Saturday, November 29, 2014

Grief, Gratitude and sleepless thoughts on God.

I was so exhausted I fell asleep yesterday at 4:30 p.m., woke at 8 and had dinner and got back in bed... where I've proceeded to be unable to sleep. And drat, it is 5 in the morning now.

People have asked, when I have told them I can't sleep, was something on my mind. why, yes. there was something on my mind. I had watched a tv series online and 3 episodes dealt with the following: child dying of illness, cancer, and a car accident that kills someone precious to them. So, yeah, it brought up some stuff.

First: Gratitude. I am thankful for God preserving the lives of my children. Way too many times could my children have died, in particular Samuel and Michael.  I've seen them stop breathing and turn blue on more than one occasion. Samuel's Infected CVL (central venous line). Reflux and aspiration (Samuel and Michael at different times). Etc.

Thoughts hang out on the back burner of my mind. I'm not consciously trying to think certain things, they just pop up. Samuel's cancer. treatment. Special needs. Feeding tubes. Oxygen. Apnea monitors. Cleaning syringes. Asthma inhalers. Libby and Sam... what would my nephew have looked like? What name would he have given me? Gigi? Auntie Jenn? or something of entirely his own making? What would my sister have looked like now? What would she say to this or that problem I'm facing? What movie would we have seen together? What would I be getting her for Christmas?

It's almost my sister's birthday. She would have been turning 32. It still feels very unreal that she's gone AND it also feels like a part of my life I've adapted to. I didn't look for her at Thanksgiving. I missed her. But I expected to NOT see her. It's strange how I've lived almost a third of my life without her now.

But trying to explain to someone, it's not as if I am over her, I miss her keenly. I've learned to adapt to life without her. I've learned to create a "new normal". It's as though I've lost a limb. I've learned to manage and cope. I've learned how to dress myself or feed myself but it's not the same as having the use of my arms and legs. I've learned new ways to manage without my appendage. It's the same with Lib being gone. I've learned how to cope... but it's never as good as what it was one when I was "whole".

I've been having these perspective shifts lately though that's been really helpful. It's like God gently showing me how the path of my life could have veered in different directions but it didn't. It's been a beautiful reminder that God truly crafts and shapes my day. My life. My problems and setbacks are from His Hand. And sometimes that's scary. Because I'm reminded of the very real truth- I am NOT in control of MY life! And what do I really believe about Him and who He says He is???

But if I stop and pause and truly reflect on His goodness. On His mercy. On His infinite love. On the security of the depth of His knowing me, loving me, calling me His own.... then I can rest.

He's not surprised by my sins. My failings. My lack. My imperfections. My messes. He has me right where He has me and it's not a mistake. It's a journey. It's a process.

And yet, somehow, I keep forgetting that. I keep expecting myself to have arrived already. But I'm not there yet. And He knows that. And He's okay with that. Why am I not?

Why am I so afraid to be wrong? To be misunderstood? Why do I need to explain to others my reasons for lack, my inability, my failings, my reasons for extra weight, or grief or depression, or a messy house? Why do I seek to be justified by my own merits?

Why can't I be content to just be? To rest in the knowledge that "IT IS FINISHED". The work that bought my soul and paid the price has been done.

My greatest debt has been paid. My biggest mess was cleaned up. My biggest problem solved. I am Christ's and He is mine. 

I wonder if these truths are what I needed to hear before I could fall asleep. Maybe I stayed up all night to be reminded of Whom I belong to.

My six year old son is humming in bed. He's humming a Matt Redman song. And now he's sleeping again.

Usually by this time we have 2 or 3 kids in bed with us. Well, it's time to settle and get a couple hours shut eye before I get up and embrace this day. And even this... even this lack of sleep through the night is a part of the plan. Part of something bigger than I can see. But He sees me. He never sleeps or slumbers, instead He watches over me.


Monday, November 24, 2014

The Importance of Being 4

5 months old
On the night of November 7th Peter sent the passy fairy a gift  when he released 4 balloons with an attached passy (pacifier) up into the sky . In return he received a jar with 500 pennies. He has let go of this much addicted substance with a lot of grace. He asked a few times for passy and there were a couple times when he was super tired and in need of a nap that he really felt the need to take a hit but we have persevered and his addiction is broken.

I can't believe my youngest is 4! What a difference in time and space when my oldest was 4. Libby had 3 younger siblings when she was 3!

Peter provides much needed comedy relief around here. He knows how to get his siblings to laugh. He gets away with a lot to because everyone says, "Well, you know Peter is the LITTLEST". Which is hilarious given "baby" moose's ample size.

4 years old
What a blessing that God gave us this joy boy in the midst of difficulty and trial. I was pregnant with Peter when Samuel was diagnosed with cancer. Pretty amazing to see how far we've come. And how kind God gives us the things and people we need when we don't even know we need them.

Peter it is so fun to see the ways God has made you different and unique from your sister and brothers. I love the time we spend together and take so much pleasure in watching you play with your siblings.

We are so thankful to God for you!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gifts of Friendship.

There are some people in this life it's hard to live with... and there are others you can't live without. This would be one of them. Michelle. My friend for over 15 years. We have been through some amazing and difficult life changes together even while thousands of miles apart. God is amazing to have given me one of the kindest, encouraging, loving friends.

We don't always talk regularly and never see each other as much as we'd like to but I always know that Michelle has my back. Thanks for coming over and helping me with sick kids. For holding my hand and passing the tissues when I can't stop the tears. For bringing sunshine into my life with coffee and thoughtful gifts. For running to stores with me... or sitting in the cars with kids while I run in. For trips to the zoo. For tea time. For helping me clean.

For speaking truth in love. For telling me that I can do this with God's help. For helping me know and love God more.

I love you and I am praying for you. Thank you for the testimony and instrument of grace you are in my life.

Thanks for not running away when I told you when I first met you that I knew we were going to become great friends. That could have been uber weird and creepy! But instead it's an amazing prediction came true!


Peter loves the "Gir-laughs" as he calls them

Saturday, November 01, 2014