Monday, May 31, 2010

In the darkness

This is the hardest time of my life.  Never have I faced such darkness and despair.  Night after night of insomnia. Days of fatigue and worry, anxiety and depression.  Anger that I have lost these 4 months and the joy I could have had, had these circumstances not surrounded me. Saturday was the lowest pit.  Another tantrum, swept over, bulldozed by emotions: will this never end?  "I can't do this anymore"- I kept crying over and over again.  The weight of frustration and having nothing under my control buckled my knees and broke my heart.

I was undone.

I've tried medications, I've tried ranting and raving.  Screaming, shaking my fist, praying and crying.  I've tried sharing these emotions with everyone and anyone. Doctors, friends, family... Distracting myself, getting busy, 'accepting' these circumstances- I've done those too.

They didn't help.  They are not helping.

But God is.   As the broken pieces of me lie kneeling on the floor, He is meeting me here.  In the dark.  This unexplicable joy has engulfed me today.  I'm crying, and this time, not from the sorrow and fear, or from the despair of having a body that is not healed.  I'm crying because God has not left me, and one day, I will cry my last tear and be at rest in His presence; forever.

Have my circumstances changed?  Not at all.  In fact, I'm getting less sleep.  'Things' are in fact getting worse.  But I am changing.  Praise God, He is changing me.  If I wait until these times end, they may never come.  In fact, if my praise and hope are only 'if' and 'when' these circumstances end, I will have lost this opportunity.  Now is the time to clutch onto hope, faith and joy until my knuckles grow white, and then some.   I can have joy even as I watch the clock tick past and am still not asleep.  I can have joy even when I'm wilted by fatigue and only have the energy to shower and take care of my son.

This is the day.  Today is the day for a new beginning.  I will believe and trust that God is good and He is faithful.  And even if He never takes this sleeplessness from me... that's hard to say...but I say it again to my heart, even if He never takes this sleeplessness from me in this life, I am choosing joy.  One day, this will all be over and I will be with Him and I will be at rest.

I don't want to live another day missing the glory He can receive from my praises, even if they are screamed or whispered.

God is gracious.  He is compassionate.  He is here.  And I choose Him over this despair. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gardening isn't for pansies

Pruning.  Sounds about as fun as one might expect, especially when you're the one getting poked, cut down, trimmed back, and being held back from the fruit you so desire to produce. 

Ever since Silas was born over and over (and over) again I have stumbled upon messages about gardens.  I love imagery and metaphors and this one in particular speaks so strongly of what is going on in my own life.  I have more specifically heard messages and sermons, songs and poems, encouragements and prayers ALL talking about pruning.  Okay.  I get it God.  The struggles and trials I experience are in fact, allowed by You, in order to prune me.

Yippee! (kind of said sarcastically, but also with my hands tossed up in the air finally granting Him permission, even though he doesn't need it)

How I long to have fruit in my life, to be a mature believer, to be able to stand strongly on God's Word and have it flow out into my thoughts, emotions, and actions- to produce fruits of righteousness and goodness  etc.  How I long to be productive and fruitful for the Church, for others.  And how much more yet needs to be done in my heart.  Not that I believe people can't produce fruit while also in the midst of pruning, but phew, God's revealing that I'm a bit of a tangled mess and need much pruning yet.

I can't say I like pruning.  Pruning is painful.  I have shoots from my heart that are draining me of life.  Shoots of idolatry, materialism, despair, bad attitudes.  This is just the first and visible layer.  I know that the roots of these shoots go down deep- roots of bitterness and fear and unbelief.  They need to be dug up.

Oh, but I don't just need pruning, apparently I need lots of weeding action too.  I have weeds, lies that I have believed for so long, that I have a hard time deciphering truth and cannot trust my deceitful heart.


Ever feel SO far from where you want to be?  I look at my little vegetable garden that we just started planting (yes, not only have I heard message after message about gardening, but God in His goodness ALSO gave me a garden plot to work on over these past months for me to REALLY get it) and think how piddly!  How pathetic!  A few little shoots of greenery here and there.  I want to have it FULL of BIG vegetables. 

