Friday, January 25, 2013

The Things I've Learned so Far

As many of you know, I recently began caring for three extra boys to help out family members. Here are some things I've learned in the last two weeks.

1. Vinegar. Who knew it could do so much! Dishes. Laundry. You name it. It's my new favorite cleaner.
2. Meals go much better if you can put ketchup on it.
3. Or syrup.
4. A person who is strong can pick up a giraffe.
5. Spiders don't like gummy bears.
6. I still know most third grade math.
7. But I've forgot some of my times tables.
8. I can make twenty-five paper airplanes in the course of two days.
9. When you tie yarn to a toy, it opens up a whole new world of fun.
10. It also makes you expert at untangling knots.
11. Rubbing yarn on the back of your neck will give you a yarn burn.
12. Diaper is a funny word. Believe me.
13. If a book is about Star Wars, cars, or a character named "Stinky Face." It'll be a hit.
14. My husband is really helpful. He can do dishes, scrub a stained cookie sheet until you can see your face in it, talk an eight-year-old into doing homework, do research on Iroquois Indians, make lunches, drop off kids at school, make four boys really hyper, and some how get them all settled back down for scripture study and prayers.
15. Nine pm is late.
16. Seven-thirty is sleeping in.
17. Sorry notes written with phonetic spelling by a five-year-old ALWAYS say exactly what the person receiving them wants.
18. Running around the house is good. As long as they're laughing, don't interfere.
19. Driving in fog is scary.
20. Automatic van doors are great inventions.
21. A credit card works as a window scraper.
22. Nothing is more exciting than getting to use a blue hand vacuum. It brings instant help.
23. Chocolate chip cookies still make everyone happy.
24. Start the day with a prayer and scripture study.
25. And finally, if all else fails, institute quiet time and pray again.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Upside-down: the Turning of My Life

I lost a baby last summer. I would have been due this month. This is the first time I've felt I should post about it. It's very personal to lose a baby. It's a long process of healing, up and down emotions, and questions. Talking about it exposes you to vulnerabilities and, quite honestly, after a while, you start to feel like keeping it to yourself is the best way.

But sometimes things happen for a reason. Sometimes God wants to you open your mouth, and in this case, I suppose, loosen my fingers and let the keyboard say what I need to.

I'm not going to say that I'm perfectly alright. I know I'm not. But the loss doesn't hurt hardly at all now, mainly because of the many miracles I've seen since it happened. God started writing across my life, the broad strokes of His presence undeniable and full of undiminished love and compassion.

The first week, His love came in the arms of my visiting teachers. Not only did they watch my son, but they showed up right when I needed them. They didn't ask questions, even though they knew something was wrong. They let me tell them when I was ready. Wrapped in their arms as I cried that day, I learned that one of my visiting teachers had also miscarried in the past. The details of her miscarriage were nearly identical to mine, even down to the type of miscarriage and the recovery process after. She not only understood, but she was able to talk to me about the technical parts that I was so scared of.

Could God's love get more personal than that?

His love has been poured out on me. It's been a literal drenching and the more I looked to Him, the more I saw how perfect His plan, how divine His purpose. Everything happened for a reason, I felt sure. I just needed to wait, and time would reveal all things.

At church, gentle sisters unknowingly placed precious babies in my arms. Four kind writing friends sat with me, listening to me talk for hours. My husband and I grew closer. My sister welcomed me to her home for a few days when I needed to get away. I was surrounded by nieces and nephews. A woman I have never met in person, but have grown to love, sent me beautiful, heartfelt words of comfort and hope through an inspired email. And just in case that wasn't enough, I've felt the divine presence of angels from the other side of the veil.

As January drew closer I wondered how I'd feel. Would it be hard? Would the pain resurface?

And here is the most beautiful twist in this story.

A phone call, two weeks ago.

That was it.

And today, I got four boys out of bed. Helped them dress. Fed them breakfast. Held them in my arms. Listened to them laugh. Drove them to school. From one boy to four, my life has changed over night. For six months I will live with and help care for these amazing children as I help out family members. I couldn't have seen this nine months ago. I couldn't have seen how my family, little as we are with just the three of us, could so perfectly fit into what another family needed.

As crazy as the next six months might be, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a blessing from the Lord. These boys are a gift to me and to my family. The love I feel for them and their parents multiplies each day. The scripture "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways." rolls through my mind as I think about where I am now. I can be a mother in many ways. I can be the Lord's hands wherever He sends me.

 "Its not the way I thought, or how I planned, but somehow it's enough." (From the song Save the Best for Last)

When I look, I find the Lord has been answering my prayers all along. His reassurances that He both knows and cares about me are in so many things. He promised "I will not leave you comfortless." And He never has.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Great Things to Come

I let December fly by. A torrent of busy days. A blink, maybe, of an eye. It bought unexpected news that changed the direction my family was about to go. And for a little while I felt lost. Like I stood in place squinting into darkness, unsure where or what to do next.

Wasn't there supposed to be an effectual door somewhere?

A hand?

A light?

Anything?

Yes. And it came.

It came in prayer. In the words of Prophets and scriptures. In the trust I saw in my husbands eyes, heard in his words. In the listening ears of family members, willing to be both upset and strong for us. It came in the laughter of extra children staying for a month, flooding the house with happiness, chaos and love. It came in the words of neighbors, arms open, ready to offer all they could, an arm to lean on, a smile, a story of their own trail of faith. In came with sweat understanding and gentle reasureance.

So we waited.

And a door opened.

Today I sit writing this with a pile of boxes around me. There is so much to do, so many things to pack and sort. We are moving and I don't have time to write, really I don't . . .

But I had to say this. God is still working in my life. He is giving me blessings and opportunities I'd never imagine for myself. He is answering my prayers in unexpected ways. I am looking down an new path, with new beginnings.

There are great things to come.