Friday, June 3, 2016

Thy Will

Many of you that read Faith for Wings follow me on Facebook. You rejoiced with us when we announced on Easter that we were expecting another baby. And then you mourned with us when we had to share the news that our baby was no longer viable and had left us.

The day of the ultrasound appointment, Monday, May 2nd, was very hard but also full of God's grace. We had a wonderful ultrasound tech who was kind and sympathetic, apologizing for having to do her job after we knew what was happening. My amazing OB let us sit in her office for as long as we needed and took care of cancelling and scheduling appointments right then and there so we didn't have to worry about doing it. Our parents circled around us via phone when we called to tell them. And then there was the radio station that had no clue how they ministered to us on that hard day.

On Mondays, our local Christian radio station introduces a couple of new songs to their rotation. Typically 2-3 songs each week, they'll add them to the playlist at different times during the day. As I sat down in my car after that appointment to go pick up my son, this song started playing during its first day on that station.

"I know You're good, but this don't feel good right now." How true this was then and in the subsequent weeks. None of this has felt anywhere near "good". But I have also clung to one of the other truths in this song: "Sometimes I gotta stop, remember that you're God and I am not." A friend at church said a few Sundays ago that "God knows what he's doing." We have certainly been clinging to that fact. Dan and I have talked several times in the past weeks about God's goodness and sovereignty, His plans and mercy, especially in the midst of a broken world. We may not know the broader picture, but we cling to a God who does.

"I know you see me, I know you hear me, Lord". What comfort in those words! God is not ignorant of my grief or tears. How often the Psalmist proclaims this truth of God's knowing us in the midst of difficult circumstances! Jesus said that those who mourn will be comforted (Matt 5:4). I look forward to the day when every one of my tears is wiped away (Rev. 21: 3-5) but for now I trust that God will not waste this moment in time, this grief, these tears. I still miss my baby and mourn what will not be now. But I also still know He's good, even if my circumstances don't feel good in this moment. That hope...that makes all the difference.

In Loving Memory of Baby X

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, February 8, 2016

Guilty/Not Guilty

Oh, mommas. My heart hurt so much the other day. Let me explain.

My Munchkin has a little buddy that is almost his same age. His mom and I are both first time moms though she is several years my junior. When I saw her the other week to pass along some extra clothes another friend had shared with me, she mentioned that her tyke was sick with the flu and we talked about how hard it is for little ones. Just days later, she called me. Her little guy had shared and now she was sick and, for health reasons, unable to take typical OTC meds that would have helped.

Learning to love the white stuff ;)
We talked for a while about how hard it is to parent when you're sick. I related how my whole family had been sick a couple months ago and how sometimes you have to just dig down deep and find some extra strength to push through and other times you just need to curl up on the couch and watch the little one play. And that's when it happened. She basically asked me if that was okay, if it was okay for her to rest while she was sick. It seems that was the purpose of her call and it broke my heart. I told her that of course it was okay if she laid down and simply watched her boy play instead of pushing herself to engage beyond her energy. Of course it was okay to take care of herself and heal. My heart broke thinking of how many of us feel we need permission to do what is necessary in the face of what we feel we "should" do.

Being a first-time mom can be so hard. Throw in our own, often unrealistic, expectations of ourselves on top of the already hard work of raising littles and often the mommy guilt isn't far behind. We try to keep going, keep moving, keep doing for the sake of feeling accomplished. As a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) sometimes I feel I haven't succeeded if I haven't been constantly going and doing all day long or if I don't have something to physically show for the work I've done. My wonderful husband has really helped me to recognize this guilt when it creeps up and encourages me by helping me see all that I have done, even if it's "only" raising my little adventurer. Sometimes I simply need to realize that making it to the end of the day with a Munchkin that has been loved and fed is enough, even if my house didn't get cleaned or laundry didn't get done. Besides, who doesn't love a pajama day every once in a while? ;)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29, NIV)

Jesus's way is not one of false guilt or running ourselves ragged trying to keep up with everyone and everything. It invites us to rest in Him, to find our strength and expectations outside of ourselves. It draws us into a relationship, not a frenzy of activity or to-do-lists. So let's link arms with the mommas around us and encourage them as they seek to find rest in the hurricane. Raising littles is hard enough already without piling false guilt on ourselves. Let's help each other to lay that burden down at the feet of our Maker and "find rest for [our] souls".

