Thursday, January 24, 2008

God even speaks through the poo

Life with a crazy awesome kid is always say the least. I had always wondered what God would teach me through her. I've asked God frequently to help me to learn from her. Maybe that wasn't the best idea...
You see, the other night, Hannah pooped, reached into her diaper and smeared it everywhere. (because that's the only logical thing to do, right?) It was unbelievably disgusting. I walked in to see poop smeared all over the front of her hot pink PJ's, but that was the least of my worries. Hannah decided to be inspired by all of her friends at the spa: she gave her hair poop highlights and she basically looked as though she had tried to give herself a manicure and pedicure in poop as well. She was screaming and crying and waving her poopy hands around in the air... like she just don't care... The smell alone was enough to encourage my dinner to start to make a return appearance from my stomach. It was the most obscenely disgusting scene I had ever beheld. And it was MY daughter somewhere in that poopy mess.
But like I said, she was terrified and she longed for me to hold her and tell her that she would be okay. I'm not gonna lie, I thought for at least 3 seconds about trying to find some other way to comfort her. I did not want to be covered in poop myself. But when I saw that scared, "Mommy, I am having some serious trouble here" look in her eyes, every thought went out the window (if only the smell had as well) and I pulled my daughter into my arms as poop continued to overtake our bodies. I couldn't just stand there. This little poop covered girl is the love of my life. She owns my heart. I love her more than almost anything else. And when she was hurting, I couldn't care what it meant for me. I had to help her. I had to let her know that I would go through the poop with her.
She cried for a few minutes while I just held her and tried to sing her a song to quiet her down. And though it was a terribly intricate and painful process, Ted and I slowly cleaned off every portion of poop and ran her through the shower and went to every possible disinfecting technique we could come up with. She cried. I don't know if it hurt her or scared her or she was just so overcome with the emotion that consumes you when you find yourself covered in poo, but she wailed throughout our thorough cleaning process. But we couldn't stop... We couldn't just leave her like that. We couldn't just clean her up part of the way. And though she cried and cried, we slowly and surely cleaned her up, disinfected her, her room and we rocked her back to sleep. I learned a lot that day. It was pretty amazing. I realized a piece of who I am and who God is. I realized a lot of what Jesus went through for me and a lot of what my healing process has looked like. So there ya go, lessons from the crib.

Disclaimer: I do not recommend or wish that any of you ever has to go through that. Just let God speak to you through our ordeal...

Side note: Hannah is with me right now as I'm about to post this - and she just started to poop. Timing in life is full of hilarity.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

You gotta be kidding me?!?

I think I fell more in love with my family today. I don’t completely know why…it’s probably because I prayed that I would or maybe I just finally stopped and saw them for who they always have been. But today I see the distinct amazing-ness that is living with them. Specifically, I noticed today how magnificent my daughter truly is. It’s not that I didn’t notice before, but today, I saw even more. I saw what a miracle she is. I saw the beauty that is her and the love that she displays all the time. I watched her have true love and compassion for a handicapped kid. I saw her eyes beaming with love for me. My heart realized what I oftentimes pass over during the day – how wonderful and precious every second is that I get to spend with her. I spent a little time working out today and I couldn’t stop thinking about how I was the luckiest mom in the world to have a daughter that is so precious, a daughter that is so expressive with her dark brown little eyes, a daughter who is wildly obsessed with all things Elmo, a daughter who begs to sing the little sing, “Our God is So Big, So Strong and So Mighty, there’s nothing our God cannot do, for you,” a daughter who is fascinated by snow and could say the word, “snowman” over and over again for hours, a daughter who thinks brushing her teeth is an adventure and would do it 24/7 if I let her. Every moment with her is the most incredible gift. When I get her in the mornings, I am overwhelmed by the adorable-ness of the little one in that bed…she is unbelievable. And I don’t understand it, but for some reason, God gave me the privilege of all those hugs and giggles and smiles and “Hi, Mommy’s” and moments where she laughs so hard that she falls over. How He decided I should get to enjoy that everyday, I’ll never know. But I am so grateful.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Unreal happenings in midwestern suburbia

