Tuesday, June 18, 2013

not my post...

I read this from The Gospel Coalition blog and I always wanted to be able to find it and its too good not to be read so I copied and pasted it here - gotta give credit where credit is due.... what a good read and great reminder....

A Prayer for the Mom Who's Worn

Motherhood is both the best job and the also hardest job I've ever had. It has brought me great joy and revealed to me a level of love I hadn't known before. It has also stretched me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I've lived on less sleep than should be humanly possible. I've even learned more than I care to about bugs, science, and how machines work (two boys will that do that to you). While the physical stretch marks may fade, the ones on my heart are there to stay.
Though the joys are many, there are days when motherhood wears me down to the core. Some days, I'm not even sure I'll make it through to bedtime. When night time finally does come, my head hits the pillow hard, and I wonder what I accomplished all day. My heart sighs because I know that tomorrow will most likely be a repeat of the same. Because the job is never done, I'll wake up the next morning to the house still in disarray and mountains of laundry to wash. And based on the sniffles I've heard lately, certain illness looms on the horizon.
Some seasons of motherhood feel more intense and exhausting than others. It's easy to become discouraged by the endless cycle of cleaning up the messes—physical and emotional. Joy sometimes feels like a thing of the past and just out of reach. We can feel isolated and alone. We may question our qualifications to be a mother or think we've failed our children.
The truth is, motherhood is hard, and we can't do it on our own. As John Piper wrote in A Godward Life, "I need help. Always. In everything. I am simply kidding myself if I think I can move an inch without God's help." Just as we cannot live without water, we cannot do anything apart from Christ, including motherhood. "Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5).
Rather than swim in guilt or wish life were different, we need to go to the Source of our strength, joy, and peace. We need to drink from the living water that only Christ provides. There we'll find that the truths of the gospel are always within reach, always ready to refresh, remind, and restore.
Jesus died to free us from trying to do life on our own. He came to redeem us from slavery to sin and restore our relationship with the Father. He faced every temptation and sorrow that we face, yet lived a sinless life. The grave could not hold him, guaranteeing a future resurrection for all who trust in Christ. As these truths saturate our thirsty soul, we find the nourishment and strength we so desperately need.
And it's because of Jesus that we can go before the throne of grace in confidence to find the help we need (Hebrews 4:16). If you are like me and feel tired and worn, this prayer is for you:
Dear Father in heaven,
I come before you weary and beat down by this long day. Being a mother can be so hard. I often feel helpless and inadequate. Part of me wants to complain, but then I remember the extent to which you were beat down, and I'm struck quiet. I remember that you are the Man of Sorrows and that you understand just how hard life can be. I also remember that you collect all my tears and care about my troubles, trials, and fears.
The Book of Hebrews tells me I can come to you in confidence and find the grace and mercy I need. And so I come to you now to lay all these burdens at your feet. I feel so overwhelmed by the details of life. It seems like I can never get ahead. Just when I clean up one mess, another one pops up somewhere else. Some days I wonder if I'm really cut out for motherhood.
I know I failed to glorify you today. I failed to love as you love me. I failed to extend the grace you've given me. Forgive me for striving in my own strength. Forgive me for not finding my complete satisfaction in you and seeking it elsewhere. Each of these failures reminds me of just how much I need a Savior. Today reminds me that I need Jesus more than I did yesterday and that tomorrow I will need him even more.
I'm so thankful that there is so much of you to give. You're never tired or weary. Even while I sleep, you remain at work. Nothing happens outside your knowledge and will. You're never stretched beyond what you can handle. And the well of your grace never runs dry.
Because of what Jesus did for me, I ask that you create in me a clean heart. Renew a refreshed spirit within me. Give me gospel strength to get through the day. Open my eyes so that I see your hand at work in the mess of my life. Be my constant in my fluctuating emotions. Keep the gospel ever before me and make it a reality in my daily life as a mother.
I pray that tomorrow you would be with me in all the muck and mire of motherhood. Help me to find my joy in you and not in my circumstances. May I remember that even when it feels otherwise, you are always with me, will never leave me, or forsake me. Tonight I'll sleep in peace knowing that even when I lose my grip, you never let go of me. And I'll open my eyes in the morning to find mercy, fresh and new, ready for the taking.
It's because of Jesus and in Jesus' name that I pray, amen.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The little princess...

