Most of you know this- but just clued in a few haven’t yet heard…
Ok so, yesterday I decided to leave the post off with only the starting point for the spiritual. Bottom line is that no matter my circumstances, what I chose to do with my life, or whether I have any sort of “spark”– if I’m not living with complete trust in God’s love for me, then it ain’t much of a life! That is going to be a huge focus for me this year… praying for my heart to be awakened, revived, and to rekindle a radical and ruthless trust that I am unconditionally loved by God.
I also read this blog post the other day and it was stuff I know, but was very freeing to be reminded of…
No one else words things just so like Edie does for me.
“Guess what? God sees your everyday, menial tasks as sacred work. You are His hands and feet at work in the world. That meal you cooked yesterday? It was for Jesus. Those ten diapers you changed? As unto the Lord. And someday, you’ll stand in heaven and say, Lord, when did I make cheeseburger soup for you? And he’ll say WHEN YOU DID IT FOR THE LEAST OF THESE. You are without a doubt, right smack dab in the middle of God’s will when you are doing all the things you do everyday to serve the people around you.
You don’t have to join a big movement. You don’t have to be part of the in crowd. You don’t have to have a big important job that everybody notices. Because the God of the universe has been pleased to use your good works to serve your neighbour.”
Read more at http://www.lifeingraceblog.com/2014/01/how-to-find-gods-will-for-your-life/#lRYh1hD7bx6ObJ2B.99
So there is relief in that. This lovely, hard working man and 2.5 rascals kicking around the place ARE my calling. I don’t need to stress about having some grand important job that everyone recognizes as valid and wonderful because the God of the universe is pleased to use my good works to serve my neighbour. There is a RIGHTNESS for me about being a stay at home, homeschooling wife and mom.
Lyle wasn’t all wrong either. He encouraged me to think about a part time job, or planning exciting weekend white water rafting or something with my husband. To find opportunities to explore the part of me that longs for adventure, change, excitement and grown ups. And you know, God did create me with that side.
Some ideas that cropped up were possibly new hobbies? And filling time with things you enjoy is a good change and addition to the daily grind. But I’m not entirely sure that is the answer I am looking for. I’ve never really met a hobby yet that just makes my heart sing.
Maybe that part time job he mentioned? But that’s a bit tricky too with working around Jon’s schedule and the kids, I think in the end it would add way more stress and hassle than the joy it provided me.
So far the closest I feel like I’ve come to an actual idea is maybe a course? A correspondence writing course maybe? Or some kind of lessons- horseback riding when I’m not pregnant anymore? Or??? I don’t even know. I’m not particularly coordinated, so I can’t dance, play music, etc. But some growing in some kind of creative expression seems like a good way to wake myself up. I really believe heaven will be full of exploring and creating, and there is something precious in that desire to create and experience that He placed in all of us. I’m interested in ordering the book A Million Little Ways because I think it may expand some of these thoughts in a helpful way. I loved Emily’s writing in Grace for the Good Girl. But at some point I will have to get off my duff and do, not just read about it.
I have a feeling this next year with a new baby will be in some ways a waker-upper too. The adrenaline of living half in survival mode- half in bliss of new creation mode… it will be a change. It’s a temporary “fix”, so I’m not going to rely on popping out babies to keep me distracted, lol, but I will recognize it for the gift it will be.
I’m also hoping that even just having my eyes more opened to the giving up thing will help me make decisions that aren’t giving up decisions. Know what I mean? A little effort, a lot of prayer, eyes opened to look for ways to add some zest back to life.
So anyway. I hope I don’t paint too drab a picture. At this point I feel quite hopeful. A problem recognized is like half solved, right? I don’t know if I’ll ever really be living as an “off-road”er, but I do think there is a little room in my life for some spark.
So towards the end of last year I had profiling done on myself through the Flippen Group. I’ll just post a direct quote from my report to explain it’s purpose:
“Congratulations! You have taken part in a powerful process to gain self-awareness and map out a plan for growth. The Flippen Profile provides you with a unique fingerprint of how you view yourself and how you are perceived by others. This report is intended to provide you with a foundation for your personal growth. The data, descriptions and interpretations all provide insight on where you are and help point you to actions for further improvement.”
