Monday, December 31, 2007
Being packed like psychotically happy and excited sardines in the back of our car at 3 am in the cold of winter, headlights on, window down, listening to Wayne's dad, a retired army First Sgt, drill us: "Got your cell phones? (nod) Got your wallets? (nod) Got your medicine? (nod)," and then gesturing wildly with his hand as he pointed to the distant horizon with the bravest look I've ever seen anyone put on: "Then ROLL OUT!" and off we headed across the US and into the unknown in Cali.
(sorry, Ishod's birth didn't make the cut... but you'll hear about it in a sec)
The feel of my water breaking as I plopped down on the bed, exhausted, after thirteen days of six - twelve contractions. I looked at Wayne and giggled. "Gross!" "What?" "I think I just peed on myself."
Or maybe standing next to my kids, tubes all over, as we helplessly watched the nurses give them treatments in the hospital. I don't know. It all sucked.
When God called us BACK to North Carolina. Simultaneously.
Most Surprising thing:
The ease of Ishod's transition into the world after all the hard stuff we went through. Pushing him out was amazing...and I really enjoyed it, believe it or not.
Song of the Year:
Immanuel--- our God is with us--- Prince of Peace-- Mighty One--- the EVER living God.
Movie of the Year:
300!!!!!! Are you kidding?
Website of the Year:
Most awesome FOs:
My socks!!! And mom's wrap, which I have yet to send.
Most ridiculous WIP:
Annika's never ending legwarmers, and the nursing wrap, which I will never use even when finished, since I don't cover up anymore when I nurse.
Best forum debate:
Lo and behold, this year is not about the R&P but RAvelry's Pinny POrn thread. What a humungous undertaking and a very interesting thread.
Most incredible Kingdom Advances
Wow. Let's see. A certain family we know and love leaving the LDS church was big! Losing and gaining ground in Israel. God's people getting called to start suffering corporately. (doesn't sound like an advance, but it is!) and the Narnia/Compass craziness. The Return of the daughters (corporately) and a significant return to biblical womanhood and manhood by seekers in the church.
California by a landslide. Couldn't figure out what was going on. Couldn't believe how lame Cali was from an outsider's eyes.
California by a landslide. We drove across the country in the craziest circumstances....wow. We saw a ton of things.
2008 will be a year of renewal. We will have our vision restored, our hearts turned towards God afresh, and a new annointing to complete the tasks He puts before us.
*holds up champagne glass*
Happy New Year, every one.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
They let me stay in the hospital with him because I was nursing him... I spent the entire time pacing the room and praying while the nurses did their thing. I made them teach me how to do things like put on his oxygen tubing and read the moniters, etc, because it made me feel useful. The church was closed and all my friends were out of town, so there I was. Wayne took care of Annika as best he could at home while me and Ishod tried to make every breath count.
There's something about seeing your child lying there with tubes all over that really stops you. I know from my experience last month with Annika and now with him---- breathing is a good thing.
Anyways, I was pretty devastated until the Lord spoke clearly to me: I named him Ishod, He told me. It means MAN of renown. Not BABY of renown. This will not take his life. I was soooo comforted by that word and I clung to it. Over the entire next day I prayed that his oxygen levels would stay up because brain damage is a concern when oxygen isn't getting in. Finally I snapped and called some friends for prayer (see how I hate to ask for anything? :P) and they blew me away.
Some of the girls from the new mommy group made the rounds and gathered up disposable diapers for Wayne to use on Annika (Cloth is hard for newbs!) and some frozen dinner trays for them. They made me a big basket with all kinds of sweet things in it. I was sooo blessed.
Within several hours his vitals stabilized and all seemed to be returning to relatively normal.
Anyways, they released Ishod last night and we've been home since, but we are not out of hot water yet. We are quarantined, so anyone who comes in has to wear a large teeshirt and a mask, wash their hands on the way in (for not infecting Ishod) and then on the way out, taking the shirt, putting it in a plastic bag, and washing it in hot water to avoid contaminating anyone else. Needless to say, we aren't having visitors for a few weeks. And we can't go anywhere. Annika has it too, now, but her lungs are far stronger than his. We are checking him by shifts to make sure his breathing stays below 50/minute again, and
She has to be admitted to the hospital on Friday for a Barium Enema... they want to see what's up with her colon so they're doing some tests. It seems overwhelming to think about how much my kids are going through right now, but I am totally encouraged.
God gave me so many opportunities to minister to people in the hospital... and I was able to pray for some very amazing sick children. I had NO idea that I would do well in this type of environment, it's very wierd. In fact, I was so moved by how powerfully God was using me that I took to heart what a couple of the nurses said to me about how I should be a nurse because encouragement was a natural part of who I am. I have been talking with Wayne about going to night school to get a nursing degree, which is something I could use to help us make ends meet and a job I think I could really connect with, considering how familiar I am becoming with the hospital environment and what a powerful witness you can be to the hurt and afraid in their hospital beds. He thinks it's a great idea so a couple years from now, I may be Nurse Barbie, hehe. Most of the girls who were assigned to us had young children at home, they worked a couple shifts a week and they loved what they did. I interviewed all of them about job satisfaction, etc.... (I'm still a journalist at heart) and they all seemed to really like it. I'm continuing to explore my options, because I'd really like to do school online but it seems like you can only do a BS online, and not an associates, which is what you need to become an RN.
