Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Emotional... overwhelming post. If you aren't prepared to read a real response, please don't read this.

I have avoided the blogosphere in the last six months first because I was super busy, and second because my entire life fell apart in a few short months. There are times I have thought about sharing how I feel, but it is pretty ugly in this head and heart right now. I have a hard time being positive about the things that have happened and how we are to get back on track in the future. I cannot seem to see the reasons as to why this has happened, but it has.

We were torn apart. By a church. We were left on the side of the road with nothing but harsh words and no answers. It is really difficult to see a “plan” in all of this, although I keep being assured that is the case. I know this in my head, but my heart tells me it’s lying. Some days I can be really faithful and know that God is present with us in our suffering, then other days I cannot help but be angry that after years of giving ourselves over to the Lord’s will, everything went crazy anyway.

It seems as though one day I am just expected to wake up and everything will be okay again.

When people ask me how things are going, I think to myself, “Can I give the real answer? Or do I tell them what they want to hear?” I feel painfully alone no matter how many times people tell me they are praying for me. The truth is, prayers don’t pay the mortgage. Prayers do not keep the electricity going, the water bill paid, and my kids fed. The harder we work at finding jobs, the more we are penalized for having them through the government programs we must enroll in to support our family. 

We apply for childcare assistance, and our food stamps balance goes down by $300. And we have to pay a $157 co-pay. That is $450 a month that we do not have, all because I am working a job that pays me around $1000 a month. Seriously? I work full time, not spending any time with my kids on a daily basis, just to spend half my paycheck on other people watching my kids.
Even with a Bachelor’s degree, I am “unqualified” to be a medical receptionist or work as a food preparer at the local hospital (two of the highest paying jobs in our area). I am constantly looking for other work, yet it is nearly impossible to be paid anything more than minimum wage. This is the struggle for most of the working poor in our country today. It is not only my burden.

The problems are so big and the solutions so few, that I have little time to even comprehend what is happening in my life. The bruises are so deep, and the pain so real, that I have difficulty breathing some days.

I hope that one day I will be able to look back and see how silly all of my worry is. I hope that there will be a day that I can see how we got through this situation and moved into something incredible, but some days I really doubt that will happen. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Affirming the Stories of Life

Hi Friends! It has been a while on the blogosphere for me. Since I last posted, I finished my first semester at Northwest Nazarene University and moved to Zillah, Washington. It has been a busy couple of months, that’s for sure!
What has brought me to the blog today is a trend that I keep seeing on Facebook and on the internet in general. I am sure this is not a new thing, but it seems as though it is more popular lately than I have noticed before. I see so many new mommies posting all these articles about “The Right Way to Give Birth,” “What Brand New, Super Hip Items You Need In Your Nursery,” and other such nonsense that seems to proliferate the web. I know you believe in these things, because they worked for you. They were a part of your story and that is fantastic! We appreciate you sharing your stories. What we don’t appreciate is the implied notion that you have it right and everyone else has it wrong.

The truth is whatever way any of us gave birth is the right way to give birth. There is not a “wrong way” to have a baby, as long as it results in a baby. New moms and dads have never experienced giving birth before, or life with a newborn, and all the various posts on how to do it all seem to contradict one another. They all give various perspectives and viewpoints that are unique to you and they are very interesting and fun to read. I like them a lot! But, they have the adverse effect of making people believe that something is wrong with their perspective or experience, and that is not okay.

Most of this is in our heads, I am sure. We like to compare ourselves to others while thinking that somehow we are less than them because our experiences were not the same. Personally, I loved the epidural! It helped me cope with the pain and gave me some time to rest. My children have yet to have any adverse effects from it (they are 9, 7, 4 and 2) and it was just a good thing. But I have a good friend who did not feel complete without a natural birth. And that is okay too. Her heart, perspectives, experiences, and feelings were involved in that decision and that is good! I have another friend who had a C-section because her son was not moving in the womb, then spent weeks with him in the NICU. He is now a healthy boy and his mama is very happy with her experience! See??? All three experiences are just as valid, good and amazing because they resulted in children who are wanted, loved, and enjoyed in this world. That is the point I am trying to make.

As someone with a nine year old, there were decisions I made and products I used that I thought were safe. I read all the research and did everything I could to maintain a safe and healthy environment for him. All parents want to do this! Yet, all that work won’t mean a thing in a few years when half those products have harmed or killed other children. Accidents happen and decisions are made that lead to hurtful things. We cannot protect our children from life! Life itself is fraught with good and bad, accidents, heartaches, happiness and joy. It is part of how we learn, grow, and become better human beings. All the new stuff that we think is super important to the well-being of our children today will be completely outdated in 3 to 5 years!

When we look at our lives ten years from now, we won’t think about or remember half the decisions that new parents think are incredibly important today. Stop stressing about all those things and enjoy your pregnancy/new baby/toddler! When it comes to parenting, the best thing you can do is seek the fruits of the Spirit while continually asking the Lord’s grace to transform you into the heart and mind of Jesus Christ. Model godliness first, the rest is just icing on the cake. Stop second guessing yourself and others and learn to affirm the choices and experiences of others in positive ways. Accept, love, and embrace one another while sharing our stories and experiences in ways that uplift others.