Saturday, July 31, 2010
Many Christians today know that they are sinners and Jesus died for them. But they miss the best part! We're not just sinners that now have some answers! We are c0-heirs with Christ. We are called sons and daughters, adopted! NOW. This isn't when we "die and go to heaven" this is NOW. This should change every way that we view ourselves.
But instead we are Christians that understand the answer but can't do the equation.
We look at the outside and what we view as "whole" :
"See God?" We say, "See? Look what I'm doing for you. Oh I know, your grace did the work. But 'faith without works is dead', right?" To every one else we make sure our outside says: Look how well I'm doing, look what a great Christian I am.
We can understand salvation. But Jesus didn't die and conquer death to give us a ticket to heaven. He died to connect us back to our Source (Father God). He is the only one who can truly fill us, renew us. He is the only one who can give us every thing we could ever need. And I'm not talking a possessions and creature comforts. This isn't "name it and claim it" I'm talking our position of wh0 we are, redeemed in Christ: LOVED.
Families Where Grace Is in Place talks about marriage. VanVonderen talks about how many couples marry their spouse because they see the diagram above, (or the potential for it) and they are attracted to that.
But it's doomed for failure if there is no power source behind all that "positive". They soon find themselves tired (VanVonderen has a cool acronym for that- read the book!) and disappointed.
He calls these Curse-full relationships (again another helpful and interesting acronym- read it!).
Our children are no different from our spouse...Except they arrive with no + or -..Well some might say a lot of negatives in some ways.
They arrive immature. They grow to be children, still immature. When they are babies our job is to reflect The Source (God) to them. It's fairly easy to do= meet their needs. With my first I found this hard and draining but fairly simple. In my own strength it was hard, but "showing love" was basic. Feed her, hold her, protect her, care for her. but then she grew. It isn't so easy to "show love" when she's melting down and I have a migraine. And then baby #2 arrived. I wasn't plugged to my Source. I understood the ticket situation. But relationship? COMPLICATED. I had a lot of hurts and hang ups. So I girded up my loins (har har) and put more effort into "reflecting The Source" to my children. But its' harder when you have two against one ( I use that loosely). I was in the negatives when it came to any resources I had left.
I was a failure. How was I going to get them through childhood with all the lofty ideals I wanted for them?
I thought, "well I need more tools , of course!" So I read- hey nothing wrong there. I read about the "7 Powers of Self- Control" and the "7 Basic Discipline Skills" I read about Gentle Guidance, Gentle Discipline, "what to do whens", lots and lots and lots of advice from other older Mothers. I read about ways to m eet your needs with out neglecting our baby's. I learned a lot. But that wasn't answering my biggest question: Can. I .do. this?
My conclusion? No.
If my identity is going to be built on how my kids behave, or "turnout". Or how good a parent I am. I will be 1) exhausted and 2) disappointed. Exhausted because of all the things I'm trying to control (that I don't have control of!) and disappointed because control and parenting (or any relationship) always blows up in your face.
Which brings me to where I am now. It does matter what I chose to do The little things do matter. But only if I'm plugged in! Whether I like or not my children are designed to reflect: they'll practice on me. If I'm going to lead them to The Father- I better be plugged into The Source (if you haven't caught on yet, that's The Father!)!
While I reflect I also have to think about their:
Is what I view as a positive really a positive? Or is it what will make me look positive? Is it leading them to the Father? or shaping them to "play the Christian game"?
Because if I train them to look right on the outside. But ignore their need to be filled, their need to learn how to be filled. I've conditioned them to play- and what happens when the people surround them are negative?
Or Positive... some examples: involved, good grades, obedient, respectful, kind, giving back
What message am I sending? When my toddler is crying and disappointed or upset. And I tell her to stop being a cry baby. Crying because you don't get what you want is (weak and) wrong.
I am telling her I don't care about her sadness or her needs. I am driving her away from me- the person who is supposed to be leading her to the source...The reflection of the Source. I am shaming her. Telling her she is defective. Instead of reflecting Light and showing her who she is (or will be) in Christ. I am spreading the cures= "you're not good enough!"
My goal as her parent should be to look at the hidden need, not at the behavior.
I'll address some ways that might happen in Part Three...
I also recently read (did I finish? hm.) Easy to Love Difficult to Discipline by Becky A Bailey Ph.D.
