Sunday, December 30, 2012

To Seek And To Save The Lost

Mommy-hood. Daily life. Change Samantha's diaper. Help Jennifer with the potty. Make sure Elizabeth goes potty. Carry Samantha and basket of dirty laundry down the stairs while Jennifer and Elizabeth slowly walk down crying the whole way for me to carry them. Get plates out of the cabinet. Open a package of poptarts. Break Jennifer's poptart into 4 pieces. Break Elizabeth's poptart into 2 pieces. Make a bottle for Samantha. Pour oats and yogurt into a bowl and mix. Get reminded 40 million times that Elizabeth and Jennifer need a drink. Finally pour 2 sippy cups of milk. Feed oatmeal/yogurt to Samantha stopping every couple of bites for her to drink more of her bottle and me to sneak in a few bites of my own poptart. Clean up breakfast. Send the girls to play in the living room. Unload the dishwasher. Re-load the dishwasher. Get clothes out of the dryer. Switch clothes from the washer to the dryer. Start another load in the washer. Carry the clean clothes to the couch and fold. Send the older two girls upstairs. Straighten up the toys in the living room. Carry Samantha and the laundry basket of clean, folded laundry upstairs. Take the basket of laundry to my room and Samantha to the girls' room. Set up the baby gate at the top of the stairs so Samantha "doesn't fall down and die". Put my contacts in and brush my teeth. Straighten my bathroom. Make my bed and straighten my room. Put away clean laundry. Break up fights between the girls. Kiss boo-boos. Dress baby dolls. Eat a pretend breakfast 15 times. Straighten girls' rooms as much as possible with them playing in them. Make their beds. Welcome Chase home. Make his sandwiches. Pour him a glass of tea. Make PB&J for all 3 girls. Pour 2 sippy cups of milk and make a bottle. Get clean clothes out of dryer and carry to the living room. Switch clothes from the washer to the dryer. Clean up Chase's dishes. Clean up girls' lunch. Send them to the living room to play. Make my lunch. Eat and fold clothes while trying to keep noise level down so Chase can get a few minutes of sleep before going back to work. Chase goes back to work while we stand on the sidewalk and wave until he can't see us anymore. Corral all three girls back in the house. Carry Samantha up to her bed for a nap while the older two trail behind crying "I'm not tired!" Get all three girls in their own beds. Samantha falls asleep on her own. Hold Jennifer's hand until she falls asleep. Lay down next to Elizabeth until she falls asleep. Shower and get myself cleaned up. Lay down for about an hour until the girls wake up. Snack time for the girls. Convince them that animal crackers are just as good as vanilla wafers while trying to stop the tears of disappointment over a snack they "don't like"! Pour 2 sippy cups of milk and make a bottle. Convince Samantha that half a bag of marshmallows is definitely considered more than a snack and try to stop her tears of disappointment that snack time is over. Fold the clothes in the dryer while girls play downstairs. Put away laundry and straighten up toys upstairs. Make dinner while Samantha crawls around under my feet and the other two climb on the table and chairs (and counters if they could reach them) trying to help make dinner. Welcome Chase home from work. Set the table. Deal with crying, hungry kids. Feed everyone dinner. Put girls in the bathtub. Bathe, rinse, dry, dress girls. Clean up the table from dinner. Send girls out of the kitchen so they don't get messy again. Clean up the stove. Send girls out of the kitchen again. Clean up the counters. Send the girls out. Rinse all the dishes. Load and start the dishwasher. Start a load of laundry. Sink onto the couch in exhaustion only to realize that it's time for another bottle for Samantha. 9:00 all 3 girls are in bed. Stop Jennifer from playing in the potty about 3 times. Put Jennifer back in bed about 15 trillion times with a spanking each time. Calm Elizabeth down after she wakes up with bad dreams. They're finally all asleep. Somewhere in all of that I changed more diapers. Cleaned up more potty training accidents. Kissed more boo-boos. Ate more pretend meals. Answered "why" and "why not" about a dozen more times. Broke up more fights. Checked the mail. Carried the trash to the dumpster. Checked the email. Swept the floor. Answered the phone. Read the same book 30 times. Read a second book 5 times. Read a third book 80 times. Read a fourth book . . . you get the picture.

Every day is the same. It's mommy-hood. It feels never ending. It doesn't really feel important, that's for sure. It's daily life. Then, one day, something is said that changes everything. One day, something happens that makes all the difference. For me, that was today.

