3.29.2013

Baby Update #5


Not exactly a Good Friday post, but I better do this before I forget. If you know me well, you know that if I get behind on anything then I just assume quit. So I need not get behind on these updates.

How far along: Will be 26 weeks this coming week, measuring right at 24 weeks.

Baby Bump: You better believe it. And that bump has spread to my rear end and thighs. Weird, because I thought a baby grew in my belly? :)

Maternity Clothes: Absolutely.

Total Weight Gain: +10 lbs.

Cravings: a bowl full of Cascadian Farms dark chocolate almond granola with milk and Liberte Mediterannee srawberry or blueberry yogurt (yes, I'm that specific); water water and more water

Food that nearly makes me vomit when I think about it: All meat except chicken.

Symptoms: Indigestion and as a result of that + my growing uterus I have awful pains in my left rib cage

Sleep: I get up to pee about 5 times a night, that pain in my left side that gets worse when I lay on my left side along with not being able to sleep on my belly or back means I can only sleep on my right side...how do you think my sleep is right now?

Movement: Yes! Usually a guarantee about 10:30 pm and 4:30 am and multiple times throughout the day. Ninja Baby!

Gender: It's a boy! Scott is his name.

Belly button in or out: In

What I miss: Not getting exhausted after doing something so simple: like emptying the dishwasher

Best Moment: Painting little man's room!

Biggest Challenge: See "What I Miss" section

Skunks, Dying, and NO Sugar Coating

Lily frequently asks us to tell her about different things.

"Tell me about skunks."
Skunks live in the woods. That's where they should stay. If they see you in the woods, they will get scared and spray you with smelly stuff. If they come out of the woods and cross the road, a car will hit them. The spray stuff plus being dead creates a horrid smell that stings your nose hairs for miles and miles. 

"Tell me about cars."
This is where I name every stinkin' make and model of cars/trucks/vans I can think of. And then she asks for more and I have to resort to makes like Daewoo.

"Tell me about deer."
Deer are animals that live in the woods. They have antlers and four legs.

"Tell me about stinky deer."
Stinky deer are animals that live in the woods. They have antlers and four legs. They don't bathe. 

Skunks are the most frequent. That girl has a thing for skunks, so much that one day last week I had to pretend to vacuum the hallway with a skunk by my side. Let me tell you, me and skunk were BFF. And you all probably saw my tweet about how to keep a skunk from spraying: make him laugh by tickling his bottom. She will run around the house pretending to be a skunk, spraying other people kinda like Spiderman sprays his web. And she pretends to be sprayed by a skunk.

Maybe we'll get her a pet skunk. HA!

The other request she has frequently is dying.

"Tell me about dying." This request and the skunk go hand in hand. One always follows the other. I always think of skunks when I think about dying, don't you?

The first time she wanted me to tell her about dying, I first had to pick my heart up off the floor and remind myself to start breathing again. Why is my (then) 2 year old asking me about dying? Then I fumbled around in my head for an answer that would give an accurate description of what dying is without giving her reason to develop irrational fears.

Because we all know that an irrational fear of the potty sends her into a 60 hour potty hiatus. I'd hate to see what an irrational fear of death will do to her.  

I carefully, but quickly, thought through it. Not only did it need to be accurate, I knew that my first answer had to be a good one because she would remember it forever. She doesn't forget anything anyone says, and if my answers to her questions ever vary, it's a guarantee she will ask about any parts I left out. Parts that I usually have no recollection of.

This is what I came up with:
When God decides it's time for you to leave this earth, He makes your heart stop beating. If you have a relationship with Him, you will live with Him for eternity in Heaven. If you do not have a relationship with Him, you will suffer for eternity in Hell with Satan. 

"Oh" is all she said. Like she was thinking, woah Mom, thanks for stating the brutal facts.

She's asked me about dying approximately 439 times. Every single time it's been while we are riding in the car. I think God does that on purpose. When I'm driving, she has my full attention (other than me keeping my eyes on the road and such). I'm not cooking, cleaning, folding clothes, checking Twitter, etc. I'm 100% available for conversation. And because of that, we have some serious and not so serious questions in the car (death vs. skunks for example).

