Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Managing maternal madness

Wow, I'm finally starting to catch up on sleep after an indescribable week.

I began the week making final preparations for the weekend retreat for the women of PWOC. Earlier in the month we had decided it would be great fun to take the kids and our dog, yes the dog, to a Bats game in Louisville (they sponsor a "bring your dog to the game night") We did not know at the time we would have 2 dogs, as we are now dogsitting for a soldier until May 1. So off we go Wednesday with our 4 kids and 2 dogs to the game where we will also meet Mike's brother who is avoiding a houseful of bridge playing women. When we arrive we realize that neither of us have any cash and proceed to drive around louisville trying to locate an ATM, after 20 minutes we succeed and go on to the game. All was well, we enjoyed ballpark food (even canibalized the dogs by giving them each a hotdog) and saw several old friends from civilian life.

One of these friends Mike and I took turns visiting with while the other sat with BIL Tom and managed the dogs while the kiddo's played on the playground. During my turn to manage the madness, I was watching the crowd "dodge the doodoo" and doing the occasional headcount. Middle son had already tired and returned to us when my oldest 2 appeared asking for drinks. I asked the oldest 2 where their youngest sibling was and they dutifully trotted back on to the playground and I tried to get a sighting on number 4. When I couldn't site #4 from my position I moved to get another vantage point. From my new spot I now understood why I couldn't see #4 . Because #4 was no longer within the fenced plaground. As my mind raced with abduction scenarious and the heartsinking thoughts of never seeing my baby again, I yelled his name. A lady nearby, hearing my desperate cry, asked for a description. Satisfied by my "little guy, green pants, blue sweatshirt" she pointed and said security. I began running to discover my delighted toddler in the arms of an officer proudly displaying his new ball. Not sure whether to cry or pee my pants (I think I did both) I thanked the officers who praised him for talking to them and answering questions. (although they couldn't understand his name at all, certain it was Alex) I returned shaken, but praising God, to my also grateful family (sans Mike who was still visiting with our friends). I should also mention that Mike noticed during the evening that middle son S had a large knot on his neck. His left Lymphnode appeared to be the size of a walnut. But he said it didn't hurt at all and he had no other symptoms. But we agreed to be safe, we'd take him to the doc the next day.

So after PWOC (my women's group) we did some last minute retreat shopping and then to the doc. S still said he felt fine and complained of nothing, only to find out he now had a 102 fever (taken after drinking a cold soda) a few minutes later it was 103. Strep test was negative and still no other symptoms or pain. So, we were prescribed a broad spectrum antibiotic and sent for a CBC with the encouragement (if his white cells are high he's fighting something, if they are low it could be bad like lymphoma) Hmmm, nothing to think about there! Now, I had to meet some ladies to drive to Louisville to pick up our speaker for the retreat. So, quickly drop the kids off, literally throw the trash from the car onto the front lawn with "kids take care of this" and off to pick up the ladies before heading to Louisville. I was 20 minutes late picking up the ladies, we had to detour around a faceoff between a motorcycle and car (car won) and still we arrived at the airport before she arrived. Thank God for delays, we took her to Rocky's on the River (Indiana) for dinner and had a wonderful evening before droppping her at the hotel and I finally made it home around 10.

Friday: fun day, up at 6:30 final prep for the retreat, pack, meet ladies at 11:15 to ride together.
12:00 Lunch w/speaker
1:00 Check in and begin set up
3:00 ladies begin to arrive
4:00 Retreat officially begins

I had shared with a few friends our concerns for S and that I was awaiting test results.

Somewhere in the evening I talked to Mike and got the results. "Low" but it's probably a virus. No mention this time of the L word. Another appointment Monday with the doc we really like. OK, so now I've got this in the back of my head and I have to host the ladies. When we finally broke for the evening for teh "late night hang out" I received a call from my father that my Gama was in the hospital with congestive heart failure. Now, I need to share that the retreat theme was "Prepare for the Bridegroom" and the theme verses were from Matthew, the parable of the 10 virgins. That evening we had listened to our speaker and discussed how we are each responsible for our own personal preparation, but that ultimately we are preparing to join God in His plans.

I left my room where ladies were gathering to socialize to search for some plates and got sidetracked by noise from the room next to mine. 4 dear dear sisters were inside. I made a little small talk and then asked the ladies to just pray for S and shared the results. Well, pray they did. Right then and there, they immediately began looking to the scriptures and praying for me, S, and my gama. One dear friend continually prayed for God to "work it out" and work it out He did.

We'd sung a son earlier in the evening and one line was about Him removing all fear. And I remember thinking during that song, but God you haven't taken my fear. Well, he couldn't take what i wasn't willing to give him. My friends prayed with me and for me as I confronted my faith and my creator. All the things that had been occuring over this previous year, month, and days had led in my life, to this moment. As President of PWOC I am responsible for the weekly meetings, and I have watched God provide weekly for every mole hill and mountain that came along. A month ago I had a vague feeling for about 2 weeks that something was wrong with one of my kids, attributing it to two many emails about sick kids I wrote it off thinking, what doc would see my kids with no symptoms but, "mom's feeling". Several times over the last few weeks conversations with Keilah had arisen that I admited I could never give one of them up, that's why I'm constantly overwhelmed by God's own sacrifice for our Salvation. During this time of Prayer, all these events came over me, I had always said that these were God's kids, now it was time to work it out, and put my money where my mouth is.