We are in town visiting family for the holidays. Today we went to our old church. We did the typical morning routine of getting everybody ready and out the door. We took the girls to the nursery and dealt with the typical tears as we left them. We went across the building for Chase's morning coffee and to say hi to faces we know we won't see again for many months. We went to the service. After a night full of crying children and mostly void of sleep, I struggled to stay awake through the service. However, God talked to me and I heard it, even through my sleep deprived state. The sermon was over Zacchaeus and Jesus' mission - To Seek And To Save The Lost. I was told that His mission is my Commission. I was told that there are lost people all around me and I have been given the task of seeking them out and leading them to God. We prayed. The pastor asked God to show us one person to actively seek to lead to Him. He asked God to lay one person on our heart.

I don't know about you, but my day is pretty jam-packed. I don't have a car available to me during the day. We share a car, and Chase is gone 12-13 hours a day. I rarely leave my home. I live in an apartment complex so I have PLENTY of neighbors. However, the majority of them do not speak English. I have several family members that I have been praying for for years now - as far back as I can remember. However, in that moment when the pastor prayed over us, it was none of these faces that flashed into my mind. There were 3 distinct faces I saw. 3 sweet, loving, smiling faces that captured my attention.

It was then that I realized that my mission field is in my home. I spend MANY hours alone with these 3 - soon to be 4 - little souls. God has given them to me to mold into women (and a man) who love Him and serve Him with their whole hearts. I realized that it is not enough to feed and clothe them. It's not enough to take them to church or to read the Bible to them most nights. I should be actively seeking to teach them - above ALL else - who God is and how to love and serve and follow Him with their entire being. They are all young enough that they have not reached that "age of accountability" quite yet. However, one day they will reach that age. Will they be prepared? Will I have actively tried to "seek and to save" the lost that are entrusted into my care? This is mommy-hood.

Yes, the things that fall to me on a daily basis are a vital part of mommy-hood, but if I don't care for the ultimate need, what's the point of meeting their other needs?

I don't want a mommy-hood that meets the most basic of their needs. I want to lead them to the One who can meet the biggest need they'll ever have. This is the mommy-hood I want. Suddenly mommy-hood doesn't seem so boring or repetitive. Suddenly there is purpose to all that I do for them each day. Mommy-hood. What greater blessing and responsibility????

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 4

Here is Day 4 of our Countdown Chain!!!

 I couldn't read this one to them like I had every other night because I knew they would think they were going to make something like the reindeer hat - something they could wear. Elizabeth kept asking what we were gonna do, and all I could say is, "You'll see!"

This isn't a very good picture, but I was in a hurry to get it taken, and get the wet glue put away because, as you can see in the bottom, left corner, we had a visitor coming to (literally) get her hands on them!!!

Day 3

Here is Day 3 of our Countdown Chain!!

I've never known a child to be afraid of having their hand traced, but this girls was terrified!! Took awhile, but she finally calmed down enough for me to get something that somewhat resembled a hand print!

Please pardon the laundry in the background. We're making memories!!! (And don't worry - the laundry isn't still there!!!)

They wore these around the house for two days before the enjoyment wore off!!

Day 2

Here is Day 2 of our Countdown Chain! The girls really loved this one. When they finished, Elizabeth asked, "Can we do another one???" Unfortunately I only had the two copies of the picture so I had to tell her no. However, once we started reading the book, she enjoyed it so much that she forgot all about the craft!

Think Outside the Box

Proverbs 31:17 - "She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

I've always read this verse and applied it to my household and my job (when I worked outside the home). However, God has been teaching me recently that this applies to every area - even in my playtime with my children.

I have not been very quiet about or hidden my recent battle with depression. It has hung over my head like a dark cloud and has consumed everything about me. It has sapped my strength and energy. Forget being a hard worker! It was a struggle just to get out of bed each morning. I would get up only because I have 3 little children that could not take care of themselves. I did my chores each day, but only the necessary. I didn't do the little extras - like organizing things or even lighting candles - because it was just too much work. I did do laundry and dishes and cook and buy groceries and pay bills because I HAD to. Those things are necessary in order to keep a home functioning. Though I did all of those things, I could not be considered a hard worker. It would not cross anyone's mind to label me as energetic and strong! I did what I had to do to get by.

**I know this depression thing sounds like I'm just making excuses for my behavior. If you've struggled with this or know someone who has, you know that's not at all what it is. If you haven't dealt with this before, please understand that that is not at all the case.**

All of that said, the lesson God taught me through this verse has nothing to do with chores or my home or job. It has to do with making memories with my children. It has to do with having fun with them. In years and holidays past, it was just another day come and gone. We celebrated the actual day, but there were no fun things leading up to the day/event. The thought of baking cookies with young kids was exhausting. It seemed like too much work to pull out craft supplies and make something. It was much easier to put them at the table with a piece of paper and a crayon and leave them to it. I didn't have the energy or strength to be involved. The more children I had, the harder it became to do those things.