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, January 18, 2016

Book Review: "I Prayed for You" by Jean Fischer

"I Prayed for You" by Jean Fischer is a sweet children's book about all the prayers a mama bear says for her little cub starting before he was even born and as he grows each day. Every spread shares a different prayer, and moms will resonate with the eternally important messages conveyed in those prayers. Beautifully illustrated by Frank Endersby, this sweet book will quickly become a bedtime favorite.

I really enjoyed this book with my little guy. "I Prayed for You" gives mommas a chance to share with their little ones all the different ways they are prayed for as they grow up. My little guy enjoyed seeing Baby Bear do some of the same things that he does, such as playing, snuggling, and getting dressed. We especially like giggling along with Baby Bear when he meets a butterfly for the first time. I like how it gives me an opportunity to let my Munchkin know how much he has been and will be prayed for in his life. Sometimes I get teary reading the prayers for times yet to come in his life, knowing they will be the prayers of my heart as well.

Of note, it was a little different having the story part of the book not rhyme when the corresponding prayers on the opposite page did rhyme. Part of me might have preferred to have it all one way or the other. Otherwise, we really enjoyed this book and I look forward to many more bedtimes with it as our story for the night.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Soli Deo Gloria,

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, November 9, 2015

Babies Don't Keep

I was in the middle of preparing dinner. The oven was preheating, food processor whirring, and skillet sizzling when I heard the disturbance. My little Munchkin had been peacefully napping...until he woke up screaming. This wasn't the usual "I'm awake, come get me!" cry/scream that I hear when he's ready to be rescued from the crib. No, this was the blood-curdling, "something must be wrong" scream of a hurt or frightened little one. I made sure my burners were off before swooping in and scooping him up in my arms. He snuggled in and held on tight as his cries subsided. He was still tense but as I held him and rocked him, his breathing slowed and he relaxed.

We stayed like that for a long time. His arms stayed firmly around my neck as I snuggled him and rocked in the glider. I thanked God in those moments that I hadn't made it any further in preparing dinner as I didn't want an oven timer to interrupt this quiet moment. He's bigger than he used to be and I realize he won't always want to snuggle. Even now, he can get wrapped up in playing and will try to squirm away if I scoop him up for a hug when he wants to be down and on the move. So I cherished this time of comforting my boy and providing the safety he needed to snuggle and relax while he slowly awoke from his nap. The last line from this poem kept running through my head as I sat there. Dinner could be late and playing could wait, but rocking my baby right then was the most important thing in the world.

 "Babies Don’t Keep"

Author: Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Joy He Carries

Most of us know going into parenthood that we will be teaching our children so many things. How to walk, talk, manners, potty training, reading, driving a car... You get the idea. We also realize that our kids will probably teach us a few things as well, like how to function on minimal sleep, treat a variety of unidentifiable stains, how to hide veggies in food, and the best places to stash treats. We learn what unconditional love looks like and find out just how fiercely protective we can be. But there were things I didn't expect to learn too, things that God has shown me through my son.

Munchkin LOVES music! It is rare that we don't have the radio on at home when he's awake. Thank goodness for our awesome local Christian radio station that has minimal interruptions! I will often catch him clapping or bouncing along to the beat, whether it's music on the radio or the songs his toys play. If I forget to turn on the radio in the car, he will often protest until I remember to do so. But one of his favorite places to experience music is in our church worship service.

Each Sunday, we keep him with us in service until the sermon starts. We've pretty much done this since he was born. As soon as the first song starts, he is hooked. He bounces, claps, waves his arms, kicks his legs, and occasionally squeals in his version of singing along with the praise team. I have had many people tell me how much they enjoy watching him enjoy the music. He has such JOY!! 

One time, while watching him, I began to wonder where my joy had gone. I saw my boy and wanted God to see the same joy in my worship that I saw in his. I think so many of us simply go through the motions on a Sunday morning when it comes to worship for whatever reason. Maybe we're tired, the music is not quite our taste, we had a fight on the way to church, etc...pick your reason. But if God is the source of my joy and he never changes, my circumstances are not to blame for my lack of joy but rather my own choices. No, that doesn't mean I'll always be happy and never sorrowful, but worship is about the one being worshiped and that is why I can still have joy.

So now, maybe I sing a little louder and clap a little more freely. Maybe I bounce and sway with my son a little more and let my circumstances fall where they may. After all, God's in control, right? If I, imperfect though I may be, enjoy watching my child express joy, I want God to have that same enjoyment when I offer up my worship.

Soli Deo Gloria,