Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Inadequacy

In March, Red Beard and I will be taking a birthing class to prepare for our son's arrival in a little over 2 months. For some reason, in the last several days, the timeline of events has hit me like a ton of bricks:

I feel so UN-prepared and IN-adequate for what lies ahead!! 

The thoughts that have crept into my mind include, but are not limited to:

  • We still need a baby dresser. 
  • We still have to find (and afford) a vehicle that all three of us can fit in.
  • I'm not good mother material.
  • How am I going to organize all our stuff in a 1 bedroom apartment?
  • I don't want to add to my kid's issues because of my own set of issues.
  • Can I really do this?

I like being prepared and organized. I like having the answers to my questions, the solutions to my problems. And right now, there are so many aspects of this "having a kid" thing that are un-answered, un-solved, un-prepared, and un-organized.

This morning, however, I found great comfort in God's Word. 

First, I read from Proverbs 24 (since today is the 24th):
"Through wisdom is a house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches." -Proverbs 24:3-4
Then, God, in His wisdom, reminded me of another passage:
"Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep." -Psalms 127:1-2
Yes, we have needs and inadequacies. But if we could do it all on our own, why would we need God? Our needs, our inadequacies should point us to the strength and wisdom of our LORD. He has to be the one to do it, or else our homes will be built on vanity; they would be built on sand and not on the Solid Rock (cf. Matthew 7:24-27).

Do I have any idea how everything is going to get done before the baby arrives or how it will all be paid or provided for? Nope.

Do I have the answers to every parenting problem that will come about? Nope.

And you know what? That's okay. Yes, I can and will be searching God's Word for answers and will (hopefully) be remembering to pray for God's guidance. But I don't have to have all the answers right now.

Red Beard and I need to take this situation one day at a time, one step at a time, relying on God's wisdom to build our home.

What are you building your home on? Your own inadequacy or on the Lord? ~Mrs. D.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Snowed Under?

Like nearly every other region of the U.S., we have not been immune from the giant snow storms dumping 10+ inches on the ground. And, yes, there's more white stuff in our forecast!

One of the advantages to living in an upper-level apartment is the bird's eye view we get of all the goings on below. Red Beard and I were enjoying the winter landscape out of our front room window the other morning, when one of the tenants who lives somewhere below us came out to clean off her car.

She proceeded to clean the windows and hood of the vehicle, then the roof--meaning she had to re-clean the windows and hood again.

A few moments later, another tenant, of roughly the same age (and yes, gender), used the exact same process to clean her car--windows, hood, roof, windows, hood.

Obviously, both of these tenants were young and had likely never removed snow and ice from their vehicles before. For, in order to avoid re-cleaning anything, veteran car cleaners know to clear off the roof, then the windows and hood.

A simple life lesson, of course. But one that can also illustrate a principle in our spiritual lives.

Very often, we treat the sin in our lives the way these young ladies treated the snow covering their cars. We try to clean the windows first. We are most concerned with what we or what others see empirically (physically, with the eyes).

For example, we notice we are gaining weight because we are eating too much food. (Yes, gluttony is a sin. Check out Proverbs 23:1-2.) So what do we do? We join Weight Watchers, research "diet" plans, join a gym, buy into the latest Christian diet trend or gimmick, etc.

I'm not saying each of those things is wholly bad, but very rarely do we deal with the actual sin problem in our hearts... the fact that we are either
(a) facing an addiction problem, or, more likely,
(b) running to food for comfort instead of running to the Great Comforter himself.
We often make food a god. I've talked about my own struggle with this.

Until we deal with our sin at the mind level (i.e. in our thoughts) and in our hearts, we will never be able to fully rid ourselves of it. It will be like the snow on the roof of the car... it will eventually re-cover the windows. Our lives will eventually show others the truth that's in our hearts.

For the overweight example, the truth in that person's heart is that he or she has made food into an idol.

The Bible talks about the sin of the mind in Matthew 5:27-28 and 1 John 3:15. Furthermore, Romans 8:1-17 is an excellent read along this same line. (In fact, that whole chapter is great. You should make some time to read it today.)

The great news for anyone who has the Holy Spirit dwelling within them is that he or she can conquer sin through the power of Christ:
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (v. 15)
We don't have to be in bondage to sin if we are born again into Christ's family. We can run to Him and say, "Father, forgive me; please help me to think the right thoughts, Your thoughts, so I don't continue living in my flesh."

One of the best ways to make sure we are thinking God's thoughts is to read God's Word daily. Every issue of life is covered in His Word. If we will humble ourselves and just read it, the answer is right there.

