Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Amazing Super Mom, Really?

I feel the need to clarify every so often, that I don't honestly think of myself as amazing or super. It used a be a joke. I would be at the grocery store with a baby strapped on my front and a toddler on my back and a 2 year old in the front of the cart and a 4 year old in the back, trying to squeeze some groceries in, or be at the van with everyone in their carseats smearing their faces with recently acquired granola bars while I feverishly cram the groceries in the back, all so I can hoard my precious time when Daddy is home to be with him, and I would think, who do think I am, the amazing supermom?

Of course, that was long ages ago. Now I leave the multitudes at home with the eldest or with Daddy and take a couple mid-sized humans with me, buy 3 times as many groceries, and dread coming home and having to put it all away.

But I still have that joke - who do I think I am? When I'm about to have a new baby while my youngest is still very much a baby, who do I think I am? When I'm homeschooling my daughter through physics, which I never took, who do I think I am? When I went through that agonizing, amazing, depleting season with three babies, nursing two and bottle feeding the third, often just laying on the couch with the two little ones sleeping on me, who did I think I was?

But it is also a name God gave me, it is the way He sees me. Because I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me, because He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that I can ask or think, because He causes my cup to overflow, because He has lavished His grace on me and has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, I am the amazing supermom.

Because He has given me everything I need to get through the next hour and the next day and the next many years, because He hears me EVERY TIME I cry out to Him and meets me everytime I turn my face toward Him, I am the amazing supermom.

Because when I lean on Him and abide in Him, there is nothing I can't do, I am the amazing supermom.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My teeth belong to God

So, a number of years ago I went to the dentist, which has never been my favorite place, and had my 6 month check-up/scolding for not doing a better job taking care of my teeth. I don't like to floss or brush, and especially not at night, when I'm ready for bed. So I was in a habit of "letting myself off the hook" in the evening and just brushing in the morning.

In fact, I had never really brushed or flossed well. I tell my kids to brush their teeth as if they want to keep them. I didn't. I just went through the motions. And that day, after another predictable and well deserved lecture, I went home and thought/prayed, "I just wish one time I could go to the dentist and have them tell me I did a good job." And I felt like God said something like, "Give me your teeth." And I started to treat my teeth as though they belonged to God. And I brushed my teeth and flossed my teeth before I went to bed, because they were God's teeth. I took care of my teeth as unto the Lord.

Ever since then, I have really had good check-ups and last week they told me I was a poster child for taking good care of my teeth. No kidding. They really said that. And then I told them the story I just told you, and ended with this thought, "It's too bad I don't do that with other areas of my life."

Well, I went home thinking about that, and I'm trying it. My fast, my Nazirite vow, is not about denying myself of good things. It is about belonging to the Lord. It's about Isaiah 44. I belong to the Lord. So what I eat falls under His jurisdiction. I'm trying it. I'm submitting to Him. Several times I have stopped eating because I didn't really need more food. Sometimes I have kept eating and regretted it. But I am trying to belong to Him regarding what I eat.

I am my Beloved's and He is mine, and His banner over me is LOVE.

What I don't know

I think at this stage in my life, most people either assume I know what I'm doing, or that I'm a complete idiot and have no idea what I'm doing.

Either they figure, hey, you've had that many kids, you probably know everything you need to know about labor, nursing, parenting, when to take kids to the doctor, all that sort of thing; or, they think if I had any sense I would have stopped having kids years ago and I am obviously on welfare and don't have the good sense God gave a dog to know when to stop overpopulating the earth.

In the hospital, they mostly figure I know what I'm doing. "Just let us know when you think you're going to need to push," they say. I say, by the time I know I need to push, the baby will be born. Or with nursing, "You have done this so many times before," and I say, well yeah, but he hasn't.

Because really, there is a lot I don't know. And I learn new stuff with every baby, every labor, every day. For example, nursing. Because I have had a few genuinely refluxy babies, I just expect fussiness. I assume they're just going to cry sometimes. It honestly never occurs to me to try to figure out if it is something I ate or drank that is causing a nursing baby to be uncomfortable.

Another thing, about the time my babies start solid food, 4, 5, maybe 6 months old, I start worrying about my milk supply. But that is probably also about the time I stop being very patient with the nursing times, about the time someone else is potty training, about the time I start exercising and trying to drop a few (dozen) pounds, start wanting more freedom and to not take the little piker with me every where I go.

With labor, I worry about when to be checked, when to have the doctor come, and how long it will be and if I have enough oom-pa-pa to make it to the end or if I need an epidural because I'm just not strong enough anymore to do this on my own. (mind you, I've given birth w/o epidural 8 times - not discrediting epidurals, but I really can and prefer to go without)

I still have the lactation consultant come in and help me position babies. I still talk to my friends and read articles and books about labor. I am still learning. My younger sister (both my sisters are younger than me, this is the older of the two) sent me a little jar last week that says, "Blessing Box" (or something like that) that she made for me, with maybe hundreds of strips of paper with scriptures on each, with my name on them, personalized for me. She has 4 little crazy girls that go to the doctor every other day and want to be held all the time, and she took the time to do this thing. And she totally rocked my world. Because she told me, the big sister, to read one when I'm having a hard day or a hard minute. And it has been life to me.