But it's not there yet.  It's growing, incrementally.  When I walk over day after day I'm disappointed.  What?  They are only a cm tall???  Maybe it's the same with my spiritual growth.  I am growing, but a mm at a time, incrementally.  It's a process- right? 

Arg process.  I am born of a culture which looks for the end product, for instant, for quick gratifcation.  But gardens, plants (and me) are all growing slowly, incrementally.  And just when they are about to produce fruit, they are cut back. Good thing it's God pruning us.  He has the guts to cut out what WE think is the good stuff, so that we produce even MORE of the truly good stuff.  Gardening isn't for pansies that's for sure.

As part of the process I'm learning to choose to thank God for the pruning, even as He cuts.  Because not only will it produce 'glory that far outweighs' the suffering, but it will bring me closer to Him.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Silas is 4 months old!

Another month has gone by.  Silas is a little plumper, a little more alert, and a lot of fun!   Here are some new highlights from this month:

Silas went on his first big hike!  We drove 1.5 hours to Squamish, the hike up the Chief took almost 5 hours, and we drove the other 1.5 hours back.  Phew.  Poor Jason carried him all the way up and all the way back.  But, Silas did so well!  He only cried a bit at the end of each leg.  He got to lie down at the top of the mountain and stretch out and he was hilariously happy!

He got to meet his Oma and Opa this month and an aunt and uncle!  Silas got lots of extra  hugs and attention (of which he loved!)
Silas can now touch his knees and is paying more attention to his feet.  He plays with his hands all the time, looks at them, sucks them...  He has started to giggle!  He especially loves being tossed a bit in the air.  He loves his bath time and just figured out how to splash the water with his hands.  He still loves his soother and sucks his thumb. (and He loves being naked)

He still hates his tummy time, although his mom is trying to encourage him to do it more and more.  But, he LOVES his jolly jumper still.  He often spends at least an hour at a time in there (spitting up on himself all along, while smiling and cooing)
He got to help mom and dad plant a garden!  (He helped by sleeping in the shade of a fort that they built for him).
Silas also just got dedicated at our Church!  He never seems to mind being held by other people and so had no problems going to the pastor.  He didn't even spit up on him!  (Woohoo!  He always needs to wear a bib because of his massive spit-ups).  The photo below was after the dedication, in our backyard.
Silas usually goes to bed between 9:00 and 10:30 and sleeps until 5:30 or 6.  His daddy is a champion and gets up at night to give him some expressed milk so that mommy can sleep (way to go J!)  He also bought his mom a beautiful bouquet of flowers for mother's day and an appointment with the massage therapist.

He still loves to make noise, and be where mom or dad are.  He doesn't enjoy walks in the stroller as much  as he used to, but he does love being outside, lying on a blanket, watching the leaves rustle.

Another first:  he went to Granville Island for the first time! (And slept through a lot of it):
Here's one of my favorite outfits on him (it says King of the Jungle)
Silas is a joy and blessing!  Wow, hard to believe it's been 4 months, but then, we don't really remember life without him!  Love you little man!

Monday, May 10, 2010

What's motherhood like?

Many have asked me what these past 4 months have been like for me.  What's motherhood like?  How IS motherhood?  I think I've finally thought of my answer:

Motherhood is more
More of everything
tears, and effort, tiredness and terror
happy times, and confused times, proud times and weak times
joy and excitement, laughter and surprise
weariness and fatigue, insecurity and bewilderment
work than you ever thought
worth than you ever imagined
sacrifice, and patience
learning and growing
love overflowing
kisses on little fingers, toes, head and nose...
of everything
I am more blessed each day by this gift of my son
and more overwhelmed by my incapability to steward my responsibility- alone
Motherhood is more than I ever imagined it would be in all the great ways, in all the hard ways, and in all the ways in-between
Motherhood is more
than I ever thought it would be

Friday, May 7, 2010

Quotes for the day

Three coincidentally/supernaturally colliding quotes that have spoke to me in the last 24 hours

1. Betty Spackman (artist, incredible speaker): "Because He (the gardener, aka God), loves us, and those who will benefit from what we WILL have to offer, He keeps returning to us, to prune us"
I heard this at an event at my Church last night about the creative arts or fruit God will bring out of us, if we wait upon Him to develop our characters.

