Friday, June 08, 2012

In the Morning

My little one, Jordan, gets up in the 5 o'clock hour EVERY day. He has done this since he was maybe 3 months old or so.  He would wake up in his bassinet and coo loudly and play with his hands.  I remember it was so endearing that my husband said, "I need to start getting up earlier each morning any way, so I'm just going to get up with him."  I warned him that this might start a "bad" pattern, but I couldn't help but love how much Simon, who can usually sleep pretty late, wanted to get up that early before work just to spend time with our baby.  So, the routine began...and continues...NO matter what we do. :)

This has been the main topic of every prayer I pray lately.  I beg God to please change this in Jordan.  I condemn myself for not doing any "sleep training" with him each morning to get him to sleep later.  I did try it once and yes, it might have worked for that one day, but it was NOT the way I wanted me or my son to start our day.  Emotionally worn out...hearts sore from the struggle and confusion.  He always wakes up bright and happy and just ready to go and it hurt me to think that that day it was not so.

I usually have to get up sometime between 2 and 3 AM to nurse Jordan.  After that last feeding there have been early mornings where all I do is check the monitor off and on and just live in anxiety, depleted of sleep, wondering and begging and hoping that this one morning, he will sleep later than 5:30 AM.  I took the advice of our Physicians Assistant who said to start putting him down an hour later and give it two weeks.  "Eventually, she said, it will change his internal clock and he will start sleeping later."  So, I've been putting him to bed later for the last month...and there has been no change.  He's just missing an hour of sleep now.

So, I've come to realize that again, there must be something in this for ME.  Honestly, if you know me and Simon and our lives, having a baby who is this eager to start his day each day would not surprise you.  Especially when you know that Simon is the one who greets him each morning and gets him out of his crib.  You see, Simon is the "life of the party" kind of guy.  He is FULL of joy and fun.  It's what initially attracted me to him.  And he spends every morning before work with Jordan.  Of course Jordan can't wait to get up and see his daddy.

But what about me?  Again, what is in this for ME?  That's the question I am now asking and the prayer I am praying.  I began to realize that I needed to change my expectations about Jordan's wake up time.  Every day I would wake up upset and discouraged because Jordan, once again, did not sleep until 6 AM like the "books" say he should.  Maybe I should just start expecting him to wake up every day in the 5 o'clock hour and if for some amazing reason he should sleep until 6 AM, I can be wonderfully surprised and blessed?  :)

God also reminded me that a few years ago He gave me a revelation about how much He, Himself, loves the morning.  Throughout the book of Psalm, you can find scripture after scripture declaring how wonderful the morning is.  How God answers prayer in the morning.  In fact, a wonderful christian artist I once knew named a CD after this revelation...So why wouldn't God give me a son who so LOVES this early morning as much as He does?!  Don't we desire and pray that our children will be like Christ?  What's so bad about starting our days that early?  Maybe each day God has something special for us in that early hour.  Maybe the son I've prayed for all my life has something special for me. Shouldn't I be the one who can't wait to get up and spend time with him?!  Ah...the selfishness of the former we so want everything to conform to our convenience.  So I've resolved to set my mind to relish these early mornings, each day walking by faith, that one day, in His grace, precious Jordan will desire to sleep later.

Psalm 30:5 For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but REJOICING comes in the morning.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Walking the Line

It's been awhile since I've blogged. Mainly due to lack of time or a belief that anyone will care, or maybe some will care too much. Maybe some will judge me...or even be happy to see that I struggle. But at the end of it all, I don't care anymore. I'm tired of Christianity being about wearing a mask and looking and acting like everything is perfect. Only celebrating and sharing the good stuff. Let's be real. I want to, so here it goes.. My life as of the last 7 months has been about how to be a mom. I had NO idea how hard being a new mom would be. And I have been ashamed at how hard it has been for me. Embarrassed, sad, disappointed...but mainly ashamed. Ashamed that I could let this seriously AMAZING baby boy be anything to me but wonderful. But it's not him you's my own struggles, my own insecurities, my own places of woundedness that are now being exposed through this new mommy hood time.

