Saturday, October 25, 2008
About a week ago I was driving home from the grocery store with the kids in tow. I was feeling down and in need of some encouragement, so I was excited when one of my new favorite songs came on the radio. It is "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong. I had just fallen in love with it and was super excited when we started singing it during the worship service at church. As soon as it came on the radio I turned it up a couple of notches. When the chorus started I could hear Ray clapping in the back seat. I turned around to see her holding her hands outstretched in praise with a huge smile on her face. My heart smiled as I saw my 20 month old daughter worshipping the best she knows how. She was imitating what she has seen from me when we listen to that song. It was the absolutely perfect encouragement. The uplifting that I so badly needed at that moment.
There is other ways that my children bless and encourage me daily. Luke will not go to bed with out family prayer time.
Ray will not eat a meal without covering her eyes and saying "pray". We all bow our heads while Ray mumbles a few sentences and then yells, "Maymen!"(That's "Amen", incase you were wondering.) She is very adament when she wants to pray. Some times we thank God for our food 5 times in one meal. Lately she has wanted to stop and pray at random times during the day. A couple of days ago I was sitting on the floor in the living room and she crawled up in my lap and wanted to pray.
Anytime there is an improtant issue that our family is dealing with Luke tells everyone he sees to pray about it. This past Monday at co-op he went up to a total stranger and asked them to "pray for his Uncle Erik's head because he fell down some stairs and had to get alot of staples in it". When I was pregnant with Treyson he told everyone to pray that God would give our baby some kidneys.
For my birthday Josh gave me a freestanding swing for the yard so that I can sit and swing when the kids are out playing(Which would be all day every day if I would let them.) When Josh gave it to me I was thanked him, but I also semi-scolded him because he spent more than the allotted birthday amont on my gifts. He explained that the day he went to get the swing it had gone on sale. When Luke heard that he blurted out, "Thank you God that the swing was on sale and we got to get it for Mama's birthday! Thank you! Thank you, God!" Not only was he emphatically thankful to God, but that was his first reaction.
Also, Luke tells me almost daily that he loves me SOOO much, but that he loves God more because he loves God more than anything in the whole world.
All of these things are more than just cute and heart warming. It shows me where their hearts are. It shows me that they are devoloping a love for Jesus. As a parent, that is my upmost goal. To teach my children to love the Lord with their whole heart. If they truly do that, then everything else will fall into place. If they fully love Him then they will accept, trust, obey, and follow His will for their lives.
Of course, not every action that they pick up from me is a positive one. Some times the reflection of myself that I see in my children is down right ugly. I've heard Luke from the other room yelling, "Raylen Jayne! I'm not going to tell you one more time to stop touching that!" He sounds just like me, except for the whole five-year-old-boys-voice thing.
Two days ago I walked in the kitchen to find Raylen spanking her baby doll. I have full confidence in Ray that the doll had committed a spank worthy offense, but it still stung a bit that she had choosen that aspect of mothering to reinact with her baby.
Another time, Josh and I were disagreeing about how to do something and Luke piped up, "Daddy, you need to do what Mama says 'cause she is the boss of this family." Ouch! That one put me in my place. Do I really give the apperance of being the boss of the family? I know that I'm the more outspoken one out of the two of us because Josh is just so easy going. But apparently I look like the boss of our house, and that is not at all the way I want my children, or anyone for that matter, to view our home and Josh and I's marriage.
Leave it to your kids to open your eyes about how you really are.
I know that I am FAR from the perfect parent. Some days I feel like a complete failure in that compacity. It is THE most important job that God has entrusted me with and I don't always give it the attention and energy that I should. But it is exciting and encouraging to know that God not only can use me, but that he already is using me to help develope a love for Christ in my children.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
My birthday was a nice one. Josh and the kids gave me several presents, one of them being especially thoughtful. Just in case you didn't know, I have my lip pierced. Josh bought me a heart shaped lip stud and had a very very tiny "T" engraved on it. I was so impressed! Not only was it sweet and thoughtful, but pretty darn creative too. He and Luke gave it too me the night before my birthday. That is a little tradition around our house for Christmas and birthdays. We each can open one present on Christmas eve night or the night before our birthday. It is just a fun family tradition.
It was a nice day, full of thoughtful cards and gifts and feeling very loved.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I kept asking myself,
"Am I having a nervous breakdown?
If I am then how do I know?"
