Thursday, April 4, 2013
It's been one of THOSE days... The baby was up screaming from about 2am-7ish except for small naps in between. My oldest didn't WANT to do her schoolwork and fought tooth and nail through tears and whining almost to the finish. My 4 year old whined and pouted through much of the day. I got started on lunch late and tried to rush it along while trying to console my "sick" toddler, who was fussy and VERY clingy. I felt like joining them all and having an epic melt-down myself... I'm very thankful for my friend, Kim Fawthrop, who came over to help and graciously allowed me to lay down for a nap (Hey! Being 34 weeks pregnant is hard work ;-)!!). After devotions and our bedtime story, the girls wanted to do a few last minute chores (to earn a piece of candy), and my 4 year old accidentally dropped a full cereal container, effectively emptying the contents on the dining room floor... After all were finally tucked in bed, my 1 ½ year old started throwing a fit and did it so very forcefully that she gagged herself and made herself vomit all over herself and her bed (I gave her a bath just before bed), the floor, and the bathtub. Now she's laying beside me, almost asleep, with her feet coated in Ivy Dry and Vaseline and covered in socks. I somehow missed a spot when cleaning her up (I'm unsure as to how) because she smells like baby spit up... So much for my plans to work on my courses tonight... But, you know what? I wouldn't trade today, or any other day, that I get to spend with my kids for ANYTHING. They'll be grown and gone all to soon, then I'll be wishing for cuddles and slobbery kisses. I'll actually miss the dirty diapers and accidental messes. I'll long to clean up after them, because that would mean they were still home... with me. I'll ache for the times they were close by, even if it meant frayed nerves and a bald spot where I'd pulled out my hair. All too soon, they'll be gone!! Cherish the time you have with the children, regardless of the bumps along the way. Even a "bad" day is better than no day at all... I choose to cherish the moment! Much too soon, they'll be grown. I want to be able to look back and honestly say that I didn't waste one precious moment of time with my babies. God has given me a precious gift, time with my babies, and I plan to pack it so full of precious memories that it seems no more could possibly fit, and then I plan to pack in some more! I choose to cherish my children and our time together... How about you? <3
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Today was a down day... a down in the dumps day... I didn't feel like being nice. I didn't want to speak kind words. I just wanted to be left alone... but I'm Mom, and I don't get that luxury.
"Mommy!! She hit me!!!"
"She hit me first!!!"
"Because she was playing in the toilet again!!"
This had been going on all day long. I would nip it in the bud, take care of the problems and the problem behaviors (I thought), and go back to my housework only to have to repeat the cycle minutes later. Being 30 weeks pregnant and sick, I already felt like a seething teapot, and this was added to the mix. I felt like busting out with an explosive, "SHUUUUT UUUUP!!!!!" I wanted to just
knock their heads together tell them how wrong they were and send them bed for the rest of the day... or to Grandma's. Instead, I felt that convicting touch of the Holy Spirit. I heard His still, small voice whispering in my heart, reminding me to be kind and compassionate, to be tender and affectionate, and to show the great love of the Lord. So... I took a deep breath and handled the situation (for the umpteenth time) the way God said to... with love.
I often fail in this area. I often let my tongue get in the way. I often say things I regret, things I wish I hadn't. We all have...
That old adage comes to mind, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Most of us heard that saying over and over and over :) growing up.
Not only is it better for those who have to listen to us if we keep our mouths shut, not only is it better for us since we won't have to remove our foot later, but Proverbs 17:27, 28 also tells us that "zipping your lips" is the wise thing to do and will keep us from looking like a fool! "He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."
The Bible teaches us to study out our answers before we give them. Study your words. Are they pure? Are they helpful? Are they necessary? Are they kind? Will you give them in the spirit of love? Proverbs 15:28 says, "The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things."
Remember that one word can change a heart. One unnecessarily harsh tone can crush a tender spirit. One moment of unguarded lips can ruin your testimony, damage your ability to witness, and make a person feel unneeded, unloved, and unwanted. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." (Proverbs 18:21)
What do you say when you don't have anything nice to say? --Nothing!