That book is also amazing, I definitely recommend it. But I struggled in my reading of it. While the principles she presents in her book are good, moral and healthy principles. I felt overwhelmed with all the goals she sets out for the reader, the parent. Her tag line is, "You can't teach what you don't know."
Very true. Her goal is to teach the parent new skills to use in disciplining themselves, so they can in turn discipline their children. And while I got some great tools, and a new understanding about some of my attitudes and how they can effect my children,. I still felt very overwhelmed.
It kind of could be described like this:
Would I be able to carry out these things fully? No. Not to say that means I'm going to ditch the ideas and principles because they are impossible to perfect. I just left the book feeling insecure.
And then God grabbed me. I've had so many questions for Him the last 6 years. I've had this big 'ol pile of things I was trying to untangle even before I had kids...And then I became a parent and the pile grew. How was I going to do this? How were my children going to grow up under my care and leave respectably unscathed? Maybe even a bit more on the whole and healthy side then...not.
HOW HOW HOW???
I have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It really is simple. The world was perfect, man and woman were perfect and whole.
God and man were in perfect relationship. Man was perfect. Genesis 3 talks about how God walked in the garden, He was very close with his creation. But that wasn't good enough for man, and he (general "man/he" female implied.) and human tried to meet their needs some where else. Genesis 3:6 says When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
She saw there was more beyond perfection, she wanted some thing besides God... And with that was the fall of mankind. Our sin separated us from God. He laid out a whole beautiful story of how He called us back to Him. He chose a people (Israel) and all through the Old Testament, called to them. Gave them laws - a way to temporarily rid themselves of sin. But it didn't remove the guilt. The sin was always there waiting, and they had to continue to rid themselves of sin. They had to follow His Law very carefully. I don't have the time or space to go into all the details in this post but there were a LOT of things they had to do. All those rituals and sacrifices were reminders...That they were His people, and that He was one day going to send a doctor to heal their sin. All those commandments and sacrifices were a picture, a shadow of the Redemption He would send. First to His people Israel (also known as the Jews) and then to the rest of the world (known in Bible-speak: gentiles).
So we were separated. Death entered the world. And even now, we are all born separated from God...We can chose to live life separated, and eventually we die. That empty needy place will never be filled by any thing but God
When Adam and Eve ate that fruit, the consequences meant that we'd all be born into sin.
To keep it simple: the doctor for sin was Jesus. God sent His son and He was tortured and killed at the hand of a His people. He died for them, to overcome death. You can read about it here. But pretty much as crazy as what happened sounds: Jesus became the bridge back to God...So that we could live in relationship with him.
The veil of sin that was hanging between us and God was torn. And if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But the greatest perk of stepping beyond the veil of sin? We are free of guilt! God now, as mind blowing as it may seem, sees us as perfect. Not "sinners saved by grace", but fully and completely redeemed. We're back in the garden in His eyes, we're free. Now the New Testament talks a bit about this...But if you have any questions email me... My point is, God is now the one to fill that empty needy hole, He is the only one who can.
And yet, we walk around with this knowledge, we believe in the saving power of Jesus. But try to make ourselves LOOK healed. Whatever we view as "good" and "positive" we fill ourselves up with.
And with that...I will close Part One...Will link to Part Two when I get it written!! Stay tuned.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Here is our story...
Nov 23, 1989 his family came to share Thanksgiving Dinner with my family. We were 3 and 4. I don't remember the meal, except that Ryan sat on phonebooks at supper and I thought that was cool. I do remember after dinner we went out and played with sand toys in the snow (it was falling- a rare thanksgiving treat!)...I remember coming in feeling cold and running around playing hide and seek, it ended with my slamming his finger in my bedroom door.
A few weeks later his family moved in to a house down the street from me.
Our families on a camping trip together...I'm the little girl on the far left and Ryan is the one holding a cast up... He fell ove a 6ft fence when my sister (center) was babysitting him! We're around 7 and 8 years old here.
I remember so many things, we were pretty much inseparable growing up. I had my girl friends in the neighborhood: who'd I'd play with a few days a week, but Ryan's house was my favorite place to be. His family was younger than mine and his Mom was always having babies. every year or two there was a new one to play with...But more than that, there was Ryan.
I remember spring afternoons when we were so happy to have grass again, laying in the grass playing with the clouds (ya know "I see a rabbit...No that's a space ship.." etc)... I remember talking about really "deep stuff" laying on his bed (we were 6 or 7 and it was the only place we could hang out where the babies couldn't get to us- completely innocent.) talking about dreams we'd had recently, some times we'd had the same dreams (I'm not kidding).
