Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Struggles

Being a Christian gives you such a sense of peace, especially during the hard times because you know God is in control and things are going to work out to give HIM glory! But, since I am human and I still inhabit this fleshly body, I have struggles - different ones at different time.

When I was little, my struggle (although I didn't know it was a problem) was with lying. For some reason, I was prone to telling little white lies all the time. If somebody asked me if I'd ever heard a certain song and I hadn't, I would lie and say I had. Looking back on it, I don't have any idea why I told those lies but I did. Since accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior and wanting to follow God's commands, I have asked God to help me in this area. Guess what? He has done just that! It is a thought out effort sometimes because sometimes the lie seems like it will save me from conflict, but every time I lie it comes back to bite me in the rear. I love that God knows what is best for us - how awesome would our world be if each of us followed all the commandments.

Since middle school, I have had a HUGE problem with gossiping and keeping secrets. I am better about the gossiping now that I am a stay at home mom, and I think that is for two reasons. One, I have asked for God's help with this issue. Two, I am a stay at home mom and I don't come into contact with as many people as I did when I was working. When I was teaching, it was bad. It was like word vomit - where I would try to control it, but eventually it made its way out of my mouth. I realized it was bad when I was working with the youth in Misawa and saw them doing it. Another youth leader and I made it a point to talk about this topic with the girls in our small group Bible study. We had them all come up with a way "out" of those situations where others were gossiping. This is when I realized I needed my own way "out." Mine was more on the bold side - I just simply said "please don't tell me." My friend Deb (the other youth leader) held me accountable and since she taught in the room next door to mine - that helped alot! It is amazing how "out of the loop" i felt when I wasn't involved with the gossip at school, but at the same time I felt so much closer to the Lord and it was easier to express love/friendship to those who around me when I didn't know all their "mistakes." To this day, I still try to justify when I do share things with people, but there isn't anything honorable about sharing somebody else's business with others when you know you aren't supposed to. Sometimes it is just exciting news that I want to share with people, but I know that it isn't my news to share. Like I said, this is something I struggle with and I know I have gotten much better but that isn't because of my doing. I do love this verse we talked about at Bible study the other night - 1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But, whenn you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Isn't it neat how God designed the family. The man goes out to work and the woman stays home and cares for the children and the home. Do you think God knows that women are prone to gossip and being at home will help in this area? I know that is what helped me in this area. These are just my thoughts and I know not all women are big gossips and I have even known some men who were worse than their spouses but generally I think it is women who do this.

I also wonder if each human is prone to certain sins. For instance, where I struggle with lying and gossiping, others struggle with coveting or sexual sins. I believe we all have ones we need help with and just as our gifts may not be the same as somebody elses our weaknesses will not be either.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Since I became a mom...

Being pregnant and then becoming a mother is something that people try to tell you about, but it is one of those things that you will never fully understand until you have been through it. I have a whole new appreciation and sense of excitement for people who are moms now - especially my own mom.

A few things I have learned since having my daughter:

1) When my baby girl was firstborn, she used to cry when there seemed to be no reason. She had eaten, her diaper had been changed, I had burped her, she was getting some attention, and she had just had a nap. Many times, I could not figure out the problem. I realized that sometimes I am like that with God. I cry when things seem horrible to me, but HE knows I'm okay. Just as I did what I thought was best for Lilly (even if it meant she cried a little), God does what is best for me ( even if I cry a little).

2) When she comes to me, I try to give her what she asks for. When she raises her hands to be picked up, I pick her up. When she wants a drink, I give her a drink. God says when we come to HIM and ask - we shall receive. I think the focus on that verse is that we come to HIM.

3) I better understand the sacrifice that God made by sending his only son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. I know that love I have for my daughter and I don't think there is anyway I could allow her to die for other people's shortcomings - especially people I don't care for too much.

4) Becoming a mom was a major adjustment for me, it took me a while to adapt to the change from school teacher to stay at home mom/wife. I went through periods of time, where I didn't think I could do it. God has shown me that right now my ministry is to my husband and daughter. That I am to care for them and keep up with the house. So, I praise God while I'm changing diapers and cleaning toilets because it is my reasonable sacrifice to HIM and because it is the way I am serving HIM at this point in my life. Recently, my husband asked if I wanted to go back to work and surprisingly my answer was no...I can't see myself doing anything else now. Of course, there are rough days but for the most part, I have such a sense of peace about my new "job." :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Switcheroo with Blessings

Like I said in an earlier post, our plan for moving to Houston was for Mark to get a part time job for a few months. When the school year started up, I was going to teach, Mark was going to go to school, and Lilly would be put in daycare.

Well, once we moved into our house, it was time for Mark to start looking for a job. In his searches, he wasn't able to find a part time job that would pay enough to cover our bills. Also, at this point, I began to wonder where and how I was going to leave Lilly at home when it was time for me to go back to work.