So you complete a survey and then have 6 friends/co-workers complete the survey about you as well, they compile the data and send you a report and you also receive a phone call to explain the report and discuss it’s results. You receive the phone call before the report (probably to soften the blow, lol), and to be honest I was left feeling quite confused after my call. It was not at all what I expected, and it took me several days/weeks to fully process both the call and the report. In the end, I think I’ve found it quite enlightening and motivating? Guess time will tell.
Lyle Wells, the Flippen man, challenged me during our phone call to consider whether I was doing the right things in life, he could sense in my report a stress between who I am, how I am living/feeling, and how others view me. He commented something to the effect of, “don’t live in a box others have designed for you”. He was surprised when I told him I have very low stress levels because that is not what the reports show. I was confused by all this after the call, because I had been expecting to hear something like, “hey, so you’re pretty critical”, or “kind of lazy and unmotivated”, or… I don’t even know what I expected. I didn’t expect to be told I was an “off road vehicle living a minivan life”. lol
Jon and I discussed this at length, and I admit to feeling frustrated because I truly believe that while I may not be living the ultimate FUN life, or living out all my wildest dreams, I do feel like fundamentally I am doing the RIGHT things. I wanted kids more than I wanted to travel for example, and having kids means life changes and is more restrictive in some ways- but still full of joy and great things. I homeschool because I think it’s best for my kids, even though homeschooling is actually not my happy place. Sometimes I feel guilty admitting that, because I am so blessed to have the opportunity to homeschool and a husband that 100% supports me, but the truth is that it’s just not my favourite. But then, isn’t that just life? Sometimes we sacrifice what would be good and fun for what is best, right? Doesn’t mean the best has to be miserable, because as Christians we know joy isn’t dependant on circumstances, and also I’m not crazy enough to suggest that homeschooling my kids is torture either. It’s just a job, like everyone has in their lives. Somedays it’s ok, somedays it sucks, regardless it needs doing.
So what does Lyle want me to do about that?! Flout my responsibilities and go in search of adventure in the great wide somewhere?! (yes of course my Disney princess personality has always been Belle!)
But… for all that there is something to what Lyle was saying. After reading my report carefully I believe what he interpreted as massive stress was actually a deep deep discontent. He said he saw it in both Jon and I (he had it done as well), that for all our differences Jon and I are cut from the same cloth and not “opposites attract” as I had thought. Jon and I have restless spirits. We have both always seen it as a spiritual struggle, which, while I still believe it is deeply rooted in the spiritual, I am also beginning to see that we could possibly work on it in other ways as well.
The most eye opening part of the report was at the end where I was provided with my top 3 personal constraints. It’s not fun to bare all, but I’m going to share them anyway. My 3 were low-dominance (need to lead or be in control), low self-confidence (overall belief in yourself and your abilities), and low need for achievement (internal drive and intensity), and when I say low, I mean LOW. Bottom of the charts low. Immediately upon reading those I saw in black and white what I have felt for a long time but didn’t have the right words to explain. I have given up and checked out. Somewhere over the last couple of years I’ve lost something… I don’t know… a spark? I’ve felt it across all areas of my life. I don’t want to try at anything, be involved in much of anything, be bothered by anything. My walk with the Lord has drifted and limped along, I know He forgives me, but I’m sick of myself and my failures and I don’t want to face them (as relationship with God causes us to do). My blogging has dropped off because I feel like I have nothing to say, nothing to add, and don’t want to share any scrap I do have. Hy heart has grown critical and shallow and empty. My default is to retreat into books or media and just hunker down and get through. For those that have been there, you know as I have learned- that you can live without really living at all. I still do stuff and have good days and whatnot, but there is just this underlying flatness to it all.
“Sooner or later we are confronted with the painful truth of our inadequacy and insufficiency. Our security is shattered and our bootstraps are cut. Once the fervour has passed, weakness and infidelity appear. We discover our inability to add even a single inch to our spiritual stature. There begins a long winter of discontent that eventually flowers into gloom, pessimism, and a subtle despair-subtle because it goes unrecognized, unnoticed, and therefore unchallenged. It takes the form of boredom, drudgery. We are overcome by the ordinariness of life, by daily duties done over and over again. We secretly admit that the call of Jesus is too demanding, that surrender to the Spirit is beyond our reach. We start acting like everyone else. Life takes on a joyless, empty quality. We begin to resemble the leading character in Eugene O’Neill’s play The Great God Brown: “Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and grace and song and laughter? Why am I afraid to live, I who love life and the beauty of flesh and the living colours of the eartha nd sky and sea? Why am I afraid to love, I who love love?”