I remember hours of riding bikes, swinging on swings, playing with his siblings, a million adventures.
We grew up. I was 12 and I remember feeling kinda funny hanging out with him, I was scared the changes happening in me would change our friendship. I was shy. Added to the fact I was heartbroken, his family had announced that in a year they would be moving to join a mission group and leaving- forever. I was a little more scarce from his house.
I remember the day he left. I cried that night into my pillow so my sister wouldn't know how sad I was.
Friends (and my older siblings) always teased us about our friendship. I'd always act disgusted, because in my heart Ryan wasn't "like that" I didn't LIKE him, never once. I told him about my crushes... He laughed at me. It was always just a beautiful easy friendship.
So he was gone. we emailed- we still have some of those emails: they are hilarious! We wrote about day-to-day life. Occasionally he'd call and we'd talk, but it wasn't the same as being together. His family still came back for 2 weeks every other summer. Ryan and I'd soak up as much time as we could together. He had other friends to see but he always reserved a day to hang out... We'd go to the park where we grew up, walk around the town where we grew up. It was still all about memories. And it was a little weird, a little awkward, we were just not settled into ourselves...I guess thats what puberty does to you.
But the summer after my senior year of high school (he was heading into his senior year) things changed. It wasn't about "memories" so much as the present: what we were going through, who we were becoming. I remember sitting in his parents SUV talking until midnight, we could see his parents in the living room waiting for him, looking out at us in the car...talking. I do remember that night, wondering briefly what it would be like to kiss him. I wasn't really attracted to him and I was absolutely appalled at that thought. I was terrified of any thing being weird between us. He was too important of a friend. Though I could easily admit to myself that I dreaded us really growing up...Because I knew we'd both some day marry other people and our friendship would end. I told him I was going to name my first daughter Rian (Ryan) in his honor...even if my husband hated the idea. (which consequently he does, I tried but he refuses to have a namesake! )
I went away after that summer, I moved to a city 3,000 miles away (and he and his family were living 2000 miles away from our home town)...He called me a few times a month and we'd stay up way too late talking. He was going through a lot and needed a friend. I was lonely and homesick and it felt good to be needed.
Then the next year he moved back to our home town (area) he was going to be going to school. I remember he got his wisdom teeth out right after he arrived (they had a friend who was a surgeon) I brought him green jello.
I was dating some one else, and in a really bad place my Dad had just been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and I was just living a nightmare...Ryan kept his distance, gave me space...We still talked quite often (which infuriated my dumb controlling bf). That relationship ended in October...I was heartbroken, I had been drawing a lot of comfort in that dark time from that unhealthy relationship. God had pulled a lot of things I had built my identity on out from under me. Thanksgiving 2004 I was really lonely, I didn't have many friends and I was just feeling so sad. I went upstairs alone and cried for a long time and then God gave me a verse: Psalm 145: 3-9 I felt the Lord tell me that He'd been crafting me a love story, one that my children would be blow away at. I wrote it in my journal and said "okay God, sure ya are..?"
Again Christmas Eve (holidays were hard after Dads diagnosis) I was sitting in front of the Christmas tree it was late at night, every one was in bed... I was looking at the lights and crying- they swirled around through my tears. I was asking God to help me, help me be patient. I wrote in my journal that I was feeling so restless...I told Him I felt so ready for my other half and I was aching, I didn't understand these feelings (as I'd had them for a while and tried to make them work with the boyfriend and it all fell apart horribly)...Why did He give me these feelings if He wasn't doing any thing with them!?!? I told him I knew I was young, but I was ready to get married, and to please do what He needed with my heart to change whatever...And I heard "Peace. The smoke is beginning to clear, hang on you're going to be blown away!"
A week later Ryan returned (form Xmas break) with his younger brother. We all hung out, for 3 days we spent almost every waking hour together (with his brother who I love)... We had a blast. Some thing was different. It was like when we were little again, it was that old peaceful companionship (like we'd settled back into ourselves some how...maybe it was being past puberty and all that drama?). One night we were hanging out at 4a.m watching a stupid Arnold Schwarzenegger movie and Ryan was sitting across the room and I was laying on the couch and I looked over at him and prayed silently "God please don't let him find a girl at school. I can't stand the thought of going to his wedding and pretending to be happy for him. Please Jesus, let it stay like this...I don't want to marry him! [I couldn't let my mind even GO there, eeek!] , but please let us be like this when we're 80, sitting across the room laughing and being together."
