pour it out

photo credit - Heartlight, Inc. - www.heartlight.org
the message at church this morning was a simple one.  stop being selfish.  i'm pretty sure that the pastor was more tactful than that, but that was his point.  stop being selfish.  at the end of the message i knew i needed to ask the Lord "in what areas of my life am i being selfish?"

i didn't want to.


my verse for this year is Psalm 139:23-24 - Search me, O God, and know my heart;  Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any grievous way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

grr...deep breath

ok. "Lord - in what areas am i selfish?"

my time.  i am so very selfish of my time.  as a busy mom i don't have a lot of it to myself {trips to the bathroom do not count, and sadly even those times are seldom spent alone}, so when i do get a bit of time to myself i cherish it.  i relish every minute and i don't want to share it!  for one reason or another the past couple of weeks have been extra busy.  i have spent what is normally my free time helping others in one capacity or another.  that sounds oh so noble on the outside, but on the inside i was getting grumpy...grumpy, worn out, and even more selfish.  i wanted...nay...needed more "me" time!  Right!?  


as i sat in my church seat with one child on my lap and one on either side.  the Lord spoke.  not in words for my ears to hear, but in pictures of a beautifully familiar story from the old testament.  Elisha and the widow.  the widow who only had a small amount of flour, and a miserable amount of oil to make her last cake of bread.  the cake that would sustain her and her son for a few more days until the earth swallowed them back into dust.  

the Lord every so gently reminded me that when Elisha asked for her to make him a meal from her last remaining flour and oil, he gave no promises to replenish her stores.  she simply obeyed.  she poured out.  she gave, keeping nothing for the days to come.

then after her obedience the Lord blessed her with an abundance from his store house.

i hardly dared breath as the truth continued to flow over me.  as long as i selfishly held onto my measly hard earned minutes, refusing to pour out all that He has given me, then that is all i will have. measly minutes.  i need to, in obedience, pour out, expecting nothing in return.  then He will refresh me from His abundance.  He didn't promise to lengthen my days, but he will give me exactly what i need to serve Him always. 

before the day was over i was already able to see what the Lord had waiting for me.  i won't go into the details, {to save a small someone some embarrassment} but in the midst of a rather exhausting parenting moment, when i knew i had used almost all of my patience and i wanted to run away for just a little piece and quiet to catch my breath, i felt the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit - "keep going, pour it all out".  so i did.  i stopped everything else i was doing and loved on my little one.  and in that moment, when i had nothing left to give, He filled me with the perfect amount of wisdom, grace, and patience to see that child through the situation to the end.  and when it was all over, we hugged and smiled. instead of being exhausted - i felt alive.  pour it out. 


Just a minute...

Normal right now is busy.  Really busy.  Between kids, school, house, dinner, church, and other activities my plate is full.  Very full.  I keep telling myself there is no room for blogging.  But I miss recording the stories that make up our hectic lives.  So, with some encouragement, I decided that I might just have a minute {Maybe even 2 or 3 on a good day} to thrown down some thoughts or a picture.  It may not be funny or deep, and it certainly won't be perfect, but as always it will be real.  And that is what I love about our lives.  So continues Our Own Little Piece of Normal.


Bridge to Beautiful

Monday was my birthday.  Though, this year, the date April 2nd was a little uncomfortable for me.  It was also my due date.

When we found out we were expecting our 5th child, we were elated!  We knew it would be hard, but we felt such a peace that this was of the Lord and He would most certainly carry us through.  We purposed that we would not just try to push through the madness to get to the other side, but that we would make every effort to live in the moment and take notice of all that God was doing in us.

We told our family immediately.  We knew they would pray and that is what we needed most.  I am so thankful to have family {and friends} that prayed for us daily!  We spent a week or two preparing for survival mode, knowing that I would only have a short time on my feet before the hyperemesis took me out.  We made plans, put meals in the freezer, set aside extra money for eating out, and lined up babysitters.

The sickness did not creep up slowly this time, but knocked me down in one fell swoop.  One day I was vertical, the next horizontal.  I ended up spending every moment of the next two and a half months in bed.  I had only the strength to crawl to and from the bathroom a couple times a day.  I had a bowl for all of the puking.  Greg started working from home, the girls were enrolled in school, and the boys often spent their days with other people.  I was failing at everything it meant to be a wife and mother, and humbled beyond anything I had ever experienced before.  I wish I could say that I at least used my time alone wisely, but I didn't.  I desperately wanted to spent my days reading my bible, but I could not read, or at least praying, but the effort it took to think would cause more vomiting.  I did pray a little, but it was mostly "Jonah and the withered plant prayers".  As my body deteriorated, so did my spirit.  I can honestly say that there were some days that I just wanted to die, hoping I would just slip away in the night.  Thankfully we had many friends & family members that would come encourage us, pray for us, or send us scriptures.  And even my darkest hours {and they were so very dark}, the unbelievable misery {a misery that words will always fail}, and the overwhelmingness of it all - God was still so good!