How do YOU keep from saying words that you'll regret? I usually sing, since that usually calms me down and clears my mind. All of us need help in this area. All of us need the extra ideas. What do YOU do? Please share! :)
Saturday, February 2, 2013
"O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me." (Psalm 38:1-4)
This verse really stuck out to me during my devotions yesterday. It didn't stick out because of the writer's obvious distress at the Heavenly Father's anger, but rather because of the application that can be drawn from the verse... the application to the manner in which I discipline my own children.
I remember being confronted with the anger of my father as a child. I remember how it affected me. I remember the fact that everything else fled from my mind except the fact that I had made Daddy angry... again. The punishment no longer mattered. The reason he was angry fled from my memory. All I could think of was that Daddy was mad...
I wonder if the same is true for our children...
My husband and I try to never discipline in anger. If we're angry, the punishment either waits until later, or the other parent deals with it in our stead. The ultimate goal of discipline is to instill self-discipline. Discipline is a vital part of training up our children in the way they should go. If we discipline in anger, if we can't control ourselves, how can we possible teach our children to control themselves?
If our children perceive that they're being disciplined because we're angry, then the training moment is lost. Just like we did when we were younger, children tend to focus on our anger rather than what they did wrong.
Just as there's a right and wrong way for our children to obey (submissively or with an attitude), so there's also a right and wrong way for us to discipline our children (in a right spirit or in anger). Be careful! And... Remember, "You reap what you sow"! If you sow anger, you're training your children to be angry as well.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Our inner mood shows up in our surroundings. A happy and joyful spirit produces a clean home, just as a clean home creates a happy a joyful spirit. The reverse is also true. I've noticed that the state of my home often reflects the state of my spirit. If I'm depressed, I get behind in my domestic chores, I have a hard time keeping up with the messes my children make, and my home gets cluttered and... well... messy. And, of course, my messy home makes me even more depressed. It's a spiraling effect that can just get worse and worse if it's not pounced on and corrected.
How do you correct depression? How do you fix the way you feel? We can't... but God can! Here are a few steps to overcoming depression:
1. Decide why you're depressed. Usually depression stems from feeling sorry for ourselves or out of guilt. Depression could be caused by a sin that we are in bondage to and having a hard time breaking free of. It can be brought on by loss--whether of someone close to us, of our health or independence, or of finances or things. Many things can be a source of depression. What's yours?
2. Connect to the Life Giver. Jesus tells us that He came that we might have life "more abundantly" (John 10:10). Depression in no way resembles abundant life. In fact, it drains the life out of you. You cannot overcome depression without the help of Christ. Are you connected to Christ? To get connected to Christ, you must:
* Know you are a sinner. Everyone sins (does bad things). --Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;"
* Know there's a price, or penalty, for sin and that penalty is death in an eternal Hell. --Romans 6:23a, "For the wages of sin is death;"
* Know that Christ, God's Son, paid that debt for you when He willingly died on the cross. --Romans 6:23b, "...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." and Romand 5:8, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
* Know that there is only one thing you have to do-- believe. --John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." and Romans 10:9, 10, 13, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
If you know you're a sinner and can't get to Heaven on your own, if you know you're on your way to a Devil's Hell, if you know Christ died on the cross so you can go to Heaven instead of Hell, and if you want to place your faith and trust in Jesus and accept the free gift He offers, just tell Him!
3. Allow Christ to comfort you. He is the God of all comfort. --Psalm 55:22, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."; Matthew 11:28, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
4. Allow Christ to remove your guilt. --I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."; Psalm 103:12, "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed out transgressions from us."; I John 3:20, "For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things."
5. Change your stinking thinking! Realize that whatever you perceive as God doing TO YOU, He is actually doing THROUGH YOU to help you to grow and to give you the ability to help others. --Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."
Change your thinking to reflect what Christ would have us to think. --Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue; if there be any praise, think on these things."
6. Take steps toward healing even if you don't yet feel it inside. We all know depression leads to a disordered home and that a messy, disordered home leads to depression. Get up and force yourself to clean your house. Get someone to help you if you need to, but get it done. Just simply having clean, ordered surroundings can make a big difference in your mood!
Get your thoughts off yourself and onto someone else. What can you do for another person? Can you bake a batch of cookies for your neighbor? Can you cook a meal for a sick friend? Can you call and cheer up a home-bound senior? Can you take a needy teenager out shopping? Can you write a card on condolence to a grieving family? Doing something for someone else will make you feel better.
