Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Where are you, Jesus?

They say this time is the happiest time of the year. But for some, it is the hardest. Sadly, all the hard things don't end because it's Christmas.

Where is happiness when sitting with your mom who is lying in a hospital bed, praying and hoping for her to get better? Or with the sister who is in surgery while the surgeon is removing a brain tumor two days before Christmas? Or the first, or second, or third Christmas without your mom? Because you know what they say, when you lose your mom, you feel like you become an orphan no matter what age you are.

Where is Jesus when you've worked so hard and still have no money for presents? Or when your baby is born months early and spends the first days and weeks of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit and doesn't come home for Christmas? Where is He when your daddy is recovering from surgery and another dad is recovering from a heart attack? Where is He in broken family relationships, or in marriages struggling to stay together, or the missing and longing of that one person who is Christmas to you, or in the deaths of a father and sister one week apart.... 

Right now I'm baking treats for our neighbors and family. The kids are outside digging in the dirt and playing. I'm listening to the song, "Oh, come, oh, come Emmanuel." And I'm reminded and I'm weeping as I'm praying for all my loved ones who are struggling and hurting. I'm praying that especially at this time Emmanuel, which means, "God with us," is felt right now. I'm praying Jesus is known and felt in every single situation, hardship, and trial we are facing.

When I was going through the saddest time of my life, I can honestly say I felt and knew God's powerful love and peace in ways I could never imagine possible. And that is my prayer for all my loved ones, that especially today, the day before Christmas, we would know, without a shadow of a doubt, God is with us. He loves us deeply and unconditionally. He will give us peace and joy that transcends all understanding. So cling to him, with all that you have, especially now, and Emmanuel shall surely come to you. 

Keep your eyes and your heart open. He will come to you in ways you did not think was possible.

Jesus is with us.


Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!

Oh come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Thy people with Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!

Oh come, Thou rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'ver the grave

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!
Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!

Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It Goes Too Fast, Enjoy It While You Can

Taken tonight at Jericho's last preschool Christmas performance. I'm one proud momma!
I've been a bit emotional lately. I am that crazy mom.

In three weeks we are starting a new phase in our life. Yesterday was Jericho's orientation for Junior Kindergarten. It's a new program for kids who turned five in December and were not able to start transitional kindergarten this past September. As the principal was talking to us she said, "this is harder for the parents than it is for the students." And just like that the tears wouldn't stop. It's true, the saying, "it goes too fast, enjoy it while you can." The person who reminded me of that so many times is now on the other side of heaven. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss my sweet momma, especially during days like these when I wish I could talk to her and ask her, "were you this sad when I started kindergarten? Is this normal?"

It seems so silly to be sad. "They are only here for four hours, and then they will be back home again," is what the principal said. But what this really is, the beginning of school, is the beginning of a new life. You see, when I became a mom, I struggled with letting go of my career and being home with my baby. I loved my job. The work I did was life giving to me and something I deeply enjoyed. I came to a crossroads once Jericho was born. The minute I saw my baby, the one who had been in my tummy for 35 weeks, and felt my heartbeat, I knew that there was nothing that could keep me away from him. And though I loved my job, I knew that the desire to be with Jericho every second possible was more.

I continued working until Jericho was ten months old. I felt the mommy guilt. I was torn. I wanted to be a full time mommy but didn't want to give up my job. After ten months James and I decided that it was time for me to be home with Jericho. There would always be time for me to go back to work. Exactly a week after I resigned, we found out that I was pregnant with Karis. At that time I remember thinking, God's timing is perfect.

Since then I have struggled with the idea that no one will ever hire me again because I've "just been a stay at home mom." I've struggled with my identity because I am not accomplishing tasks or finishing projects or making even a penny. And now, just like that, life is changing and my role as a momma is changing. My time of being a stay at home mom is coming to an end. I'm coming to the the realization that my baby is no longer a baby, while knowing in my heart that he will always be my baby, no matter how old he is. I accept the truth, "it goes too fast, enjoy it while you can."

For me being a mom is the most fulfilling and life giving thing that I have ever experienced. I realize that the breastfeeding every two hours ends after a couple of months. The sleepless nights, though during the time seems like they will NEVER end, eventually do. And as one of my mom friends who has grown children has told me, they are all potty trained before they go to college. This whole thing, of being that person who does every single thing for my baby, is coming to an end.

And tonight, as I tuck my boy in bed and say prayers with him that he doesn't have any nightmares, I tell him how proud of him I am and that I love him forever and ever (amen). I cover his face with kisses, and snuggle him just long enough for him to tell me to stop because I'm making him too hot. I study his face and see how his silky straight hair falls so perfectly on his forehead, while his eyes flutter because he's falling asleep. I will myself to enjoy it while I can. It is going way too fast. And I thank God for giving me this sweet sweet boy to love every day for the rest of my life.