We have had several friends ask recently about Linnea and how she is doing adjusting to having a new big sister around - so I thought I would take a few minutes and update you on our littlest princess.  She does not like having a big sister.  In Linnea's defense the very first impression she got of Abbie was Abbie pulling her dress up to see if she was wearing a diaper or not.  No lie that is the very first thing Abbie did to her upon meeting her in the civil affairs office in China.  So needless to say I am not sure they quite got things started off on the right foot.  It also doesn't help that Abbie likes to be a little mother.  This little princess of mine was used to getting all the attention because she was the only girl in our family - and now that dynamic has changed and she's not quite liking it.  And well Abbie does demand my attention these days .... the funny thing is out of the two girls Linnea is the most medically needy - so in the long run she will likely get more of my attention than Abbie may - but of course she can't understand that now.  They do share some moments of fun and laughter and I envision in several months they might be good buddies.  They have so much in common and just don't realize it yet.  Abbie really does love Linnea for the most part - its Linnea that doesn't so much love Abbie.  Linnea really is struggling.  She is a mamas girl and she wants no one to forget that.  Some of her behaviors from when we first came home with her are resurfacing and there are other new behaviors that she is showing off to us for attention.  She has quite the bottom lip these days....When she is not frowning though she is oh so adorable and actually when she is frowning it is the most pathetic little look one can't help but scoop her up or laugh!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE that she will just walk up to me and plant a little kiss on my lips or cheek  - its one of my favorite things about her -and to think she didn't even know how to show love a year ago is amazing to me.  That little princess has come soo far.  She is working so hard to try and communicate with us and she is communicating far better than she ever has.  We discovered right before we left for China that Linnea has a sub mucus cleft palate which is one of the major reasons she is not able to talk!!  This is correctable with surgery and we are looking at having that done sometime in August after she has met with a geneticist.  Because of the many special needs that Linnea's little body presents with she more than likely has some type of genetic syndrome which is why we are going ahead with the testing.  This testing will take place in July and I feel like it will give us so many answers and help us to better plan for this sweet girls future.  Don't let this tiny 21lb little girl fool you - she is full of herself and we just know the Lord has great plans for her life regardless of her medical conditions.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Happy One Month Abbie cakes!!

I know all parents say this - but seriously how in the world it has been a month is CRAZY!!  (kind of like our day- but I will spare you all those details!) While this sweet girl sure has given me a run for motherhood - I cannot even imagine life without her.  What a difference four weeks can make.  She is the most beautiful child and has a smile that can light up the room!  She is settling in and of course still learning the ropes and adjusting.  She knows a few English words and thinks it is very funny for "daddy baba" to say "oh my land!" She tries to mimic him and gets herself so tickled.  She is attached to her mama and follows me around often.  She is struggling at bedtime and we are unsure of what her insecurities are but they are there and so we comfort and encourage.  Her fits of rage are decreasing and she is learning how to better handle her anger.  A friend said to me today - just think about the noticeable differences in her life now and how much more different she will be when she has Christ as her Savior - I thought that was so fitting and true - good things to think about.

Today Abbie got to become acquainted with our friends at CHOA.  Tomorrow Abbie will undergo an MRI to see how her hdyrocephaly is and what our treatment plan is going to be.  We are so blessed to live by an incredible team of doctors for both of our girls at Children's Healthcare.  She presents some signs of a possible genetic syndrome so we are hoping to get her in with the geneticist when Linnea goes next month. One of the components of this syndrome is possible hearing loss and speech impairment - I am all too familiar with that aren't I..... which reminds me of a funny story.... well I think its funny and I have to laugh because if I don't laugh then I would probably cry.  It is important to note the boys are not home at this time its just me and the girls. This afternoon I was out on the deck and I hear crying inside - which sounded like Linnea - so I rush in to find Abbie and Linnea standing next to one another but Abbie is the one crying and Linnea is just standing there looking at her so I of course ask "whats wrong, what happened!!!??" Did I seriously just ask my two daughters who can't speak, hear or understand English and expect an answer......what was I thinking??!!!  ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!! I thought it was kind of funny!!

Well a month has come and gone .... heres to many more Lord willing!! Happy one month Abbie cakes!!! God loves you and we do too!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Confessions of a "cocooning" mother....

Confession number 1: I did not come up with this blog title - my sweet friend Tamara did - and it was just too good I told her I had to use it..

Confession number 2: Currently as I begin to write (you know I won't get to finish this now) I am sitting outside of Abbie's room - it is bedtime and she wants to go downstairs - I have told her we are going to stay up here - she did not like this - so I am listening to her talk her ugly talk to me as I sit with her...nice huh.... 

Confession number 3: I really do not want to be sitting here - I want to be downstairs spending time with my three boys ...

Confession number 4: I am struggling today - I am feeling selfish today - I am missing aspects of what I  might call my old life, I am full of sin ie getting impatient and angry with my children,  amongst other things - I started not even to write that but I need to be truthful - with myself and with you regardless of what others might think.  

Confession number 5: I am a "cocooning" cheater.  We have been out and I have had a few friends stop by - I am sorry Lifeline....  - and yes it usually puts us back a few steps - ie the friend who stopped by today with her kids to bring a meal - well Abbie hit one of her kids... and this friends is why I have to stay home and should not cheat.  Its not like we have been all over and go out frequently - I know all to well the repercussions you know the two steps forward four steps back - but in reality people we had to get out!! And we enjoy the company of others - so yes sometimes its worth the risk.  You are probably wondering where in the world have we went out to well one of our first stops was the good ole Dwarf House our stomping grounds.  And yes she loves CFA nuggets and fries.  One of our other stops was Target where we got Abbie a pair of tennis shoes - and let me tell you she is proud of those shoes.  We have also been to a friends pool as well as my neighbors pool.  So see its not like we have traveled the world - I assure you I will not be getting on a plane with any children for quite some time if I can help it.  