When you give your depression to God, you'll feel lighter, freer, better. Your home will start to reflect the order you feel inside. Your life will feel more complete. Trust in Him. Give Him your burden, and let Him work through you!
Do you know someone who is depressed? Do you struggle with depression? Can you think of other things that can be added to the list?
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
To a stranger, my family appears perfect: Daddy, Mommy, 3.5yr old Princess, and Newborn Prince. We even have a 13 yr old dog, and a 12 yr old cat. In fact, people have said that to me since I gave birth to our son: "Now your family is perfect".
They mean well. They aren't trying to offend, but every time I hear that, I cringe inside, bite my tongue, smile, and say, "Thank You". All I really want to do is yell, "MY FAMILY WAS PERFECT 5 YEARS AGO!!!!"
Before you nod your head, and whisper, "hormones", let me explain myself. You see, I suffer from infertility (IF). Yes, you read that right: I am INFERTILE!! Yes, we are blessed with 2 beautiful children here on earth that are 100% ours. I carried my babies in my womb, a little piece of me, and a little piece of my husband, combined perfectly, by God, into the unique little people they are. I will, however, be forever haunted by my diagnosis.
I have an official diagnosis of Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This basically means my ovaries mature eggs correctly, but 'forget' to release the eggs (I don't ovulate), and the result is that each egg, trapped in my ovaries, turns into a cyst. This causes my testosterone to rise, my progesterone to fall, and all sorts of lovely hormonal imbalances to occur. I also have insulin resistance caused by the hormone imbalances. Basically, my body produces enough insulin, but it doesn't absorb enough to keep my blood sugar within a "normal" range. because of this, I have type 2 diabetes also.
We began trying to start our family in August 2006, and found out we were pregnant in November 2006. We lost that baby on Thanksgiving Day. It took us trying another year until we were transferred to an OB/GYN specializing in IF. After all of the testing, and blood work, I was given my diagnosis of PCOS. We were assured by the Dr that most women respond to medication and that it was possible for me to have a baby.
I began taking Clomid, a drug that was supposed to help me ovulate. I was given the smallest dose to begin in October 2007, but it did not work. So, in November, the dose was doubled, and it worked: I ovulated. We kept trying, and I kept taking Clomid. Nothing. I began losing hope. I felt broken. I told my husband he needed to leave me, and find someone who could give him a family. You see, Clomid is a nasty little drug that messes with your hormones. I ran the spectrum of anger, depression, optimism, and hopefulness while on it. I am ashamed to admit that I don't remember much of the 8 months I was on Clomid. It is all a hormonal, fuzzy blur to me. My husband will be quick to point out that he still loved me, even though I was acting like a foolish crazy lady...ha-ha!
In June 2008 we decided to take the next step medically. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). This is a procedure where the Dr takes sperm, washes it, and inserts it directly into the uterus where, hopefully, a mature egg is waiting for it. This procedure failed. We tried again in July... also a failure.
The Dr told us that the next step would be In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Without this procedure, the odds were not in our favor for us to have biological children. We were devastated. We could barely afford what we had done so far, there was no way we would be able to afford IVF!
It was around this time that we had began going to church. We had both been raised in church, but had not been in church regularly since becoming adults, and hadn't been at all since we had been married. I truly believe that we went through IF to bring us back to God. I believe that, because we found 'our' church in June of 2008, and became members in August 2008. We finished membership classes the week we found out we were pregnant.
I know our daughter was a true miracle, because she was conceived without any external medical assistance. We had chosen not to proceed any further in our IF treatments. We had started discussing adoption. And, I had finally given everything to God. All along I had been praying and saying I had faith. I still wanted to be in charge of my IF though. I wanted that control, I wanted to be the one to decide when it would happen. It was only after I finally, completely, and wholeheartedly gave it to God that HE allowed us to conceive. I say we 'gave up' and people perceive that as we had lost hope, but truly, I mean I gave my IF up TO GOD! I clung to the verse in Psalms: He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother to children. Praise ye the Lord. (Ps 113:9)
We have since been blessed with our son. After trying for 18 months with no medical intervention, we conceived our 3rd baby, but that pregnancy also ended in a loss. After that, I decided that we were done trying. God had other plans, and in December 2011, we found out we were expecting again! Our Little Man was born in August 2012, and he is such a blessing! God provided us with the desires of our heart X 2.