Anyways, it's a thought.
Praise God that tonight is peaceful and my kids are quiet.... I would love it if you guys joined me in praying for their healing and wholeness! Who knew being a mom could be so painful and just how much I was going to love these incredible children who have been entrusted to me??? It's just amazing.
Anyways, probably wont be online for a while. Everyone have a good first! I'll do the roundup when the kids feel better.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Their mission statement essentially states that they are designed to support all women (whether lesbian, straight, or bisexual) who choose to remain child free for any number of reasons.
Their website has a quotes page I found fascinating, which contains snippets of "wisdom" from people like Virginia Woolf, who didn't like or want kids, and whose advice, as I pointed out in the thread, is really excellent when you consider that she stuffed a giant rock in her apron and walked into a lake for all the joy she had in life.
Ironically, this came at a tender moment for me, because as you know Wayne has asked me to take Birth Control for a little while. This is really a challenge for me because I firmly believe that the Lord opens and closes the womb, that because of what He has revealed to me concerning the importance he places on children and how blessed it is to bear them, not to mention the desire of my heart to have AT LEAST four kids (really, I want 12!) But because I want to obey my husband, I will concede to taking birth control. The Lord has really spoken to me about this: "sufficient for today is it's own trouble." He has comforted me that I don't need to worry about the future, and wether I will ever have more children. For today, he says, obey your husband, and you will be obeying me and walking in my blessing.
What we were saying in the thread was this: they maintain it's their "right" to have a childfree life. And it totally is. I agree that if one is in charge of one's one life (thereby not a Christian, since if they were, their father in heaven would be in charge of their own life) then there is no reason why they should change their thinking. On the other hand ,I stumbled across a few "Christians" on their webring, and I have to say I was tempted to send them emails sending them a few scriptures which may challenge the way they are looking at children.
The other benefit to this philosophy is that if, like me, you believe the dominion mandate, it serves the Christian purpose. These people wont be training future generations to think like they do, which is fine by me. And our children will be populating the earth in droves. yay.
Anyhoo, while poking around in there, I came across a site which is pretty appalling. I'm going to reproduce the text in here to save you the flipping.
Open Letter To A Breeder
Re: Your Brats In Restaurants
Dear Herd Animal:
I realize that you've had a tough day of dumping your ugly little fucktrophies off at Miss Lurleen's Daycare and/or Nimrod's Academy of Country Line-Dancing. And as if your day weren't tough enough already, poor dear, you had to go pick up those same toxic brats in your gas-gobbling SUV and endure the intellectual rigors of screaming at them in the aisles of Wal-Mart. Then it was time to dump the kids back off at Grandma's.
As a mother, life is so hard for you. Yes, it's tough to raise today's children, given all the effort it requires to plop them down in front of the VCR for 6 hours at a stretch and subsequently dump them off on other people's doorsteps. And since you've worked so hard today (you actually had to spend five minutes watching your own children), you've decided that you want to treat yourself to a nice meal tonight.
But wait—your plans are almost ruined for a moment. Grandma isn't home! How DARE that bitch attempt to have a life of her own? Doesn't she know that her only function in the universe is to watch your annoying little snot-drippers? Well, that just means one thing. You'll have to load up your ill-behaved, drooling, nasty little runts and drag them to the restaurant with you.
Life is so unfair.
Of course, it's a hell of a lot more unfair for the other restaurant patrons who are praying that you (and all other breeders) will just keep your sorry ass at home for a change. But no, you're hell-bent on dragging your unwashed, germ-infested kids out in public. And what you really feel like eating tonight is Chinese food, down at the joint where they make a garlic chicken dish so hot that it's like ingesting a blazing bucket of napalm.
What? Your kids can't eat hotter-than-hell Szechwan cuisine?
"Tough shit", you mutter, almost wearing out your monosyllabic vocabulary. Because in typical breeder fashion, your children don't really matter one little bit. It's all about YOU and your convenience. You want Chinese food, so you don't give a crap whose evening you wreck with your screeching brats—or whether or not your children will even be able to eat the food served to them.
Look around the restaurant the next time you walk in with your kids. Maybe then you'll finally notice the collective eye-rolling and quiet groans of all the other customers who take one look at your wretched little brats and wish to hell that you'd explode.
Of course, the restaurant servers won't be doing that. No, they're paid to pretend that they like your stinking little runts. They'll pretend to roll out the red carpet, and will simply wait until your back is turned to spit in your food. Ask any restaurant server who the absolute worst customers are, the answer will generally be a tie between the Sunday after-church crowd and "people with children". Breeders are rude as hell, condescending, demanding, and on top of it all, they're piss-poor tippers. Which makes you a blast to wait on, eh?
Meanwhile, it will take your kids, those darling little rocket scientists, a moment to figure out that they haven't seen a picture of Ronald McDonald yet. Horrors...they're not in a hamburger joint! Whatever will they do?
