Friday, August 31, 2012

a medical update on Bugaboo

Well, I like our new neurologist better than the last two our system had. Here's the update:
  • He wants us to see the geneticist - which actually was scheduled months ago. We finally get in very soon.
  • He is glad to see Bugaboo has progressed, but he is concerned that he is still so far behind.
  • He observed the same hypotonia we have seen for months.
  • The MRI we were told was "normal," by the last neuro may not be in regards to white brain matter. The white brain matter isn't as developed as it should be.
  • Bugaboo's head has not grown in five months.  The neuro did not like that.
  • We go back to the neurologist in October - after we meet with genetics. Hopefully they will have something to tell us, and hopefully Bugaboo's head will grow and he will continue to make gains.
Things I liked about this neuro:
He did not utter the phrase, "Well, at least he's making progress."
Even better - he never once said, "Well, he was premature." 

Hallelujah - a doctor who realizes what we have been dealing with may have nothing to do with Bugaboo's prematurity.

How you can pray:
  • for head growth and brain matter growth
  • for a helpful genetics appointment in a couple of weeks and timely results
  • insight for this neurologist, our geneticist, and our pediatrician, as well as the therapists we work with weekly
  • for our orthotics appointment in Septemeber for G's feet/legs/walking issues
  • for continued growth in gross and fine motor skills (we've seen gains this summer in gross motor) as well as in speech/language development
  • for me - to balance all the mommy-ing stuff with both boys - and for insight for me as I observe and work with Bugaboo everyday
  • continued provision - We made the decision last spring for me to cease working even from home so I could focus on working with Bugaboo - every need continues to be met and we are thankful for that.
Thank you to those who send diapers or grocery money, those who buy shoes and clothes for our boys or bring me a cup of coffee. Thank you, friends, who pray for our boys, who pray over our boys. Thank you for those of you who laugh with us at the crazy things they do, and those of you who cry with me when I drop G off at the baby nursery while younger babies move up to toddlers. Thank you who read this blog orfacebook and who just listen when I need a friend. We have an amazing community of support near and far, and we couldn't do it without you. We love you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dear Bubby (I don't care if you are sharp)

Dear Bubby,
I picked you up from day four of preschool today. You seem to like it. You don't even take time to kiss me good-bye when I drop you off. But today you ran to me when I got there with a big smile on your face, so that (almost) makes up for it.

Your teacher, Mrs. McA., stopped me and said, "You know, he's really sharp."

Then she proceeded to tell me the thing you did today that impressed her so much.  It made my heart swell with pride because, well, I taught you those things, and because all mommies like to hear good things about their kids.

I'm glad you are smart, Bubby. It makes many things very easy for you and for me. It also makes things exhausting, especially in this "Why is_____?" phase you are in. I love it and hate it all at the same time.

But I want you to know, Bubby, that there are more important things than being sharp.  I love the way you look out for your brother.  I love that you tell Daddy that Bug needs a turn for a horsie ride, and I love that you get more excited for his turn than for your own. I love that you tell me Bugaboo needs a snack, if you happen to get yours first.  I love that you told me on Monday that he needs to go to preschool, too.  When I told you not yet, he's too little, you responded, "He's bigger now." Your kindness melts your mommy's heart.

And being kind is more important than being sharp. I pray you will always be known for your heart.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Sillies and Sweet Stuff (Aug. 25)

We went to a birthday party for a friend of mine this evening.  There were delicious cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies there.  While Bubby was eating his, Bugaboo reached over on more than one occasion to try to take a cookie away from his brother.

Bath time is a favorite for the boys, but after bath is almost as good for them. Bubby runs around the house naked, and Bugaboo, since he can't walk yet, climbs or pulls up on everything in their room. Tonight Bug was shaking his tush while holding onto the crib rails.  Bubs went over and joined him - two naked happy little guys.

At a cookout Wednesday, the boys and I were waiting while The Hubs filled up a plate for us.  As he approached Bugboo saw the food and started clapping excitedly.  The kid was ready for dinner!