Mark kept getting calls from places that wanted him to interview for full time career jobs. He is such an awesome husband that he decided to give up his dreams of going to UTI and opening his own performance shop and change our plan to God's plan. He went to several career fairs and each time came home excited about the possibilities of a certain job. Each time I would get prepared for the possible job where he would have to travel or be away from home a good amount of time. I would ask God how I was going make it on my own when Mark was away. I didn't have any friends or family in the area and I was a new mom. Well, the jobs wouldn't pan out and Mark would get disappointed. I would get a little stressed because we were running short on money, but then I would remember that God's plans for us were not to harm us, HE was going to provide for us (we had just experienced that) and that HE would only give us as much as we could handle with HIM walking beside us every step of the way.

Like I said, we were running out of money and Mark and I were wondering how we were going to pay our bills and thinking we may have to move in with one of our parents because this plan just wasn't working out. God blessed us in an amazing way - we recevied two gifts of $500 each, which ended up being exactly enough to cover the bills at that time. God you are so good!

After several months of searching and yes, stressing, God provided Mark with a job (I know, all in God's perfect timing). His position at Transocean was definately a blessing. This position was one where he would not have to travel for weeks at a time, so it allowed him to be home in the evenings with Lilly and I. Extra blessings with this job: Mark got paid enough that I would be able to stay home with Lilly and not have to put her in child care.

Moral of this story: God knows what is BEST always!


Once we found out we were pregnant, we were excited and told EVERYBODY! Since we in Japan, our Misawa family is who we celebrated with physically! I had a pretty easy pregnancy, I didn't really have morning sickness but I did get a sickish feeling when I ate sweets and I had one little episode with canteloupe. Our Misawa family was there for all of it (except the final month)- they watched my belly grow, they were able to feel and see Lilly kicking and moving around and they even were there when I went for a 4D ultrasound. We went to a Japanese doctor for the ultrasound and I think the doctors and nurses were amazed and a little shaken by how many people we had in the room for the ultrasound. My friend, Rose, another member of the Misawa family found out she was pregnant shortly after me so we were able to talk with each other and share our experiences. We even had a baby shower together - thanks to a wonderful friend Janice! I knew Mark was getting out of the Navy and I knew we were moving before Lilly was to be born, but it was still heartbreaking to leave our support group and head to the states. Especially when we were stepping into the unknown.

Here is my delivery story:
My mom came into town and she came with me to the doctor on Feb. 27th. The doctor said, "You are dialated 1 cm and the baby is in position. I bet you'll have this baby this weekend." I was shocked! I mean, I knew it was time but I didn't realize it was time. :) The whole rest of that day was spent getting things ready for Lilly's arrival - setting up the crib, getting the car seat set and all of the last minute things that needed to be done. On the evening of Feb. 28th, Mark, my mom and I were playing a game of Phase 10 when I kept having the contractions on a regular basis. My mom was timing them and when they reached 7 minutes apart, she decided we should leave. Mark and I rode in one car and my mom followed. I started calling everybody we knew to let them know that Lilly would probably be arriving soon. We arrived at the hospital and they checked me in and hooked me up to the monitors to see if I was contracting (which I was) and if I was dilated (was still only 1 cm). They moved me to a delivery room where Mark, my mom, and I waited anxiously. The nurse had talked to my doctor and they decided to let me wait it out and see if I would dilate any on my own. Well, I waited the whole night - still contracting - and nothing.

The next morning at 6am, they gave me petocin to speed up the process and then the nurse asked me if I wanted an epidural. I said, "yes" because I knew that I didn't do well with pain and if there was a way to lessen it, I was all for it. I guess it was around noon when I was dilated enough to start pushing. Because of the epidural, I had a hard time feeling the contractions and knowing when exactly to push. I had to rely a lot on the nurses and the monitors to tell me when. For an hour and a half, I pushed and pushed as hard as I could but I guess Lilly's head was stuck behind my pubic bone and she just wasn't budging. With every push, I was waiting for my mom or the nurse to say they saw her head, but that didn't happen. Finally, my doctor gave me the option to keep pushing for 30 more minutes or to go ahead with a c-section. I was so tired and worn out that I said just go for the c-section. I remember Mark and my mom saying "No, you don't want to do that" but I was worn out and I didn't see where 30 more minutes of pushing was going to help.

Since I was getting a c-section and it had been so long since my epidural, I had to wait for the dr. to come in and give me another epidural. That is when it was really PAINFUL, I thought I was dying, the contractions were so strong and I was feeling every bit of them. This part of the delivery is why I wonder if I could have pushed her out on my own if I hadn't had the epidural because I would have felt the strong urge and my pushes might have had more strength behind them. I know I can't change it, but I just wonder.

So, the wheeled me into the surgery room - Mark had to put on this "blue suit" so he would be able to go in and be with me. My mom wasn't able to go in there which I know bothered her. I remember being so scared and unsure of the decision I had made. Everything from that point until the delivery is a blur, but I know that at 2:33pm we had a baby girl. I got to give her a kiss after they cleaned her up, but I wasn't able to hold her for a few hours which was really stinky. Mark got to hold her and go show her off to my mom.

It seemed so surreal for a long time - we were actually parents! What a miracle, an awesome blessing from God.