You would think that after leading and sending out hundreds of mission teams that one would be cool with not having a daily agenda and life being interrupted whenever. But then I realized, I was the one planning the trips, leading them, making the calls, setting the schedules, choosing each day's itineraries. Yes, I did submit them to God while planning them and also while on the trip, but usually each day worked out the way we planned and when it didn't, one or two days out of ten, it was fun to let God rearrange things and see Him work. But being a mom to not just a text book baby, but an extraordinary one, leads each day to letting this little guy make the calls. I could plan each day that he is going to finally sleep those predicted 2 two hour naps that he SHOULD be sleeping these days, but we are far from that goal. Or, each night for that matter could be the night that he sleeps all night, or even only wakes up once, but again, we are far from that goal.

You see, I have read probably five different books on the subject of baby's sleep and how to "make" them sleep like they should. Honestly, I should be an expert now about sleep training. I even implemented the Baby Wise technique with an infant when I was a nanny years ago and it was truly EASY. He cried 20 minutes the first day and only 5 minutes the second day and from that day forward we were on a perfect schedule. I have tried the techniques in these books probably 3 or 4 different times with my baby. I believe they do work...I did see some difference in my baby's sleep the last time I did it...but at what cost? The cost was that he would cry for an hour to an hour and a half and lost his sweet little voice. For two weeks, his gorgeous squeals of delight, were replaced with sqeaks and instead of his sweet "bababa'ing" he was instead silent. And I was unable to continue the "gentle" sleep techniques I had set out to do. My heart was broken. The lactation loving Physicians Assistant we see for his medical care even said he must have been in distress to have cried hard enough to lose his voice. Can you imagine the pain I felt hearing those words?!

I honestly don't like the idea of letting him cry so he can sleep "independently", but on the other hand, how else will he ever learn to sleep? Isn't that where all us new moms are? I am trying to walk the line between what these books say is proper and appropriate for his sleep and trying to just be led by the Holy Spirit in how He designed MY baby - who again, in MY opinion is EXTRA - ORDINARY and DESTINED for Awesomeness!!! :) So, here I am...I have no answers. Each day I struggle with my own emotions. Will it be a good day because my baby "slept" the way "they" said he should or will I have FAITH and trust to believe that GOD is in control. That He has not forsaken us. That He will finish what He started and perfect that which concerns me? Can I just relax, surrender and LET God be in control? Can I be at peace even on the days that my baby decides to fight each nap or on the mornings that he wants to wake up at the literal crack of dawn to start his day? Can I forgive myself each day when I am unable to have the heart to "teach" my son how to sleep at night or nap? Believing that I am NOT doing him a disservice? Can I walk that line of peace and that line between what God says and the books say? 

That line seems VERY narrow these days and I seem to fall off it more than balance on it. But hopefully, I am truly learning, FINALLY, how to daily, in EVERY tiny circumstance, to trying walk by the Spirit and maybe even hear His voice more clearly and louder. Maybe this is what God has for me through this time and why He gave me such an awesome child! Maybe that's the real question I should be asking..."What Lord do you have for me to learn through this time. Change ME Lord, not my child."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Mission of Motherhood

Wow..Motherhood has taken me by storm! I've always been someone who takes on a responsibility or role and does it 150%...and with joy as long as it was a passion of mine. I should have known the role of motherhood would not be any different. Some how though I thought I would just have this baby and life would just seemingly go on as normal and he would just naturally warp into what I needed him to be to keep "this life" I wanted to preserve.

All of that changed the moment he was delivered. It's so neat how God has created women so that when their babies are born they have a rush of hormones and chemistry which usually makes them so bonded and in love with their new ones, that they would literally lay down their lives for them and they just met these babies! Maybe it has nothing to do with hormones or chemistry and is just purely emotional and spiritual, whatever the cause, it's intense!