Something is radically wrong.”
It feels sort of like… depression? But that’s tricky to say because my life is full of really awesome things. My blessings are pouring out my eyeballs. I don’t have real worries or circumstances to get a girl down. I’ve been provided for and loved and have people to love and serve and my health and oh my word- what on EARTH could I be depressed about?! I know that depression doesn’t work like that, but I still don’t feel like the word fits exactly, so I’m not going to use it. Now that I’ve defined the problem, what I need to do is find out where the spark has gone and chase it down.
Certainly it is first and foremost spiritual. I’ve talked many times about what a legalist heart I have. It’s killing my relationship with the Lord because I’m constantly holding sins against me that He doesn’t even see anymore! I reject His grace. In a book that I think it just about the greatest after the Bible, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning wrote: “Unfaithfulness is a refusal to become, a rejection of grace (grace that is inactive is an illusion), and the refusal to be oneself… The disparity between our ideal self and our real self, the grim specter of past infidelities, the awareness that I am not living what I believe, the relentless pressure of conformity, and the nostalgia for lost innocence reinforces a nagging sense of existential guilt: I have failed. This is the cross we never expected and the one we find hardest to bear.”
Oh that’s me. Rejecting grace and refusing to even be myself.
I had some ideas I was going to expand on, and perhaps I will another day. But not an hour ago I read this:
“Do you live each day in the blessed assurance that you have been saved by the unique grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? After falling flat on your face, are you still firmly convinced that the fundamental structure of reality is not works but grace? Are you moody and melancholy because you are still striving for the perfection that comes from your own efforts and not from faith in Jesus Christ? Are you shocked and horrified when you fail? Are you really aware that you don’t have to change, grow, or be good to be loved?
Do you possess that touch of folly to transcend doubt, fear, and self-hatred and accept that you are accepted?
If not, you probably belong to the brotherhood of the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt out. You may feel like a charred log in a fireplace, totally drained of energy, and unable to light a fire in yourself. Your personal inner resources appear to be exhausted.”
(oh my word. God is uncanny in His timing.)
“The first step toward rejuvenation begins with accepting where you are and exposing your poverty, frailty, and emptiness to the love that is everything. Don’t try to feel anything, think anything, or do anything. With all the goodwill in the world you cannot make anything happen. Don’t force prayer. Simply relax in the presence of the God you half believe in and ask for a touch of folly.
The Indian poet Tagore puts it this way:
No, it is not yours to open buds into blossoms.
Shake the bud, strike it; it is beyond your power to make it blossom.
Your touch soils it, you tear its petals to pieces and strew them in the dust.
But no colours appear, and no perfume.
Ah! It is not for you to open the bud into blossom.
He who can open the bud does it so simply.
He gives it a glance, and the life-sap stirs through it’s veins.
At his breath the flower spreads its wings and flutters in the wind.
Colours flush out life heart-longings, the perfume betrays a sweet secret.
He who can open the bud does it so simply.”
(All quotes in this post are by Brennan Manning)
But look, I am going to seduce her and lead her into the desert and speak to her heart. There I shall give her back her vineyards, and make the Vale of Anchor a gateway of hope. There she will respond as when she was young, as on the day when she came up from Egypt.
Isaiah 49:1, 15-16
Yahweh called me when I was in the womb, before my birth he had pronounced my name… Can a woman forget her baby born at the breast, feel no pity for the child she has borne? Even if these were to forget, I shall not forget you. Look, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands, your ramparts are every before me.
After saying this, what can we add? If God is for us, who can be against us? Since he did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for the sake of all of us, then can we not expect that with him he will freely give us all his gifts?
I put my kids to bed 5 minutes ago and now there is almost total silence in the house. That like NEVER happens around here, so I’m going to roll with it and actually try to blog tonight.