I should know that. I should know that the Word of God gives me strength. But there it is. Every day, something new. Because, well, there is a whole lot that I just don't know. And when you are old and wise and mature like me, you'll realize there's a whole lot that you don't know either. (I'm just kidding, that was a joke, did you get it?!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

I hate my face

and the rest of me as well. But mostly my face. The rosacea is taking over. I took a picture with my phone of me and my youngest daughter, and she looks so beautiful, and I look so very crappy.

I have to be honest here on this blog called the amazing super mom. I have not felt remotely amazing or anything like super in quite some time. The daily grind is really bringing me down. I don't like the look of me or the feel of me.

I was reading a facebook conversation recently, started by a young woman who was confidently stating her updated religious views. She said she is a deist, she believes in God. She likes the idea of a rescuer but has decided that the Bible isn't trustworthy because of translation issues someone told her about. But what she wants is a life that isn't based on rules and a constant trying to measure up, but instead a life that flows out of love.

And I thought, that's what being a Christian is. Or is supposed to be. It is supposed to be a life that flows in and out of the immense love of God. Jesus, living the life He lived, dying on the cross and rising again was all about revealing the love of God. It was about setting us free from all those rules and guilt into living a life flowing in that mighty love.

The facebook poster had not seen that love in the churches she'd been part of or in the Christians she knew apparently. She certainly wouldn't see it in me. Why is that? I've been a Christian for 30+ years. In my brain I know that Jesus loves me. I know I am free. I know I am beautiful to Him. I know He is right and I am wrong.

But when I look in the mirror or hear myself talk or think about how I act, I do not love me.

When I am with Him, focused on Him, listening to Him, I remember. And though I don't feel beautiful, I know He is, and I enjoy Him there. But even that revelation is hard to cling to when I get back to the blow-by-blow of being a human. Harsh words spoken, blank stares from formerly friendly faces, criticism, failure, just the normal uphill battles we all face, all these things wage war on that lovely peace that passes understanding.

I want to be one of those women who carry with them the grace of having looked myself in the face and seen what Jesus sees, of having gone through the fire but not been burned, of having been with Jesus so often and so deeply and authentically that nothing, no nothing, interferes in my nestled existence.

I want to be so saturated with the glorious, universe-sized love of the Almighty that it slimes everyone I come in contact with, in a good way.

But I'm not that girl today. I'm just me. Tripping along, bumping into stuff and people. I feel small (in a fat sort of way) and weak and offensive and insufficient and ugly. And far, far away from the arms of my Beloved Jesus, though they are ever so near.

My very favorite image of Jesus in the Bible is when John the disciple was leaning back on Him during the last supper. There was turmoil, unrest, Jesus was talking about things like being crucified and tortured and betrayed, and John simply leaned back.

There is a quote in one of the Winnie the Pooh stories when the Piglet calls out to Pooh, and Pooh asks what he wants, and Piglet replies, "Nothing, I just wanted to be sure of you." That's the height of my faith this morning. I don't have all the answers. I'm not floating in a sea of the love of God. I can't probably inspire any athiests or agnostics to believe by my lifestyle or world view. I'm just hanging on. I know Him. I know He loves me. But it has not seeped into my all day, every day.

I'm just leaning back, just wanting to be sure of Him who my heart loves.

Monday, February 06, 2012


New week, new start, fresh attitude. I don't feel particularly motivated, but today is Monday. I better get my game on or it's going to be a very draggy week. I'm digging around, trying to find some mojo, trying to fan some kind of flame from the seemingly cool motivational embers in the fireplace of my heart (pretty poetic, eh).

I don't have much. Just a vague memory of who I want to be someday, a deeply buried thought that I have the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead in me, and 12 really loud, distracted children who, if I don't pull it together, will sit around all day nibbling the stuff from the bottom of the box of shredded miniwheats and making miniature fishing poles out of paperclips. That doesn't seem like enough. Now is when I miss coffee.

I had a healthy breakfast, scrambled eggs with spinach, cheese and ham. I've taken my vitamins. That's 2 points. Several children are starting their new week's k.p. duties (others are fighting over what their new duties are, and one is playing heart and soul on the piano). That's a start.

I am reminded of one of my favorite things, St. Patrick's Breastplate. It first became special to me when I was pregnant with my 3rd child, when the oldest was 2.5, and I was pretty sure life was ending and that I would grocery shop online and never leave the house again. He was due around or on St. Patrick's Day. And I was researching about Patrick and his name (not that my husband ever really considered the name Patrick or Patricia, but I was brainstorming) and ran across it, it's also called the Deer's Cry, and probably wasn't maybe really even written by St. Patrick, but here it is. I'm grabbing hold.