Bubby started preschool this week. On his second day (Wednesday) I walked him in, and as I was trying to get him to take off his backpack, he completely ignored me and dashed in to where his teacher was helping two students with the art easel.  No good-byes. No hugs.  He was ready to be at school.

Some Bubby quotes of the week:
I want a tambourine. I need a tambourine. 

Bubby: Mommy?
Me: Yes?
(Bubby just leans in and gives me a kiss.)

Friday, August 24, 2012

a letter to my eighteen year old self

Today is move in day at my alma mater. I happen to (still) live in the same town (though I did escape for a couple of years.)  Ten years ago I was moving in for the very last time.  Here is what I wrote four years ago, to my about-to-enter-college self.

Dear Amanda '99
You are about to enter an amazing four years of your life. There will be days (and weeks) when it will feel anything but amazing, but hang-on. You will look back at even those less-than-amazing days and smile. Don't be afraid to try new things. College is NOT high school. Everyone starts on equal ground here. Break out of your shell and don't worry about things like rejection, not being good enough, not being qualified. Don't worry about dating either. It does turn out well in the end. I know the chapel services about meeting your spouse will echo in your ears, but keep in mind those people graduated from EU at a different time. It is okay to leave college unmarried. God has a plan. Some other things to keep in mind:

* Yes, freshmen year the chapel speakers are not that great, but the other three years they get a lot better. You will miss the sense of community from these gatherings once you leave.

* Enjoy Get-Your-Roommate-a-Date, even though you never really know the guy your friends get for you. Enjoy the crazy hayrides with the goats (every year) and hearing that your friend "looks like the devil" and your freshmen date having ADD all night.

* Go to banquet. You do not need a date for this event. You will regret only going your senior year.

* Be prepared for a strange couple to accompany your group to Spring Fling. Put your blanket down early so that your party doesn't get split up.

* Do not stand up and cheer loudly at the pep rally when B2S is called. It is B2S, not W2S. Your floor does not win. Stay seated. Pass this info on to Heather as well.

* Never miss an opportunity to stay up late in someone's room or in the hall to chat.
* Do not drive HermanOscar home for Easter. Get his belt fixed. Yes, he has a belt problem.

* Do not leave the "cleanliness is next to godliness" note for your suitemates. You will cry later that evening if you do.

* Take speech class before your senior year. It isn't that bad. Mr. Kelton is hilarious.

* Dating your friend back home seems like a good idea over the summer. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but you will be sad to lose the friendship when the relationship is over.

* Enjoy Wal-mart trips. Later in life Springfield will suck you back in, and you will hate Wal-mart.

* Take Spanish. Fit it into your schedule. Do not take World History I - at least not with that professor. Do not take geology. It is not rocks for jocks. Do not mention liking Judy Blume in your children's lit class. Harry Potter is okay, but Judy Blume apparently is of the devil.

* Go to the fitness center. I mean more than for HarvestFest and SpringFling. You are paying for it, and you WILL pay for not going when you take lifetime fitness. Oh - study for the lifetime fitness final.

* Find a costume for Superhero day. Be prepared to see Larry Boy and CatWoman raising their hands in worship.

* Learn to do a handstand. This will be important for floor gymnastics.

* Take an umbrella when you go for an ice cream or Taco Bell run. It will rain most of the time on your return trip.

* Don't be offended that the guy who uttered the phrase "She went from cute to hot" isn't interested in anything more than friendship. You can do so much better - don't waste a moment or a thought on him.

* Never pass up a trip to Cheddars or the Muddhouse or a nighttime walk around campus.

* Learn to play Mafia so that you can dominate at Crosswalk functions.

* Be kind. Don't get involved/overwhelmed with the girl drama. Treat other people the way you want to be treated.

* Enjoy every moment. It will fly by. Treasure your friendships. Many of them will last a lifetime thanks to the internet. Learn to love Springfield and the A/G. You will end up spending more time eventually with both. Yes, it's true. Don't laugh. Worship, study, work, and play with all of your heart for the next four years.