I pray that you and I will remember to deal with our sins at the mind level and not remain snowed under those sins. ~Mrs. D.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Pregnancy "Encouragement" I Could Do Without

Red Beard and I are both pretty worn out by everything that's been going on. This week, I'm entering the last week of the 2nd Trimester--can you believe it? I can't!

I got a free Huggies diaper and wipes in the mail the other day, from an offer on Hip2Save.com, and I couldn't get over how tiny the diaper was!

Btw the footstool belongs to a glider that my MIL bought for us. It's more green than yellow, even if the green isn't really showing up in this photo. Red Beard and I picked it out on Amazon. I love it!
Little Man really will be here before long. My wardrobe is constantly shrinking because my stomach is constantly growing. I'm working hard to make sure that's the only part of me that's growing, too. Not easy!

Some days I am just plain exhausted trying to keep up with everything. Normal tasks, plus baby registries, people hounding me about having a baby shower (which I don't want, but that's another long story), making sure we have enough storage in our 1 bedroom apartment for baby stuff,  doctor appointments, modifying clothes so I can still wear them, etc. etc.

You know how it goes. It's exciting, but there is a lot that has to get done.

And lately, I've been even more tired out by people's commentary about parenthood. It usually comes in conversational form like this:
To me: "How is mommy feeling?"
Me: "Pretty tired today. But good overall."
To me: {chuckle} "Better get used to being tired! You're going to be tired to rest of your life!"
I hear it constantly. And it drives me absolutely bonkers.

This is hardly encouraging to a new mother. Why can't I just answer you honestly about how I'm feeling without this "joke"/"encouragement"? Instead, I feel forced to tell you "I'm fine" even if I'm not so I don't have to hear your comments. And maybe I'm tired because I had a busy weekend. Or maybe I'm tired because I didn't get much sleep.

Truly, though, there are many statements, like the "get used to being tired" comment (proceeded/ followed by a condescending chuckle), that I could do without hearing for the rest of my life.
Other Examples:
"Say good-bye to showers."
"Say good-bye to movie theaters."
"Say good-bye to dates."
"Say good-bye to privacy."
"Say good-bye to freedom."
Part of me wants to ask these people why on earth they became parents if they weren't willing to give up on or compromise on some of these things.
  • Is it that difficult to take a shower in the evening when your husband is home and can watch the baby?
  • Is going to the movie theater really that big of a priority? Get a life! 
  • Is it really a giant inconvenience to have to take your child with you to a restaraunt, especially when he or she is still in a car-seat and will probably sleep through it?
  • Is freedom really that important to you that you have to make your kid sound like (or feel like) a ball and chain?

One thing I truly appreciate about my mom is the fact that she never made us feel like we were keeping her from something. She made ridiculous sacrifices (sometimes probably more than necessary), but she did not guilt us about that ever. She never got together with other moms to complain about how hard it was to raise kids.

We always knew we were wanted. She did not make us feel like a burden.

I have no doubt that it will be a major adjustment once Little Man is finally here, especially the first few weeks. But even more so, I have no doubt that it will be completely worth every minute. I can't wait to take Little Man to the beach this summer, camping this fall, watch him discover the world, watch what God's going to do with his precious little life, etc.

The part about these comments that aggravates me the most is that they come primarily from Christians. Wouldn't it be better to say something like this to a new expectant mother...

"Some days will be really difficult, but remember to ask for God's help and guidance. Let Him carry you through the difficult days."

Do we not believe that God's power can and will get us through hard times (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)? Children are a precious, precious gift from God (Psalms 127:3, John 16:21), not a ball and chain.

In moments like this, I think about families like the Duggars. If any parents had "reason" to complain about children being a burden, it's the Duggars. 19 kids is a lot. But you know what is absent in their books and shows? A complaining spirit. And that speaks volumes about what God can carry us through.

A Few Take-Away Points: 

  • Think before you speak. If you're given to complaining or griping or, well, not encouraging someone, keep it to yourself. 
  • If you have a complaining spirit, pray about it because that is not a Christ-honoring mind-set. 
  • If you feel compelled to complain in order to have camaraderie with someone, don't hang around that person (or group). 
  • Pray for the complainers around you (yes, that's the step I need to take).

I'm not the girl who wants to get together with friends to gripe about my husband and kid. I'd rather sit at home with my husband and kid and enjoy them, in spite of difficult days.

Ladies (and gents), it's time we started truly encouraging each other instead of using each other as sounding boards for our complaints. We need to take our burdens to the place they actually belong... the foot of the cross.

Until next time, Mrs. D.