Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Where is God?

"Where is God when it hurts? He is in us - not in the things that hurt - helping to transform bad into good. We can safely say that God can bring good out of evil; we cannot say that God brings about evil in hopes of producing good." - Philip Yancey

I've been reading the book, WHERE IS GOD WHEN IT HURTS? by Philip Yancey. There is so much confusion in my mind during this season of life. Although this book does not take away the confusion, it directs my thoughts a little and gives quotes like this one that help me through this most difficult time in my life. I highly recommend this book although I'm not even half way through.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Resorting to Bribery

I'm normally not one to bribe my children. I think they should just obey and that's the end of it. Jaycie has left me with my arms in the air. I'm certain that the stresses of life going on lately have added to the problem. Still, I need to figure out something to entice her to cooperate.

Recently, she has begun screaming through the entire church service in the nursery. I'm not a parent that minds my child screaming. With all the other kids in the room, however, this behavior cannot always be tolerated. Screaming and crying can work like a domino effect in the nursery. After being called out of service to get her one Sunday, I became concerned that she may think her bad behavior is being rewarded. A plan of action was necessary. I decided to attempt bribery.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with her about the nursery. She was informed that we each go to our own classes and we would see her after church. Picking out one of the most exciting pieces of candy I could find in the pantry, the bribery began. Jaycie was enticed with the offer of Air Heads following church if she remained in her "class" without screaming and crying. Holding my breath, I was able to sit through the entire service. It actually worked!

Potty training has yet to be conquered with her as well. I continue to make excuses but the bottom line is that she just doesn't seem to mind wet pants and prefers to wear pull-ups still. (That and I'm just not disciplined enough with the process.) We encourage her to use the potty chair and take her to the bathroom when she asks. If she asks for a piece of candy during the day, I instruct her that she can go on the potty chair and receive some candy. This seems to do the trick. Whenever she does her business appropriately, the reward is her choice of candy (often bubble gum). She even decided yesterday that she wants to wear big girl panties again.

All of this being said, I'm realizing that oftentimes I look down my nose at parents in situations with potty training or screaming children. I tend to make judgments and decide that they obviously just don't take the time to be a good parent. Now, sitting in the judgment seat, I realize that I need to cut people some slack. Every child is different. I can't possibly know what circumstances are occurring in their lives to add to the situation. And afterall, we certainly all have problems.

It's time to entice the training with some candy again. Otherwise, I'll be cleaning my carpet!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Draft from January

The evenings are more difficult. Reality is all to fresh and the exhaustion from the emotions of the day make it hard to cope. When the morning comes, for about thirty seconds, all is well with the world. Then it begins to set in. Our dads have cancer. 2008 may not be quite as full as we imagined. It could be a year filled with pain. And yet, there will be blessings. There will be joy.

Nikelle asked me today why I was crying. I answered her honestly. She needs to be prepared for the future as well. "I'm crying because I want your Papa and Grandpa to be able to meet your new little brother or sister." Rod and I found out on Friday that we are expecting our third child this fall. I shared this news with my parents on New Year's Day; the same day we were told hope was not quite as bright in my Dad's fight with cancer.

"Don't you think it would be a good idea for our new baby to know their Papa and Grandpa?" was my question to Nikelle. "Yes, but he could see them in heaven," was her response. I smiled and assured her, "That's exactly what I want you to remember. That's what Grams and Papa want you to remember, too."

Lamentations 3

Life has been a lot of running errands and just getting through the day. Summer is flying by and I am no where ready for this third child to come to us in a month and a half.

Yesterday Nikelle went to dance class. As we were leaving, she's pointing and saying, "Look, Mom. The funeral. The funeral." I looked and could not for the life of me figure out what she was talking about. "The funeral home, Mom." she stated with excitement in her voice. "It's right there. You know, the one we always go to." Looking across the street at a bank, I clarified what she was looking at and attempted not to think much about what she was saying.

For me, this reality of life we are living has been extremely difficult. Confusion. Anger. Depression. Sadness. At times, they all attempt to consume me as I go through the day.

When my head hits the pillow each night, I am grateful that we have made it through another day. There's not much emotion to me. Just attempts at facing another day with a reality I do not wish to accept.

Almost 5 months have passed since Dad left this world. Almost 2 without my father-in-law. Still, each day lingers with reminders of them. As the birth of this child approaches, I fight to keep my thoughts from spiraling downward with how much I wanted them both to live to see this baby.

In all of this, while reading a MOPS book yesterday, part of Lamentations 3 was quoted. Today I read it further.

Lamentations 3:22-23
"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning."

Lamentations 3:31-33
"For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow."

I'm attempting to focus on these verses. I'm not trying to take them out of context. I believe they still apply in my situation. I know that even when I am not feeling it, His love is still abundantly there for me.