Every time we have talked about dying, the conversation gets deeper and deeper and many times I have to pinch myself. Am I really having these deep discussions with a 3 year old? It truly blows my mind how intellectual God made her.

We've gone into great detail of what it means to have a relationship with God. We obey Him, we listen to Him, we follow Him, we suffer and sacrifice for Him, we spend time with Him, we learn about Him, we pray to Him, etc. I explain that Mommy and Daddy have a relationship with Jesus. To which, she then asks...

Do I have a relationship with Jesus? And I tell her that she's working on one. I have no idea if that's the right answer, but it's just what came to mind. It's obvious God is using all these conversations to plant a seed in her heart that He will cultivate according to His plan.

Lily, do you want a relationship with God? 
Yes. 

For me, saying "I have a relationship with God" is the equivalent to saying "I'm saved" or "I'm a follower of Christ." So we talk about what happens when we say yes to God's invitation to us to follow Him.

It's serious business, following Jesus. And I want her to understand the fullness of it.

I'm not ready to follow Jesus yet. 
That's ok. 

And that BREAKS my heart, but I know that's not an indication that she's turned into some crazy rebel. I hope and think that it means she's still trying to grasp it all and wrap her 3 year old mind around the magnitude of following Christ.

I'M NOT GOING TO SUGAR COAT THE GOSPEL FOR HER. I try to stay in tune with what's going on in her little world on a daily basis so we can have these gospel conversations. And I tell it like it is.

I tell her that her sin (and mine) is why Jesus was killed on the cross. I tell her that we are murderers. And many times when she is in trouble, she will ask me if what she did put Jesus on the cross. And my response is always "yes" followed by "so is the impatient behavior Mommy showed when she was irritated with you."
I tell her what we deserve for our sins--eternal punishment.
I tell her that because Jesus took the punishment for sin once and for all, we can accept His gift of forgiveness and receive what we don't deserve: Jesus and Heaven.
I tell her that if we live a life ignoring the sacrifice Jesus made for us and never accept His gift of forgiveness, we will get what we do deserve--eternal punishment in Hell. Yes, I do use the word Hell.
I tell her that when we decide to follow Jesus we are giving up what we want, and it can be a very difficult thing to do day in and day out. But, we get to take on what He wants.  His plan is always better and for our good and His glory...no matter the amount of suffering we face.

And when she asks to read the Bible at 3am, I let her, because there very well may be a time in her life where she is facing something hopeless at 3am and she will need to know she can turn to the Lord. I never want to discourage her from doing anything that will cultivate a relationship with the Lord. But I can't promise I'm staying up with her :).

On this Good Friday, I'm upset that I don't get to spend it with her (she's with grandparents this week for Spring Break). Pinterest has made me believe that if I don't make those dang resurrection rolls with her then she just won't ever get it and Easter will have no meaning. That something about a marshmallow evaporating inside a crescent roll is the only way to describe the miracle of Jesus rising from the dead. It's cute and all, sure, and certainly is a good visual for a young child. But, what's wrong with just telling her the brutal facts?

I DON'T SUGAR COAT.

Last week we made an Easter wreath (the 2nd craft in all my Pinterest finds that I've actually completed because all it involved was printing, coloring, cutting, gluing. AKA I didn't have to buy a thing).  I think the memory of making that wreath as a family and talking about BIG words like Jerusalem, Gethsemane, Crucifixion, and Resurrection will hang around my heart forever.

There's a lot of talk out there about putting your phone down so we don't miss memorable moments with our kids. I totally agree. But if we aren't careful, we will miss more than just memorable moments. We will miss opportunities for gospel conversations with our kids. They happen in the middle of the mundane.

I'm not trying to create a "goody goody two shoes" in my child. In a world that doesn't teach the hard truths of the gospel and makes salvation look like it's just a prayer to get a ticket to Heaven, even in churches, I want her to know the dirty truth of our sin and His pure grace, and what great sacrifice and joy it is to genuinely follow Christ.