My sweet, sweet sisters did not stop praying until I was able to work it out. I was able to confess my faith and lack of it, my fear and desire to hold on, and finally realized and accepted that these precious children that I love so much are not and never have been mine. My fear came out of self and that fear kept the focus on what I can't do not on what He can do. Two stories came into my head during this time. Stories told over and over and often it seems as unatainable stories of faith. Aberaham when he went up to sacrifice Isaac and Shadrack, Meschach, and Abednego when they went into the furnace declaring Jehovah's name knowing that He alone could save them and even if he didn't that He was still God, yet they walked out of the furnace, with out even the smell of smoke on them. I realized, God was asking me two things: 1) To make the sacrifice of Abraham: to trust Him completely with my children (He loves them more than I could anyway) and 2: to face the fire and know, whether He is to put the fire out, walk me around it, or right through it, that He is still God and nothing can separate me from the love of Christ Jesus. I felt the peace that passes all understanding as I in that moment (and the moments since) was able to say Yes to both questions. If nothing else comes from all of this, but that I've confirmed those answers in my heart, then I am thankful and Praise God, that He has led me to this deeper understanding and trust in Him.

Saturday, we completed our retreat and I was able to sing the song again, only this time praising God that He HAD taken my fear! We finished up the retreat and headed to Louisville and I visited with Gama while Mike and the kids went to a Uof L baseball game. I had a nice, quiet 2 hour visit with her before all the other family started coming in again. i brought 3 of the kids up to see her and explained why s couldn't visit. Got home around 11.

Sunday: church, sunday school , Mike dropped me off at his brother's house for a wedding shower for his cousin. They headed back to post for AWANA and came back for me after , another late night home.

Monday: morning meeting, lunch with an old friend and in-laws, and niece and her kids who are in from Colorado. Mike back to work and we went to Patton museum before I took S to doc.
I really like our Doc, he's the type of doc you either love or hate, and many of my friends refuse to see him, He takes time to explain everything to us and answer questions. So he looked S over, checked all the results from the CBC and was of the opinion that this was an infection. He had some nasty little scrapes on his left arm, from falling, animals, and general boyness. Combined with the numbers that we should continue the augmentin and return Monday for another CBC to confirm everything was returning to normal. I could tell Mike was very relieved (I'd already "worked it out" :) ) but, was also happy for a "the fire's out" answer. So S continues to take his nasty medicine and I praise God for all that I have learned and lived over this past week.

Grace, Peace, and Much Love,

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A bite on the line?

Well, in an effort to be proactive in our search for children, I began requesting information from photolistings. Now that we have an approved homestudy we are allowed to do this. We received our first "send us your homestudy" response today. My expectations are actually kind of low, as we are just begining and the children’s discription ends with "not legally free" which means birth parents still have rights, but hey, it’s progress.
At home we are plugging along, and have been blessed with an answered prayer. A friend from PWOC (my women’s group) is moving (PCS’ing) to Colorado and had a particular musical instrument that she neither played nor valued and asked if I would. Since the price was music to Mike’s ears (Free) I finally heard the words that are music to mine, "When do you want to pick up the Piano?" So on Saturday we picked up our slightly dinged and out of tune upright. I am delighted to say that "Happy, Happy, Happy" now has a piano score in addition to the guitar chords :). Now, to find order the "Piano lessons on DVD" I’ve heard so much about.
Mike is trying to plan a family vacation to which I keep responding, sounds good, but...we may have 2 more kids, we may need vacation time/funds to visit kids, we may get orders to move. While most Christians will agree that we are always to wait on God, we often move through our lives with an ideal that somehow we are in control, and God is merely an observer. Free Will theology dictates that we alone determine our paths in life. We make choices and plans for the paths of our lives, America is founded on the idealic notion of independence and achieving one’s dreams. But, try as we might, we can’t accomplish everything by ourselves. All the great dreamers give credit to those that "help" them along the way, or the "fortuitous" circumstances, the "challanges" they had to overcome. Is it possible that all of these happenings in our lives were indeed arranged by a loving God? Who in writing our story blesses or challanges us through the people, events, and circumstances that we live through daily. Situations that, perhaps as dramatic as Abraham and Isaac, are just as telling about our Character and Faith? Well, now, as I’m being as active as I can, I also know that my "help" will not come from men. We have made ourselves available and obtained the proper paperwork, but I can’t make my children appear. We have made our requests for our next duty station, but we can’t make the branch manager send us there. So now, we wait, knowing with full faith and knowledge that the Lord who loves us will answer our questions, will consider our hearts desires and will order our steps so as to complete His perfect will. Even if that means forfeiting our vacation through the Northeast or moving to Germany, Hawaii, Korea, or (GASP) Alaska. And while we wait we will pray and prepare, that we may be worthy of the tasks laid before us.