Thursday, February 26, 2009

About Trevor...

“It’s a Boy!” the doctor exclaimed.
“What’s his name?” somebody asked.
“His name is Trevor Joshua,” Josh proudly answered. The voices drifted out of my thoughts. My heart was breaking. A boy? I thought I had prayed and begged and pleaded for a girl. Didn’t the Lord hear my prayers?
Everything else faded into a blur as they cleaned and measured him. I lay in bed in a daze as I watched the nurses, doctor and loved ones talking, congratulating and laughing. My heart sank deeper into the mire of depression that had started months earlier. An hour later everyone went home, leaving the room strangely quiet. Monitors were turned off and blood pressure cuff removed from my arm. A percocet-induced sleep finally claimed my troubled mind.
Morning light drifted through the windows waking me up from my deep sleep. The silence of the room rang in my ears after the commotion from a few hours before. Strange medicinal smells surrounded me and I gently rolled to my side in order to relieve my numb backside, wishing desperately for a shower. There was a TV on the wall across from me and my bags lay in a corner. Josh slept soundly, softly snoring in the makeshift bed next to mine. On the other side of the bed stood a gigantic wooden cupboard that I knew kept medical equipment but all were turned off and closed up to give a more pleasing atmosphere to the sanitized room.
Gazing around the room my eyes paused at the clear plastic bassinet a few feet away from me. There lay a small boy wrapped in a white blanket with a blue beanie on his head. He slept soundly and in that moment I forgot he wasn’t what I had prayed fervently for.
I eased out of my bed and gingerly walked to him. His tiny fingers were closed in a fist, pink cheeks showed a hint of a dimple, and his lips formed the perfect pout. I swallowed the tears as I gently picked him up and cradled him. He snuggled into my arms and sighed contentedly. In that moment I fell in love with the little boy I didn’t know I wanted.
The next several months I fought to come out of a depression that had been brought on by medical complications. During that time I loved Trevor even more and I saw firsthand how the Lord answers prayers. Like a good father, He gives us what we need even when we don’t know what it is. I thought I needed a girl, but God knew what I needed was this little boy whom he designed specifically for a purpose. He has a special plan for this little boy and an important lesson for me to learn.
Now that I am out of that dark tunnel I see the journey the Lord has taken me on over the last six years. And oh what a sweet journey it has been with Him and Trevor. When I pray to the Lord now I hold onto the truth that if he answers with a ‘no’ it’s because he has another, more amazing plan that I could ever imagine.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

White as Snow

Beep . . . Beep. . . Beep. I reached out and hit the snooze button for the third time that morning. My roommate groaned and rolled ever. I envied her sleeping peacefully under warm covers when I had to go to work. It was my freshman year at Bible College and I spent weekends walking the campus for eight hours as a security guard. It had been a rough year, growing in my faith in God, apart from my mom and dad’s faith. I dressed and headed down the hall to the lobby.
I pushed the door open and gasped as I took in my surroundings. The entire campus was buried in snow. No foot prints marred this blanket of purity. No mud or pavement sullied the ground. No city sounds echoed off the buildings. I was surrounded by complete tranquility. I stood still in the middle of this serene beauty and silently prayed for this peace to last forever.
The world around me appeared glorious, peaceful and pure. The air was cool and crisp and my heart felt fully alive in the midst of this magnificent splendor. The words of Isaiah 1:18 rang through my mind. “Come now,” says the Lord, “Let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet I will make them white as snow.”
When we come to the Father he washes us clean and makes us exquisitely pure. Just like the snow our hearts are peaceful and quiet. We are able to ‘hear’ his whispers in our soul because everything else fades from our minds when our hearts are fixed on Jesus.

The Hats I Wear...

Sometimes being a mom is a very difficult job to do, especially when you want to do something else. Back in October my husband asked me to get a job to help out with finances and such. It wasn't something I wanted to do at all. In fact, it scared me to death. Ten years had passed since my last job and I couldn't figure out how it would all pan out with both of us working. After a lot of talking I told him I would pray and look around. Much to my surprise I found a job and got it. I was so excited that someone found me employable that I bounced off walls for the next few days. After the nervousness wore off and I felt comfortable with my duties as a makeup artist for a department store, I found myself enjoying working outside of the home. I loved getting dressed up and talking with other adults, the artistic side of me flourishing as I painted fresh faces on tired women. They felt better about themselves and my confidence grew with each new work day.

