Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Failures and Perspective

Last week was a gift. Spring break - all my babies were home with me. I had weaned off Zofran, and was feeling wonderful! I couldn't even believe how amazing it felt just to have the energy to be out of bed all day and be able to fully participate in life. It's been a long three months. :)

We had company several times during the week, and hosted a baby shower one night. I shot hoops with my boys for hours. Friends stopped by, stayed awhile. I was managing dinner instead of sending Dave for take-out. :) Every bit of my house was clean. I was actually keeping up with things around here. It was magical!

Really, it was just normal stuff {the kind of ordinary days I had pre-pregnancy}, but I couldn't stop reveling in the beauty of the life the Lord has blessed me with. It was like I was seeing things through new eyes....maybe I was.

When Saturday brought nausea again, I was determined to press forward anyway with plans for a girls night out with some of my dear friends. Dave convinced me take a Zofran, despite how much I wanted to be off those wretched things. I managed to make it through the night, and had such a good time...pedicures at a salon, antique shopping and dinner at Teller's. But I probably wasn't the best of company, since I couldn't eat {and made frequent trips to the bathroom...ugh!}...by the end of the night, I knew it was getting bad and I needed to go back on my meds.

Sunday was more of the same.

I pulled myself out of bed anyway, downed some more meds, and made it to church. Dave suggested I stay home, but I was just longing for encouragement. Needing to hear from God. Feeling nauseous and puking again was disappointing - one week and I had completely changed my expectations for how my days would go. I should know by now not to form expectations about anything while pregnant. :P

We were late, but we hurried in and I just collapsed on the second row...hardly any seats left when you show up late! Dave headed straight for the front since he was leading adult Sunday School. We're going through the book of Matthew right now, and this week he was going to finally finish chapter 17.

During his message, he shared a simple thought about the Lord Jesus that really struck me. At the end of the chapter, Peter is asked if His Master should pay the temple tax, and Jesus questions his answer to the tax collectors. He had just shown Himself in His glory to him and James and John on the mount of transfiguration. When they came back down, immediately Jesus was faced with the failures and frustrations of His disciples. They couldn't heal the boy with the demon, and He explained how the Lord's work requires intimacy with the Father and self-denial ... and then pointed them to what they should really focus on,

22 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

In the midst of their discouragement and failure, He wanted them to take joy in His perspective.

Instead, all they saw was a reason to sorrow. {The disciples were apparently people like me...ha! A tad short sighted and easily pessimistic...}

Right after that is the portion where the tax collectors approach Peter and ask him if Jesus paid the temple tax. Being the Son of God, He shouldn't have needed to pay the tax - and Jesus gently rebukes Peter for his lack of defense for Him. But I love what He says next -

27 “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”

Dave brought out the point that statistically the odds were beyond impossible of Peter finding that one fish that had the coin in its mouth. Why didn't Jesus just hand Peter a coin to pay the tax? Why send him on a seemingly crazy task?

It seems very precious to me that the Lord Jesus showed Himself to Peter in this way. Despite the bigger picture and His plan of salvation that included His death, the Lord cared about the everyday things in Peter's life too. And He showed Himself able to do the improbable...with just His spoken word.

I sat there on the second row, and felt the same encouragement that Peter must have felt all those years ago when he pulled his line in and checked the mouth of that fish. My God is a God of the impossible! And He cares...even about my earthly troubles.

Yes, He has a bigger plan, and yes, He wants me to grasp it. But He also wants to meet my needs in ways that blow me away. To show Himself faithful in my every day life.

To get me through these impossible days. When I am throwing up and spent, and pink eye rages through the family, and then some new virus strikes. When my human tendency is to sorrow and say, "I can't do this!" and lift my eyes from my apparent failure and show me instead His greater perspective.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Simon turns 5!

A few weeks ago we celebrated Simon's birthday at the gymnastics place in town. A few friends and family {Grandma and Grandpa Renes were in town}, cupcakes with sprinkles, and a medal for the birthday boy - the perfect 5 year old party!