Amanda in 2009

Thursday, August 23, 2012

when you don't want to be stronger, but you are anyway

You can spend an evening making jokes about hackers and it's not my job and upside down picture frames. But you wake up the next morning, and your heart is still broken. You can say phrases like, "It's their loss," or "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," but sometimes you just get tired of being strong. Twenty years of being the adult, being the strong one eventually gets exhausting.

The human heart can only take so much.

It is the same heart that was broken time and time again over two decades, but this time it is different. This time the babies are involved. So this time it isn't just about you and your principles. It is about protecting two innocent little boys.  It doesn't make it any less painful, but it does make it a little easier to make the decisions.  Yet no amount of photoshopping or unfriending can erase the pain in your heart from trust shattered by the people you love and who should love you.

What do you do? 

After days of putting on an I will survive face, you stand in the shower and contemplate tears.  Then you hold them back because you realize they are not worth your tears.  But they escape anyway at odd times because maybe they aren't worth your tears, but the what should have been is.

Then you put one foot in front of the other and keep going. You take your kids to the park, and you hold your husband's hand. You hang with people who have become near and dear to you in a relatively short amount of time. They don't know your jokes about perms and what was unnecessary, but they do know that your oldest is allergic to strawberries and that you prefer iced caramel machiattos in the summer.

You hear Kelly Clarkson on the radio and you do part of your Zumba routine in the passenger seat of the car. You smile because you know you are stronger, and this is just the beginning.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

just two quotes tonight

"Always monitor your children's relationships and activities and screen the adults in their lives. Foolish people are not safe. ... If you have any suspicions or concerns, it is best to err on the side of caution. Their language, attitudes, and behaviors can be emotionally and spiritually corrosive. You cannot easily erase their effects." ~ Clay Clarkson

"If you're going to be a follower of Jesus, do it with all your heart. Take responsibility for your behavior, even in the little things." ~ George O. Wood

Monday, August 20, 2012

why I keep choosing (most days) to live life to its fullest

I snapped pictures this morning. The Hubs was off to his first "real" day of nursing school. Our three year old was starting preschool for the first time. I found myself fighting off the urge to snap a couple of times when things weren't going as planned.  Those Pinterest people must have really cooperative children. And fancy homes. And well manicured yards. And nice handwriting. But mostly cooperative children. Bubby was not very cooperative this morning for pictures nor was my home.

We arrived a few minutes early, and Bubby cried. He wasn't scared, he was angry because I made us wait in the car while watched four other families go in ahead of us. He did not like that. My camera acted up, and my child refused to stand in front of his school or his classroom door. I put my camera away, and I focused on making this morning go as smoothly as possible.

Timid at first, my firstborn kissed me goodbye without any drama. Not a tear. I got a lump in my throat walking down the hallway without him. But my twenty-month old was on my hip, and I just wanted to get him back in the car. So there were no tears for me either. Bugaboo and I were off to the park for some official one-on-one time.  However, after a few pushes on the swing, baby brother looked over at the empty swing next to him, and kept saying, "Bubba. Bubba? Bubba!" Then this sweet boy realized he had lost his partner in crime, and he cried. We drove back to preschool to wait.

Bubby walked out of his classroom this morning with his snack smeared over his face and sand in his shoes. He sang and retold a story on the ride home. A successful first day, I declared.
The rest of our Monday was business as usual. Library visits. Physical therapy. Poop on the floor during what should be naptime. Endless laundry. Playing in the backyard. Three minutes on the naughty rug. And again. Making leftovers stretch into a new recipe. Bathtime overflowing into exhaustion.

I find myself praying each day, "God, please provide..." I fill in the blanks with things like: Peace. Direction. Resources. Wisdom. Joy. Finances. Hope. Strength. Endurance. Patience. Faith. And He does. I am learning the concept of daily bread. Manna in the desert. Each day is enough to keep me thankful and enough to keep me watchful.

