Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pregnant and blessed by the Lord

Behold children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They shall not be ashamed, When they speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

Does this mean that one should have as many arrows to fill their quiver as they possibly can? I heard it explained the other day that a warrior needs lots of arrows to fight a battle and living as Christians in this world definitely makes us warriors fighting a battle. But, I also heard it explained that if you have a quiver full of broken arrows then you are defeating your purpose. I do believe that the Lord is fully capable of opening and closing wombs as he pleases and we should seek him for everything in our lives but as far as I can tell the Bible isn't real clear on the subject one way or another.

When I was pregnant with my fifth child the doctor said I had things prolapsing so bad that it would make natural delivery complicated and things would probably get worse after the birth to the point that I would need surgery, preventing me from having any more children, within a few months after. I cried out to the Lord on the way home that day. I didn't feel that my family was complete but knew that I was soooooo blessed already and if God said I was done then He knew better then me and I was OK with that and at peace that it was His will and so thankful He was making it clear.

But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the Lord had closed her womb. 1 Samuel 1:5

This was this my easiest and most beautiful birth. At my six week check up I had to see a different doctor. She did the normal exam but said nothing about anything "Prolapsing". When I asked her about it she saw nothing of the sort. "Interesting" I thought.

We still weren't sure as to what the plan was but figured we had some time because I was nursing and didn't usually get pregnant while nursing. Well, it's official, nursing is not a form of birth control for me. Seventeen months later came Elijah. The whole pregnancy thing does not come easy for me. I have a stitch surgically put in my cervix to hold it closed. I battle pre-mature labor often, my babies are usually born at 37 weeks the within a day or so of the stitch coming out and the first few weeks are extremely emotional and overwhelming. Babies born at 37 weeks are considered full term but they would prefer to sleep rather then eat and then they lose weight which makes them sleepier which makes for milk reduction which makes for more weight loss and more sleepiness and the cycle goes on...and as many times as I've gone through it it doesn't get any easier, I am still an emotional wreck, and so overwhelmed I feel I can't survive it one more time.

Well, just as I was feeling like things were getting back to normal I went in for my check up. The baby was actually 8 weeks at this time. You guessed it. I was pregnant putting us at 7. Whoa. Gideon was born 10 months and 1 week after Elijah. Hannah was 2 years and 2 months with 2 baby brothers. So, my husband decided, time for a break. We need to catch up with what we have. Although I was just as overwhelmed as he was this was hard for me. I prayed that God would show me His perfect will for me and He did.

Titus 2:5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.

My husband is a wonderful provider and loves to spend time with his children. I can relate to the pressure of not feeling like there is enough of me to go around. The Lord began to change my heart as I submitted to my husband in this area. It made no sense to have a baby if I couldn't raise the baby to be a warrior for Christ because I was having another baby. So, some time has gone by and I could feel the Lord preparing my heart for another child. I thought, "Okay Lord, someday that sounds great. I'm finally starting to get a handle on the training around here. Just please prepare John's heart first." I knew I was still in His perfect will because John was content with his decision and I respected that. I've learned the hard way that God reveals things to him sometimes that He doesn't share with me or that my heart may be too tender to see. Well, you guessed it. Despite our best efforts to prevent it, I am pregnant. I do know that God has NEVER cursed anyone with a child. They are ALWAYS a blessing from the Lord. I know that it was His perfect will for my life and that there are no barriers too strong for Him (Not even rubber ones!).

In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? Psalm 56:11

Well, I would love to tell you that my husband jumped for joy and shouted it to the world. This would be the perfect reaction to ease my worries. This would mean that he didn't care about the van that had broken down the day before, or the extra hours he was putting in at work, or the pressures he was already feeling as the head of our household. I would love to tell you that I was completely understanding to his situation and that I didn't take it personal but we are the farthest thing from perfect and trusting the Lord with all of our being is hard. Our flesh gets in the way and we view things from our perspective rather then with God's eyes and eternity. I've gone back and forth from praying for my husband and trying to be understanding (which brings me peace) and becoming self focused and angry (which gives me the opposite of peace). I asked the Lord three time why He did it this way and He clearly responded, "My ways are not your ways".

Since the announcement, my husband has come up with names for a boy or a girl. A couple of days ago he came up to me with our precious little Gideon (now 13 months) and said, "He wasn't in the plan and look at this smile". I sure do love this man and God sure does have a plan for us. Neither of us feel worthy of this high calling, but who are we to question the Lord? My husband doesn't realized it but he is the perfect man for the job. I have survived motherhood so far because of him. We would appreciate your prayers, and an infant seat and some maternity clothes if you have those laying around. I gave mine away.

