Soaring Up the Stairs

Drip, drip., drip.

You know how annoying water dripping from a faucet is? I feel like that is my life right now. I am so blessed. I am married to an incredibly good-looking man who treats me so good. I have four healthy, beautiful children. I am a part of a church family that loves me no matter how much I mess up. I live in a home that is big enough for our needs, the cupboards are full, two vehicles are working. I have a few close friends whom I trust. What more could I ask for?

But I am getting so TIRED. The counters are always cluttered, no matter how many times I clean them off. The hampers are always full, even though I do laundry every day. There are always innocent-looking toys shaped like jagged glass on the floor. I will clean them up, but new ones fall from the ceiling before I finish. I spend days cleaning up. What is the point? It’s just going to get messy again.

After numerous meltdowns and crying on my Handsome Hubby’s shoulder, I realized I needed a break. But I don’t have anywhere to go, and where is he going to take all the kids for the few hours I need? I left the whole thing with him, and he came up with a God-inspired solution: I would stay home from church, and he would take the kids with him. Absolutely beautiful. Let me tell you, those kids were ready a little early this morning. I was on a mission.

I started scrapbooking our homeschool year, and got a few pictures cut out before our beautiful New One had a diaper malfunction on me. So I changed her, and started again. Well, now she needed to burp and go down for a nap. When it was all said and done, I think the 2 glorious hours I looked forward to evaporated into a broken up 30 minutes of frenzied cutting and pasting, until I ran out of photo tape. Fun, fun, fun!

The page I ended with turned out to be Valentine’s Day. We had a great day: fractions and math while making pancakes, hand/eye skills with cutting out hearts, creative writing while describing the things we love about each other. We also read 1 Corinthians 13 together, so I wrote that out on the page. Even if you are not an avid Bible reader, I know you’ve heard “Love is patient, love is kind. . . ” While reading, I put my name in the place of “love.” See, I have heard that this is a good idea to determine if you are living the way the God wants, seeing as how HE IS the God, and the Maker, of love. You know, 

I am patient, I am kind. I do not envy, I do not boast. I am not proud. I do not dishonour others, I am not self-seeking, I am not easily angered, I keep no record of wrongs. . .

PERFECT! I feel so much better now! Ugh. I suck, I suck. Lord, what is the POINT?

I always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere.

It is so easy to say those words. Hope. Persevere. What do they actually mean?

Hope: to desire with expectation of obtainment

Persevere: To persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The clean counters won’t remain. My house will not stay clean. I may not get the daily requirements of fruits and vegetables into these little mouths. The children will not always act and live the way that we are training them to. It is very easy to say that there is no point.

But I will have faith in this: God made me. Jesus loves me. The Holy Spirit is in me. 

I will have hope in this:  God has a plan for my life. He has a plan for the lives of our children. I may not know what the “point” is, and I may never know. I still don’t know how to fold all the towels exactly the same, or why it bothers me so much in the first place. But I believe that I am where I’m meant to be.

And I will love these children. I will love my husband. I will love my home. Even when I am so annoyed, impatient, tired.

Faith, Hope and Love will remain, even after this crazy month is over, after my bad attitudes fizzle, even after the kids grow up, even after I die. 

“Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:28-31

Oh, Lord, help me to soar, even when I’m too annoyed to walk up the stairs AGAIN.Image,

 

Advice on Advice

If only this were possible. . .

 

 

Dear me, on the occasion of your first pregnancy,

 

This is so exciting! I know that your mind is filled with all kinds of dreams and hopes. You are embarking on a new stage of life, and there is no turning back! I know it all seems like gumdrops and unicorns, but I just wanted to let you know a few things to save you some heartache and stress.

1. During the pregnancy, and through the first few years of Baby’s life, you are going to get LOTS of advice. Now that the world is smaller, you will be hearing it from more than just your mom and Granny. People in the grocery store, people at church, Facebook, Pinterest, everyone will have something to say to you. Here is something you need to understand:

JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE GIVES YOU ADVICE DOESN’T MEAN YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

I can’t tell you that enough! They are just trying to help. They forget what it’s like to be on the opposite end, or they are just trying to show you another way to do things. YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. They don’t think you are, either. You have two choices: File the tip or info away to think about later, or smile and nod. They are both just fine. Do not argue, it may have worked for them.

2. Every single item of pregnancy, childbirth and childrearing is a potential Pandora’s box of controversy. Seriously. Here are some things that will be argued about in nurseries, blogs, facebook, and every other location in MommyLand:

Breastfeeding/Bottle feeding

Diapers/Elimination communication (If I knew how to link up blogs, I would show you your old friend Kathleen’s. She never really had to wipe a baby’s dirty bum. And she’s a real person.)

Cloth/Disposable diapers

Rice cereal

Baby weaning

Scheduling/On demand feeding

Co-sleeping

Baby wearing

Expired car seats

Organic foods

Rocking to sleep

Baby reading

Potty training

These are just a few of things you will argue about. It’s okay. None of these things are God given directives.  You could maybe make a case for one or two, but in the long run, none of these things will be important. None of these will grow your child into a mature, well-rounded individual. That’s where the parenting and relationship you have with your baby will come in. God knew how you felt about organic foods, or rocking your baby to sleep. And He still gave you this specific baby. So ask Him if you are really worried about it, research it, talk to your Handsome Hubby, and then just let it go. You will develop your OWN opinions on all of these. Keep them to yourself, unless someone asks. This leads into number three. . .

3. No one has the right to judge you about how you grow your baby. Just like you have no right to judge them, either. So feed your two year old a hotdog. Or don’t. Let your three year old decide when to potty train. Or don’t. But do not judge others for how they raise their children, and if you think others are judging you, pray for them. It’s a hard world. Concentrate on your own family.

4. Your HH knows stuff. He may not know all the philosophies, he may not have read all the books. But it’s his baby too. It is never too early to let him lead his family. If he thinks the baby is hungry, feed him or her. If he wants to snuggle the baby through the hockey game, let him. You are going to make LOTS of mistakes. Give him grace and space to make his own.

5. You can’t do it all. Give up now. It will make it easier later.

6. Write it down! You think you are going to remember all these special things. You will forget them all! Especially once the next one comes (Yes, you will have more than one. Go get a pedicure and paint the master bedroom, NOW, or it will wait for six years and counting.) Seriously, don’t worry about a special “book” or format. Write it down on a piece of paper, and stick it in a binder. Done. Memory saved.

7. Back up your pictures. You will lose them all for your second baby. Make sure someone actually takes them, too.

8. Go to a midwife. Doctors are for sick people.

9. Never, I repeat, NEVER say the words, “I will always,” or “I will never.” They taste terrible later. You will eat a lot of them.

10. I know you aren’t going to find out at the ultrasounds. So, just so you know, your first one is a boy. You will love him.

Love, 

Me.