They'll throw a thousand-decibel tantrum, that's what.
Don't you know it's dangerous to surprise your children like that? After all, today's children don't recognize food objects unless they're either nestled between a sesame-seed bun, or come in a Lunchables package. This will overload their circuitry. What do you MEAN, no French fries? No ketchup? Then it's not food. In their stark confusion, the dull-witted little shits will probably try to eat the upholstery, instead.
The garlic shrimp dish you ordered is chock-full of hot peppers. In fact, it's hot enough to melt the Polar ice cap. The kids don't like it, can't eat it, don't want it. Even at their tender years, they feel ripped off, and who can blame them? As dumb as they are, they recognize something that you apparently don't--that this place is not appropriate for them. They're bored out of their skulls and they don't like the food.
But despite the fact that you've blathered on all day about how important a job mothering is, don't even pretend that you give two shits about those kids. It's about YOU. You wanted to eat Chinese food, and by Jove, you'll do just that--regardless of who it irritates.
And believe me, it's irritating the living hell out of everyone.
Your kids are out of control. They're screaming, whining and scrambling around like demon-possessed weasels. But what do you care? You got what you wanted. And after all, you’re oblivious to the hideous racket that your kids generate, because you never bother trying to stop it at home, either. No, you just let it roll on like the soundtrack to the world's worst horror film, while the rest of the customers secretly fantasize about disemboweling you.
Everyone's having a perfectly horrible time now, thanks to your usual glaring lack of concern. Except you, naturally. You're having a great time, which is all that matters to you, you selfish pile of shit.
The other customers have had their entire evening wrecked because of your complete disregard for others. Your kids are not only miserable, but hungry. But who cares? You got your way. So now, after a fine evening of tormenting the wait staff, infuriating the other diners and failing to feed your own children, it's time to dump the little bastards back off at Grandma's.
Do us all a favor next time. The next time you want to eat out, leave the brats at home (or somewhere--like maybe in the middle of the freeway). Nobody wants to see your kids but you (and given your level of parenting skills, even that's debatable).
Nobody likes to spend the time and money to have a quiet, civilized evening out, only to have it rudely interrupted by some trashy breeder. If it hasn't dawned on you yet, people are trying to eat here. It's pretty hard to choke down a plate of food when you've got some screeching, hideously ugly runt staring at you like a bug-eyed monster.
Oh, I know you probably think that all that dried, caked-on dirt on your kid's face is appetizing. You think that the stench of baby shit and that gelatinous green ooze of dripping snot are acceptable precursors to fine dining. That's because you have all the socialization of a hunk of dog shit. Back in Gruntville, where you grew up, it was probably normal for every female over the age of 12 to pop out a litter of runts. So while you were busy growing up as a doddering country bumpkin and seeing kids being dragged around everywhere, you couldn't have had any way of realizing that out in the civilized world, people don't DO that.
For future reference, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.
It's called a BABYSITTER.
Oh, you can't afford that?
Too damn bad. Guess you can't afford to have kids, either.
Bottom line: keep your goddamn brats at home until they can sit still, shut their mouths, and act like ladies and gentlemen in public. Of course, with your child-rearing skills, that probably won't happen until they hit 30. So just stay home and feed them their 100th TV dinner of the week, and leave the rest of us alone.
Because unlike you, we actually work for a living and deserve a quiet evening out.
Can I just say.... wow? Parents, discipline your children that they would be a testimony to the world of the joy that Children are, and not a distraction from that fact.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Anyways, this afternoon we've been researching Celtic and Norse living history stuff, we really want to get involved in this but don't know where to start. We are finding out some super cool stuff. Wayne is doing the Highland Games next year and I've got to make him a kilt, for starters, so I was researching his Clan's Tartan.
Nesbitt Tartan, ancient:
You guys would not believe how expensive these are... it was $130 for ONE YARD of this fabric. I still can't get over it. So our dreams of creating entire family outfits with the real tartan were just rapidly extinguished. However, all hope is not lost. I'm just going to keep treading through endless amounts of pages on google, looking for people in the area who might be able to help us get started.
Anyhoo. Yeah. I'm doing a LOT better on complaining lately (anyone who isn't should download and listen to Manna's sermon on complaining from last week: Go to "listen online" at the bottom of the website and then search for "extracting the precious from the vile," --12/12/07)
Seems like as soon as I stopped using my mouth to complain (which I've realized steers the whole ship) everything suddenly got worse, but I suspect that's because I'm being tested. So hopefully there is an end to that stuff. Ok, I'm off.
Friday, December 14, 2007
There are a few families I know which genuinely enjoy each other, and that radiates into their lives and the lives of the people around them.
My ex boyfriend, James, was a Swedish Australian expat living in France with me when I was in Grenoble for my last year of high school. In his family, the mom was a jehova's witness, she raised the kids that way but only one of them was really "practicing" her faith, and the dad was an agnostic scientist...as different as night and day.