Just because I have my babies, doesn't mean I still don't have the infertile mindset. I still struggle with hearing about someone else being pregnant. Don't get me wrong, I view all babies as blessings, and I rejoice with each announcement, but a little part inside of me still has that feeling of sadness. Sounds silly, especially because I read the last announcement while I was feeding our son. Here I was with the greatest gift, IN MY ARMS, and I still had that twinge of JEALOUSY!! How silly is that? I also have a feeling of guilt. Here I am with 2 babies, and some of my 'infertile sisters' have none!
It is very difficult, even for me, to know what to say, and how to say it. I will say this though: Sometimes what means the most is a hug, and a sincere, "I've been praying for you". Well meaning advice is usually not appreciated. I have heard, "Just relax, and it will happen", and "Maybe God has other plans", and "Just adopt, then you will get pregnant! I know someones cousins neighbor who had that happen to them!" so many times! These things do not help! When you are going through the journey, it isn't helpful to hear those things from people who just don't get it! I hope that I can be an encouragement to others going through the IF journey, and that God will allow what I say, and my actions to be a comfort to those going through this struggle. May God give all who struggle the desires of their hearts: For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of Him (1Sam 1:27)
Written by: Rebecca Miller Long
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
My husband and I had been married for seven years, and we had been praying for a baby. After several trips to the doctor’s, we were referred to see a specialist. After several different tests were done, the doctor called and wanted to see us at his office. During the ride in the car on the way over we were both very quiet – praying for a miracle. Before going in to see the doctor, we prayed together that we would be willing to accept whatever the results would be.
The doctor that we saw was an older gentleman and was very kind. He also claimed to be a Christian. He said, “After looking over the test results it looks as if you will never be able to have a child of our own. If you were my children, I would advise you to adopt a child.”
Our hearts were broken. We walked out his office, went to our car, and cried. We cried for the loss of a hope of having a baby of our own. I felt as if we were being punished by God. I can say that if ever there was a time I felt like I was in the depths of despair, it was then.
I began to question God foolishly, “Why us Lord?”
In the days and weeks that followed, every time I would see a baby or hear of someone else having a baby I would instantly begin to cry. I must have driven my husband crazy. There were several times when I would be out shopping and I would see a young child or a pregnant mother and I would have to walk away with tears rolling down my face. It seemed to me at this time that everyone that I knew was having a baby. My heart ached for a baby.
One day after reading Psalms 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” I knew that my desire was for a baby, and it seemed as if God had said no, yet my heart still had a strong desire. It was then that I prayed, “God if it is not your will for us to have a child please change my desire.”
I prayed this prayer every time I felt overwhelmed or defeated. I was doing my best to accept the fact that, for whatever reason, God in Heaven had said, “No”. I would sometimes think of the verse in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”
I think one of the things that surprises me the most is how unkind people can be. Many time people speak without thinking of how their words can really hurt someone. Well-meaning people say really stupid things. It was during this time that I had a pastor’s wife say to me, “When are you going to get right with God and give your husband a child?” When this was said to me, I could hardly contain myself. I excused myself and went outside to cry. I begin to pray again, “Lord if it is not your will, please change my desires.” I just hurt all over. When my husband came and found me. I remember I told him what was said, then we both began to cry. I know it was just one person that said that to us but we felt so alone. It seemed to us that everyone we know had children. What was wrong with us?!
In the days and weeks that followed, I really had to fight against becoming bitter: bitter towards God, and bitter towards others who had children. It seemed that when I would be feeling sorry for myself these hurtful words would be ringing in my ears.
Just thinking about that time in our life makes me want to cry again. I think this woman thought that because I worked I had chosen a career over a baby.
I had a couple of different couples say to us that until we had children our marriage was not blessed of God. I cannot count how many people have asked, “Why don’t you have a child? Are you the problem or is it your husband?”
How does one respond to mean and cruel statements that people make? I tried to respond with grace. I would try to put a smile on my face and find a nice way to tell them it was none of their business.
It is only natural to want to talk about babies and motherhood. However sometimes the best thing you can do is keep your mouth shut, and say a prayer for those who do not have children.
