Surrender

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

A couple of weeks ago, I heard a sermon at church where I was challenged to examine how I fit God into my life.  Overall, I try to include God in all aspects of my life, not just acknowledging Him on Sunday mornings but every day, and initially I allowed my mind to wander during this part of the teaching. However, I later realized that I have not trusted my LORD with everything important to me.

For almost five weeks after Chloe was born, I made weekly visits back to the doctor and the hospital trying to get rid of the “products of conception” that didn’t seem to want to leave my uterus.  While I am not a morbid person, I did have days when my thoughts would get away from me, and I would wonder if I were going to get better at all.  What if I had a bigger problem than what the doctor originally diagnosed and something really bad happened to me? Could I die if the D&C didn’t fix the problem (since it didn’t the first two times)?

I didn’t really think I was going to die, but my doctor didn’t help the situation, either.  I mean, he did point out on more than one occasion that childbirth is the leading cause of death in women around the world and the second leading cause of death in women in my age group in America (or something to that effect).  Why did he tell me those facts?  I don’t know; I think he may have explained his reasons to me, but I didn’t hear him.  My mind kept mulling over the word ‘death’ and the fact that my doctor had not yet healed me as he was spouting out these stats.  I really like my doctor, but his inability to hold back information not vital to my situation is one of my least favorite things about him.

And naturally, when thinking about my death, my mind instantly went to my children and husband.  Matt’s a great husband and father, but how would he raise three babies alone?  Would he remarry?  The thought of my children not remembering me (my oldest is three) practically killed me right there, and my not knowing Chloe at all or what my kids would look like when they were grown or if they would need therapy brought tears to my eyes…then I would snap out of it and scold myself for letting my thoughts get that carried away.

So naturally I let myself worry about a more practical issue–should Matt and I have a fourth child someday?  Since the doctor didn’t know why I had problems after the last two pregnancies, he wasn’t sure whether or not I would have problems again. Matt and my conversation with him really wasn’t much help in coming to a conclusion about this issue, either.  The doctor explained that there isn’t any reason for me not to have another child.  According to him, I didn’t have a near-death experience (even though the statistics were there to show that I could have!), and having a couple of D&Cs is more of a nuisance than anything–they shouldn’t keep me from having another child.  At this point in the conversation, I had to will my right hand to stay put as it wanted to swing up from my side and smack my doctor upside the head.  The flies that come in my house after my kids leave the door open are a nuisance, not the five weeks of pain and hospital visits I experienced.  My doctor’s opinion on this matter is my least favorite thing about him, but I digress.

One night after my ordeal seemed to be coming to a close finally, I was lying on my bed holding Chloe and thinking about the previous five weeks.  Chloe couldn’t seem to get comfortable, as she kept pushing off my stomach with her little feet, trying to crawl up me.  She was getting fussy, but there wasn’t anything I could do for her.  I held her in my arms, but I gave her room to wiggle around and bob up and down.  Finally, she just decided to rest.  She melted into my chest, laid her head down, and went to sleep.  I hadn’t done anything for her to make her more comfortable; she just decided to stop struggling and rest.

At that moment, I heard God whisper to me.  Rest.  I was like Chloe.  I just needed to rest.  His arms were around me, and they weren’t going to drop me, but He wasn’t going to force me to do anything, either.  The decision was mine to stop struggling and find peace in His embrace, but I had to relax first.

After this moment, the week’s previous sermon came back to me, and I realized the part of my life that I hadn’t surrendered to God–my future.  I’m a planner, and I want to know that the decisions I make are the right ones.  I want to follow God’s will, but I get so focused on taking the right steps that I miss the joy of the journey.  My God knows my future, and He wants the best for my family and me.  Just as God spoke to the Israelites in exile that He wanted them to have hope, He was also trying to speak to me in my dark moments.  While I think my concerns for my family were natural, my family is God’s family, and I need to surrender them to Him.  God knows if Matt and I are to have another child, and I need to trust in the plans He has for me.  Maybe if I stop struggling and lay my head down on His chest, I’ll hear better when He whispers in my ear.

Reasons You Might Go Completely Gray Before Age 35

10. Your son lassos his 15-month old cousin because he is a cowboy and his cousin is the cow.

9. When praying with your child, he tells God that he is thankful for Goliath.

8. After telling your child it doesn’t make sense for him to thank God for Goliath, he instead thanks God for the blinds in his room.

7. Your chubby (albeit adorable) toddler informs you through a mouth stuffed with bread, “I like food!”

6. Your son insists on wearing winter pajamas and a stocking cap to bed in the summer and only a stocking cap and underwear out in the snow.

5. Your daughter that is not quite two doesn’t want toys for her birthday but pretty dresses and nail polish.

4. Your child thinks her round belly is a better canvas for the purple paint than the actual canvas you set up for painting.

3. Your newborn demands you feed her at the exact moment you sit down to eat every night, no matter the time.

2. You review the Sunday School lesson with your child by asking, “The Bible is___?” for your child to answer, “Terrible!”

1. You discover that your children are telling the truth that they didn’t create the ketchup stains on the carpet–your husband did!

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The Best Medicine

The last four and a half weeks have been interwoven with the amazing joy of having another child and the extreme frustration and sadness that accompanies having a problem that the doctors can’t seem to fix.  I wish I could say that next week is going to be a good week, but I’m not so sure.  What I can say is that God provides humor in our everyday experiences, and if I focus on these, perhaps I’ll have a little more strength to make it through the next day….

About a week ago, Matt and I were wrapped up in one of those days in which all we could do was laugh.  If I tried to explain the chaos, I wouldn’t be able to do the day justice, so instead I’ll just record some of the sentences that could be heard in our home that day:

“Caleb, put that down!  [Mommy’s breast pump] is not a trumpet!

“Caleb, don’t open-mouth kiss your sister.  It’s not appropriate!”

“Caleb, don’t lick your sister’s head!”

“Kids! We don’t wash our hands in the toilet…and Caleb, please flush after you pee pee.”

Remembering that day brought a smile to my face.  Maybe I need to change my prayers–instead of asking God to take away my pain, I should ask him to send more laughter to ease it.