Anyways, they were really a fun bunch. I RELISHED spending time with them (and I was over there day in and day out) because, as a family, they had FUN together and did a ton of ridiculous activities. the girls put on plays, dances, etc. They dressed up with their mom. They threw incredible parties and just genuinely loved life. And though they loved God and were reverent, the home attitude was never doom and gloom... it was just joyful!
My friend Shep. His family USED to be pastors.... and then stopped. He had a small family but one that was totally fun to be in. I loved spending time with them and tried to as much as I could. There was love that radiated in that house--- and they also did silly things together, like have a shep family band that performed at events! I LOVED attending events with them because I knew we'd always have a laugh, and his parents seemed genuinely interested in what was going on with the kids. His family has changed since, but I believe there is a root of love with them that will never fade-- it was so evident to people like me who came from a place where simple pleasures weren't necessarily celebrated.
The Rasmussens are a local couple here at Manna. They run a missionary organization. Their daugther and her husband are people we just love. The few times we've had dinner in their home, we were IMMEDIATELY treated like family. And I enjoyed myself tremendously, experiencing what it's like to be welcomed with FAMILIAL hospitality in the homes of the brethren. Not just "hoity toity" hospitality, but genuinely welcoming you--- asking you to help chop garlic for dinner or making sure you take your shoes off when you sit on the couch.
So what do all these families have in common? Enjoyment. (notice the word "joy" in there. They genuinely cared about each other.
In my own life, I may not care about the latest knife wayne is designing or the latest Strawberry Shortcake caper Annika is crazy about.... but taking the time to celebraye these things with the ones we love is where enjoyment comes in. Its crystal clear now.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
SO, I made a list last night while feeling sorry for myself (yes, I'm ridiculous) of ways that I can respond to the top ten things that drive me into either raging fury or total misery pretty regularly in this house. I did this because I wanted to press forward in my quest to appreciate things where they are at and not get carried away with "The Vision," because as Wayne loves to quote Jesus saying: "Sufficient for today is it's own trouble," and "why do you worry about tomorrow, what you will eat and what you will wear?" (If you really meditate on Jesus' words here, you will find that humans have it all wrong 99 percent of the time. How can we trust our Savior to provide if we don't trust Him to provide? :P)
Anyways, here it is:
1. I haven't had a nap, no one cares, and I'm not going to get one, even though I got less than four hours sleep last night.
RESPONSE: My usual response is to get extra cranky and yell at Wayne that he's inconsiderate. This prompts him to try to make things better but failing miserably because I have specific desires and a deep rooted belief that he can't do anything right. My NEW response is to make a strong cup of coffee and see what tasks can fall off the "To DO" list until tomorrow so that I can vegetate a bit and relax in the living room with the kids and Wayne...and SMILE.
2. I haven't had a shower in four days, no one cares, and I'm not going to be able to have one anytime in the forseeable future.
RESPONSE: My usual response is to burst into tears when I look in the mirror. Instead I'm going to relax, take a cue from the army and use baby wipes and "wash my hot spots" (haha, I love those drill sergeants!) and then cover my hair, like I'm supposed to. It's a perfect excuse for covering even though Wayne doesn't like it... hehe.
3. There is a mess all over the house and I can't stand it.
RESPONSE: usually I rant and rave while I hurriedly pick up after everyone and possibly throw them murderous looks. No shoe, paper, or set of keys stays more than five seconds unnoticed outside it's home in my living room. I pick things up IMMEDIATELY because I believe in order.
Instead, I'm going to remember that "clean" is more important than "order," and only pick up at the END of the morning and the END of the day instead of constantly flipping out everytime one thing is out of place.
4. Wayne and/or the kids are rowdy and loud when I want peace and quiet.
RESPONSE: normally I try calmly saying I need space but that never works because they just get in my face and try to get me to "join in the "fun."" Finally I snap and holler at everyone to "JUST LEAVE ME ALONE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY."
Instead, I will go for a walk or go to the bathroom and spend a few minutes of quiet time on my own before going back in to the chaos.
5. The Kids are driving me nuts.
RESPONSE: Usually this occurs when I'm trying to do something else. Instead, I will stop what I'm doing immediately, (ie, hang up the phone, get off the computer, put down the knitting needles, put away the yoga mat, put down the Bible, take off the apron, put down the broom, or whatever the case may be) and listen to my kids. What do they need? How can I direct their energy into something productive. What are they telling me that I'm not paying attention to?
6. I need something done that never gets done because Wayne forgets and I don't have a car to go run errands.
RESPONSE: Usually I nag him about it until he explodes, freaks out, goes and gets it without asking what type, brand, etc, guesses, and then gets mad when it's the wrong kind. Instead I will, once a week, tape a list of these things to his steering wheel before he goes to work. That way he can't forget or get the wrong thing.
7. Nothing is going my way and it isn't going to change anytime soon.
RESPONSE: I'm just going to pray that God notices and go with the current program, whatever happens to be going on at the moment that I have to do. And I will smile through it... how often I forget that EVEN WITHOUT A WORD my husband knows what type of mood I'm in by the way I carry myself, which can be just as much of a sin as nagging him.