The most encouraging words I heard while going through this time in my life were, “I am praying for you.” I remember there was a woman in our church who, every time she saw me, would say, “I’m still praying for you and your husband to have a baby.” Just knowing that she was praying for me lifted my spirits! I knew my friends were praying for me.
The author of this blog post wishes to remain anonymous.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Have you ever wanted something? Like really wanted something? Maybe a car, or a new house?
For me, it was a baby. It has always been a baby. When I was growing up, we had a Career Night in our children's program at church. Some kids dressed as teachers or police officers. I went dressed as a Mom. To me, a Mom was the best “career” anyone could have. My Dad worked for his sister, and my Mom was “paid” to stay home with us. To me, that counts as a career.
When I got married, my husband and I decided we wanted to wait to have kids for the first year. After that year, we got very excited because we just knew we would get pregnant right away. After the first month, and being a few days late, I cried harder than I ever had before when Aunt Flo showed up. That same month, a newly wed couple announced they were expecting. I was so happy for them, but I was hurting so much inside… a pain the others around me couldn't understand. But, we thought, “Oh, well, next month is a new month.” We were told, “It takes a few months for your body to adjust after birth control.”
I love to work with children, and especially babies. But, because of our struggle to conceive, I struggled to work with children for several years. After about three years of not working in a nursery, I was asked to volunteer in the church nursery. I was so excited to hold a baby and play with the kids. Within minutes of taking in the first baby, someone walked by and, full of good intentions, said, “Are you practicing?” I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide. Other things were said as well, but most were along the same lines.
My first Mother's Day after we got married was no big deal. I was still on birth control, so I totally accepted that I wouldn't be pregnant. The next year, our church gave out flowers to all the mothers. I wasn't a mother, so I didn't expect a flower, but someone decided I needed to be told I wasn't a mother. I cried the rest of the day over a comment that didn't need to be made. The next year, someone sought me out to give me a flower – I still have it. And again, I cried the rest of the day.
Each year is different. Some years, I hide to avoid dealing with my situation. Other years I cry in front of everyone. This year, I had to leave church because I couldn't control my tears.
After several years had passed and still no baby, I began an internal struggle. I trust God has a plan, but I don't know what that plan is. People give me advice, but nothing changes. God is the only One that can change my situation.
I was a nanny for about 14 months. It was by far the best job I have ever had! But this experience taught both of us that we would not be able to foster. We have seriously considered adopting, but we would not be able to give a child back after caring for it and loving it as our own. I also will not nanny again. It has been an almost daily struggle to deal with this unusual loss. However, I would nanny for Baby Boy again in a heartbeat!!
Before I go on, I want to clarify a few things. My pain does not equal anger or bitterness. I may struggle to keep back my tears, but I am not angry at God or other women who can have children. Each time a friend or acquaintance announces a pregnancy, I do get excited for them, but also hurt on the inside. I had to block all the week-by-week pregnancy apps on Facebook because so many friends were expecting. In order to remain happy for them, I had to remove the constant reminder.
Also, my husband and I did not have insurance until just a few months ago, and did not have the finances to be tested. We do not know at this point why we cannot have children, or if we simply don't have children. I did have a medical procedure done a few months before our wedding, and the doctor said there was a 10% chance that I would not have children. Sometimes, that 10% looks really big!
Through my struggle to conceive, I have learned to trust God more. My husband can hold me and hurt with me, but he can't change it any more than I can. Only God can.
I began a study of barren women in the Bible. You may think of Sarah, Rachel, and Elisabeth, but there are so many more: Rebekah, Ruth, Samson's mother, and the Shunammite woman. God blessed each of these women with children that went on to do great things. There are many promises throughout the Bible specifically for the “barren woman.” God gave promises to the Israelites about their new land and His blessings on it (Exodus 23:26; Deuteronomy 7:14). I love what Hannah said after she gave birth to Samuel, “They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble” (I Samuel 2:5). God also gave promises to barren women in general. Psalm 113:9 says, “He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.”
I know that if it is God's will, I will someday have a child of my own. If it is not His will, then He has a better plan for me. I do believe God will give me children in His time, but I will trust Him and love Him even if I don't have children.