I haven't slept good at night in many years. If I tried to pinpoint my when my sleep problems started I would have to say my junior year in high school. That is when I began being plauged by nightmares almost every single night. That lasted until around the time I began college, when at that point they began to lessen. It was several more years before they faded off to what I would call normal. And by "normal" I mean once or twice a week.
Starting college, while it brought some relief in regards to the nightmares, it brought on a whole new set of problems. Very soon after I began my first semester of my freshman year I began to struggle with depression. I had never dealt with this before, so it took a little while to pinpoint what the problem was. And then even longer to accept that I was actually,(in my point of view), a number. I had read the statistics of how many people suffer from clinical depression. I did not want to be one of those people. I thought that I was stronger than that. By the time I was 18 I had dealt with alot of adversity. Never once did I lose sight of my faith or question God and His goodness. I just kept on going. I was pretty judgemental towards those who I thought were weaker than I. I don't know if my freshman year in college was all of that junk catching up with me or if it was other things, but I began to struggle big time. If any of you have ever struggled with depression you know that it brings on sleep issues of its own.
I spent the rest of my college years bouncing between depression, substance abuse, a couple of bad bad relationships, or a combination of the three. Why I didn't sleep well during those years is pretty much self explainatory.
I'm way past college, but I still don't sleep well. It usually isn't that I have a problem falling asleep. The problem is that I toss and turn and wake up pretty much every hour. The past few weeks my sleeping problems have worsened. I have been waking up in the night with anxiety. The anxiety keeps me wide awake. I either end up having to get up and start my day(that has sometimes been at 4am), or if it is so ridiculously early that I can't exactly start my day(say, 1:00am), then I just lay there and pray.
It has taken several years for me to be able to put a name with my feelings. Now that it is named I still haven't been able to beat it. I have a protocol: distraction, deep breaths, happy thought, praying. All of these things have worked pretty well as coping mechanisms in the past. So far, though, nothing seems to be working with the night time anxiety. It can be very frustrating.
When I was pregnant with Treyson and I found out about the complications I thought, "This is going to be a rocky ride." I thought that I'd be a nervous wreck. It didn't quite work out that way. While there were moments of worry and anxiety, the four months from when I found out about his problems up until his birth was the most peace I have felt in my entire life. I know a HUGE part of that was all the many many people that prayed so faithfully for us. I don't know if I could have functioned with out those prayers. The other cause for such peace was the fact that I totally and completely put the entire situation in God's hands. It was beyond me. I allowed myself to rest in His peace and be carried by the prayers of the saints. In the weeks following Treyson's birth and passing, that peace slipped away, and the anxiety returned. We seemed to be faced with one obstacle after another and sometimes it was easier to let yourself hurt and be angry, than it was to sit back, rest in God's comfort, and trust Him.
Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anious about anything". It doesn't say, "try not to be anxious". It says, "DO NOT be anxious for ANYTHING". I understand this and I don't want to be anxious and I feel like I am doing everything in my power not to be...but I still am. The really frustrating part is when I'm laying in bed asking, praying, begging God to take it away. For a while I feel like He has been just sitting there, watching me suffer, watching me plead, but not doing anything. I KNOW that God does not enjoy watching me suffer and that He truly cares about every intricate detail of my life. But there are times when He seems so apathetic to me. I keep trying my best to give it to Him and He won't take it!
I want to scream, "Why won't you just take it?! Haven't I suffered enough?! Didn't I tell you over and over again that inspite of everything that I've gone through I still trust you?! Yet it feels like you have completely abandoned me. I trust you, so just take it already! Why? Why? WHY?"
I know that I am still growing and learning about God and His nature and who He is. But I know enough to know that God is most absolutely not just sitting back watching me suffer and not caring enough to intervene the way that I want Him to. He suffers with me every second that I do and catches every tear that falls. Even when I feel like I'm alone and that He isn't listening. I am so glad that who God is isn't based on how I feel. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, no matter what I think or how I feel. I'm at the point where I have to choose to trust what I know and not how I feel. Feelings lie.The rest of that verse in Philippians and the one following says,
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the pace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
So that is what I have been trying to do when I feel anxious. Present my requests to God with thanksgiving. I'm still waiting on that peace which transcends all unstanding to guard my heart and mind. For now it is my thorn in the flesh. I know that without it I would probably try to handle my life on my own, since I don't feel like He was doing such a great job and I didn't really like the direction it seemed to be headed with Him being the one in control. But my burden, the burden that is much to heavy for me to carry alone, causes me to return to His feet.