That night (morning?) Ryan went to bed and he said it was like God hit him with a 2x4 "She is the one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Ryan: "What? HANNAH, seriously God HANNAH???" "She's the one!!! Marry her."
He prayed about it a few days later...Called me up and after a 3 hour conversation (yeah....) finally got around to it and said "So I think we're supposed to get married, how would you feel about it?"
I said, "I'm so glad you just said that! I feel the same way. I was so scared you were going to heee and haw about it and we wouldn't get to this conversation until next summer!"
I still didn't "like" him, can't say there was suddenly all this chemistry and fire works...He was still just Ryan...But over the months we got to know each other better, a few months in (we both can pinpoint it to a weekend), we fell in love: we KNEW it was going to happen, was happening. We got officially engaged 2 months later and married 5 months from that date. We'll be celebrating (pizza with the girls?) 5 years since our engagement this Friday....And a 5 year anniversary in December, the next day we'll be celebrating our first daughters 3rd birthday!
And there is Part One of a very long story...I'd like to talk about my first daugher some time soon.
The spring after we were married... April 2006
1)I just finished (well last week) Families Where Grace Is In Place. INCREDIBLE BOOK! I can't wait to blog about it.
2) Finished Motherhood Stress...But have some different perspective on that as well.
3) Amity is starting to walk, and she's turning into a toddler before my eyes...Emptying out cupboards, throwing beautiful tantrums over every thing, climbing up things I never dreamed a baby would dare to conquer. She's starting to say real words, sentences even. She'll be 1 in 2 weeks, I can't admit that one yet. I feel so sad about that.
4)I'm learning some new things, about me as a person. It's refreshing.
I'd love to talk more about it... But you know what's super exciting???I need to run because I need to put two little sun washed bodies to bed, early! We spent the day running around at the park and then swimming with friends all afternoon. We're beat!!
I miss you blog, I will come back to writing more soon...I have a lot to say...A lot to process.
Friday, July 16, 2010
And it is rediculous.
I have way too big of feelings to discuss this further...But I definitely got a laugh and cry out of these video. Love Mama is...
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Feels so unattainable. I swear I'm 2 years old. Seriously, I'm only 2.5 years old in this parenting thing and I feel like I'm acting it.
Is that possible?
Will my poor oldest be doomed to grow along with Mommie?
Okay so I know it can't just be me. A friend whose daughter is a month older than Ri said some thing similar recently. I don't think I've ever wanted to throw more tantrums than I do these days. I'm not alone. I'm not alone. I'm not alone.
And I will not sit on the floor and bang my fists and howl.
It hasn't been a bad day. But all the days run together and are wearing me down.
I think the most frustrating thing is how helpless I feel some times. I'll be nursing Amity, she'll finally be drifting off for her afternoon catnap. And Riley does some thing so 2-years-oldish and not necessarily dangerous but more of the "Oh boy the MESS I'm going to have to clean up." kind of thing. And I can't say any thing. I have to pretend not to see what she's doing becuase if I say some thing like "Oh don't play with that Riley" I will have to follow through and get up and remove her. So I get a sleeping baby, but the extra mess is frustrating.
Or just the past 5 minutes. I hear Amity stir, I race upstairs, she hasn't made enough noise to wake her sister...The room is pitch black, I run in scoop her up and race out. We are just 2 steps from the door and I hear this loud "BANG". Amity had found some thing (a book? a toy?) hard in our bed and grabbed before I picked herup...Then proceded to drop it on the stepstool by Riley's bed. *bang head into wall* Riley woke up crying. I got to the door and whispered desperately and firmly "Riley go back to sleep!"
She's not ready to get up if she's waking up crying, she just isn't.
It's been 5 minutes, she fussed for a minute and I haven't heard any thing. I'm holding my breath she fell back to sleep. The girl is growing and has been needing longer naps lately. Solace, those naps, solace.
But again, lack of control. It's always some thing, nothing ever goes as planned...It's almost like I have to trick plans into going right "See here plan? I want you to go this way, see?" (but really secretly under my breath "please go the opposite of that, okay?").
I'm sure some uber-organized Mama is reading this and thinking "Well, if you'd just get your act together and follow a strict schedule you wouldn't be pulling your hair out."
To that, I stick out my tongue. Schedules don't work... I have tried them. I do have pretty set routines, but they are constantly changing every few weeks/months...Because my kids are constantly changing.