AND why, you may ask? Because the Word says:
"Yes, all of you be submissive to one another and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, casting all your cares upon him, for HE cares for you!" (1 Peter 5:5-8)
So glad we got that out of the way.
In other news, which is quite interesting, Wayne and I have begun to pray about missions opportunities in the UK. We are pretty heartbroken for Europe and the Church in general over there and are, as you know, excited to be a part of God's Kingdom building in a place that has such a rich Christian heritage. Funnily enough, we began praying through the country and were led to Newcastle, which I know next to nothing about, having spent all my Brit holiday time in the south. Turns out Newcastle / Gateshead is super cool, full of hungry students, and has an amazing history.
THEN we found out that there is a great need for church planting and assistance there, in particular with a church that -- here's the haha-- has identical DNA to Manna's! Ever wary of the financial aspect, I looked into jobs in the area and discovered that Newcastle holds one of the UK's only CROSSFIT affiliates, which is the gym my hubby works for. THEN I looked further into it and discovered Lo and behold, we just might be onto something. We've committed to praying about it more as time goes on.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Christy and her boys came over for dinner. She is such a blessing to me.
Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books
Monday, December 10, 2007
the kids are getting along great:
Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books
We are feeling very hopeful for the future again, now that we are learning how to appreciate the seasons we get put in.
Wayne is getting some clients (although we still need more! Keep praying!) and things are looking good. Today I reorganized a bunch on my yucky old laptop and it's running a bit better. My parents sent me a webcam in the mail for Christmas so we can stay in touch. Annika received her first Mommy's touch easy clean pocket diapers today and we've tried both the snaps and the touchtape kinds... I'm totally in love with these diapers. My advice to new moms is: don't waste money on all the millions of baby things you can buy that your kids will outgrow in a few months. Spend most of your money on stuff like these, which will last their whole toddlerhood and be amazing.
And.... yeah. Still no knitting!!! This is rotten. I WILL knit tonight. I have to finish her legwarmers before she's outgrown them, haha.
Anyways, here's the video from the Christmas party. Enjoy!
Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books
Sunday, December 9, 2007
For weeks now, something has been amiss in our house. I knew that my attitude towards the changes occuring had something to do with it, but I couldn't really repent if I didn't know HOW what I was doing was affecting what God was doing.
Last night was the 173rd Airborne's Christmas party, which we go to every year. I look forward to it because it's the only party we get to go to, and this year was no different. I was looking forward to getting prettied up, dancing with Wayne, and maybe taking a good family portrait.
Anyways, last night we were supposed to get there at 7:30. I was nervous about it this year because 7 pm is Annika's bedtime and I'm like a nazi about her not going to bed later-- I wanted her to be good but I knew she was going to be exhausted, especially since it goes til like... ten. Also, there is a raffle there, and every year Wayne and I win something cool. This year, the grand prize was a brand new laptop. For months I'd been certain we were going to win it. After all, I'm using a 1998 Compaq that is so old it doesn't even have letters on the keyboard in most spaces. It is slow as a tortoise, no matter what I do, filled with garbage I can't seem to lose, and frequently breaks down, forcing me to spend whole days wasted on getting it running again. The internet is pretty much my home away from home.... it's my social outlet because I'm a very secluded SAHM, and it's also my ministry.... something that God frequently uses me for. When I didn't have a computer and had to go to the library all the time, you'll remember, it was not a happy time in Barbie land. I was miserable. (although there's something to be said for the fact that God once convicted me of going from "house to house" through my computer and phone, instead of being a KEEPER AT HOME, which I might blog about one day)
Anyways, needless to say, I was looking forward to this evening. Of course, as 5:30 neared and I became forced to give up all hopes of getting a shower in, I realized that I couldn't wear anything cute (my legs didn't get shaved), my hair was four days greasy, I had pimples and had run out of makeup. So there went my fantasy of getting the chance to glam up.
Then the kids went nuts. Screaming, hollering, general mayhem... pooping consecutively and getting their party outfits dirty, etc, etc. So there went my fantasy of having perfectly behaved, very well groomed children.
Then Wayne got his knee taken out by some goober during a church football game, and couldn't walk. Consequentially, he was in a knee brace that didn't fit under his suit pants. So there went my fantasy of gliding away on the dance floor with my sexy, suited husband.
We got there anyways, had dinner, smiled at people, and then spent most of the evening chasing down annika. The raffle came and went. I won a coffee pot and a christmas themed center piece. Some old guy from Italy won the laptop. I was LIVID.
No family photos, no romance, no perfect Christmas kids, no laptop. I DID get a chance to have my first beer in what felt like two years, and that was good. But I mean, literally, until this morning I was still kinda shocked, and definitely upset that our night was such a bummer, and that I didn't win that stupid laptop. It just seems unfair. God knows for a fact that in our house, we often wonder where our next gallon of milk is going to come from (although, incredibly, he has provided us with a VERY full freezer and pantry this season, thank You!) so there's no imaginable way that Wayne will ever be able to buy me a new laptop, which means, if this one totally breaks, goodbye internet. Just like our car. If our car goes kaput, as you well know from my endless blogging about it, goodbye life.