My greatest desire is for her to have a growing relationship with the Lord and to follow His plan for her life. I can't grant her salvation from the punishment of her sins. Only God can do that in His mercy and power. But, I can make a beneficial use of the time God has given me to plant seeds in her impressionable heart and help her to understand the amazing reward Jesus is for those that follow Him. I'm extremely grateful and humbled that God is helping her to understand the gospel.

Here's my point...God has entrusted to us His children to teach and raise up into mature followers of Christ. It is not the responsibility of the church or any other religious organization. It is 100% on our shoulders to see that we lead our kids to Christ. The stuff they learn at church is a bonus and is useful in our journey, but if these things aren't being taught and modeled at home first, our kids might grow up to think that church/worship is something done only on Sundays inside a building. Take every opportunity you can to have gospel conversations and worship in your home.  Don't sugar coat a thing. Give them the truth. Let them hear it and see it from you on a daily basis before they hear the diluted truth or lies from the world.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise."
Deuteronomy 6: 4-7 

3.25.2013

How Drinking Coffee Won't Make Me Gay

Two facts about me: 
1.  I'm not one to get political because I don't keep up with that stuff enough to be confident to share my opinion with the world. 
2.  I hate the word and idea of "boycott".  

With that said, we've all heard about Starbucks CEO's recent reminder of his and the company's support of gay marriage. 


If you haven't read either of these things, click the links above. 

I wish I had some creative way of beginning this little blog post, but I simply don't.  All I can tell you is that drinking coffee from Starbucks won't make me gay and won't make me a supporter of gay marriage. It's just foolishness to take my coffee business elsewhere just because the company supports gay marriage and/or advised a shareholder to sell his shares and leave. If that is the stance we are going to take, then Brent should quit his job because the company he works for provides benefits to the employee and a domestic partner, married or not, straight or gay. And trust me, neither of us are looking for him to change jobs any time in the near future! 

Taking your coffee business elsewhere because of the price? Well, that's a different story. 

To me it seems a bit immature for us Christians to take our ball and go home. Does boycotting really have any positive and practical results? Are the Starbucks CEO and employees really going to have a change of heart as a result of Christians getting their panties in a wad? Whatever boycotting may or may not do, it certainly has a negative effect for followers of Christ who are to be busy making disciples of these people who support gay marriage, rather than making enemies with them. It's one thing to oppose or speak up for something that God's word clearly states is sin, but it's another thing to distance yourself completely from the people committing or supporting those sins. 

If Jesus were on earth today, He would thoroughly enjoy a cup of coffee at Starbucks and if given the opportunity, He'd sit next to a gay couple and engage in an authentic conversation with them that would lovingly lead them to see their sin. 

Know what He wouldn't do? Only buy his coffee from Chick-fil-a because that's where the Christians work.

And that's another thing...that Chick-fil-a day to support traditional marriage was dumb too. Maybe I'm just not one to jump on a bandwagon and I do LOVE CFA, but I don't need to buy chicken biscuits with an "I'll show them" attitude to voice my opinion to a world of people that don't know Christ. 

Let me make it clear, I am pro-traditional marriage between a man and a woman and do not support gay marriage in any way. But we're not out to gain enemies, y'all. We're out to love our enemies (or people that live with disregard to God's standards...whether they are our friends or enemies) and shoving our beliefs in their face just doesn't do what we need it to do for a lost world. 

HOWEVER...

This Victoria's Secret mess is maddening and takes my opinion of "boycotting" to a completely different level. 

Why? Because this will effect my daughter (and my son, for that matter). Drinking coffee won't make Lily gay, but this line of lingerie does create a world of problems for her:

It devalues the person she is...fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Christ.

It encourages the worldly thought that I pray daily she will fight...the idea that her worth and beauty are derived from her outward appearance, which by the way needs to be perfectly airbrushed, tan, and size 0. 

It plants the thought that if she wants a boy to love her, she needs to dress to impress his eyes. 

It makes her body the object of lust for a male, whether that be a friend, a boyfriend, a child molester, or a sex trafficker. 

And so many more problems...

These aren't just issues for Lily. They are issues for all young girls. 