Today has been a much better day. My burden has not been lifted,(I have come to terms with the fact that it may be a long time before that happens), but it is bearable. With the circumstances in my life the way that they currently are, bearable is good enough for me.
I added a Casting Crowns video at the bottom of this post. This song has ministered to me many times in the past several months. The words portray where my heart is right now. No matter the circumstances I still choose to praise Him. (Before you play the video scroll down to the bottom of the page and pause the music.)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
June 6, 2008-June 6, 2008
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Please keep those who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, early infant death, and SIDS in your prayers today.
I'll love you until the day after forever, my little one.
To learn more, go to http://www.october15th.com/
Friday, October 10, 2008
The first person I checked on was my friend Jennifer on her blog LIFE(I would attach the link to it, but I don't know how to do that. Want to help me again, Heather?). She had a new post and I loved it. Jennifer and I were accountablity/prayer partners several years ago. It was during that time that I realized what a wise person she is and I have always valued her thoughts and opinions very highly since that time. After reading what she wrote I was totally in blog surfing mode. I started checking up on everyone, and let me tell you, it seems life almost everybody had something new up that was either really deep or really hilarious. I was having a great time! For some reason I decided to look at the clock. It was 6:12. 6:12!!!! I had been at the computer for almost 40 minutes!! I got up and RAN to the kitchen. Just as you would expect the toast was burned to a crisp, half the pasta was permanetly charred to the bottom of the pot, and the broccoli was steamed beyond recognition. The only part that survived was the green bean casserole. But, as we later discovered, it wasn't that great either. I used the off brand cream of mushroom in it instead of Campbell's because it was almost half the price. Well, as it turned out, it was half the taste also.
Josh and I ate what could be salvaged, but the kids looked at their plates like I was possibly trying to poison them. I don't completely blame them. It wasn't good.
The night improved, thankfully. After putting the kids to bed, Josh and I sat on the porch by the fire pit until after 11:00 pm listening to music and talking. That is late for us. We are pretty much in bed by 10:30 every night with out too many exceptions. It was very relaxing. The night was cool and the fire was warm. We had a great time, inspite of Josh telling me several times that various parts of my body were about to get burned because I was too close to the fire. I can't help it. I'm cold natured. That's why I look forward to summer all year. If you ask Josh, though, he'll tell you that it is summer 10 months out of the year here anyway.
Today has gone well so far, with only one minor mishap. I took the kids to the Nederland pep rally. My mom's boyfriend's daughter is a varsity cheerleader, and one of Josh's cousins is a twirler. The kids love the pep rallys anyways, but they really love to see Jenna and Virgie. Luke spends most of the pep rally yelling, "JENNA!!", "VIRGIE!!" over and over again. He hasn't quite grasped that they can't hear him over the band, which is directly behind where we sit. Any way, the mishap was my over zealous Aunt Flo(code word for period), leaked all over the place, including through my jeans that I just washed and dried specifically to wear tonight. And yes, I do mean through my jeans at the actual pep rally. Darn the luck. (Oh, and on a side note, I feel like I can mention things like my period and so forth because I don't know of any men that read my blog, with the occasional exception of my husband.)
After the pep rally I took Luke to get his hair cut. On the way there I was listening to the radio. When I am in the car by myself I do one of three things. Completely jam out to very loud rock music. Listen to praise music and sing very loudly. Or sit in silence, enjoying the fact that I can actually have a few minutes of silence. When I listen to praise and worship music it usually involves me with atleast on hand outstreched and those in the vehicles around me giving me some very strange looks. Today, even though Luke was with me I was in the mood to worship. I had one arm outstreched as I sang. Luke was in the back seat talking non-stop about an array of topics, most of which I was not listening to. I did hear Star War: Clone Wars mentioned several times, but besides that I was pretty tuned in to what I was singing. At one point Luke asked me who I was waving at. I told him Jesus. He found that pretty amusing and had to think about that for a minute, but then it was right back to talking. While getting his hair cut, he gave the hair lady a detailed description of Dr. Octopus's "antentacles". I think antentacles are kinda like tentacles, or maybe more like antennas. I'm not really sure.
Right now we are about to head out to see the Nederland Bulldogs play the LCM Bears. I'm pretty sure this will involve alot more yelling for Jenna and Virgie. Pray that the girls with see him and wave at some point in the first quarter.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
She finally got a name last night. Hannah has always loved the name Anne, and Elizabeth was my dad's mom's middle name and it is Biblical. Mom and baby are both doing good and are coming home later today.