What a difference a year makes in a young boy's life...I love looking back on my kids' birthdays and thinking about how much they have changed and grown up. In many ways Simon is still my cuddly little boy {and I am going to miss him so much next year when he goes to school!}, but he is undeniably maturing, moving past the toddler stage.

I never thought I'd see the day something replaced his love of the Cars movie, but Star Wars and Legos have taken over...in one short year. The box of Cars sits in the storage room in the basement, only pulled out for younger cousins now. Kinda makes me sad!

How can I describe the sweetness that is Simon? Even at 5, he still asks to snuggle with me. He is quick to offer hugs...to offer to help me make dinner. He is naturally affectionate with others. Already I think he will make a sweet husband someday.

And his smile...it just lights up his face and his eyes crinkle and disappear. I love Simon's smile!

But he is nothing if not fiercely competitive, but even in that, we've watched him grow up a little this year. Not so quick to throw a punch if the game doesn't go his way. Learning to work it out with words {if I had a dollar for every time I have reminded him to do this...}.

We attended Kindergarten Round Up a couple weeks ago, and it was such an exciting day for him. He is so ready to go and learn, and I am starting to get really excited for him. A year ago I was a little skeptical, I just couldn't imagine him being ready to leave my watch for that long. He has just been a squirrelly kid! Couldn't keep his hands to himself AT ALL! But watching him with other pre-kindergartners the other day I realized, he is ready...so ready. Praise the Lord for a little maturity!

Usually he is our healthy kid, but today Simon is home from church with a sore throat. And I am enjoying his cuddles. :) We're looking through his Star Wars Lego sticker book that he got for his birthday and remembering his gymnastics party fun. I just love my sweet little boy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Midday rest for the Mama

The temp on my computer reads 54, and my bedroom windows are open - a real taste of spring! That, and the fact that my boys are playing happily in the backyard together, concocting up some sort of pirate scheme complete with eye patches and drawn treasure maps, last I heard. I have missed our backyard so much this winter.

Meanwhile Clare sleeps on, wonderful napper that she is. She needs it today - she's had a little fever and just not been herself. Poor baby. She's ready for spring too.

I'm 15 weeks tomorrow {I think}, and definitely starting to feel better. Still quite dependent on Zofran some days, but others I can get by with just one pill or half and almost feel normal. My energy levels have picked up this last week, and I'm actually doing some simple cooking and cleaning and exercising again. And it feels amazing!

Granted, I still have some days that are 1st trimester all over again {usually when I've had a busy weekend or been on my feet all day the day before}, but having some break in the sickness is such a relief.

Many people have prayed for me, and helped me out during this time...and I am so very thankful. I long to be the one who can offer help again, instead of always being on the receiving end. It's a rather humbling place to be. :)

But it has been special too, to be ministered to. To see the Holy Spirit whispering in someone else's ear about me - to feel the Lord's care for me in a real physical way - it has given me so much encouragement. Really, I am seeing how much this practical *meeting the needs of the saints* thing matters, how necessary it is to lift up the weak ones in our group of believers, to do everything we can to keep them going. When we're struggling, we need to feel the Lord's care, and often He chooses to show it to us through people.

People who listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and obey.

This week I'm thankful for:

39. Glimpses of normal

40. 1 Zofran days

41. God's Word written so many years ago - alive and essential to my everyday life

42. Date night starting up again - sweet friends reunited

43. A bedroom {and ajoining bathroom} to relax in - it is beautiful!

44. A husband who paints

45. A changing shape

46. Hearing my love teach the Word of God

47. The preciousness of the legacy of Don Schonberg

48. The generations who follow the Lord because a man chose to lead well

49. Online job charts

50. Work ethics being developed

51. Watching my oldest sweep and mop the kitchen today - what?????

52. A ready kindergartner

53. A school we love

54. The body of Christ - and what that means practically