So, my new focus has been being a mom and that focus has brought SO many questions and doubts!!! I have said over and over again that I think this job is much harder for me than running an agency. Running an agency required having multiple people around you all day long with the same calling. People you could bounce questions off of and you never truly had to stand completely alone in the decisions you made, weighty as some of them might have been. Also, there was less emotion in the decisions made. With motherhood it's ALL emotional! That's my little baby boy...what do you mean I should let him cry?! What do you mean I have to TAKE him to get shots? emotional!

But I realized yesterday when talking to a precious experienced mother, that this job as a new mom, is no different than really any other large job responsibility God calls us to in some ways. I remember the first time I led a mission team to Ethiopia about eight years ago...I had always wanted to go to Africa and help orphans but had NEVER been to Africa and had NEVER led a mission trip. I'd actually only been on two mission trips in my life, albeit, one was to Siberia. :) But, I was a firm believer that God calls us into things that are way out of our comfort zone and that He truly calls the ill equipped and weak as He wants to be strong through them. So I agreed to lead it, SCARED out of my mind! I fumbled my way through each team conference call, trying to act like I knew what I was doing. But God provided! He provided a beautiful Ethiopian woman named Almaz who helped be our guide in Ethiopia and he provided great team members who were full of grace and brought their own experiences to the table. But it was hard!! I cried each night when I retired to my room away from the team asking God why in the world would He have called ME to lead this team? People were not just going to Africa all the time back was pretty crazy to do so...and I thought after this trip is over, I am such an awful team leader I will never lead another team again... HAH!!!! I ended up as the Director of that organization just 4 years later!

So, here I am again in the mission of motherhood. It's no different. I cry time and time again because I'm scared. Scared that I'm not good enough and because I on many days have no idea what I'm doing. And like leading a mission team it can be a lonely place. There are days I think I could never have another child or adopt because I can't even get this mothering thing down with the one I have...or at least be more in peace with it and less overwhelmed. But then, on some days, when naps are plentiful and I'm more rested I think, "Oh how I'd love another one..." but that is quickly followed by fear. And now I'm encouraged because I remember it's how I felt after leading that first mission team to Ethiopia. God thinks more of me!!! This is JUST the beginning!!!! Maybe one day I WILL be the mommy director of my own home with a number of little ones and I won't be afraid anymore! But for now, I will just concentrate on making it through this first year with my baby and in time, God will strengthen my heart again and when I least expect it, knowing Him, we will be expecting another one, either by birth or adoption.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Here Come the Mommy Blogs..

Well, this blog is most definitely going to take a turn from solely orphan care and missions to be a little more personal. After all, my personal life does not center around orphan care and traveling internationally on missions every other month now. The orphan crisis is still heavy on my heart and always will be and we may or may not be bringing home a certain little girl from Africa (more on this in a future blog) one of these days, but my world and reality today is learning how to now be a full time mom to a precious baby boy.

By far, I've never had what I call "so much turning within". I'm usually someone who can make a decision and stick with it. If you know the Myers Briggs test, I was a J which stood for Judging. I could judge a situation and make a fairly quick decision and stand by my conviction. However, mommyhood, as I like to call it, has brought a whole new element and emotional stress of doubting my decisions.

The most recent turning within is about his napping and "sleep training". I was a nanny once for an infant boy and I read Baby Wise and this little one worked perfectly with this type of schedule. I let him cry it out one day and it only lasted for 20 minutes...and then next day, we were on our schedule. It seemed to be so easy! He was also formula fed. So, I went into this mommyhood thing completely convinced I would do Babywise with my son. And then I fell deeply in love with him and the idea of letting him cry when he hardly ever cried any way broke my heart. So, I decided I now agreed more with the attachment parenting style. Except, I am so not a "hippie" in the sense that I'm honestly not a real flexible gal. So, there were things about attachment parenting that I did agree with but I still felt convicted in my heart that there was something to this Babywise/scheduling stuff.