Then at my twelve week appointment, my midwife was unable to find a heartbeat.  We scheduled a sonogram for the next day.  That appointment was the beginning of a very different sort of journey.  So with grace filled hearts we received the painful news that our baby had passed away.  It was time to learn about grief.

The next few days were a blur of activity.   I was still as sick as ever, and though I was committed to miscarrying naturally we sought a second opinion to make sure that would be in our best interest.  We learned through some blood tests that my HcG level was in the millions {it's not supposed to be over 300,000}, my thyroid and liver were compromised, and I had an unexplained mass in my uterus along with the baby.  My Doctor scheduled me for an emergency D and C, with a possible hysterectomy if deemed medically necessary in the moment. Oi!  Thankfully everything went without complication. Though my Doctor confessed months later that this was the most scared he had ever been for a patient, and the hardest thing he has ever had to do as a Doctor. {I failed to mention He is a close friend of the family}

Then came recovery.  I had/have quite a ways to go, both physically and emotionally.   When I think that I have finally done all the recovering I need to, my body will betray me and I realize I still have a ways to go.  The same could be said for the grieving process.  Once I think that I have spilled all the tears that need to be spilled,  I will encounter a situation and they will escape unfettered down my cheeks.  I am not trying to squash the process, or hurry it along, but continue to be surprised when grief washes over my soul.

But all this being said.  I will not remember this only as the year that we lost our baby, or the year that we struggled to keep it together, or the year that our dreams were left unfulfilled.

This year we learned about God's all encompassing grace.
This year I learned that what He shatters, He rebuilds.
This year we learned that every trial that brings you to the foot of the cross, is a blessing in disguise.
This year we learned about the kindness of others through shared meals, shared experience, and shared tears.
This year I learned that true brokenness, is truly breathtaking.
This year I learned that anger, mixed with repentance, is a bridge to beautiful.
This year we learned about the sacrifice of praise.
This year I learned that God is ALWAYS good.

And I have a feeling the lessons are only just beginning.


Oh my...

Sorry blog, there hasn't been much love for you lately.  But I have a couple stories needed to be recorded before they are completely lost to time and my inability to remember...well...anything.

#1.  A Valentine to Remember:

Valentines has been over for quite a while, but I couldn't let it completely slip away before writing about the very best Valentine I have EVER gotten.  Now you may have rose petals and delicious morsels of chocolatey goodness dancing in your head, but this was a Valentine of a different sort.  As I was helping Anya purge some shoes and clothes in her room I felt something whiz by my head.  "Mom, look!" she exclaimed.  "There is something with your name on it, right behind you!!"  {if you know Anya, you know she only speaks in exclamations!} Here is what I found.
Before I could even read what it said.  She gleefully shouted out "It's a leprous dog! - Happy Valentines Day!!"  Yep.  There it is.  A leprous dog, so conveniently named "Leper".
However, Valentines wasn't over for me yet.  She also sweetly placed a another Valentine under my pillow, so I could read it before I went to bed.  This one was a little more generic, but still had that Anya pizazz.  The glue she used to assemble the Valentine didn't quite have time to dry, so not only was it under my pillow, but glued to my pillow.
*Sigh* LOVE that girl!

#2.  Never Give a 10 Year Old a Challenge You Don't actually expect her to rise to:

We have been watching a lot of shows about surviving in the wilderness lately.  So now when the kids go out to play this has been a favorite game.  Pretending they are stranded on a island, lost in the woods, or without water in the middle of the desert.  Today I was watching as they collected items to make a bow and drill set to start a fire.  I had the windows open so I could hear them clearly, even though I was in the house.

Charis:  Anya what do you think will happen if I really start a fire?

Anya:  I don't know?  Do you think it could actually happen?

Charis:  Well I am pretty good at starting fires.  {Really!?}

Me:  {Calling from inside} If you can start a fire without using a lighter or matches.  I'll give you $5!  {Why I said that, I'll never know?  What mother, in her right mind, challenges their child to start a fire in the front yard?}

Five minutes later.  I am on the phone with the bank trying to figure out some mysterious charges and Micaiah runs up to me saying, "You owe Charis five bucks!"

Me:  What!?

Micaiah:  Come see!

I wish the camera had captured the smoke and embers, but alas
you will just have to trust me that there really is a fire in this picture.
Yup.  Charis remembered that we kept a magnesium fire starter {kind of like flint and steel - you rub it together in such as way as to create a spark} in the glove compartment of our van {in case we ever get stranded in the middle of nowhere and need to be able to start a fire... I guess}.
So, now I ask?  Do I still owe her the $5?  Hmmm...I suppose I do.


#57.  Thank you Lord for so many generations in one place!