Follow by Email

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Balancing relationships


Choices:
  • Spend time in the Word or take a nap
  • Clean the house or play with Nathaniel
  • Watch a TV show or talk with David
  • Stay home or hang out with a friend
When Nathaniel was exactly 6 weeks old, I went back to work part time.  I would breastfeed him right before I left, think about him while I was working, and think about work when I was with him.  I applaud you Moms who have the ability to keep up with work and also have an infant, but I was running on fumes. I felt like I was always making it a big deal to decide between showing Nathaniel attention or something work related that I found pressing. 

Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom, I'm starting to see that making difficult choices with my time has not disappeared.  Even though I learned to do a million two handed or squatting activities while he was sleeping or super happy (i.e. cutting things up for dinner, taking a shower, cleaning the bathroom, putting clothes on, etc.), I found that much of his contentment probably had a lot to do with him being held or in an infant-carrier on me.  I tried to let him do laundry, but, if you can see the picture, he is still getting the hang of it :), but at least he likes it -"Happy baby leads to happy Mom!"

Despite my multitasking during his periods of contentment, I had to learn what the Bible says about the choices I make and what is worth prioritizing in many moments. For example:
  • Naps are amazing, but am I making sure to find rest in the Lord as well?
    • Psalm 4:8
  • I have to have a clean house so Nathaniel doesn't eat unknown things, but am I making sure to appreciate and love on Nathaniel as he grows at this oober fast pace?
    • Ephesians 6:4
  • Everyone needs time to relax, but can I not also find relaxation in hanging out with David?
    • Song of Songs
  • It's important to not overdo yourself and give your child(ren) somewhat a routine, but God also calls us to be in fellowship with one another and not let our fears get in the way of walking in faith. 
    • Matthew 18:20
Now...take Nathaniel Trick or Treating, or hang out with friends? Or both?!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pain

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." - C.S. Lewis' work, The Problem of Pain.

We should have the mindset of doing things FOR His glory, even in the pain (1 Corinthians 10:31). Pain is so commonly thought of as a bad thing. No one wants or likes the burn from mouthwash, get half a nights rest, or go through labor pains!  (Quite a spectrum I gave you, huh?)  But what would life be without pain than for us to appreciate the pleasures?  If Jesus was like "ummm...I don't want to go through that whole nailed to a cross thing, so just beam me up God, and wash them of their sins" what kind of example would that be? He knew the impact it would make on our souls, and BECAUSE He loves us He went through that!  This is not easy for me to grasp.  Those late nights when Nathaniel was a few weeks old and nothing was putting him to sleep, I was pushed to some serious limits of patience and exhaustion.  I had a hard time sometimes even remembering that my lack of patience, was, well, mine.  It was not Nathaniel's fault!  He was a newborn simply trying to say he was hungry or that he needed comfort.  When I started to become frustrated, that's when I stopped trusting God and leaning on His definition of rest.

Our culture suggests that as long as we are logically justified, we may do what we please and think as we please and that we are beyond reproach.  This logical justification we engage in involves us saying things to ourselves like, well "this situation is bad, so I should feel frustrated, and since I should feel frustrated, I am right to act and live in my frustration.  I mean, if I don't then I'm not being true to myself, right?"  The biggest issue with this is that, this is not the model Christ gave us.  I bet that once he started getting spat on and beat on, He could have said "ain't nobody got time for this," and just changed his circumstance because He was frustrated.  But He did not.  He used the pain as the representation of the physical torment that we deserve for our own sin and injustice.  His pain had purpose, and I think it's time we noticed that our pain does as well. 

This brings me to another point that I have been thinking about - da da dumm....natural child birth versus epidurals.  As some of you know, I opted to give birth to Nathaniel naturally.  Why didn't I bother with an epidural you may ask? I mean we kind of see it like having a headache and not taking Tylenol.  Why would you do that?  My reason is this, I wanted to experience God in a way I never have before.  Here is my ultimate opportunity to tell Him I love Him with all that I have, that I was willing to endure whatever it took.  Now, please understand, this was a very personal decision for me, and you may not be at a place in your relationship in Christ where it is even necessary or appropriate.  Maybe other circumstances have granted you an immense physical opportunity to really put your fears, heck, your life in God.

Point is, for those of you on the fence, I want to give you an encouragement to see this as opportunity.  Pray, and consider what the Lord is telling you.  The Lord completely blew my mind and immediately prepared my heart to depend on Him like never before.   Honestly, the verses in 1 Peter and Romans that encourage us to rejoice in our sufferings had never been so real.