Recently, once Jordan was 4 months old and now about 17 pounds, my back was really aching all day long. Mainly because now he had preferences about how he wanted to fall asleep. My wonderful husband, who loves to help out with Jordan, liked to walk him around and "jiggle" him until he fell asleep, and this is what he enjoyed the most. I could do this before each nap normally, but in the afternoons, when he was more stimulated, he would not sleep past 30 minutes, unless I got him out of his crib and once again carried him back to sleep. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed with the idea that my future might entail putting a 25 pound toddler to bed this way and what if God decided to bless us with another child? I knew physically and mentally this was not going to be easy. So, I wanted to "prepare the way" in some sense for our future and one day after "carrying" him three different times for the same nap, I just "clicked" and was ready to let him cry it out. And cry it out he did. I didn't have a clock with me, but I think it was for like 40 minutes or so. But once he fell asleep, he was asleep for 2.5 hours! I thought, well, great, now just one more day of this and most likely we have arrived and he will no longer wake after 30 minutes and need me to go back to sleep.

However, that was like 3 weeks ago and since then, if left to cry it out, will continue to cry for 45 minutes or more and this mommy's heart cannot take it anymore! The idea of letting him cry is worse than the idea of going into surgery for me. I just don't have the heart to do it anymore. So, I am putting all the stupid books down (for the most part) and going only to the Lord and asking HIM what He wants me to do to parent Jordan. I'm trusting Him with the future of it all....I will not borrow worry for tomorrow. So far, the verses He has given me are:

John 14:18 - I will not abandon you as orphans, No, I will come to you. - This is what I feel God has given me to stand on to confirm that for me and Jordan, I am not to let him cry it out anymore. I want Jordan to grow up secure in the love that Simon and i have for him and that we would not give him a spirit of abandonment but one of adoption where he will cry out "Daddy"...You may disagree with me, but this is where I stand.

Zephaniah 3:18 - He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. - This verse was given to me this morning as I rocked baby Jordan to sleep. He tends to fight sleep more now that he's so social and again, I began doubting that rocking him instead of just placing him in the bed was the right thing. But, there are times when Jordan can not calm down and you can tell he is struggling to calm himself to sleep. But when I look at him with love as I sing over him, it calms and quiets him. I am also to show him great joy when he is awake, no matter what the circumstances...

I think God will show each parent how to parent each child as no two will be alike. But for me and Jordan and this time in our lives, this is how He wants me to do it. He is teaching me SO much about His love for me as well through this time and I hope to share some of this in future posts...

I'm looking for the answers, but I'm pretty sure they will fall somewhere between the attachment and babywise theories. After all, the only parenting wisdom I've been able to get from the Lord lately was in Proverbs:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


As some of you may have heard by now, I decided to resign from the agency Visiting Orphans. My mission and calling still remains the same and that is truly to WAKE UP the church to GO and visit orphans in their distress regardless. But I have a new mission now as love a baby boy named Jordan who God finally blessed us with and to make my family the priority.

This has been a peaceful and joyous time, but also grievous, sad and difficult. I helped grow Visiting Orphans over the past two and half years to what it was with the passion to reach as many orphans as possible and to inspire as many members of Christ's church to get off of the sofa and GO help them. At times through this transition it has felt like I am cutting off a member of my body or something. Leaving something very precious behind yet still feeling it's presence in my life. Trying to learn how to go from calling Visiting Orphans "we or us" to "them and they". Watching all the Facebook status' of all the team members and leaders and not knowing exactly how to comment. Wishing I could just block anything and everything VO for awhile but at the same time dying to know what's going on.

I also wrestle with is it okay for a mom to also want to work in the calling they had before he was born or should I just be a full time mom? Am I cheating my son and husband by not giving them my complete and only focus or enriching their lives for walking out the mission of James 1:27?

Whatever the answers are, I'm so thankful for this time with my son. I pray he grows up to be completely mission minded and sold out to the Father of the fatherless.

I have arrived at a great place of peace in my life nonetheless. Not because I can make sense of everything or have all the answers, but because I know that the God I serve is always faithful and true and I know that His promises can be believed, trusted and expected. That is the most awesome Truth to know. In this world, we truly can expect change and transition, but if we have a relationship with Christ, we can count on Him and this does not change.

"Even if the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed; His loving kindness shall not depart from me, neither shall the covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has mercy on me." Isaiah 54:10