So, I grumbled. Alot. It's not so much that I've been whining TO anyone,(well, maybe you guys, but hey--- this is a journal) it's that I've been whining internally, and it shows on the outside. Wayne has been making a real, concerted effort to be wonderful this past week and I'm grateful and it hasn't escaped my notice, but I grumble inwardly because I want MORE. I want MORE out of my husband, I want more out of church, I want more out of my life.
This prompted me last night to begin praying about my expectations. After all, the expectations that I have of my husband were totally off and it screwed us up bad. Ditto for the expectations that I have of my kids. Or my labor. Or my lifestyle. etc.
Todays' sermon was about complaining. The MINUTE Pastor Fletcher started preaching, I knew instantaneously that it was for me. So much so, that Ishod *magically* started wailing the minute he started preaching. Haha. Determined not to let Satan take this message from me, I rushed quietly to the nursing room, where I could watch it on TV while I nursed him . Lo and behold ,a girl was in there who I had noticed the week previous. She had a moby wrap, I had a moby wrap, we started to talk. Turns out the sermon was for her too. (and probably many of the other people there! Hehe)
So we listened intently as we nursed, amening, crying a little, the whole way through as we were brought to our knees in repentance of our complaining! Then, I quietly went to the changing table to change Ishod. Upon returning, I felt prompted to share my phone number with her to let her know she could count on me to pray or be there if she needed me to help her as she re-learned to find joy in her life. She told me that as I had been changing Ishod, she had been praying that God would prompt me to give her my number. Wow! So, blessed, we hugged and parted ways.
On my way out the door, I ran into Jeff, our district pastor. He asked me how I was and kind of lingered. Thank God he did.... I was forced to share a bit of what we had been going through, because of the awkward silence!! WHAT A RELIEF to be able to share with our family's God-given authority the truth about what we were going through. But to make matters crazier, He told me that a man (whose wife the Lord has been simultaneously telling me I need to receive Titus 2 information from) who works in the church came in to his office this week and had asked: Tell me about Wayne and Barbie. What's going on with them? At that moment, he (our pastor) had been feeling strongly that we needed intercession! Praise be to God for His absolutely amazing faithfulness... he never hangs up the phone.
Greatly encouraged, I made an appointment for all of us to speak to Jeff this week and walked out to the car, determined to make a new start withOUT the complaining.
We barely made it home before I realized things weren't going to go my way. I really wanted to go home and blog about what had happened, but Wayne had only a couple hours at home before his cell group tonight, and thus he spent it online reading up on the Highland Games for which he is training. I really wanted a nap and a shower, but the kids were both awake alternately. And there it was: life was sucking. And instead of being a changed person, I was a nightmare of inner complaining, until my poor husband, who couldn't take it anymore, left early for his commitment, leaving me wondering just what to do.
He called me from the car and walked me through what was going on. "You've made an idol out of that laptop," he said. "Don't you think God is so much bigger than what you are trying to make Him out to be? It isn't about you. When He sees fit to give you a laptop, if he does, he'll find a way. You have forgotten whats important."
Tearfully, I admitted he was right. Upon hanging up the phone, I realized he was more right than he knew. I had made an idol out of my husband, too.
And my church.
And my kids.
And my house.
And my way of life.
the learning never ends.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
He said some things that I agree with--- he wants to develop Jesus Christ's DNA and not Pastor Fletcher's, as much as he loves the guy and thinks he's amazing. He loves the church and wants to serve the people at Manna, but in ways he is good at (like doing XBOX cells with David) and not in ways that are being asked of him (like manning the new member table.) He wants to serve God and be in ministry, but not the path that's laid out for so many others and determined by Manna's DNA. (ie. GO to GCD. Get ordained. Be one of the pastors.)
And so, just like that, the final thread of pretense that my husband will one day be "that guy" I've built up in my head since before we were even married is gone.
I shouldn't say that--- we never know what God will do and with Him all things are possible. However, in this season, something very yogic is happening to me. It's like peeling away the onion skin layers of the koshas on my man....First we had to strip the layer that was the "Christianese" veneer. Then we stripped away the layer that "looked like everyone ELSE'S husband." Then we stripped away the one that dealt with his inner workings as I saw them. Then we stripped away the one that represented his heart focus. And now, he's standing before me, raw, and I love him. I'm scared and frustrated, and struggling to find joy in this trial, but I love him. And amazingly, I love him for who he is, not because I have to according to the Bible.
So.... now what? I feel like I've dwelled on this for a week now, and it has alternately broke my heart and been a huge relief. My pride took another fall today as I watched the words leave his lips--- all I could picture was people's faces as they would react to the news that Wayne is leaving the cell when he tells them on Sunday morning. Most of me wishes he would just stop and play the game. I think of these guys as Wayne's ticket to his future. Part of me is glad that he can't play the game right now. After all, his only future is in Christ, not necessarily in what these guys are doing. I admire these men so much, but I admire them as a measure of their success. And I'll admit, alot of that is a wordly admiration. I'm proud of them for allowing God to mold them into "somebody."