I hit 19 weeks today! 1 more week and I am HALF WAY! I don’t know why, but I’ve been very anxious this time around to achieve that milestone. Maybe then I’ll believe I’m really pregnant and not just in a never-ending state of mild nausea and belly bloat. (actually, I’m currently feeling quite well. On just 2 diclectin a day most days and only randomly barfy now.)
On monday we have our long awaited ultrasound! Can’t war to get a glimpse of this little one and make sure all is developing well in there. The kicks are getting stronger all the time and my belly is in the exploding growth phase. I went from bloat to actual bump in the last 2 weeks or so and it’s getting bigger daily now!
We also will hopefully find out the gender of this little one. We are planning to have my midwife write it down and seal it in a christmas card for us, so we can all open it on christmas day and get our surprise in that way. Usually Jon is the one dying to know, but this time I think it’s more me. I thought girl for a long time and then for the last month I’ve been totally on the fence. I have no clue what I’m having and I’ve honestly never not known. My instincts with the other 2 were right on and I wasn’t surprised at the ultrasound reveals. But I’m more than ready to start to know this little person, and prepare my heart for who is joining our family. We are split 50/50 now for gender, so this baby will either make us a more girl or more boy household!
We’ll try to get the reveal on video and if we can I will share it here!
Otherwise the days are just slipping by…. all my Christmas shopping is done, but no baking yet. We are going super light on Christmas decorating and activities this year. So next week I’ll try to bake with the kids and then we can mostly relax and enjoy a quiet holiday season. I don’t feel like it’s really Christmas this year, but hopefully when it arrives it will bring the cheer with it! I do love a couple days of concentrated family time, and watching the kids open stockings and gifts is my favourite. If by some wild chance I got Jon’s present right this year (he’s hard to buy for, which is a serious understatement), then I will feel like it was a successful season even if it didn’t feel super festive to me in the surrounding weeks.
I chopped all Juno’s hair off the other day, pretty much up to her shoulders. It was kind of traumatizing to be honest. I love her long wild curls. But the comb does not. Even with only combing when wet and using all kids of tricks and detanglers and wide tooth combs it just killlls her. It would tangle so badly and it was so thick and long that both of us would end up crying or yelling by the time we were finished. Every time. I hated inflicting pain, she hated being in pain. So at some point I realized that my vanity would need to be laid aside and the hair would have to go. Hopefully as she gets older we can grow it out again and she will be able to take care of it more herself, and it won’t get as tangled when she’s not a wild and wiggly 5 year old as well. In the meantime, it’s cute, but she looks older and it’s not as curly and looks darker. The change is hard for me to take, though she seems totally happy with it- thank goodness! I still believe little girls should have long hair, but I’m also learning to eliminate all unnecessary stressors for her and I. Less pain, happier girl, no hair battles, those things really are more valuable than waist length blond ringlets… right? RIGHT?! ack. Still debatable!
Ummm… can’t think what else has been happening at the moment. My mind is officially blank. Time to zone out with a little tv!
Will hopefully be back soon with a positive ultrasound sound experience and then gender news!
haha, that translates to 15 1/2 weeks pregnant, 16th week depending on how you count it. I just love the fruit comparisons.
Well, after all the whiney posts I finally had 3 good days in a row last week! I accidentally fell asleep the one night without taking my meds and when I woke up the next morning I didn’t get immediately sick and had enough appetite to eat breakfast, so I decided to roll with it and skip the rest of my meds, just to test things out. The week before I tried going from 8 pills to 6 one day and was very sick the next morning, but I had noticed my appetite increasing over the weekend and my food aversions lessening. (meaning I made dinner without barfing and even ate a little of it too!)
Anyway, despite some nausea, I didn’t get sick at all that day. So I tried it the next day, didn’t get sick, and then the next day… by day 3 I couldn’t stop smiling and nearly shouting from the rooftops how good I felt. I made food, tidied things, took my kids skating, they completed school work, good times. My head was so much clearer, I had more energy, I was hungry and actually wanting to eat at the same time- miracles! My midwife was amazed that I could stop the diclectin cold turkey like that and warned me I might need to start again, but I was feeling pretty determined to stay off.
