Monday, June 27, 2011

Motherhood as a Mission Field



The seguays in my mind are clear, although the words fail. as do i.

Micah used to take a bottle like a champ.
It was the nursing that was a constant struggle.
Before nursing in public, or around others, in the nursing mother's room at church
i would get a flood of panic, break out into a cold sweat wondering if this would be one of the times he would refuse my breast, cry as if i were torturing him and just. not. eat.
I would bring bottles of pumped milk anytime i would go anywhere.
just in case.
In case he refused to nurse, i would have backup.
Sometimes i would use it and sometimes i wouldn't have to.
Those were the good days that i wouldn't mind wasting the gold that was pumped milk.
I would pour it down the drain happily, knowing he'd prefer me and not the plastic nipple.

And slowly, we found our groove.
As he began to eat better, my confidence grew and bottles no longer made their way into my diaper bag unless we needed them.
A friend helped me conquer my fear of public nursing with a trip to the zoo.
She had both of us sit on a bench in the most crowded, high traffic area in front of monkey island with our babies and nurse (with covers of course!) She new i was nervous, but strength in numbers and a boy that likes his food helped. He did great and slowly i began trading bottles for my nursing cover - at Starbucks on a shopping trip with Curtis' mom, at the pool, a BBQ, downtown Toronto, in the car.

So when we left Micah with my parents and sister on our anniversary i thought nothing of it.
We left a bottle and made our way to our massages.
Little did we know that his growing love for nursing pushed out all tolerance for a bottle.
Only later did we learn that he cried and screamed during that bedtime feeding until they put down the bottle and let him go to sleep with only a couple ounces of milk in his belly.

Then i got a headache a few days later, and as i slept Curtis tried to give him a bottle.
a fight to the finish, Micah won, again, with eating little, only calmed by the fact that the rest of the bottle went down the drain.

This past weekend we decided to try to bottle train him. For those instances when i can't be around. When i want to go somewhere for more than a couple hours. For a time when we may want an overnight date somewhere, or a dinner date even.

Saturday night was a torturous two hours spent with a screaming, milk-splattered infant who finally fell asleep in my arms on the floor of his room, exhausted from protest. The night ended with me nursing him as he hungrily sleep-ate two hours too late, praying, Lord, why? and being reminded that other mom's would give anything to be able to nurse their babies and i'm complaining that he isn't taking a bottle. i was put in my place for the night.

Sunday we decided to try in at his dinnertime feeding instead of right before bed when he's at his tired-est. Still, no luck. The feeding ended in my throwing the bottle and crying. I felt trapped. I couldn't make a hair appointment for fear i wouldn't be back in time for a feeding. The idea of a date seemed like a joke. And the thought of leaving him with anyone in fear of him taking a fit seemed unfair to them and to him. So i had a selfish hissy fit and gave up, again. The evening ended in me nursing a hungry, tear-stained boy again. He was tired, and so was i.

Then this morning, before googling terms related to training a nursing baby to take a bottle, i read this, and was put in my place once more:

Motherhood as A Mission Field

by Rachel Jankovic

There is a good old saying, perhaps only said by my Grandfather, that distance adds intrigue. It is certainly true — just think back to anything that has ever been distant from you that is now near. Your driver’s license. Marriage. Children. Things that used to seem so fascinating, but as they draw near become less mystical and more, well, real.

This same principle certainly applies to mission fields too. The closer you get to home, the less intriguing the work of sacrifice seems. As someone once said, “Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help Mom with the dishes.” When you are a mother at home with your children, the church is not clamoring for monthly ministry updates. When you talk to other believers, there is not any kind of awe about what you are sacrificing for the gospel. People are not pressing you for needs you might have, how they can pray for you. It does not feel intriguing, or glamorous. Your work is normal, because it is as close to home as you can possibly be. You have actually gone so far as tobecome home.

