Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Blessing Others

Newly pregnant with my girls, I experienced pervasive morning sickness for about ten weeks (not much actual vomiting, but a 24-hour-a-day nausea with no appetite). I became more and more depressed and nauseous as my little boys expended their normal energy and I couldn't keep up. Or slow them down. 

The condition is aggravated by stress so the more they ran around, the worse I felt.

Each of my pregnancies affected my husband's work life; he had to modify his hours to help me, both in the beginning, and at the end when the blood pressure problems arrived.

He cried at the ultrasounds and at the births, and when he held our new babies, but every time I announced a new pregnancy, his countenance fell.

Oh, no. Not that stress again.

We didn't have enough support, partially because so many women work nowadays...even older women.

As I reclined on my couch, my stomach teasing me, I pleaded with God to make my boys slow down and watch PBS. We had cable at that time but I don't remember it helping.

I remember vowing to God...If I ever know someone going through this, I will not turn away or be too busy to help. I will be your grace. Your love with skin on.

The pastor of the AWANA church has a pregnant wife and an active, exceptionally adorable 4-year-old boy named Haddon. I've had him in AWANA Cubbies for verse time all this year. I couldn't love him any more than I do...but I'm sure I will. 

If I'd married younger and my husband agreed, I would have had ten children at least. I love a large brood.

Anyhow, what I mean to say is...I offered my help to this couple and they've accepted, though I don't know how often yet. Pastor said last night that he'd give us a couple days notice and not just call on a whim, saying he was bringing Haddon over.

But last night I thought a lot about hospitality. Opening my home to help means it needs to be open anytime (except on physical therapy day). Hospitality isn't letting someone worry about giving 48-hour notice.

I'm trying to get myself on a stricter schedule so I'm ready at any time. Haddon will fit right in with my kids, especially since we all think he's the most wonderful little boy. Everything he says tickles us silly and we find even his stuttering problem very endearing.

God has spoken again to me about organization. Blessing others--being Jesus with skin on--is far easier when we run our own lives efficiently. The more time I take for my interests, like blogging or reading, the less time I can give to others. The more activities I get my children involved with, the same is true--the less time we have to bless others and the less my children grow up valuing service.

The Lord puts together opportunities for my children; I don't have to chase them. The piano just landed in our laps and Paul plays beautifully learning from quality books on his own.

Our friend Dean from California does woodworking, for example, and Peter has developed an interest in building his own birdhouses. No class required! Dean loves to help others and he needs the company and the home-cooked meals, as much as Peter needs the training with tools.

Now back to the Holy Spirit's voice on order to give God his due time, I have to compartmentalize and prioritize better.

I don't want to offer up just my prayer and Bible reading time, but also time to bless others, especially when it flows naturally from my care of my own children. My four benefit from our Saturday Children's Bible Study too, so I'm not taking away from my own as I bless other children. The same will be true when Haddon spends time with us.

The Lord pours into us vertically so we can use our overflowing hearts to bless others. His love isn't meant to be hidden in our hearts, but to be exposed and expressed outwardly. 

We never help anyone in our own strength. He equips us.

The most important lesson I had to learn--coming from a broken Catholic tradition and finally learning about a personal relationship with Jesus--is that I wasn't supposed to try and be a good girl all on my own, frustrating my heart and spiraling into defeat.

Yes, God asks us to be Holy. But that holiness flows through Him into Grace.

Giving thanks today...

Thank you, Father...

...that Beth's arthritis is finally responding to the methotrexate and her therapy schedule may be reduced soon. Yippee! My girl is running around like a champ!

...that Lexie walked back into our lives yesterday, with hugs all around. Peter's OCD drives him crazy around girls because he now feels, at age 11, a physical attraction. The OCD voice tells him he's sinning because of this attraction, so Lexie had to chase him around the couch to give him a hug. He finally consented because I said it's okay to hug someone you haven't seen in a long while. He's a handsome, kind boy and more than one girl pays attention chases him, much to his despair. See book below, which we plan on reading.

Yes, a big prayer request...that the OCD will go away for good. I'm all for keeping contact to a minimum and pushing courtship rather than dating, but I don't want Peter feeling this awful, distorted OCD angst. Martin Luther, father of the Reformation, felt this same OCD religious distortion and praise God, it saved us from the wrong direction the Church was going. God used Luther's suffering for His glory.

Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys: 7 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son [and 7 Questions to Ask Your Daughter]  -     
        By: Dennis Rainey
With tween girls entering puberty, what defense does your young son have against their brazen pursuit? Give him the courage and knowledge to protect his purity. Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys, offers seven guided conversations, what-if scenarios, and honest responses to difficult questions that will help your child set boundaries. Also includes questions to ask your daughter. Synopsis from Christian (purchase here)

Lexie's grandfather and her mother still have not reconciled (she's not moving back in with her grandparents), but she will be able to spend some nights with them, even coming to our Saturday Children's Bible Study some of the time.

She quickly made herself at home, helping me whip up chocolate chip cookie bars for the hungry AWANA Cubbies, then thoroughly licking the bowl.

...for a warm husband to hug on winter nights.

...for sweet AWANA Cubbies to delight me on Wednesday nights.

...for blessed hugs from my children.

...for brand-new coats from Goodwill for my girls, tags still on. It's been a nightmare year, keeping these kids in coats. I'll spare you the seam-ripping details.

What are you thankful for today?


Tesha said...

Oh that books looks really good! I know my boys have expediences unwanted advances also. It is so sweet of you to offer to help, I often wish I had more help and hope to someday be able to give another busy mamma help.

Vicki said...

Hi Christine! I wanted to come over here and comment so you would see it. :)

Thank you so much for your comment on my post about my son. I can't tell you how it blesses me to know that you are praying for us. You are God's love to me.

Thank you also for the encouragement about writing a book. It was funny, but after I wrote that post I was thinking about writing again. He is helping me overcome my fear of man. I know that He can and will use all of our mistakes and sorrow for good and I want to be part of that!

I am keeping you and your family in my prayers as well!

Blessings and love!