(Also linking up with JDaniel4's Mom on back to school traditions. We don't have traditions really yet, just pictures since this is our first year sending a kiddo to preschool.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

the (____) young ruler

I was thinking about Jesus and the rich young ruler. We usually associate that story with giving up money or status or what-not to follow Jesus. But I think it is bigger than that. I feel this example from Jesus' time on earth shows us that He wants us to give up our sin, our pride, ourselves, whatever the cost. And the cost is usually the very thing we desire the most.

The man wanted  to be identified with Christ and inherit eternal life - but he didn't want to be discipled by Him. Seems like things haven't changed much. We want the blessings of being a Christian, we want the label, but we don't want the sacrifice. We don't want the hard work. We don't want to be told, even by Jesus, what to do or not do. We want to be a Jesus-name-dropper, but not someone Christ disciples. We don't really want Him, or His standards, in our business.

The man is sad when Jesus tells him what he has to do. Give something up and follow Him. The young man responds by walking away.

Notice Jesus doesn't run after him. Jesus doesn't beg that guy, "Pretty please follow Me. It's no big deal, your heart-issues, your sin. I can compromise. I can overlook it."

Jesus is love, so we automatically think Jesus and His followers should just overlook things and label it grace. No.

I love how John Piper puts it, "Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon."

Jesus is love and because of that He wants us to be holy. He wanted that rich young ruler to give up his former way of life because He had something better for him that could only be received by embracing holiness - which is only possible through a true and growing relationship with Him.

Jesus confronted the rich young man. Jesus loved him by doing the very thing that so many today would say is judgmental. Jesus doesn't expect us to be perfect - the people He hung around with, including His disciples, were pretty screwed up.

But the difference between the rich young ruler and the ragtag group of people that Jesus empowered to change the world was that they were willing to give Jesus their imperfections and be changed by living according to His Word, by His grace, and by His Spirit.

Jesus loves us and calls us to holiness. Not a list but a lifestyle. A willingness to surrender our pride for His purposes.

Friday, August 17, 2012

five minute friday - stretch

Each week I try to remember to join Lisa-Jo writing for five minutes, no editing, on her given topic.  This week we are writing about the word "stretch."


The mess of lies stretch like bubble gum in a preschooler's hands. Strrrreeeeecch. Strings of gobblygook that started in between fingers have managed to get hold of shirts and toes and hair.
"Let's get the peanut butter."
But instead words stick onto other words. And it stretches further.
The gum is all over the house, even on the dog's fur.
"We will have to cut it out. We are making it worse by stretching it instead of cutting it out."
But scissors seem harsh to some.
"Let's just work with it." they say. "Let's stretch it more. It will be okay. How dare you think of cutting it out."
Everything is covered in pink, which is has a grayish tint from so many hands tugging at it.

I will stop the stretching. I will cut it off of my shoes, out of my hair, no matter how foolish I look. Deal with it now or deal with it later. I choose now.


Five Minute Friday

*JoAnn's post on her gum incident this week gave me something to ponder, a visual I cannot stop going back to.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

who am I?

Who am I?

I am compassionate. My top two strengths on the strengths finder were empathy and belief.  I feel deeply. I love with my whole heart. I want people to be everything God has created them to be.

I cry when I am hurt. I cry when others are hurt. I have been told I am a good listener,

I think about every angle of my decision-making to determine the possible consequences. I look at the big picture.

I am someone who thinks my actions, my words, and my faith should match up.  I'm not perfect, and I make mistakes, but I will not use that as an excuse to keep making poor decisions.

By God's grace, I live by His Word and empowered by His Spirit.  This doesn't mean I am always warm and fuzzy. Much of the time I am, but truth to me is more important than comfort.

I am sarcastic. I can dish it out, and I can take it.

I am stubborn and opinionated. Those two things are stamped all over my DNA.

I think for myself and have been doing so for at least two decades. I attribute that to the stellar gifted education I received in my elementary years. (Seriously.)

I am spiritual. I believe God is concerned about my life and involved in it. I would not have made it without Him.

I am a terrible dancer.

I am a great speed reader.