Home: The Headwaters of Mission

If you are a Christian woman who loves the Lord, the gospel is important to you. It is easy to become discouraged, thinking that the work you are doing does not matter much. If you were really doing something for Christ you would be out there, somewhere else, doing it. Even if you have a great perspective on your role in the kingdom, it is easy to lose sight of it in the mismatched socks, in the morning sickness, in the dirty dishes. It is easy to confuse intrigue with value, and begin viewing yourself as the least valuable part of the Church.

There are a number of ways in which mothers need to study their own roles, and begin to see them, not as boring and inconsequential, but as home, the headwaters of missions.

At the very heart of the gospel is sacrifice, and there is perhaps no occupation in the world so intrinsically sacrificial as motherhood. Motherhood is a wonderful opportunity to live the gospel. Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Motherhood provides you with an opportunity to lay down the things that you cannot keep on behalf of the people that you cannot lose. They are eternal souls, they are your children, they are your mission field.

Faith Makes the Small Offering Great

If you are like me, then you may be thinking “What did I ever give up for them? A desk job? Time at the gym? Extra spending money? My twenty- year- old figure? Some sleep?” Doesn’t seem like much when you put it next to the work of some of the great missionaries, people who gave their lives for the gospel.

Think about the feeding of the five thousand when the disciples went out and rounded up the food that was available. It wasn’t much. Some loaves. Some fish. Think of some woman pulling her fish out and handing it to one of the disciples. That had to have felt like a small offering. But the important thing about those loaves and those fishes was not how big they were when they were given, it was about whose hands they were given into. In the hands of the Lord, that offering was sufficient. It was more than sufficient. There were leftovers. Given in faith, even a small offering becomes great.

Look at your children in faith, and see how many people will be ministered to by your ministering to them. How many people will your children know in their lives? How many grandchildren are represented in the faces around your table now?

Gain What You Cannot Lose in Them

So, if mothers are strategically situated to impact missions so greatly, why do we see so little coming from it? I think the answer to this is quite simple: sin. Discontent, pettiness, selfishness, resentment. Christians often feel like the right thing to do is to be ashamed about what we have. We hear that quote of Jim Elliot’s and think that we ought to sell our homes and move to some place where they need the gospel

But I’d like to challenge you to look at it differently. Giving up what you cannot keep does not mean giving up your home, or your job so you can go serve somewhere else. It is giving up yourself. Lay yourself down. Sacrifice yourself here, now. Cheerfully wipe the nose for the fiftieth time today. Make dinner again for the people who don’t like the green beans. Laugh when your plans are thwarted by a vomiting child. Lay yourself down for the people here with you, the people who annoy you, the people who get in your way, the people who take up so much of your time that you can’t read anymore. Rejoice in them. Sacrifice for them. Gain that which you cannot lose in them.

It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time. You will never make any differencethere if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive.

God loves the little offerings. Given in faith, that plate of PB&J’s will feed thousands. Given in faith, those presents on Christmas morning will bring delight to more children than you can count. Offered with thankfulness, your work at home is only the beginning. Your laundry pile, selflessly tackled daily, will be used in the hands of God to clothe many. Do not think that your work does not matter. In God’s hands, it will be broken, and broken, and broken again, until all who have need of it have eaten and are satisfied. And even then, there will be leftovers.

Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of "Loving the Little Years" and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).

I was reminded that it's okay if he won't take a bottle (although i'm still interested in finding ways for him to warm up to the idea), that it's okay if i feel "tied down" by my son. It is my pleasure to be his mother, to provide for his immediate needs. This is my calling, my ministry. To serve my son and my husband is my job, and it is my joy to do so.

I can get so caught up in me - what i'm missing out on, what i'm giving up to do this thing that ties me down - (ie. nursing) and i forget that i fought hard to get here. And not just to get him to nurse, but to become a mother at all.

Two years ago i would have gladly sacraficed ANYTHING to become a mother, now i was complaining about having to feed him every few hours.

Again i was put in my place. remembering that sometimes the smallest offereings are the hardest.
sometimes the daily sacrafices are the biggest.

It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time.