As for pictures...when I put my memory card in to the computer to download the pictures so that I could put some up, something happened and now that card appears to be bad. I guess it got some kind of virus from the computer. I'm hoping that I will be able to retrieve them somehow, but I'm not counting on it. I'm pretty upset about it because I had some really good pictures. Oh, well.
Hannah did awesome during labor and the delivery. She always does great giving birth. No epidural, no pain killers, no nothin'! In fact, the rule Hannah made ahead of time is that she didn't want anyone to even ask her if she wanted anything for pain. Towards the end it was hard to not at least ask her if maybe she wanted something. But I bit my tongue and went along with her requests, and before we knew it baby girl was here. It was very exciting!
The room was very calm and quiet. There was one mid-wife and one nurse present and they were both incredible. It was a beautiful experience.
Luke did well with the whole thing. I was expecting him to ask Hannah or Stephen if we could have her. Over the past couple of months he would randomly tell me, "We need to ask Aunt Hannah and Uncle Stephen if we can have their baby since our baby died." I've tried to explain to him that it doesn't quite work that way, but it still seemed logical to him.
Thankfully he didn't ask. There was also no more talk about babies dying, so that was good too. He did tell Hannah that the baby looked like it had been at the beach too long and got a sunburn.
After looking at her another minute he added, "I think she's gonna be a beach girl."
That would make her aunt very happy. Good call Luke!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I'm so excited!! Keep us in your prayers though. Pray that Hannah will have a quick and easy delivery. Pray for the safety of Little Girl Andrews. Pray that will be able to hold my emotions together at least somewhat. And pray for Luke. He is pretty worried that the baby is going to die. He has mentioned in several times just today. I know that he doesn't fully understand everything, but aparently he still has some bad memories from Treyson's birth and passing.
I'm off now! Go Pray!!
Monday, October 6, 2008
I keep wanting to post, but I feel like there are so many things that I need to catch you up on before I start talking about feelings, issues, etc. There may not be a one of you that cares about all the things I am about to inform you of, but once again my obsessivness kicks in. I can't move on with out a mental clean slate. So here goes...
Baby Weston...My cousin's baby is home and doing great! He was released from the hospital about a week after Ike hit. He has been doing really well. Thank you so much for your prayers for him!
My sister hasn't had her baby yet. They recieved damage in the inside of their home from Ike, and they were without power for 2 1/2 weeks(most of that time they spent at home because Hannah didn't want to get too far from the hospital. Now they are up and running, so it is time for that little one to get here. The new prayer request is that she will have the baby some time in the next week. She has gestational diabetes. With gestational diabetes the rate of still birth goes way up if once you pass your due date. Not sure why, it just does. If she hasn't had the baby by next Tuesday, then they will start the induction process just to be on the safe side. She has wonderful mid-wives and completely trusts their judgement. So pray that Baby Andrews comes soon!
Our house didn't have any damage on the inside. Part of the fence are damaged, several trees were down(and a TON of limbs), one wall of the water heater shed was torn up, the roof is pretty messed up, there is damage to parts of our siding in the front and on both sides, and a twister completely destroyed our storage builing. But God is good. The storage building is laying against our back fence in a heap of twisted metal, but almost all of the contents stayed right where they were. Not only that, but the majority of the stuff we were able to salvage. The insurance adjuster and FEMA have both already been out, we are just waiting to hear from them.
Everyone in the Carlin household is finally well! Ray gave us a bit of a scare, and I seriously though that I would go insane before I got my voice back. But I finally have it back,(much to the disappointment of the kids and Josh).
We are finally getting back in the swing of things with school. We are part a GREAT homeschool co-op that meets on Mondays. It started back up today. Even though we have had some kinks in the plan in regards to homeschooling, it has been going really well. I am so glad that we chose to do it this year. I was on the fence up until the last minute, but I don't regret our decision one bit.
Today is Treyson's 4 month birthday. I purposely left this tid bit as the last thing because I didn't want it to set the tone for this post. I really am ok today. I do pretty good with his month birthdays. The hardest part is that every month is closer to his one year birthday. I already know that that is going to be very difficult. I am dreading it. But his 4 month birthday today wasn't anymore difficult than his 3 month and 29 day birthday yesterday. Another day. I still miss him.
I am going to try my best to write again soon. It isn't that I don't want to, I am just still trying to work out a good schedule in which I actually have some free time to do things like read, write, and surf the internet(since no other surfing will be taking place any time in the near future, unfortunately).
Until we meet again, I love you all.