I don't believe Christians should take their ball and go home on this one either. I don't think we need to post crap all over social media stating that we will NEVER EVER shop there again...even though that's definitely something to consider. I mean, who can justify spending $50 for a piece of lace? Just go to Michael's and find a scrap piece on the floor for free, tape it to your rear end and there you go...free lingerie. 

Just kidding...but you get my point. 

Instead, we should be more occupied with exposing the great harm Victoria's Secret's line of lingerie is doing to the minds and hearts of these precious girls that are, in God's eyes, physically perfect just the way He made them; and the way it is fueling the demand for the sex trafficking industry. 

We as mothers, fathers, grandparents, guardians, aunts, uncles, mentors, etc. need to be diligently and intentionally teaching our girls about their beauty and worth in the Father's eyes; and be on our knees constantly praying that our precious girls will be confident and content in their identity in Christ, will desire purity, and make wise decisions that will only expose their hidden beauty (Christ).

And Dads, you need to be dating your daughter while she's young so she will know the difference between a "bro" and a follower of Christ that wants to take her out.

Need date ideas? You can start by taking her to grab a cup of overly priced, gay coffee at Starbucks :). 

Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear--but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is God's sight is very precious. 
1 Peter 3:3-4

3.03.2013

What we can all learn from my daughter's 60 hour potty hiatus

It's way too late for me to be up and it's especially too late for me to be putting any words down on this blank canvas glaring at me. But sometimes things happen and you just have to sacrifice the sleep and write on. I'm pretty sure there has never been a more serious post in the history of mankind on the subject of using the potty.

For the first time in my short parenting life, I have tasted and seen the faithful pleas for mercy for my child who is choosing to sin while being completely aware of the consequences of disobedience and the rewards for obedience.

My child, who has been potty trained for a year, has developed an irrational fear of using the toilet. I've heard of many children who go through these stages after already being fully potty trained, but that's not what is going on here.

It began Thursday night when she complained about some pain while going potty, which kept her from going potty the rest of the night and into Friday morning. I called the doctor as soon as they opened and got a same day appointment. Meanwhile, Lily, while prancing and dancing around the bathroom floor, had an accident out of pure I-just-can't-hold-it-anymore.

Thankfully, she didn't have a UTI.  Nothing that 3 baths and a few good ol' doses of Desitin wouldn't fix.

Here it is 4:30 am Sunday morning and Brent and I have spent 90% of our time the past 60 hours in the bathroom with her. Statistics is not my thing, but I'm sure that my estimate of time spent sitting on the edge of the tub is correct. Some of that time has been spent with both of us in there, and some of that time has been spent in shifts...for when one of us throws all patience out the window and needs to leave the room. But regardless of who's been in there the job has been the same...get Lily to sit on the potty and tee tee.

Her problem is not that it hurts, because every time she has an accident she tells us with a huge grin "I knew that wouldn't hurt!"

She's afraid that it might hurt, knowing full well that it won't. She knows the truth but believes the lie. 
We've had multiple conversations with her about where her fear is coming from (Satan) and how we need to glorify God by trusting Him instead of being afraid, we've read Scripture, we've sung songs, we've prayed over her out loud.

Turns out, as she finally admitted, she's afraid of falling in the toilet. So we've gone from pain from going potty, to being scared of pain from going potty, to afraid to fall in.

My patience has been tested over years of time, but never this much in the span of a weekend. It's an extra large dose of learning patience in a very short period of time. And I pridefully tell myself, surely God does not have to be this patient with me! This is just ridiculous and unheard of. I am NOT this hard-headed.

Who am I kidding? Myself only.  
God knows that I'm this hard-headed and more when He pursues me. And He's far more patient with me than I could ever be with Lily.

At one point tonight, Brent was on bathroom duty because my patience was non-existent and I sat in the den praying for three things: a plea for Lily to use the potty, strength and patience for Brent, and God please just tell me what it is you want me to learn so we can all move on from this!

I'm learning that this whole raising a child thing isn't so much for the child as it is for the refinement of the parent, so there must be something here to learn. Just teach me God and let's move on to some other frustrating teachable moment. PLEASE!