Now, for those of you who may have had epidurals, cesarean sections, or the like, in fear/concern of a painful or potentially complicated childbirth, please know that I am, in no way, out to judge you.  I just see natural childbirth as one of the MANY, but somehow incredibly unique (I mean, men can't experience this...right? haha) opportunities for women here on earth to really experience the love and power of Christ in an extremely intimate way. 

(Nathaniel squished himself behind these toys and couldn't get out.  He is very good at showing a face of pain or discomfort)

P.S. There are some sources that you may also want to consider on epidurals, cesarean sections, etc., that I actually found helped me make my decision to give birth naturally.  You may want to consider them.
Every underlined word is it's own link to documentation:
1. 33% of births in 2012 were cesarean
2. Risks of epidurals ... many risks.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Perspective

Growing up I recall several occasions where I would learn something new and anytime I saw this new knowledge take place/be spoken I would pay attention to make sure it was precisely as I was educated.  For example, cars turning left at a light are to yield to cars turning right down the same road unless the right turners have a yield sign.  There are too many people who do not know this or do not obey this traffic rule. 
 Or a more theological example, since Christ is knocking on the door of our hearts (Matthew 7:7), we are not asking Jesus to live in our hearts and lives; we are accepting. He is omnipresent and does not need us to believe in Him.  He exists and is God all without our help, but He offers this free gift to us if we repent (see our crap, and turn AWAY from it) and turn to Christ.
*steps down from podium*
 
All that to say, I didn't learn these things when I was born. "You learn something new every day." Right?  My problem is when I learn something, I either judge those that haven't learned it yet, or simply think it's bizarre that people of certain age or experience don't know certain things. 
 
-"You think eating only a couple pieces of junk food a day will help you lose weight more than meals with fruits and vegetables?"
-"Have you done any research on breastfeeding? World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding up to 2 years as that is how long they can benefit from it. It also will help you lose weight, decrease your chances of breast cancer, and the list goes on…. " http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/
-"The Bible says 'Spare the rod, spoil the child.' Proverbs 13:24, so we are disobeying God in assuming that our power to reason (by just choosing not to spank) supersedes the perfect plan of God. Granted, it is the responsibility of the parent to know they must be the reflection of Christ as they discipline be sure in their heart they are not doing so anger –which is incredibly challenging (more on this later….).
 
If you noticed, as my short list progressed, things became a bit deeper.  However, I tend to forget that the deeper things took time for me to learn, and by thinking that all people have not come to the same conclusion really limits my belief that God is all powerful and is in the process of writing all of our stories, should we give him the pen.  Regardless of what people know, or are learning, only He has the right perspective on EVERYTHING.  We as humans only have the right perspectives when we listen to Him and follow His answers.  Even then we are human; if we follow His steps in one area, doesn't mean we will choose to love people in another.
 
I am working on how to share what God has shown me with those around me, while also expressing that I want them to biblically explore things because I care about them.  Even if they come to different conclusions than me, just to know that we can talk things in light of what the Lord has shown us really helps us encourage one another. For example, if God is telling you that spanking your child is probably not a good idea, because maybe you struggle with anger, then this isn’t a matter of right or wrong, this is a matter of having something for others to pray for you about and not carrying that burden alone. 
 
God has different ways of doing things for different people, so just because He told me one thing doesn't mean He is going to tell someone else to do it the same way.  EVERY decision we make should be backed up by Christ, by the Bible, and lots of prayer. Do I always do this? Nope. But on huge decisions like becoming a Christian, how to give birth, or even what car to buy.....my goal is to pray hard, seek guidance, take my time, and wait on His answer.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Let the blogging begin!

I can't believe I am getting back into blogging. Hah, I remember my first one being on Xanga back when I was in high school and wanting a place to vent. I have been praying about starting one because I want to make sure my heart is right in doing so.  I don't want to selfishly vent. I don't want to say stuff just because something rubbed me wrong, or I just think I am always right.  Sure, selfishly I want to document my life as a mom to look back on when my kids are older. However, more importantly I want it to be an encouragement in the everyday crazy life of a mom trying to live for Christ while -changing diapers (cloth I might add), making dinner and cleaning house with a demanding child at my hip, being a loving wife to a hard working husband, and socializing with neighbors, friends, and strangers.  All of which have taken their own twist since having a child.  Even though Nathaniel is 10 months old, I can tell you I still have thoughts of "If I could only leave you in the car for 10 seconds so I could drop this package off without having to take you in and out of the car seat." Hah! I beat myself up every time I think it's a good idea even for a second....but I bet you can't say you haven't thought it yourself, parents! Satan is a sneaky one, even in the little things.
Anyway, I pray that this is a light in people's lives who feel like they're alone or are close to giving up on little things that I feel make a big difference.