Here is another link of a post by a woman I admire that has decided with her husband to put it completely in God's hands. She puts it beautifully.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Counter Productive

"Make all negative behavior counter productive". What does this mean? I've read it a hundred times but I don't know if I was fully getting it until recently. Nathan (My almost 11 year old) says "It's like football, they've been on the offensive and us on the defense and they are about to make a touchdown. Our little ones out number the big people in the house right now. Up until recently it felt like they were beginning to take over. After, many nights crying out to God, reading my bible daily, and devouring anything on biblical child training I could get my hands on I think I'm finally getting it. I've always firmly believed in spanking my children for rebellion and foolishness. I always attempt to explain to them why they are being disciplined and give them lots of hugs and affirmation when we're done. That's counter productive for them right? I thought so, but why is it not stopping them from having the same undesirable behavior again and again. So, we've kicked it up a notch. I think we used to be really good at this but lost our way amongst the chaos.

The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. Proverbs 29:15

So, now we ask ourselves. What is my child trying to achieve by acting this way and then, in addition to the spanking we give them the opposite. Examples below but first...

Enter, Hannah.

Calling this precious, 20 lb, 3 year old a handful would be an understatement. Besides having an energy level unlike anything I've ever seen before, she has a physical strength that exceeds her physical appearance by far. Add 2 baby brothers to her first 2 years and 2 months of life and an overwhelmed mommy, you have one hard to manage child. I've potty trained her 3 times. It took almost 2 years to train her to stay in a bed (The rest of the kids less then a week). I could go on but you get the point. Don't get me wrong. I love this little girl with all of my being. She is the sweetest little thing and the greatest big sister. She gives the best hugs and has the sweetest smile on her face 95% of the day...

Sunday (Mother's Day): We went to the park after dinner as a family and had a great time. It began to get a little chilly so as my husband finished up an intense game of tag (I love this man), I took the little ones to the car. Hannah proceeds to throw herself on the parking lot ground in protest of leaving the park before "She" was finished. I spanked her to no avail. So, I picked her up and placed her in her car seat. It took all of my physical strength to buckle this child in her seat. Normally this would throw me into despair crying all the way home to my husband. Not this time. (My husband is great at encouraging me in these times and the best teammate to have but I'm convinced that my new found energy for my family is a result of filling up on God's precious word consistently. Read Psalm 119). But, I also had a trick play she wasn't aware of. Her hopes in throwing a fit was to stay at the park or at least make us miserable for not granting her wish. Not only did I give her no emotion whatsoever for her little display but I calmly said, "Okay Hannah, you are not going to play next time we come to the park". She paused for a moment and then decided that wasn't so bad cause when would we really go to the park again and Mom will forget by then anyway. And so she continued. All the way home.

Monday (The next day): After dinner I tell everyone to get their shoes on we're going to the park. Shouts of joy from everyone! We get there and I pull out the stroller, explain to Hannah that she won't be playing because she refused to get in her car seat the day before and strapped her in. I parked her next to the playground and we all had a good time.
This was not enjoyable for me but because I love her I cannot allow these fits to continue. I know many adults, who live their lives exercising they're self will, constantly self indulging with no thought to consequences on them or those they love. And as a woman who, in my flesh can throw a great big fit when I don't get my way knows, this is not something she will grow out of on her own. I want her to learn to yield her will to do mighty things for God someday. So, as we are leaving the park I say, "Okay Hannah, get right in your seat so you can play next time". She excitedly agrees and gets right in the car but, noticing something on the floor does not get in her seat. So, I say again (which I shouldn't have done because I'm trying to mean what I say and say what I mean), "Hannah, get in you seat or you are going to lose play time next time too". I put the stroller in the trunk and come back to her climbing all over the van. "Okay, you lost your play time next time too." Fit #2 begins. Which proves that she's starting to believe me but still undesirable behavior. Same scenario as the day before. I physically put her in her seat.
Tuesday: Back to the park. Pull the stroller out. We all play in the freezing cold while she watches. Time to leave, I say, "Okay, do you want to play next time?". She nods, gets out of the stroller and climbs into her seat and buckles herself! I didn't even know she could do that! I excitedly affirm her good behavior.
Wednesday: Back to the park. Nice weather. Friends come. We have dinner. Hannah plays and plays. Time to leave and she gets right in her seat!!!

This was victory enough for me but I have not had one problem with her getting in her car seat since! Everywhere we go and every time we leave to come home she happily gets right in! Not only am I a happier Mommy in these situations but she's happy too! Some of you might be saying, "That's a lot of work". Yes, but she already was a lot of work but now it's a lot less work to go somewhere.