***** Fast forward a few hours - told you I wouldn't finish this post up when I started :-).  Abbie eventually fell asleep, and I did get to enjoy some time with the boys before they had to go to bed.  I continued in my sour mood (my sweet hubs loving on me and assuring me it will get better - thank you DP - ILY!!!)  doing the "mundane" things of motherhood you know loading the dishwasher, getting laundry ready,  filling out medical paper work,  and trying to remind myself of gospel truths.  Psalm 103 came to mind and I rehearsed what I knew of it as I was in the laundry room and purposed to memorize it since I couldn't remember a lot.   As soon as I finished up with what I needed to get done I went straight for my Bible to Psalm 103 - 

"Bless the LORD, O my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name!! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.  The LORD works righteousness and justices for all who are oppressed.  He made knows his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.  The LORD is merciful and gracious; slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heaves are above the earth so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.  For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.  As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.  But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to his children's children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.  Bless the LORD,  O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion.  Bless the LORD, O my soul!"

Oh how thankful I am to my Father who does not deal with me according to my sour attitude or my impatience and anger toward others.  This - His word is what I must retreat to - I am thankful for the prodding of the Holy Spirit in bringing this passage to mind.  I was reminded tonight that I must be "breathing deeply the atmosphere of the gospel." "The gospel is the one great permanent circumstance in which I live and move; and every hardship in my life is allowed by God only because it serves His gospel purposes in me..... The good news about my trials is that God is forcing them to bow to His gospel purposes and do good unto me by improving my character and making me more conformed to the image of Christ." (quotes taken from A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent) 

Tomorrow is a new day and I pray that I will remember that I stand in grace and rejoice in hope.  Tonight I am going to bed rehearsing Psalm 103 .... "Bless the LORD O my soul....

Monday, June 10, 2013

I Will Glory in My Redeemer....

I have so many many things that I would like to journal about here on our blog - but there just aren't enough hours in the day and I am sleepy right now and I have kids who will rise before dawn! So for now for tonight I just want to share a few thoughts and truly glory in my Redeemer.  

I have been reading this book Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman. 

First of all I love to read and second of all I feel like when I am reading this book that she the author Gloria is just talking with me over a cup of coffee at my kitchen table.  God knew what book I needed to reading this summer in this season of my life.  If you are a reader - buy this!! I am thankful for the sweet friend who gave it to me.  All that to say is that is has provoked much thought into me as if I don't have anything else provoking my thoughts these days :-)

Do you see this picture above here - that picture is totally and completely a glimpse of HIS grace.  That is what I call girl snuggle time.  This photo is precious in so many ways. Linnea is actually happy to be in a photo with Abbie (that is another story for another night).  And  I know Abbie looks all smiles all the time - but its not always that way.  This small act of snuggling with me was HUGE for her and for me.  A few weeks ago neither one of us really liked the other one and snuggling was not really on our agenda.  This is precious to me and I am beyond grateful for this moment - it is HIS grace.  The very night after this snuggling took place - Abbie was not all smiles.  As we put her to bed and tucked her in telling her we loved her and turning on her music I noticed something wasn't quite gelling this night but  I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  Moments later she burst into tears and just cried.  I have no idea why and of course she wasn't able to tell me what was wrong.  So I laid down next to her and held her and let her cry and then I began to cry.  I was so overcome with sadness ... I will never ever ever be able to empathize with either one of my girls.  I will never know what it feels like to be abandoned - to be left completely alone.   Even if I ever felt alone I know I am not really alone because God is everywhere always with me.  And clearly He has always been with my girls preserving their lives for His glory and for sure I will share this truth with them.  I can't know what it feels like to be taken from the only place you have ever known and brought to some other place where nothing is remotely the same not to mention the language barrier.  I just kept thinking I can never feel what they feel - how will I ever be of any comfort to them I cannot empathize and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I know ONE who was left alone - completely and utterly alone - because HIS Father did turn His face completely away.  I have goosebumps as I type.  God the Father sent Jesus Christ here to earth and then at the very end when His life was literally hanging - He turned His face away - FOR ME, FOR MY GIRLS, FOR YOU!!!!!! Jesus Christ knows exactly how my daughters feel - and He was left to feel that way to give them HOPE!!  So when those moments come and they will come I will tell them how much I love them and as much as I love them I know ONE who loves them more the ONE whose Father turned His face away - so they (I, you, we) could live.... and that my friends is why I Will Glory in My Redeemer.