This is discussed in Motherhood Stress and with that I'm going to have to close. I just heard Riley up there crying.
Okay now I will throw my hissy fit. too-short nap for my toddler, this afternoon is going to be beautiful.
Monday, July 12, 2010
And I quote (from our facebook convo):
"I moved and you lived in the house next to us. So we were new neighbors. You asked if I'd like to come by to visit & get to know each other. I went over and you said that you had to go to court, but that I should come with you that it wouldn't take long. I said I'd go, and we start loading up your burgundy suburban. I asked if there'd be enough room and you said there should be, but there were 10 kids total with my 3 (which I only have 2) and your 7 lol. I started to hear a baby cry far off and woke up to Lily crying in the hallway lol!!!"
Jamie, I sincerely hope that is not some sign of my future...But like I said, the thought of the burgundy suburban makes me laugh!!! If I ever do have 7 children I honestly think I totally would be like "Sure what's 3 more?!? We'll squeeze them in, to hell with carseat laws!"
*Laughing, in terror, but laughing!*
Okay random post but let it be noted: According to Jamie my future holds at least 7 children.
I'm afraid it might hold even more. Ever had a niggling almost sinking feeling that God was calling you to some thing so big you knew it would have to be completely Him for you ever to be able to even wrap your brain around it? [how's that for a run on sentence?] Well I have that sinking niggling feeling that my future holds MANY children that I will raise and call my own.
sigh. Only God could pull that off because at the moment I'm DONE...Okay I'd like to snuggle a baby boy, I've really started praying about that, I'm almost ready to think about #3, not to get pregnant but at least THINK about it. ;0)
So if I ever do have more than a handful I think I will be one maniac of a Mama. But what's funny is that I could see myself there... I wonder what I'll be like? Probably so crazy that I don't bat an eye lash at dragging TEN children and a friend to court with me. *still laughing*
Oh Jamie, I'd totally make you take care of them all for the "not too long" that I am in with the judge. Crazy-mama-me of seven children would do that...I'd get "not too long" just to myself. ;0)
And that is what I'm enjoying now. Both girls are making up for the busy weekend and taking a solid nap...And now that I've written that they'll both wake up.
That dream really tickled me. Sure makes me feel better about just being Mama of two right now, one day at a time...
(P.S. Have I mentioned Jamie and I have never met in real life? Thank God for all the amazing Mom's I've connected with over the last few years. An eclectic group with different ideas about parenting, but they sure bring a lot of zest to life! Seriously.)
- an excess of novelty and uncertainty
- lack of control
- high expectations
- no clear guidelines or measure of success
- low status and low pay
- poor accountability
- ideals versus reality
She goes through the book discussing each of these issues and other things like ...The causes and effects of motherhood stress. Ways to find balance and take care of yourself and relieve some of that stress...What Fathers can do to relieve motherhood stress.
I'm going to read this again and post a full review...Or at least a few posts on the subject. It's some thing I really want to think about. I definitely need some tools for surviving (and maybe even possibly finding more joy in???) the next few years.
I hope it gets easier. I'm hoping I can find a better balance for where I'm at right now. Or maybe I just need a new perspective? But I am seriously going to have hair issues too if some thing doesn't change.
I promise local LLL, I will return this book in August...But before then I'm diving in to it again.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
I reasoned "if God commanded it as a sign of his people, then there must have been a reason for doing it!"
Though I did admit that Paul did say in the New Testament that it's not necessary.
Some thing I was pondering today: If 1 in 3 baby boys have complications from circumcisions today. And 1 in 100 (I believe that's the statistic) die from complications from circumcision: how in the world did the the Jewish people survive?
And then Dr Mama answered my question: THIS post is SO interesting. So they didn't amputate a bunch of stuff like they do today? They just cut a little slit? Really? I'm not sure, I haven't read all the information posted, I do wonder about when Jonathan (or was it David) went and cut off 1,00 foreskins of the philistines in 1 Samuel: if he cut off the foreskins was it really a slit? How'd that work? Or is it translated in light of current circumcision not true historical Hebrew fact (which I find that some times the people who translated were blinded by their own cultural bias and understanding)...Who knows, I need to read into it more...But it's an interesting thought.
Either way, the hubby and I have both agreed we are most definitely not going to be circumcising our sons. We believe that God made the human body perfectly, we can't say that and then cut off a part that came with our son. Also its' an unnecessary medical intervention, we don't like those in general!