Sunday, July 17, 2016

Absolutes

Absolutes . . . There are a lot of those in adoption. They are thrown around frequently among families, agencies, counselors . . . 

Your child will . . .

  • always deal with the trauma of her past.
  • never fully heal.
  • always struggle with relationships, attachment, life in general.
  • not be able to control her behaviors due to her past.
Love is not enough. 

These things can't be changed. 

They are all absolutes. Except, I don't believe in absolutes. I've been thinking about this for quite a while. I've wanted to post for almost as long, but I know this will not be a popular post. It won't be one that all or even many agree with. But see, these absolutes don't just contradict my beliefs. They contradict the One in which I believe. They contradict His Word.

I've heard it all. I've read it all. I've feared it all. I'm pretty sure of it. I'm an avid researcher. It's both my friend and my nemesis. But when I go back to the Word of God all of the absolutes don't match up. I do not believe that God intends for any of us to live as a slave to our past whether it be abuse, neglect, abandonment, rejection, or even our own actions. I believe if His Word says it we can do it, it is true, and we can live out our lives according to His scriptures. Everyone. All of us. Period. No one is beyond this or unsaveable. No one.

Before going further I want to clarify a couple things: (1) I believe "ALL scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16) Having said that, there are times when a verse will resonate with me in a way that stands out, and I know God is speaking through that particular verse. (2) I don't believe in one "life verse" per person, and that's it. And if you don't have one? Well you're in trouble. Not even close, but in Anna's case I felt pressed to seek out a verse pertaining to both her situation and her past. And God has been faithful to give me not only one verse relating to her but many. 

So about a month before we picked up Anna I began praying for God to give me a scripture for her. I prayed and prayed. There were many middle of the night prayers. And I honestly expected a flowery, pretty scripture for my little girl. A beautiful, poetic Psalm full of inspiration and beauty. I never, in a million, years expected the scripture that came to me early one morning as I stumbled bleary eyed into the bathroom to wash my face. But I knew as soon as it came that it was for our Anna girl, our fighter, our little warrior. 

" 'No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,' Says the Lord." Isaiah 54:17

"No weapon" . . . "No weapon" . . . "No Weapon" . . . I take that as a promise from God . . . my God, my Jesus, the Holy Spirit . . . my Father, my Healer, my Deliverer, my Savior, my Counselor, my Comforter, my Provider, my Friend . . . "No Weapon" . . . not malnourishment, not abandonment, not rejection, not abuse, not substance abuse, nothing done or not done before she was born during pregnancy, nothing done or not done during her life in the orphanage . . . "No Weapon"!

With this scripture came other scriptures. Some in the days leading up to pick up. Some in the days, weeks, and months since coming home.

"For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them." Psalm 139:13-16

And He led them forth by the right way, That they might go to a city for a dwelling place. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness. Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, Bound in affliction and irons— Because they rebelled against the words of God, And despised the counsel of the Most High, Therefore He brought down their heart with labor; They fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, And broke their chains in pieces. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He has broken the gates of bronze, And cut the bars of iron in two. Fools, because of their transgression, And because of their iniquities, were afflicted. Their soul abhorred all manner of food, And they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions." Psalm 107:7-20

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He as bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him. And by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

These scriptures you just read . . . these are my absolutes. No book, no study, no research, none of it takes precedence over these. 



Earlier, one of the absolutes I posted was "love is not enough", and to an extent that is true. My love, my husband's love, human love . . . it's never enough. Not for any of us. But the love of God is far greater, far stronger, and unfailing in every way. It is enough. For all of us.






Friday, July 8, 2016

A Balancing Act

So it's not really a secret that I'm a clean freak. I like my house clean. I dislike clutter, and I function best in a clean, somewhat organized home. I use the word "somewhat" because I have kids, and kids are messy. So yes, my house is clean but often has toys scattered end to end.

When I was working, I had a fabulous lady who came every two weeks to clean my house. I cleaned every other week. It helped me keep things balanced when I was busy and didn't have much time at home. But once I stopped working having a cleaning lady seemed like an uneccesary expense. Now that I'm a full time stay at home mom and housewife, I feel like I have two big responsibilities: (1) to keep our home running well and efficiently, and (2) to spend time with my kids and help them learn but not learn to be entertained.

So I've had a few people ask me how I balance it. And here it is. I live and die by my calendar (I'm learning to be more flexible), and I schedule in pretty much everything from cleaning to exercise. I look at what we have going on in the week ahead and work out our schedule accordingly. We are not a go, go, go family, and we spend a lot of time at home. Some of that has to do with my kids' ages, but I'll be the first to admit that I intentionally avoid doing too much because I think it's unhealthy (physically, emotionally, and financially). So below is my loose weekly schedule for housework and cleaning. We try to get outside for at least an hour everyday, and the kids usually end up in the wading pool. I try to get up and get dressed before the kids and get things going while they're still asleep. I take advantage of naptime to get a lot done as well.