2. Beth Moore (speaker, writer, Bible study writer - of which I am now doing) "Satan had a sieve.  Christ had a purpose, the two collided.  Satan got used.  Peter got sifted.  For reasons only our wise, trustworthy God knows, the most effective and long lasting way He could get the Simon out of Peter was a sifting by Satan.  He was right.  You see, the One who called us is faithful, and He will do whatever it takes to sanctify us to fulfill our callings."

3.  Author unknown, poem about the butterfly.  Essentially, a man saw a butterfly struggling to get out of its cocoon so he grabbed some scissors and cut it so the butterfly could get out.  But, that ended up preventing the butterfly from developing wings, so he crawled the rest of his life.  "What the man, in kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required to get through the tiny opening were God's ways of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved freedom.  Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life.  If God allowed us to go through life without obstacles it would cripple us.  We would not be as strong as we could have been.  And we would never fly."

Noticing a theme anyone?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Learning from Job

God doesn't have to explain why He allows trails and sufferings in our lives.  In fact, He may never explain, never reveal, and never justify the struggles He allows in our lives.  He doesn't even have to ask permission to use both good and bad to shape and form us (anymore than He has to justify why both sun and rain are needed to grow life on earth).  These are hard facts for me to swallow.  I am blessed beyond anything I deserve in that I have Christ with me in all my sufferings.  I am blessed beyond so many who have no hope and are in despair because they have not His promise that Christ will not leave or forsake them amidst their darkest valleys of life.  Yet somehow I still kick and scream, cry and wail when trouble comes my way.  I still do not naturally sing "all of my life, in every season, You are still God and I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship" or as ginny owens sang "if all of these trials, bring me closer to you- then I will go through the fire if you want me to."  In some ways it can make troubles seem harder when, as a believer, I know that God loves me and yet has still allowed these trials to come.  But again, I am still just supposed to trust, let go of my fears and doubts, and hold on to Him.  I'm to crawl if I must, nose to the dust, just to reach and hold onto the hem of His robe, cling to Him with and for my very life.  Tell me this gets easier as trials come again and again? How many trials will it take for me to learn to trust Him?

An image of our recent hike comes to mind.  Jason was climbing down the mountainside- holding onto the chains, clinging to the rocks, and I was practically in tears worrying about him losing his footing and going crashing to the ground with Silas strapped to his chest.  But there was Silas, snug, warm, sleeping next to Jason's chest, unaware of all that was going on around him.  My Father's feet are sure.  They will not slip.  He does not make mistakes, He does not tumble, He has no regrets.  He sees and knows every crack and crevasse and I am to just lie asleep next to His chest.  I am to allow what comes, sing and praise Him in all the struggles, and know that God is God.  His reasons are beyond my understanding.  His knowledge is too much for me to bear.  I do not need to know why or how long, or what for.  I need only to trust that He is enough for me today.

Lord help me.  This trial is much, much more than I can bear alone.  As Job said in 6:11 “But I don’t have the strength to endure.  I have nothing to live for.  Do I have strength of a stone?  Is my body made of bronze?  No, I am utterly helpless, without any chance of success.”  

I have what Job did not- Christ in me, the hope of glory.  He is my only chance of success through the fires of this life.

So I surrendor to You.  I surrendor my life.  I surrendor all.  Not that you need my permission, but I give it to You God.  Do what you will, have Your way, use this trial or any other suffering.  Just bring me closer to You, make me more like You.
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