So like I said before...I have an amazing little girl. And I always prayed that there would be a special song that God would give me to sing to her throughout life that would calm her down and be a source of comfort...a song that oozed love and that "everything will be okay" feel no matter what was going on. It just so happens, her song is an old hymn entitled, "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus." For months, I have wondered what God might have been saying about her life. I've wondered what this song might mean for her... What is her life going to look like? What hard times will she face? How will this song impact her life? You see, this song is about trusting Jesus at His word. It's about a completely other way of life - it's about trusting when everything within you wants to live in a padded room where bouncing off the walls because of the difficult nature of your circumstances is acceptable. It's about laying aside questioning and trying to figure it all out and just resting in the fact that God WILL take care of you. And for months now I've prayed that this will be the kind of life she'll live...the kind of life that will define our family.
Too bad God decided to take me up on that prayer. (ah - the joys of life with God)
These past few months have been difficult to say the least. We've struggled to make ends meet because the cost of living up here is so high and let's just say ministry doesn't always pay the big bucks. A couple of months ago, we hit bottom financially. Long story short, Ted's car died in a cemetery (I'll explain all this another time), Hannah had taken it upon herself to get so sick that she eliminated any hope she ever had of a college fund, and we were faced with a lot of pretty papers called bills on our kitchen table that demanded we give money and no funds in the bank to pay them.
We prayed. Or something like that. We joked. We joked about how it seemed like the people who were running after money and all that stuff were smarter than us who were trying to follow God. We prayed asking God to help us, but really wondering if He could...or if He would. We tried to believe He would take care of us, but that pretty pile of bills seemed insurmountable.
My husband went to what he calls his "old man Bible study" three days later. (The guys in the Bible study are not that old...) Afterwards, one of the guys pulled him aside and told him that he had received a bonus at work. He explained that he felt like God wanted him to share part of it with us. At that point, he pulled out his checkbook and handed Ted a check for $2000.
We couldn't believe it. This meant we could actually pay our bills. We were blown away by his generosity - I mean, this guy has two kids in college and yet, he gave us this money. God came through for us when it seemed impossible.
Too bad God wasn't done answering my prayer.
This past month, we had to refinance our mortgage. Again, even though we've been budgeting pretty wisely, we didn't know how we would be able to afford the new payment. I mean - we try to save and yet with our paychecks we have nothing left over at the end of every month. That said, we found ourselves in the same predicament again. How on earth could we still live in this area? How could we afford to live here?
And then we got a phone call. A guy from our church said he had something for us he wanted to drop by. He came over and handed us a thick envelope. He said he was told to deliver this to us. When we opened it we found $2000 in cash inside the envelope. Ted fell down on his knees. I'm pretty sure neither of us had every seen that much cash in our entire lives. And again, we had enough to go ahead and refinance and be able to keep our townhouse, even though this time, we didn't even know who had helped us.
You'd think that we were set now, right? Yeah...not so much.
Our daughter has had chronic ear infections. For the past three months she has been sick and has been in a ton of pain. And now she has to have surgery. And because of the joys of insurance and a new year we are going to have to pay for her surgery out of our own pockets. (Ministry insurance isn't always the best either) Couple this with the fact that Ted's car died AGAIN and not only do we need to pay for it to be fixed...we also technically, need another car. (Which we've been praying for months about) And again, we're sitting here wondering how we can make it.
Well, last night, I started to sing Hannah's hymn and I nearly burst into tears. I realized, especially in light of the past few months, it really is sweet to trust in Jesus - even though it's hard. But then I got to the chorus - "How I've proved Him o'er and o'er" and something amazing happened - for the first time in her little life - Hannah started singing along. Granted, she wasn't exactly wordalicious with the whole deal, but she started singing beautifully and happily as only a little 2 year old can. And I realize that this is our family's song. And somehow God has communicated to my daughter that our family will be brought through all of this. That we will sing His praises forever - because it really is so sweet to trust in Jesus...just to take Him at His word, just to rest upon His promise and to know thus saith the Lord...Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him, how I've proved Him o'er and o'er...Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus...O for grace to trust Him more.
And so far, He's giving us that grace...

Thanks for listening/reading...

Yeah...this is awkward

This all started as a desire to write (and hopefully remember for once) all that is going on in our lives. I guess I should start with the facts. I'm ADD. I swear that it is a gift from God, but sometimes it also runs my life. It took me seven years to graduate from college and three of those years were spent trying to finish one last class that my college decided was mandatory for my acceptance into graduate-hood. (But here's a little secret - I still haven't turned in all the paperwork, so though I am graduated in spirit and I enjoy the deep feeling of liberation - they technically still own my soul...)
I have an amazing husband that somehow puts up with me. We've had a wild ride to say the least. I'll share more stories in days or weeks to come (depending on how well I do at keeping this up) but, it's been worth it. We met in a youth ministry class in college and when I first met him I swore I would never date him...and then I married him even though he broke his foot severely two days before our wedding. (yeah, that's a good story as well)
And then, surprise, surprise, God gave us a beautiful little girl about two years into our marriage. I never thought I would be a mom and if I were one, I thought I would be horrible at it. But, I have a rockstar of a daughter and though I may not be the greatest mom in the world, she's still surviving. And though it may be due to the limited vocabulary that confines a two-year old...she hasn't complained as of yet.
So there...that's me. Well, wait, it's not. There's more. I guess the biggest part of me is that I am engaged in this amazing dance of following Jesus. I'm sure I'll talk more about it later, but I'm doing my best and praying like crazy to follow Jesus with everything that I have and to do the whole loving my neighbor thing and God with all that I have. And that will probably define a lot of my posts. And with that, my husband and I work with youth in a crazy area outside Chicago. Our days, nights and everything else are spent showing God's love to kids that have often gone through a little bit of everything. And there is nothing we'd rather do...EVER. The fact that we get to hear the stories of these kids and that we get to see God change their lives is the most fantastic gift we could ever have. So...there. I'll do my best to start writing the deep and the real and the brokenness and the funny stories of our lives in days to come. Thanks for even reading...