But I feel like this huge weight has been lifted off my back. Now, things get real. There is no more shiny film over our family in the eyes of others. There is no more expectation because Wayne has determined that he needed to go back and be a face in the crowd.
Let's see what happens. And because my identity has once again been stripped from me..... I'm incredibly uncomfortable. I need the mind of Christ for this situation, but I don't know what that is.
What I really want to do is find some tiny, old, gorgeous church.... made of stone, with big cathedral cielings and windows that let the sun in through colored panes. One populated with older folks and families in suits....one where we sing hymns and where Annika and Ishod can play quietly in the pew beside us as we worship as a family. One that's basically the opposite of Manna. (and this is NOT because I don't love Manna. I love it passionately, I'm amazed by it every day. I believe in it's vision and I pray daily for it to come to pass. It's because I am craving a fresh perspective, a change, to help me get through this.)
I want to find a church like that because there are no aspirations in places like that to do world-changing things for God. Churches like that are content to be who they are--- places in which God is glorified and people can come to Him as a family. The body of believers there is equipped to serve one another, but not to advance the kingdom violently through mighty feats of excellence in leadership and demonstrable signs and wonders. They serve lunches at the senior center and bring flowers to young mothers. They have bake sales and prayer meetings. And they live quiet, peaceable lives. In a place like that, I wouldn't be inspired, encouraged, and often pressured to be more and do more than God has currently graced me with the ability to do or be. I would be pressing on towards the goal, but in a way that allowed me to focus without the strain of wondering how I can (and how I can get my husband) to do more, be more, and have more to show for the Kingdom. No, my husband probably isn't destined to have a multi-million dollar ministry where thousands of souls get saved every day. Is that ALL God can do with people? Is that the only measure of success at godliness? Ultimately, isn't God the one who calls the shots, and shouldn't we be satisfied with what He is handing us?
I told Wayne the other day that he was in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. I see now that it's not just him.
Lord, forgive me for allowing the fear of man to replace the fear of You so easily in my life. Forgive me for not seeing past the structure of this church into the heart of what you are doing. Forgive me for placing fallible men on a pedastal above your infallible Son. Most of all, God, thank you for the Cross. Thank you for the blood of Jesus, by which my sins are cast as far from me as the East is from the West. I pray that you would use this experience, God, for your glory, and that you would navigate our family through these bumps in the road and keep us on the narrow path. Help us, most of all, Lord, to love each other and to love You, and not to care what other people think. Help us to measure our success by how much we look like YOU and not like other people.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Wayne came in to the room last night while I was sleeping and gave me a deep, delicious kiss, and said: "Life is what happens while you're waiting for life to happen. You need to learn that." I loved him so much in that moment, because that's what I needed to remember. The word says in Mark, I think, that when salt loses it's flavor, it becomes useless and needs to be thrown out. I've lost my flavor to him, but I haven't lost my preservative function. I'm bland salt. Bleh. Some salt of the world.
If your husband wants you to love him where he's at, sisters, and you refuse him that, you are missing out on the one chance to MAKE that mark in him that could forever change his life. Love him. Respect him. Give him, in this season, what he needs from you to not just survive, but thrive.
Monday, December 3, 2007
First of all, I guess, I'm dealing with disillusionment.
When I married him, it had been prophesied over me that my husband was going to be a pastor and that I would meet him in Basic Training. Imagine, of course, my state of mind as we went through life... first meeting and then marrying in BCT, and then when we finally settled into a church where he had the opportunity to "go somewhere."
As he moved forward in his faith, and in the ranks of leadership there, it became apparent to both of us that if God was going to open doors for him in ministry through this particular church, he was going to have to meet him halfway by agreeing to submit to the church's particular "DNA," or style of doing things. Which he wasn't. Suits and ties and "marketplace" thinking hasn't yet been my husband's forte. In fact, as he reminded me last night.... it's not a place he's looking forward to going. To take it even further, I remember when he was selling cars and had to go to work in a suit every morning that I had to press the night before. Not only did I hate it, he hated it. And he looked like a giant, overgrown kid playing dress up. Oddly enough, if you throw a helmet, a toga, and a leather cape on him and hand him a spear, he looks like a warrior. That's just who he is. In another twist of irony, someone once prophesied over him that he would be a king in the marketplace.
Anyways, fast forward to California, where we went to help a growing church in desperate need of action and people who know how to use their giftings. We were super equipped to help the church in California, but we were useless to them because we couldn't find a way to communicate to them what we had learned. I believe the root of that was in two places: fear and pride on our part. and a little frustration mixed in. Combined.
California broke my husband. To say that he went through a disillusionment period is an understatement. He was absolutely shaken. Not in fear, though. In frustration that his life would come to mean nothing-- that his work for the Kingdom meant nothing.