At the midwife’s office on friday I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I haven’t had any actual proof this little one is alive, and by this stage had felt both my other 2 kids kicking and moving, but not this one. When the doppler picked up the heartbeat I just started bawling. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty, and it’s not really my style- but I guess I was secretly more worried than I had even realized. I’ve just been so sick, and with not much growth or movement and no ultrasounds or heartbeat heard, I guess I believed the worst.
My midwife thinks I have an anterior placenta (my other 2 were posterior), which is why I haven’t felt movement the same way. She told me where to concentrate on, and sure enough- friday night laying in bed I felt the first for sure kicks! I actually think I’ve felt some rolling and bumps before, but passed them off as digestion because of the location. My first 2 the kicks were felt towards the outside/front of my belly, now they are on the inside/back. I’m so thankful to now be able to feel this!! It makes everything seem so much more real. Praise God this little lamb is alive!!
I noticed that night (friday) I had a brand new head cold and a headache. Woke up on day 4 with the barfs and feeling worser than worse. Stomach flu. Saddest thing is that it took me until 2pm that day to realize it was the flu and not just a return of my HG. Felt pretty similar to be honest. Anyway… by sunday afternoon I still hadn’t gotten any food and not enough fluids down, so I pulled out the bottle and reluctantly took some diclectin. I lost 7 pounds in 2 days, and am back to dehydrated, really struggling to get more fluids in today. Up to 6 diclectin per 24 hours and hoping that after I’m rehydrated I will be able to wean off again. I felt quite hungry this morning, so I am hopeful.
Anyway, that is probably a waaaaay more detailed diary of my inner workings than anyone needed, lol. But I don’t have much else happening in my life, my world is the bed and the couch these days. Fingers crossed that will change soon! The good news is that baby is alive and kicking! And I booked my 18-20 week ultrasound for before Christmas, so hopefully we will get some happy news of WHAT we are having as an early Christmas gift this year!!
My dad sent this to me… super cool!
Well, here I am mid14th week! Still barfing and aching and popping pills. Hopeful that there will be an end in sight, though I’m not counting on it for a few more weeks at least. The not vomiting as much as with Juno comment from the last post was very short lived. I’ve definitely exceeded the sickness I felt in that pregnancy by leaps and bounds. It’s qualified now as Hyperemesis Gravidarum. If you are wondering how that differs from plain old morning sickness, there is a chart here that explains it in a basic way.
I don’t have it nearly as extreme as some women do, and thankfully thus far have avoided a trip to the hospital to be re-hydrated (though there have been times that probably should have happened). I got to about 7% loss of body weight, and with 8 diclectin a day I am able to eat enough that I believe I have now stopped losing weight. That was my hardest symptom, an inability to eat/drink. Most of my vomiting has been bile or dry heaving from not being able to eat and drink and being super duper starving all the time. Still sick, and the midwife has offered to refer me to an OB if I want to try another med… but I think I’m coping and not getting worse with what I have, so I’m thankful to not have to make use of that option.
Fatigue and weakness from pregnancy, medication, and lack of nutrition have been my other major woes, and some depression if I’m really honest. It feels like life has somewhat halted for the last 8 weeks that I’ve been sick, we limp along here at home in a perpetual mess and take out food.
I have been getting little bursts of energy recently since being able to eat more, and that has been so welcome! It’s wonderful on the days when I can tidy or bake, and I even went on a fun Ikea trip with my sister and mom this week. I got a number of decor items for the nursery and I can’t wait to see it come together. Will be very simple, and different than how I decorated for the last 2. Looking forward to showing it off eventually!
Tonight we are headed out for the Santa Claus Parade with the kids and their cousins, first one in years that Jon has been home for (usually in Nepal this time of year!) and we are excited.
I have another midwife appointment in a week and I am very much looking forward to it. I haven’t had any ultrasounds and the midwife couldn’t find the heartbeat during my last appointment, so hopefully this time there will be actual evidence this little person exists!! My belly is just now starting to show up too, which is nice reassurance as well. Will also get to book my ultrasound, when hopefully we will discover the gender. Would really love it if we can book before Christmas, knowing this little person better would be the best gift of all for me.
So that’s the best update I can come up with at the moment. Not the joyous pregnancy I had hoped for, but I know it will all be worth it and when it’s over I’ll certainly be more appreciative of just plain feeling WELL!