Everyday:
Naptime - clean up kitchen; put away laundry; sweep; swiffer if needed; ironing; prep dinner if needed; any and all daily maintenance stuff.
4-5 times/week - cook dinner. After dinner I clean the kitchen again, and Patrick takes care of baths. If Patrick isn't going to be home, I will usually feed the kids leftovers to avoid too much clean up.  We usually eat out once/week. Sometimes twice.

Monday:
Wash sheets and kids towels. I always wash the sheets the day before I change the sheets because I'm lazy and hate folding them.

Tuesday:
Strip beds and put on clean sheets; wash clothes; fold clothes.

Tues. or Wed.:
Bathe dogs and wash their bedding. Anna is fascinated by the dogs getting baths, and I sometimes bathe them outside while the kids play in the little pool.

Wed. or Thurs.;
Grocery shopping - we all hate it, but we also like to eat. I try to do it early so we can play outside before lunch.
Wash and fold more clothes.

Thurs. or Friday:
Clean house - pick up everything, vacuum, mop, dust, scrub bathrooms, wipe down blinds and baseboards ... I try to do this weekly with the thought that it might not get done next week. This is the biggest, most time consuming, and demanding job of the week. The other stuff can usually happen during naptime or after bedtime, but I cannot clean the whole house while Anna is asleep.
Wash and fold more clothes (I'm forever doing laundry).

Saturday and Sunday:
Wash our towels, kitchen towels, beach towels, etc. Try to do as little as possible. We usually try to squeeze in yard work and some fun stuff on the weekends.

Fun and entertainment: we try to go outside every unscheduled morning (usually at least 4 days/week), and we try to do it early because it's HOT! Of course, we always have appts. to work around. I try to run/workout 2-3 evenings a week, and Patrick will do baths and get Anna to bed. This is for my sanity, and the safety of my family (that's a joke ... so chill). When we have stuff going on, we adjust the schedule accordingly.

Come fall, Andrew will start soccer again, and I'm sure we'll tweek the schedule. And it'll continue to be tweeked as my kids get older and have more and different activities, but for today this is how we roll.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Worry

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


If you could get a PhD in worrying, I would have one. For as long as I can remember anxiety and worry have been my ongoing companions. And we live in a world that only feeds this. A world that tells us we cannot help being scared and anxious. We lived in a world plagued by fear and anxiety, and for years, I've fought it. I have worried myself sick over things big and small since I was a little girl. If I wasn't worrying, I almost felt lost. I was afraid that somehow not worrying would lead to something catastrophic happening. Bringing Anna home has only amplified those fears for me. Am I doing this right? Is she attaching well? Are we doing enough therapy? Too much therapy? Should we cocoon longer? And on and on ...

The other night I was reading my bible, and you know, the bible tells us repeatedly not to worry, not to be afraid, not to be anxious. So why are so many Christians slaves to fear and anxiety? Suddenly, something clicked. I don't have to worry. I don't have to be anxious. I firmly believe that there is nothing God tells us to do in His word that we cannot do without His help.

So I can trust Him for guidance. I can trust Him to take care of my family. I can love my children and lead them and guide them by His grace and mercy. But most importantly, I can seek Him and lay it all at His feet and not worry.

Almost sounds too simple. Almost ...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Getting Back On Track

Last night I stepped on the scale and woah!

I honestly thought it had to be broken.

It wasn't.

It isn't.

Since January I've gained between 8-10 lbs. Now I know. Not a huge amount, but when you're 4'11" it is. I could make a lot of excuses, but bottom line, I like ice cream and chips and snack foods. I drank two sodas this past week. I typically go months without a soda. In the past six months I've allowed myself to consume way too much junk. I've allowed myself to slack on my workouts. I've been lazy. And yes, there has been the stress of adding a spirited toddler to our home. Yes, my days are busy, but there's really no excuse.

I need to be healthy ... mentally, physically, and emotionally. And what I put in my body affects that. So this morning I got up and made a veggie frittata. I am determined to be more intentional about what goes in my body. No I'm not dieting. I'm not low carbing it. I'm not even giving up ice cream. But ice cream everyday is a bit excessive. I've always been a healthy eater who indulged in an occasional treat. But lately it's been all treats with an occasional healthy food thrown in. So I'm putting this out there because when other people know what I'm doing, it definitely puts a little good pressure on me.

Here's to being healthier!




Sunday, June 12, 2016

35

As much as I'd love to deny it, I've now hit my mid-30s. Once upon a time, I thought 35 was old, but as is so common, the older you get the less you like to see yourself as "old".

Patrick's birthday is six days after mine so we usually celebrate them together. Last night, for the first time since November, we went out to dinner without the kids. My sister and brother-in-law watched them for a few hours. I'll admit, that I was nervous, but Anna did really well. She's comfortable with my sister, and they kept her entertained. But she was definitely glad to see us when we picked her up. Andrew, on the other hand, was disappointed we weren't gone longer.

We rounded out the weekend with burgers at my parents'. Watching Anna play and giggle and run around, I was reminded how far she's come from the terrified little girl we brought home. Everyday, things get more and more normal. Yes, there are still challenges, but we have definitely settled into a place of normalcy as a family of four. And I'm coming to terms with being 35.