However, this year I've been taking medicine and (with the exception of a couple of days out of town for a wedding and then a REALLY dark day afterwards because I forgot to take my meds while out of town) we have made a "Countdown Chain" to count down the days until our trip to Houston. Each day has an activity that has to do with Christmas. The first few days are Christmas activities that have more to do with Santa and the "secular" side of the holiday. Then they slowly migrate towards the religious side of things and end up with the Christmas story being read while we're in the car traveling.

I have to admit that I didn't plan this very well. I was very excited about starting this because I finally had the energy. It didn't feel overwhelming. I was able to work hard at gathering supplies and because I'm only doing crafts that I already have the resources for - no purchases!!! - I spent time researching craft ideas and searching my house to see if we had the items. I say I didn't plan well. It was more that I didn't organize well. The first night we read a book about Rudolph and two nights later we did a reindeer craft. Those should have gone together.      :-/ Oh well. I'm still getting the hang of this.

Anyway, God has really blessed my efforts in this by providing the resources and the ideas and helping me carry them out. He has also really helped me to see - through Proverbs 31:17 - that while it is "playtime" and we are having fun, it also involves hard work, energy, and strength. I'm seeing that making memories with my children is something He sees as an attribute of a virtuous woman.

Here are some pics of the things we've been doing. We're a little behind, but maybe we'll catch up on it tomorrow! Maybe . . .   :-)

 Here is our Countdown Chain.
There's not much to it, but we got a late start!

I didn't get any pictures of the girls actually doing the painting, but if the number of pictures they did is any indication, I'd say they enjoyed it!!!!

Here is our Christmas book for the night. We also ended up watching videos on YouTube of different people singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". I think Alvin and the Chipmunks was their favorite version!

I'll do a separate post for the rest of the days. I was just too excited about what we've been doing that I thought I'd share the first day!

I don't know what God is telling you through this verse, but don't be stuck on how you've always interpreted it. Open your heart to God, and let Him show you what area in your life needs a makeover to receive more of your energy and time and hard work. You may be just the opposite of me. You may spend so much time with your kids' playtime that He wants you to focus on your home or chores or job more. Don't be afraid to ask Him what He wants for you. Just be ready to jump in and obey!!

Friday, December 14, 2012


I posted a while back about my struggle with depression. I was overwhelmed with how many people responded to that and "came to my rescue"! Thank you to all of you for your visits, prayers, encouragement, and gifts. It means more to me than you'll ever know.

I finally made it in to the doctor and told her all about what I've been dealing with. Since I'm pregnant . . . again (!) . . . she had to be very selective about the medicine she prescribed. The one she felt most comfortable with is Prozac. Now, my mom took this when I was in jr. high, and she doesn't really even remember that time of her life. She was very spaced out and walked around in a daze. My doctor told me that reaction is not typical, but since it was my mother, could be hereditary and was something she needed to know. However, she still wanted to try it out before prescribing something different.

I'll admit that I was scared to take it. I was scared of how I would react to it. It was a month before I got the prescription filled! I'm not a procrastinator (in school I always did projects or papers the day they were assigned instead of waiting until the due date just so I could get it out of the way!!), but I definitely put that off.

Anyway, I finally got it filled and started it right before Thanksgiving. I'll admit that the first 3 (or so) days were rough. For about 2 hours, every time I took it, I would get really spaced out. That scared me. However, after a couple of hours that feeling would wear off, and I'd be fine. Thankfully those episodes only lasted until my body got used to the medicine. I also learned to avoid this by taking it when I go to bed so that I'm sleeping through the time that would happen, instead of taking it at breakfast and having to deal with 3 kids while in a daze!

I'm not a big medicine taker. I take Tylenol for headaches the few times I get them, but I've never had to take anything on a regular basis. So, there are days I forget to take it. At first, that didn't affect me any. Now, I notice it if I miss a day. The whole day it feels like there is a dark cloud over everything. The days I remember to take it are awesome though.

I wasn't sure if it was really working though or if it was all in my head. I didn't know if other people could see a difference. Since I'm not really around other people very much, I didn't have anyone to ask. Well, I had another check-up with my doc for the pregnancy, and she asked me how I was doing emotionally. I told her I felt that it was really helping. I have to point out that prior to this visit I had only slept 3 hours, and I was sick (coughing for 2 weeks!) so I was not really myself. This was also only my third visit with this doctor. When I told her I felt the medicine was working, she told me that she could tell. She told me that I seemed like a different person.

All I have to say is that between the prayers and the medicine, God is really helping me! If you are someone who struggles with depression, don't be afraid of medicine. It's created to help. There is nothing shameful in admitting a need for help and taking medicine. I've only been taking this for a month, and I already feel better. I promise that this blog will not become all about depression and my journey with it, but because there are people praying for me, I will update once in a while. Thank you again for all your prayers and encouragement! You mean the world to me!!!