Tag Archives: family

Strength in Weakness

My family has been going through a very difficult time during the last couple of weeks. Though the current heartache is a burden my whole family bears, the cause of it is not my secret to share with you, so I won’t go into details.

When my husband broke the news to me my first words were, “I”m going to be strong.” Because I’m not. I fall apart in these situations. And I was strong, for days. And I took pride in this strength, though like a good Christian girl I told my husband, “God is giving me lots of strength”.

As it turns out, I am not strong, though God does continue to carry me. The wear and tear of trying to be “strong” has left me overwhelmed and depressed. My form of being strong was hitting the situation head on whilst emotionally avoiding the reality. Now that the most emergent phase of the situation has passed I am less busy and have more time to feel. After all, you can only go on pretending that a situation doesn’t break your heart for so long before you have to face reality and let the tears flow. Sometimes a period of depression is suited to the situation.

I obviously don’t like feeling so low, and I know it is hard on my husband. I don’t feel hope for the future though I know, by God’s grace, it exists. I don’t feel strong anymore, like I did before, but I know I am still being strengthened. Maybe the most real act of strength is letting God carry you in weakness.

I’m going to let myself be sad now in the knowledge that this feeling won’t last forever. There is always hope. For me, and for my family.

 

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I See You

I’m busy. I recently heard a host on CBC radio quoting a study that stated that if you don’t call yourself “busy” then you won’t be. I’m not sure that I agree. I’m busy, and I say this with the full understanding that my busyness is of my own making. Perhaps a life with two children is chronically busy for any person but no one forces me to add to that classes, sewing, blogging and of late, re-painting my house.

I’m not complaining. I have a good, good life and it is a blessing to be able to say that any stress I experience in life is usually self imposed by my chosen activities. To an extent, I thrive on this busyness. I love seeing the results of my hard work and the beauty that I am able to create and it somehow leaves me more aware of the beauty of God as the Creator.

However, in all this busyness, this thriving, stressing, and enjoying, I can sometimes lose sight of my children. Not to say that they aren’t clean, well fed, well loved little individuals, but I start to feel like they are getting in the way of what I rather be doing. Sometimes I am working so hard to get things done that I can spend a whole day not really seeing them. It is easy for me to feel like their needs are another thing that I just “need to get done”.

What is it for me to “see”my children? For me, it is to not just pass over them and live through my day with them hanging off my side but rather take time to look at who they are as little individuals. When I take the time to fully surrender my attention to them I am awed. Sofia has become her own little person: vivacious, zany, fiery, loving, insatiable in her thirst for entertainment and knowledge. Charlie is on his way to becoming a little man himself: goofy, coy, affectionate, sweet, with an insatiable thirst for well…breastmilk.

They are so precious and though I struggle at times to take a break and give them my full attention, when I do, what I see is my greatest joy. Charlie, Sofia, know that your busy mama sees you, values you, and loves you to bits and pieces.

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About Time

This past weekend I had the rare opportunity to pretty up and go out to a movie with a couple of other moms (no kids!). I came into this evening in a seriously grumpy mood. Over the past week my son had been teething with a vengeance and my daughter had been acting very…well…twoish. Added to this was the frequent absence of my hubby as he enjoyed some amateur radio classes. I was feeling exhausted and acting less than loving and patient towards my family.

Thankfully, this movie night was refreshing in more ways than one. While adult conversation was desperately needed (my husband said by Friday night I was flinching at the sound of my daughter’s voice), I think that the underlying message of the movie was equally necessary for me. If you didn’t figure it out from the title of this post, the movie I saw was “About Time” and as they say: I laughed, I cried, it moved me.

I won’t go into the premise of the movie (I swear, it is much better than its description), but rather focus on the end message which is approximately this: take the time to enjoy each moment as it happens. Enjoy the subtle nuances of life. Look for the beauty in small, simple, everyday moments.

Had I been living life like this over the past, rather challenging, week with my children? Ummm…no. Maybe it would not have felt like such a shit show (excuse my language!) if I had. Like all good lessons I’m sure this one will eventually fade into the abyss of my mind but in the present I am trying to take to heart this kind of attitude: to let my heart swim with joy at the beaming smiles my son sends me between teething fits; to relish the light in my daughter’s eyes as we share a joke (even if it is about “stinky toots”); to store in my mind the looks of commiseration my husband and I pass over our children’s behavior, so that I can think back and laugh; to memorize the feel of his arm pressed against mine when we finally fall into bed, two tired heaps.

These are the everyday little moments that make my life beautiful.  If I choose to ignore their beauty I am basically choosing to give my emotions over to the shifting moods of my children. It is my reaction to their moods and behaviors which dictates the tone of our day. They are children, they have not developed full (if any) emotional regulation yet. It is my job to guide them through these fits and starts with patience and love. How will I find patience and love within myself when I am worn thin by their whining? A.) I will pray. B.) I will look for the simple, profound, moments of beauty which they bring to my life, even on the bad days. C.) I will let myself fill up with a thankfulness which spills out in the form of loving patience.

I can’t go back in time and change the times when I have been impatient and unloving towards my family, and lets be honest, that would get complicated. However, I can strive to love them better in the future by appreciating all the everyday beauty they bring into my life.

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Better than Expected

I’ve always been a planner. At fifteen I already had a ten year plan for my life. I had decided to become a missionary in the jungle and that I would go to school to become a nurse in order to have a practical skill to offer. I would not get married until my late twenties and I might have kids then.

I went on multiple missions trips to Mexico to build houses and to help in an orphanage and spent a month in Botswana, Africa with an organization called Teen Mania. I did a year at Bible College then I trained as a nurse at UBC, just as planned.

I snubbed the advances of a young man named Stephen whom I met in my first year of University because he didn’t fit into the plan. I told him that after I graduated I would be doing something to change the world like working for the Peace Corps or living in the jungle.

Going into my third year of University I started dating that same man. Half way through my fourth year I married him. At the tender age of twenty-two I became a wife but this change did not alter my ambitions, I had simply decided that I would bring Steve with me and he tried to be open to the idea.

I am now twenty-seven and certainly not living in the jungle. I have a husband, two cats, two beautiful children, and a mortgage. This was not my plan. I had held on so dearly to those plans and I have spent the last three years since I was pregnant with my first fighting with guilt over this fact. I felt ashamed that I wasn’t doing something more “noble” with my life.

I told everyone my plans. My great ambition to change the world for good. To heal the sick and bring the good new about Jesus’ forgiveness and grace to the far corners of the earth. I felt that all who knew me and knew my ambitions would think I was a cop-out. I felt like I was somehow living a lesser life than I had planned, that my simple day-to-day mom at home existence was less important.

I see things differently now. The guilt has lifted and I can clearly see that I am where I am for a reason. God has a purpose for me right here in Vancouver. It may be simple but it is one of the most important jobs in the world: being a wife, mother, daughter, sister.

Life has not been easy. My family has experienced many challenges in the past few years and they have climaxed in the past few months. I know that I am here for such a time as this. My family needs me and I need them. We are close and have grown closer through the challenges and joys of the past few years. My place is among them so that we can walk along together through these struggles.

Not only have I been here to walk along the rough road but to share times of great joy. Over the past four years my family has welcomed six beautiful children into our fold and we eagerly await a seventh (FYI, not mine). It has given me immeasurable joy to get to know my nephews and niece and to share the experience of raising children with my sister and brother.

And then there are Sofia and Charlie. Being a mom is so hard but what more important job could there be? To teach these little individuals how to live life, how to love, how to play, how to create. This is my missions field. My work is here with my family.

I am where I am. It is hard. It is beautiful. It is better than expected.

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