I rock at mommy-ing. Not because I am June Cleaver (I'm not). Not because I'm Martha Stewart (it's a good thing). But I've had to be an advocate for both of my boys' from day one (which was actually gestational age week 29), and I will continue to be until my last breath.

I sing in the car and in the shower. Country music and old hymns.

I am many things, good, bad and neutral.

But the one thing I am not ... a liar.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

more thoughts on truth

I have no words.
I thought my heart would be heavier, but there is overwhelming peace.
When you do the right thing, when you ask someone to tell the truth
and he refuses,
he says, "It's not my job."
his character is revealed.

When is it not our job to tell the truth?
When is it not our duty - no, our honor, to defend our children?

So boundaries are reiterated.

Boundaries are not bitterness.
Boundaries are not unforgiveness.
Boundaries are wisdom.

My heart is valuable and precious and vulnerable.
My childrens' hearts are valuable and precious and vulnerable.

I thought things had changed.
Three years of me rebuilding relationships and trust
because of pride and lies.
A mess that didn't have to be.

But character is who you are in the dark.
And eventually light shines in the darkness.
You are given the choice - do the right thing.
Tell the truth. The truth will set you free.

But instead lies poured out.
To cover up other lies, old and new.
Second verse same as the first.

I will not live in the bondage of lies.
I will not put my children at unnecessary risk.

I will walk in truth. I will walk in peace. I will walk with hope. I will walk with integrity.

Monday, August 13, 2012

some ramblings and reflections during nap time

"Accept yourself in your weariness, knowing that I understand how difficult your journey has been. Do not compare yourself with others, who seem to skip along their life-paths with ease. Their journey has been different from yours ..." (from Jesus Calling pg. 235 by Sarah Young)

On Saturday I heard a message on the importance of being faithful in the mundane, the sacredness of the simple things.  It is Monday now, and the boys are fighting their naps. The oldest is being ridiculous, and the youngest is cranky. It doesn't matter that we spent an hour playing at the park this morning, or we mixed up some cookie dough after lunch. I am weary of the routines at this moment. I long for something big and significant to happen. And if not significant, than just some good old fashioned quiet would be okay by me.

What am I supposed to learn in this season? How can God speak to me and fill me and use me amidst Fox in Socks and the cracker crumbs that multiply before I have a chance to vacuum them? Why does it always seem that I am being taught lessons on trust, patience and dependence when I would rather learn about giving, encouragement and rest?

I took a walk with my boys and three friends last night, and felt very young and somewhat old all at once. This journey I'm on has twisted and turned in directions I've never imagined. Throughout the day my prayer life utters a sentence or two - a thanksgiving or a request - but I long for more. But I am learning to trust for my daily bread.

The slight change in temperature this week tells me autumn is on its way. The anticipation of my favorite season and the dread of the one that it leads to battle in my mind. Nothing is constant except the guarantee that things will change. I dare not get too attached to future plans. Heartbreak has jaded me a bit. I pray that the walls will not come up where they are not needed.

What is the point of these paragraphs? I'm not sure. I only know that I now hear the soft, steady breathing of two of the people that take my breath away. And in hearing them I am reminded how much I am loved, and that He is with me for every step, for every season.

Friday, August 10, 2012

five minute friday - connect

Join the fun at Lisa-Jo's for Five Minute Friday. (Be sure to check out the "rules" and other participants, too.)  This week's topic "connect."

I joke and tell people I am an extrovert in an introvert's body. Or sometimes I say it the other way around.  Whatever way you want to look at it, I like being around people, but I don't like big crowds.  Crowds intimidate me. The loudest people in the spotlight. The figuring out where to stand or where to sit or how not to look like a wallflower while finding someone to chat with.  Somehow I never escaped the fear of fitting in that began in middle school and the horrific dances there.

But I do love people. And being around them (well most of them). I love their stories. I love laughing so hard that no one in the group can catch their breath. I hate when the people I am around are upset, but I will be the first one to start crying with you if I see tears.