Unfortunately, while I was excelling at work, my house was leaving little to be desired. The laundry seemed to be procreating in the basket, dirty dishes multiplied themselves in the sink and my exhausted babysitters, which were also family members, scattered when I came into the room for fear of being asked for "just one more favor, please." I was at the end of myself and quickly falling apart emotionally and physically.

Finally Josh put his foot down and said he'd had enough, I was quitting my job the following day. I wanted to fight for this job I loved so much but I had no energy to form the words for the argument. In my heart I knew it was the right thing to do but another part of me wanted to keep the more glamorous job.

Let's face it, it's easier to go to work than stay at home and be a full time mom and housewife. For the first time in my life I realized how addicting it was to be with other adults, making new friends, receiving thanks for menial jobs, and praise for something I was actually good at. The truth is, I'm not very good at housekeeping. I like having a clean home but I don't like the actual cleaning itself. Laundry is just not that creative, dish washing is mindless and cleaning the bedrooms is repetitive when you have to do it every single day, all day long. Don't even get me onto the parenting subject. Most of my sentences consist of "Don't hit your brother" and "No rear-naked-choke holds when wrestling in the house (UFC term my three boys and hubby have picked up...and tried)." This is a thankless job most of the time. But don't they say that the harder jobs are the most rewarding? I don't know who says it exactly, probably a mom. But it's true.

Yeah, I love playing with makeup. Yeah, I would love to pursue these friendships with my co-workers. Yeah, I feel like I'm letting them down by quitting so soon...but am I also letting my children down? There is a scene in Cheaper by the Dozen when Steve Martin quits his job as a coach and when asked if he would regret this decision to give up his dream job he responded, "If I screw up raising my kids nothing I achieve will matter much."

That's how I feel. If I fail at this job of being a mom and wife then nothing else will matter in my life. The four little people I come home to at the end of the day is what makes this mom hat the most important one I wear. I'm not just raising scads of children, I'm raising the next generation. What I do now will affect their little lives and what they pursue in the not too distant future.

Last night I lay in bed, feeling yucky from a cold and trying to read a book. My six-year-old son came in and asked if I was feeling any better. I said no I wasn't. He said OK and left the room quietly. I heard him as he walked down the hall towards his brothers and sister, "Hey guys, we need to pray (sounded like pway) for mom, 'cause she's not feeling good." Their playful bantering quieted down as they asked Jesus to help me feel better. Now, that's what makes all the chores, cleaning and disciplining worth doing well no matter who's watching or what accolades I don't receive.

Sure, I'll miss getting dressed up for work and socializing, but I'll make up for it when I snuggle with my four-year-old daughter and watch a Barbie movie, ooh and aah over my Kindergartner's picture he drew of us, and listen to the escapades of my two oldest boys and what they learned at school that day. It may not be an exciting career choice to some, but it's one of the most important ones I'll ever have in this lifetime.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sales Calls and other thoughts...