I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through the belief in the threeness, Through confession of the oneness Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism, Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial, Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension, Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today Through the strength of the love of Cherubim, In obedience of angels, In the service of archangels, In hope of resurrection to meet with reward, In prayers of patriarchs, In predictions of prophets, In preaching of apostles, In faith of confessors, In innocence of holy virgins, In deeds of righteous men. I arise today Through the strength of heaven: Light of sun, Radiance of moon, Splendor of fire, Speed of lightning, Swiftness of wind, Depth of sea, Stability of earth, Firmness of rock.
I arise today Through God's strength to pilot me: God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me, God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me, God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me, God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me, God's host to save me From snares of devils, From temptations of vices, From everyone who shall wish me ill, Afar and anear, Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils, Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul, Against incantations of false prophets, Against black laws of pagandom Against false laws of heretics, Against craft of idolatry, Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards, Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul. Christ to shield me today Against poison, against burning, Against drowning, against wounding, So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through belief in the threeness, Through confession of the oneness, Of the Creator of Creation.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Appropriate joy

I got on BabyCenter last night. Hadn't been on in months, really not since finding out our youngest didn't have Downs syndrome. I don't have time and, when I'm not pregnant, that's just not somewhere I want to be. But pregnant, and not sleeping (why?), somehow I feel compelled to go to those type of sites.

So there is a group for moms due in August of this year, and there is a question, how old are you and how many kids do you have. 135 responses. A few older than 40, none with more than 4 children, many relieved to be having their last before age 30.

One lady said she was 58 and having her 13th, but was just kidding. Because of course she couldn't have a baby at 58, and of course she could't be having her 13th. Ha ha. That would be ridiculous.

And I thought, do I post?

I don't know why I care. I don't know why what anybody thinks matters to me. But it does. It does impact me. Am I alone in this? I feel people's acceptance or rejection of my pregnancy as I would their acceptance or rejection of my child.

And it isn't just people who think having 13 is as ridiculous as having a baby at 58. It is people who are grieving themselves because they have longed and prayed for a pregnancy, and why do I get to be pregnant, again, and they are not? No one says it, and maybe, by God's grace, they aren't even thinking it.

But I am. I'm glad to be pregnant but I would give anything for each of them to be.

Some people are concerned about my weight, or my other children, or my health, or our finances. But all of that concern, even if it is legitimate, amounts to disapproval. And my weakness is that I take that stuff in.

I used to really get a kick out of telling people how many kids I had in how many years. But over the years all the negativity beats it out of me, until, I just want to stay home. It takes the joy out of pregnancy, takes the excitement out of telling people, takes the fun out of looking pregnant.

I feel physically great, as good as I ever have felt when pregnant. I am healthy. I am strong. I am as thrilled about being pregnant as I have ever been. This baby is as greatly longed for and anticipated and desired as any of my babies has ever been. I'm not very tired, not very uncomfortable, not puking, not nauseaus.

Why don't I feel happier? I do not want to accept on my child's behalf that he or she is less stunningly amazing, less stupendously delightful, less phenomenonally, once-in-a-lifetime miraculously wonderful than every other baby due in August of 2012. God making a human is simply one of the most wonderful things He ever does. And, though I don't know why, and I certainly don't know why He maybe didn't yet in some of my precious friends' wombs, somehow, miraculously, He did and is in me.

This baby, this event, this miracle is worthy of all the joy I can muster, worthy of cute T-shirts and maternity clothes and shouting from the rooftops.

God, why are there so many who think it is ridiculous or laughable or wrong for me to rejoice over a precious new life, simply because I have already celebrated a dozen other times? Why are there wombs hungry for life when mine overflows? Why is joy that is so very appropriate so hard to come by? Please give life to these friends of mine. You are good, show forth Your goodness. And please, let people see the joy that You and I take in each conception, in each spirit, in each pregnancy, in each life.

I did post.

I said, I'm 40, will be 41 when baby is born, our 13th. Not kidding.

Friday, February 03, 2012


I got angry today. Angry enough to make a phone call. Angry enough to call my congresshumans. I called and talked to their respective flunkies and let them know, in no uncertain terms that I am NOT okay with any portion of my health insurance premiums going to help anybody kill a baby.

And I need someone to help me with the government civics end of this thing, because it seems to me that Congress may have the authority to require my health insurance company to require me to do that - although it would be gravely wrong and desperately against the founders' intentions for them to do so - but I don't understand how the president, who I thought was the executive and not legislative branch, has the authority to say that.

Unreal. I guess they passed something that gave him the room to do that.

I get a lot of call-your-senator e-mails. They always make me feel guilty, but rarely do they make me feel anything strong enough to do something about it.

I would love to be the kind of person (my husband is) who acts out of conviction, not out of emotion. But there are a lot of times I have conviction, but not enough emotion to follow through with it.

And I wander through life, wondering, what will it take to get me worked up enough, for long enough, to do some of the things I have conviction about. Many things I do. But there are others for which my commitment to my conviction waxes and wanes based on, I don't know, the phases of the moon? Well, I might write more, but I didn't make enough quesadillas, and the sound my daughter is making is enough to make me get up and follow through on the conviction I have about feeding my children supper.