Connecting doesn't seem quite the same at this phase of life as it did in fifth grade.  But I get moments of it. Coffee with a friend. Someone else coming for dinner. Another texting to pop in for a visit. I am given hope by these interactions with others in my life right now. They remind me that we are not alone in this world.

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

the gift of the mundane

The boys slept in till eight this morning, and therefore, so did I.  I got a shower in before The Hubs left for work, and I have yet to dry my hair. Some days the hairdryer is over-rated.

A dozen cars and trucks are scattered all over my living room. The boys have wandered back into their room, and I can hear more toys clanging in there. Through the doorway, I see my youngest has pulled himself to stand. He is trying to figure out how to get down without falling. Even at this young age, the fear of loss of control plays a role in decision making. His little booty is sticking out for balance, and it is adorable. The boys are still in their jammies, and I smile at them, at their bare feet displaying twenty toesies.

The washing machine swishy-swashes, and I put away yesterday's load of folded items. In a bit I will usher my boys into the minivan and drive across town for Bugaboo's therapy. We will call Babushka after her work day and wish her a happy birthday. I will pick up messes, wipe faces, kiss owies, break up squabbles, and tickle tummies around the clock.

There is something comforting about a mundane Wednesday. There is music in the stomping of little feet and the duets of laughter.  I will start again counting gifts, seeing the beauty in the ordinary, the blessings in the difficult. The summer is almost over, and I will choose to not waste the seasons just ahead.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

counting my blessings in the middle of the night

The post I've been writing for the last day or so seems to fit with Emily's synchroblog on what it means to be blessed.

At one-thirty in the morning Sunday, or rather it was Monday, I tired of crying. The evening had been spent shedding tears about the present and the past. The conversations had taken me down memory lane, recalling events of my adolescence and early adulthood, some that only one or two people know about and probably ever will. I pushed my head off of the pillow, and said to my husband, "How did I get through my teenage years without an eating disorder or becoming promiscuous?" For a moment there was silence, and then I answered my own question, "Only by the grace of God."

During my teenage years I saw one parent attempt to fool everyone with church attendance. I saw the other parent reject the church completely. I remember at some point, probably around age thirteen, looking up at my ceiling which displayed a Keanu Reeves poster. I remember telling God I hated Him. Or Her. I remember thinking the whole church thing was a joke because the Church didn't seem to care who still entered its doors on Sunday morning. Accountability was not important when a mega church was being built. Just numbers. And I flat out refused to go every third Sunday, when someone felt like being a spiritual leader for ninety minutes.

Another hour passed in the wee hours between night and morning. I shifted my thoughts to the graces of God. What shaped me. What saved me. What blessed me.

I remember asking a pastor's kid in my high school English class if I could go to youth group with her. I don't know what possessed me to do it, since I wasn't a very outgoing person. I went by myself on Monday nights. Often her mom or dad would give me a ride home. I don't know if I ever thanked them for pouring into me like they did, loving a girl who had nothing to offer. I kept going to that church, by myself on Sunday mornings. Other teens were forced to go, but I chose to be there. I needed this Jesus. I couldn't get enough of Him.

I remember spending a lot of time at my best friend's house. I remember their small house near the library better than their other homes. I was shaped by the dinners at their house where her dad made Swedish pancakes and the Friday nights smooshed in their living room before going out to cruise the avenue with our friends.

I remember Mimi and Papa slipping me some money to be able to go grab ice cream with my friends. I remember a very specific evening one summer, after a phone call where I was completely ignored. I remember sitting in their bathroom, not to use the facilities, but to cry. Both of them came in. They laid their hands on me and prayed over me. It was not requested, nor did such impromptu prayer happen again. Though I don't remember the exact words, I will never forget that moment.

I remember eating tacos on Sunday nights with Neersy for years. I remember, "Love ya, Man!" and the hug every time we were dropped off. I remember helping grade math papers, and being allowed to come volunteer to work with his fifth graders whenever I wanted.

I remember altar times in college, and a professor who met me for coffee. I remember her saying "That sucks," about something that was going on in my life, and I couldn't believe a pastor could say "sucks." It made me like her even more because she understood. It did suck.