So here's the scene where God doesn't just teach me, He shows me the reality of His relationship with me.

I'm sitting on the edge of the tub...where I'm camping out for the weekend...waiting for what I hope will be a successful ending to the night with Lily on the potty. Brent and Lily are in the hallway. She is pacing the hallway and he is sitting in the floor. Y'all, he's GOT to be the calmest person I know. 

She's pacing because she is about to pee all over creation and Brent is kindly and calmly explaining to her over and over again the consequences vs. the rewards of her choices.

If she chooses to tee tee anywhere but in the potty, she gets a spanking then she must put herself to bed with no stories, rubbing her back, songs, etc.
If she chooses to tee tee in the potty, she gets M&Ms and a dance party. Then, she will have a normal bedtime routine with stories and what not.

There are so many relevant words that flow from my husband's mouth tonight that sound JUST like things I've heard my Father say to me.

You are being foolish. 

You know the right choice and you are more comfortable with the bad choice. 

You are choosing pain over blessing. 

Do you trust me?

I will not and can not lie to you. 

Satan is the one person who does not love you and you are listening and believing him over the one who loves you. Satan wants to you to hurt. He is the father of all lies. He does not want any good thing for you. 

Please, just make the right choice. 

I want to give you good things. I want to give you what you ask for. I don't want to discipline you, but I have to if you make the wrong choice. 

I can't make this choice for you. You must decide what you want. 

I LOVE YOU. Trust me. 

And the pacing continues and the moment is getting more and more intense as we know the inevitable is about to happen.  She's going to tee tee. Even the dog is in the hallway wanting her to step into the bathroom.

But Lily won't even step foot toward the right choice. She stops at the door, considers it, and keeps walking.

After hours of pacing, she finally stops at the bathroom door, stops her fidgeting and pacing, and has an accident while staring at the one thing that would bring rewards: the potty.

How often do we stare in the face of our reward (Jesus) and choose to go the opposite way? Knowingly choosing pain instead of blessing?

If you aren't a parent, I'm not sure I can explain the frustration Brent and I felt tonight. It was a strange frustration. One not filled with yelling and screaming. A calm frustration. One that manifested itself deep in our hearts where the passionate desire for our child to obey lives.

Most of the time I want Lily to obey for selfish reasons. It's just easier for me if she'll do what I say.

Tonight I wasn't worried about me at all. I wanted her to obey because of my deep and pure desire to see her make the right choice, for her own good. I wanted to see answered prayers. I wanted to rejoice with her while she enjoyed her reward (M&Ms and a dance party). It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch my child make an informed decision to sin. Then, have to watch the discipline that followed.

After the punishment was over, Brent came to me while on the bathroom floor, both of us crying, and said "This sucks". Because you know what? It does. I don't know any other way to describe it. It sucked.

But it also had the opposite effect on me. It was a beautiful display of how my God patiently chases after me to do the right thing and an ugly sinful display of how I choose the enemy's voice over His time and time again.

How many times am I reminded by my Heavenly Father of the rewards of following him without fear and the consequences of living in fear of His commands?

This entire process happened too many times to count in the span of 60 hours. However, it occurred twice tonight and that's when all three of us reaped eternal rewards.

From 10:00 pm-12:00 am we spent time in the bathroom and experienced the heartbreak of our child choosing to sin, crying over our obligation to discipline her.

From 3:00-4:30 am we spent time in the bathroom and experienced the joy and relief of our child finally choosing the right thing, and getting to enjoy her rewards. M&Ms and a dance party to "Pontoon" by Little Big Town in her bedroom at 4:30 in the morning.

I can't think of a better way to spend an early Sunday morning. Well, asleep would have been my first choice. But, I'll take a dance party any day if that means my child is obeying because she no longer wants the punishment of sin.

I fully realize she is going to face harder decisions in her future that will have much greater consequences/rewards than the decision to sit on the potty. I need to be busy on my knees now, praying that she will not just have the desire to not sin but the strength and power within her to do the thing that glorifies her Father.

Thank you JESUS! And praise HIM for giving me a patient husband who looks so much like Christ!!!

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