So my last baby post was quite whiny, perhaps sounded ungrateful too. I did totally indulge in a big whine fest, but I truly am not ungrateful for the gift of being pregnant. Just feeling disheartened facing the reality of what that means for me. I know this will just be for a season, and it really is worth all the agony in the end- but in the meantime it’s leaving me feeling like the biggest failure of a momma and wife. The last few days I’ve been practically bed ridden, I seem to have a few decent hours midmorning and so we have mostly kept up on our school work, but by the time lunch hits my stomach is hurting so bad there is nothing I can do but rest, and then I tend to go downhill for the rest of the day.
I finally called the midwives again on friday, after waiting a month to hear back about who they could schedule me with, and the earliest they could get me in is October 9th. So I’ll be calling my family doctor on monday and hopefully she can hook me up with a prescription for diclectin. I really really really wanted to avoid taking anything this time, but I also have a family that needs me and a life that must go on. I’m not sure if it will help, as this time I’m not vomiting as much, just battling severe nausea and stomach pains. Having such a hard time eating or drinking anything, though I really won’t complain about dropping a few pounds. Only time in my life that eating isn’t my fav past time!
Hard to imagine that a child the size of a blueberry (A BLUEBERRY!!!) can wreak this much havoc, but my guess is that it’s a girl. My current experience with a Sodeman girl has taught me if there is a dramatic way to go about something- that is the way that will be chosen.
The kids both say they want a boy, but if I’m honest I’m sort of partial to the idea of another roly-poly, blue eyed girlie. Though it does make my heart sing to know my daughter adores her big brother so much she wants another.
(5 weeks ago)
Sitting here mid-morning, sipping ginger ale, hiding from my kids, and schoolwork, and well, all movement. I’m soooooooo sick. And yes, prepare yourself for a good whine. I do want to be pregnant. I did remember being pregnant with Juno and the soul crushing nausea that could come with baby news. But for reals, there is just no way to remember feeling this awful. This ALLLL the time awful. This awful ALLLL the time. Get the picture? Ever felt incredibly carsick, on the verge of being actually sick, that feeling like if you just moved your eyeballs too quick you’d lose everything immediately? That’s me- 24/7. I had to run out of church twice on sunday because I thought I might splatter the front row. Once right before communion and I have a feeling the people serving thought potentially judgy things about my current sin condition. oops.
I promised myself this time I would eat healthy and not take diclectin and I don’t know, float through this whole experience with smiles and no complaints. I was going to be the picture of pregnant bliss this time around. Well, I’m a picture of pregnant something… greasy, unwashed, (can only eat fast food and ginger ale) sickly me, sitting surrounded by piles of laundry waiting to be sorted, amidst a messy house with children who have watched too much tv… and that’s just after a week of being really sick. So much for that pregnancy glow!
end whine. (if you are lucky…)
When I took a test again this time I was sure. I woke up at 5 in the morning and in the quiet I read the results and confirmed my knowing. Baby makes 5.
When I discovered 3 months into our marriage I was expecting our first (sadly ended in miscarriage), I was terrified. I wasn’t ready, I was the sole income earner in our family at the time, and oh gee… we JUST got married and were still getting to know each other!
When I discovered I was expecting Justus, it was the month before we planned to start trying, I fell to the floor and wept in a total state of wonder. I had struggled after the miscarriage and through the years we decided to wait before trying again, and now God had given me this precious gift, a teensy early, which saved me from the drama of trying. I knew in my heart right away it was a boy, and was giddy with thankfulness for him.
When I discovered I was expecting Juno… hmmm. I don’t know if I even remember what I thought. I had just gone back to work, Justus wasn’t coping well with daycare and my in-laws were visiting for a month. We wanted another so they would be close together and so I didn’t have to have my baby in daycare for too long before I could get off work again. I felt very very sick pretty well right from the start, and so I was pretty sure it must be a girl this time. I know I was thankful and excited, everything was going just according to our dreams.
This time… the best way to describe my emotions is that I feel deeply satisfied, joyful, and incredibly calm. We longed and prayed and waited and prayed and made doctors appointments, went through surgery, waited some more… and now… thank you Lord for this new little life.
After I read the results I went back and laid in bed, just dreaming and planning and feeling thankful.
Then I got to wake Jon up and tell him his swimmers swam.