I remember my roommate and floormates hearing me on the phone, crying and begging for the tuition money that the courts had decreed I was owed. They let me vent, and they made me laugh, even on my nineteenth birthday.

I remember a college friend's mom came for a visit one weekend, and she prayed over me. I remember a speaker on the stage of chapel who spoke in front of me my exact situation even though he had never met me.

I remember living in Arizona, alone and away from everyone. I remember dating someone who was absolutely wrong for me, and I remember spending a weekend with long-time family friends, the ones who have actually known me from the day I was born. I remember being at their house that October with a broken heart, and just being with them reminded me of Truth and Love.

I remember wanting a do-over, wanting to leave when things got tough in marriage. But I remembered vows and promises and commitments and my precious little ones. And I remember eventually thinking, "Well I'm glad we stuck it out. We're going to make it."

The statistics say I should have been a drop-out or a slut or a druggie. The lack of control I had of the events occurring in my life made me a prime target for anorexia or cutting or alcoholism. But somehow I graduated from college with honors. And my virginity. Somehow I have made it to thirty-one without ever smoking or getting drunk or high. Somehow I know how to love my husband, not perfectly, but decidedly. Somehow I know how to love my kids with my entire heart. Somehow I cling to the One Who saves me, everyday, from the sadness and statistics, and Who holds on to me through storms or celebrations.

I don't understand these blessings, these divine appointments in every high and low in my life. I only know that He is good and He is faithful. And His grace continues to shape me and save me and bless me, even this week, when I struggle to make sense of it all.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

the truth will set you free - but first it's going to hurt

Most of my life I have turned to the piano for comfort when the tears overpower the words. But the boys are sleeping, and so I sit here trying to find the right words.

I do not understand a parent rejecting a child. I didn't understand it two decades ago, and now, as a mother, I understand it even less. I have failed my boys in many ways in their short time on earth so far, but the one thing I know is I will never lie to them. I will never reject them. I will never leave them. I will always do whatever it takes to have a relationship with them.

Throughout my life I have cried myself to sleep, screaming to the ceiling or into a pillow, "WHY AM I NOT GOOD ENOUGH?!" What kind of parent does not defend his child? What kind of parent rejects a daughter over and over and over again? What kind of parent chooses the comfort of lies over the power and freedom of truth?

I would step in front of a bullet, a moving train, a bomb for my children. And yet I am once again pushed in front of the onslaught of lies and left without a defender.

Or so it would seem.

Tonight I was reminded that I am not rejected. I am chosen. I am rescued. I am loved. And I am worthy of fighting for and defending.  Tonight I experienced the love of God through the words and actions of my husband, stepping in to speak up for me when I no longer had the strength. Tonight I knew for certain that I am good enough.

And what the enemy wants to use for evil is somehow already being used for good - being used for my healing. It's just going to continue to hurt for awhile in the process.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jesus, the pirate

There is nothing like mommy-hood to teach you about faith. My boys teach me about patience and grace. For example, yesterday Bubby just stood there pretty undisturbed when another child pushed him out of the way at the library. I, on the other hand, had to muster every ounce of strength to not to tell his mom to do her job.

My kids teach me about joy in the mundane and little things. They constantly teach me about prayer - from their NICU days to the current doctor appointments and therapies. Bubby prays with enthusiasm before each meal. He prays in the car for rain. Niney-seven percent of his prayers are thank-you prayers.

The instant they came into existance, they started teaching me about unconditional love. And through my heart for them I get a glimpse of the Father's heart for me. Each day the phrase "faith like a child" becomes more and more meaningful, and more and more conviciting.

"Mommy, get the Bible. Read the boat story. Jesus is on the boat. It's the pirate boat."

"Jesus was on a fishing boat, Bubby, not a pirate boat."

"I wuv Jesus. I want to be like Him. Mommy, be like Jesus."

I don't know how much Bubby understands about faith at this young age. But I know that he understands that Jesus is real, that Jesus is important, and that Jesus loves him. And isn't that what we all really need to know?