I just had the most interesting conversation with a lady doing sales calls. She was selling life, health and supplemental insurance. I kept trying to get off the phone or think of an excuse to hang up on her but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. After she was finally done giving me her spiel she informed me I would be transferred to someone else who would get me signed up. Then she told me to wait, that there would be a few seconds of silence. Great, I thought, that will be my out. I’ll hang up then and not offend anyone; but before I could do so she started asking me about the weather where I was at. I closed my eyes as I realized she had no intention of letting me wait in silence. She was going to sit on the phone, gabbing at me to keep the line connected.
She’s from Illinois apparently. She described to me how bad the flooding had been there recently. She informed me that Barak O’Bama helped sandbag the Mississippi river and, by the way, did I know that presidential candidates got special agents just like the actual president. No, I didn’t know this. By this time I couldn’t help but smile and I half wondered if I was overhearing this conversation, and she wasn’t really talking to me but to a co-worker. She just forgot to disconnect me. But I wasn’t just overhearing this; she was really talking to me as if we were in the break room having coffee.
So I sat back, closed my book, and listened as she told me about her somewhat new convertible that needed rotors, carpooling with her roommate, a bridge built in 1976 closed due to the flooding, that she couldn’t wait till payday next week so she could by some food, and a hamburger sounded really good at that moment because she was hungry. I chuckled under my breath as I tried to keep up with this woman’s one-sided dialogue. I found myself actually enjoying this sales call for insurance I had no intention of buying.
Then she threw me for a loop and asked me what I did for a living. I told her I’m a mom and wife and I stay at home with my kids. Her voice softened when she replied, “Oh, that’s what my Mama always wanted to be. She always said she wanted to be like Donna Reed and just stay home with her kids, but she had to work two jobs. Today is the anniversary of her death.” My heart thudded to a stop. Her death? This was not a typical sales call at all.
The cynical part of me thought this was probably a gimmick, but then I wasn’t so sure. I was about to ask her a specific question concerning her mother’s death but didn’t have to because she offered it freely. “My Mama died of leukemia and was in the process of having a bone marrow transplant. She fought it for fourteen months before she passed on. I’m just glad she isn’t in pain anymore.” At that moment she was cut off and the insurance agent came on the line. I was frustrated that I had lost contact with the woman. I almost asked him to transfer me back to her, but I didn’t. I told him no thank you and hung up, my ears still ringing from the woman’s voice and the details of her life she shared so freely.
How many people do we come in contact with during the day, never giving a thought to them, their lives, or their families? I do it everyday, all day long. I say things under my breath at the slow driver in front of me. Then I pass the person, glance back before I pull ahead and see an elderly woman barely able to see over the steering wheel, gripping it for dear life.
I glare at the kids who step out in front of my car, not looking for traffic. Then I wonder how many times my children have done the same thing to other drivers. These kids have parents who want them home safe and sound.
As a mom and wife my thoughts are so full of my own life, chores that need finishing when I get home, a bill I forgot to pay, bedtimes, church functions. A million and one things are running through my mind and I forget about the many other people in this world. I pray for strength to get through the day when a woman from across the country has lost her mother, drives an old convertible and can’t wait for payday so she can have a hamburger.
How small is my life? What about that little old lady I sped past today? Is this her first time driving without her husband there to coach her? And the kids that walked in front of my car. What were their stories? They each have one. Maybe one was thinking of the impending divorce of his parents. Maybe the girl was wondering how she would tell her parents she was pregnant. Maybe the bubbly chatter was a cover-up for the insecurities each girl possessed.
I get so caught up in my life, in my duties and I wonder how many times I miss out on praying for those around me. I wanted to ask the sales lady if her mother knew Jesus. I didn’t get to. I may not be able to touch every single person out there but the least I can do is pray for them, keeping my eyes open to see the ones around me, even the ones I don’t know. It’s amazing how big life becomes when I look beyond myself, my own issues, and think of others first.
Just a thought…

Monday, February 2, 2009

Singing in the Shadows

Darkness fills my mind
Weariness in my bones
Tears threatening my eyes
I feel so alone

Children clamoring for attention
Precious hubby needs me, too.
Who has time for housework?
Endless is the list of what I must do.

Time to dress for church
Put on a pretty smile
"Hi, how are you?"
"I'm fine"
But I'm not--I'm aching inside.

El Roi, do you see me?
Jehovah-Rapha, can you heal my wounded heart?
Jehovah-Shalom, can you fill my heart with your peace?
I'm just barely hanging on

Please, Lord, I'm begging you
Give me strength till this day ends
Help me be what my man and children need:
A good wife, mom, friend.

Quietness fills the rooms
Children sweetly dreaming
Peace envelopes my soul
And from my heart comes singing

Elohim, you are faithful to me
To you my heart will cling
You fill me with your strength
I sing in the shadow of your wings.