Friday, July 26, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Broken


I used to live under the illusion that I was shielded from brokenness. Sure, I was a sinner and had acknowledged that and believed in Jesus and been forgiven, but --thank God-- I was not from a "broken family."

I lived under that illusion until my family broke.

It was not divorce between my parents, thankfully, but conflict and acrimony and confusion and bitterness appeared and I had no idea what to do with them. And it happened because of me. I fell in love with and came to admire and trust a man. And my father did not. Conflict is a sure sign of brokenness.

And brokenness began to trail after me like a tail. It appeared in my inability to fall asleep at night, worrying and wondering what I had done wrong and what I could do to fix the brokenness between Baba and me. It appeared in my ready tears, whenever a friend asked seriously what was going on. It appeared in the deep confusion of my heart. The story is too complicated for five minutes to tell.

I despaired of fixing the situation, and instead I broke out of it and married my husband. Condemnation sometimes says I did the wrong thing, that the holy thing would have been to commit myself to obeying and fixing no matter the cost to myself and my sweetheart, even though that might have broken our relationship.

I taste the confusion again, just by thinking about it. So easily the wounds reappear.

The mornings in the days before my wedding I would sit at my hotel window, with a view of the Organ mountains and the hospital where I was born, and pray. And I felt the assurance of my heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's love. That amidst my sin and the perplexing confusing mess of brokenness, he loved me. My marriage would not be cursed because of the brokenness it emerged out of. My marriage might have its own forms of brokenness. There is no guarantee against it. But God was surrounding me and my husband with his own Father's blessing.

My Father's love is the raft on that can carry me through the valley of the shadow of death and sin. It is the blanket that hugged me when I writhed on my bed in tears. It is the only thing in life that can never break.

Not the most lovely photo of the Organs,
but that tall building is the hospital where I was born
so that's why I chose it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday (on Monday): Belong

I have been seeing the Five Minute Friday challenge recently, from one of my favorite bloggers Ali, who lives on a Mercy Ship of the coast of Africa, and from Jen, who is in the Peace Corps in South Africa.

So however un-eloquent this may be, here it is:


When I first saw this writing prompt, I thought something vague, true, and probably cliched about how I belong to a family, and belong to God.

It took me a couple days to getting around to write. Yesterday at church, I had a new visual aid about belonging. I was helping in the nursery and Jedidiah (now 9.5 mo old) was with me. A friend brought in her 8 month old son, who was a bit fussy. When I tried to hold Canaan, Jedidiah got such a look of jealousy and worry on his face. How dare I hold Canaan! I belong to him, to Jedidiah!

It is a sweet thing to have a baby, but one problem is that I don't belong to myself anymore, as far as he is concerned! I know it is not really true that I belong to him. And I have every right to hold a different baby once in a while! But on the other hand my impression, that he belongs to me, is my baby, isn't so true either. He belongs to God, and is a gift from God to me, to care for as I must steward all God's blessings to me.

I started to think about other misconceptions that I have about belonging. Is it possible that I think, in an illogical, babyish instinct that is far away from my grown-up mind, and yet truer to what I really believe, that God belongs to me? There is a bit of panic inside me when I think that God might do something I don't like - like allow me or my loved ones to suffer or potentially take away someone dear to me. Or what if I feel God "favors" someone else above me, just as Jedidiah thought I was favoring Canaan? God might give a blessing to a friend, that he does not give to me. Uh oh, I can't control God! And do I hold on to God's blessings in a way that would lead to acute "separation anxiety" if they are taken away?

I pray that I can grow up. That I can get more and more mature in my mind and spirit to trust my heavenly Papa.  He will work all things for good to me because I love him. Even though twinges of fear easily strike my heart when I wonder if he might take away earthly blessings from me, I want to know deeply that he will never leave me or forsake me. Because of Jesus' love for me, I belong to him. My husband and Jedidiah belong to him. And nothing can snatch us out of his hand.

Jedidiah and "his" mommy!
Photo by Stan Kwan at Captivate Images

[now that took a lot longer than 5 minutes. You can't just leave a thought unfinished! but it was fun!]

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Elimination Communication Update - 9.5 months old

Jedidiah is now nine and a half months old. I thought I'd give a brief update on his EC progress. At this point, he is reliably pooping in the potty. It helps that, due to his intake of solid foods, his stool is more solid and takes more effort to expel. Sometimes he goes in the morning after waking up. Sometimes he goes right after eating some food. When he starts making his pooping face, I grab him and take him to the potty fast! With the stinkier stools, I'm glad that I don't have to clean them off his bottom and off his cloth diaper.

We took his potty with us on a recent out-of-town visit, and he went in it every morning we were there. That gave us a lot of relief about not having to worry about him pooping while we were out and about.

We are still not worrying about pee. That time will come when he's a bit older. Also for when he's older, I'm starting to use the baby-sign-language sign for "potty." I hope he will learn it.

This article I read recently was very encouraging. It gives five easy tips for those who are interested in helping their child become aware of their moments of elimination, without the heavy-duty commitment of always trying to help the child go on the potty. The author, Elizabeth, says

While elimination communication may not be for everybody, I discovered a lot of practices that very easily can be for everybody, and in fact I believe should be.
The article is titled 5 things you can do with your BABY to make it easier to potty train later .

If you read Elizabeth's article, let me know which of her ideas you think you might give a try.