He began to believe that God chose not to speak to him, and to distrust pastors who use Christianese "catch phrases" and didn't explain them. He lamented the loss of Christian culture to worldly culture, and couldn't relate to anyone anymore, not for lack of trying. My husband has always been a solitary man with few, but incredibly close, friendships. But at this point, he felt left to his own devices. Abandoned by God and man. When he tried to share his struggle with the few people he wanted to respect who could help him, they gave him trite answers and tried to placate him by regurgitating things they had learned or giving him brief answers that sounded good but had no practical application that he could see or understand. He became bitter. When God called us back to North Carolina, we came joyfully. Neither he nor I were happy in California. But it was bittersweet-- there was a sense of resignation that neither one of us will be able to finish the things we start, or to really maintain the forward thrust of motion we had been caught up in.
Now that things have settled here, we are dealing with phase two of the disillusionment and dying to our selves. I initially understood that my husband was having a crisis of faith, based on a conversation we had recently. I had agonized for months about how to reproach him for some behavior that was recurring. Finally, I attempted to engage him in a talk during which I told him: "You aren't acting like a Christian."
His response was: "I don't feel much like one." I panicked.
Underneath all of that, I was able to grasp the thing that was happening: He isn't hearing from God, he isn't optimistic anymore about his role in the local body and he doesn't know what God has for him. He's overwhelmed with trying to feed and clothe and care for a family of four on the most measly salary anyone has ever seen, and time is passing him by and his dreams aren't being realized. Anyone would go through it at that point, I'm sure. I've been there. It's called a quarter life crisis. And it's hard.
Of course, I grabbed onto the two things that freaked me out the most: his faith issue (not hearing from God or thinking God is putting him through it for the fun of it) and his behavior in certain areas. And I addressed that in that talk.... culminating in a better understanding of who my husband is and how to help him. And as I said earlier, as his helpmeet, that makes it my time to shine.
Last night, we addressed part two of the disillusionment process for ME, which is where I was going wrong as his help meet. In a lengthy, tearful discussion peppered with frustrations and laughter, we managed to hash out the root of the issue for me. And guess what it was? Pride! How ironic, when that's what I've been trying to tell HIM is his problem.
Pride. Pride keeps me from being real with other Christians...I'm not a hypocrite by any means, but I've got pharisaical tendencies to want to "out-Christian" others.... not for the sake of ME but for the greater good of the church. I read books about "perfect" marriages and "perfect" Christian women and I want to be that so bad that I endlessly torture myself into that mold---I don't tell people when they ask how I'm doing that I need help because I'm scared they'll think I'm not mature enough to know how to deal with my own issues. When Pastors' wives ask me about my husband and what he's up to I play up this big vision for him and how he's going to walk in it. I don't tell them that we need prayer for finances, to put food on the table, to do family devotions or for just plain getting along some days. (although this is becoming more and more rare-- yay for biblical marriages, at least I can say that that works!)
It's doubly hard for me. After all, my identity is wrapped up in my husband. "Stop acting like a pastor's wife," he told me. "You need to understand who you really are. You are married to me. I'm far from perfect. We live in a small house in a middle to lower income area in a black hole. We are struggling to survive. We have two beautiful children. We love each other. I'm not ready to be the guy you think you want to be with. Right now I need to be me, to finish something I start, and to figure out what I'm going to be in the future."
It's like when I FIRST became a Christian. I still smoked and drank and partied and had sex and did all kinds of nonsense that doesn't fit in with a Christian lifestyle. And most nights I'd come home, curl up with my bible and my tears and my Jesus, and GENUINELY repent of all of it, only to go back the very next night and do it all again. But I lived in constant fear that a Christian person from church would run into me in a bar and I'd be smoking. Or that the girl who was discipling me would "stop by" when there was a guy at my house. They put the fear of the Lord in me, but it was fear of THEM, not the Lord. If I had really feared the Lord, I would have known He could see me even when my blinds are closed, even when the lights are low in the club.
So last night, Wayne says to me as we're enjoying a movie together: "I think every person should get one free phone call to God in their life." And I reacted pitifully.
"One phone call? Wayne, we get millions. He never hangs up the phone."
"Oh come on, " he said. "I mean, to hear his voice. You know?"
I threw up my hands in exasperation at his obvious lack of faith, in an even more obvious lack of humor "No Wayne, I don't know. I hear His voice every day and you could too."
He was right to call my response "a trite platitude." In my response I showed him both my fear of his "UnChristianese behavior" and my pride over my own "holiness." Nothing in the way I talked to him for the next hour and a half showed him love or respect. Just fear that he would never "act like a Christian," and that he had ceased to try.
But over the course of our discussion, he showed me two things. One, that his FAITH wasn't shaken, but his pride was. Because he had repented of his pride and broken it.... God had spoken to him. And what He had said was this: "Wayne, you are in a season where you need to build character and perseverence. You are not equipped to be a pastor at this moment. Right now, you need to know that you've never really finished anything in your life, that you have a family to provide for, that you're kind of a redneck and an unrefined viking, and that that's simply who you are right now. Now is a time to build up your family and your business, to focus internally, and to build character through it. So RELAX. Just relax."
Wow. And now God is calling me to do that very same thing... just relax. His Word does not return void. We all need to remind ourselves of that and to live in our seasons, keeping our eyes on the goal. His goal and not ours. His timing and not ours.
We have to be "close to the cross, mindful of the cost, satisfied with Jesus."