it's wrong to teach our children pagan customs. (If you research the origins of "Easter" you quickly find  that all sorts of familiar customs and even the name Easter have nothing to do with the resurrection and were later "Christianized"). While I would never defend the merging of one of the holiest Christian holidays with clearly pagan customs, I don't see reason in arguing the point either. While the customs were pagan, no one to my knowledge is still worshiping the goddess of fertility that Easter celebrates, or at least they aren't around here- which means that the holiday is no longer glorifying that pagan god. So the real issue isn't the origins of the traditions of the holiday, but rather how we glorify God in all that we do.

That is where good enough isn't good enough. I can let a lot of things slide in life. My home can be good enough, my food can taste good enough, my skills can be good enough, but our lives cannot merely be good enough. I can't "Christianize" the customs of the world and call it good enough. We have to be different. My little Violet must stand out because she was called to live a life "set apart." If I'm going to be a good enough mom, I have to train her to live like she doesn't belong here.What is the difference between the basketful of chocolate crosses and the basketful of chocolate bunnies? None. Let's not kid ourselves. Will my child decorate eggs? Will she participate in an egg hunt? I don't know yet. I can guarantee if she does, it won't be on resurrection Sunday, and it will be for a purpose that glorifies God.

For me, good enough is when we listen to the Holy Spirit's convictions and live accordingly.  I choose to live intentionally and with conviction. Good enough is not compromising God's standards of holiness, but rather compromising my standards of mediocrity and rising to be set apart according to His calling.