God loves the little offerings.

*article found here:
but found on my friend Kara's blog {here} first.

Monday, June 20, 2011

this momma likes naptimes on mondays




napping is not micah's strong suite
sleeping 12+ hours a night is
but napping, nah, he's not so fond.

on mondays i work.
i catch up on dishes and laundry from the weekend,
i nurse and i work
i wouldn't say micah gets ignored per se
but it's probably the day of the week where he gets the most alone play time

i just wish he napped better, or longer, or at all.

actually, today wasn't so bad.
some days he can go all day on one measly 20 minute nap
today he got about 3

lately, i can sense when he needs a nap before he konks out
about an hour and a half after he wakes up in the morning he starts to get fussy
so into the crib he goes
usually he will happily babble  for almost a half an hour
then like clockwork he starts to whine
maybe cry for a minute or two
and then nothing

and every morning that we're home
i don't have to look at him to know what he looks like
pacifier long fallen out of his mouth onto the sheets
both arms stretched up over his head
knees sprawled apart with the soles of his feet touching one another.

he is a predictable little sleeping boy.

but even though i know what he looks like sleeping,
sometimes i still sneak into his room and watch him.

like today, i heard the cry before slits for eyes and although i knew sleep was near
i walked into his room to watch the shift take place.
as his eyes were starting to close i caught his eye
and as both eyes opened
the biggest smile spread across his face

and i didn't care that i had prolongued sleep
i'm his momma and i can do what i want.

so i walked over, leaned down to kiss his belly, his forehead, his nose
and let him fall asleep to the sound of my whispers.

today he was so peaceful, instead of tiptoeing out of his room, i sat in the rocker and watched him
i wished i could crawl into his crib and lie next to him
wrap around him in his cool, dark room for the half an hour i know he'd be silent.

but instead, it is a monday, so i tip toed downstairs to work
to write and pretend i'm not missing out on the quietest moments of our day
drowning out the rhythmic hum of the dryer for fingers clicking keys
writing words i no longer care much about

right now it's all about paying for our broken garage door
bad brakes
saving for the future
having a cushion

i don't love mondays,
but today i am sure that this is the way God is choosing to provide for us now
for the extras and the unexpected
so i will like them more than i used to.

i will happily sacrafice 'me time' today for that end
and be grateful for the times today when i can watch him sleep
grateful that i can be the one that gets to go in and settle him back down when he startles himself awake
i get to be the one that he smiles for when he wakes up and i'm there
already in his room before his eyes open
the one that hears him stirring before he starts to cry
the one that gets to wipe the gook from his right eye, the one with the clogged tear duct
and the one that gets to kiss his belly button while changing the 10th diaper of the day.

i may not love mondays or love spending them hoping micah will nap so i can work,
but it more than pays off on tuesdays, when he's all mine and there's nothing left to do but
read books and take walks and see friends and play.

so i guess i should get back to work since he's been asleep for an hour and Curtis is downstairs with friends and i'm sitting in bed with an iced decaf coffee and my laptop blogging when i should be working so we can play tomorrow.

*note on the photos: no joke, this is how micah fell asleep at my mom's a while ago. he was playing on part of his bundle me car seat cover, and just konked out - so we left him right where he was...creepily cute!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

happy first father's day

there are so many reasons I love this man, but over the last four months I have come up with so many more.

Just the tip of the iceberg: he loves us so well.

Friday, June 17, 2011

five years






today marks five years of marriage for me and my first boy.

last year we celebrated four years with plans to adopt.

we went out to dinner and talked about all the ways we thought our life would change over the next year.
we talked about paperwork and finances and home studies and referrals and we dreamed about this very day - wondering if we'd have our little brown-skinned boy by our next anniversary.

and now, today is here and here we are - setting up plans for a babysitter in order to celebrate all that we've been through this year.

our brown-skinned babe isn't here with us, yet, but we do have one handsome little boy to call our own today.
i hear him talking to himself in his crib as i type.

we didn't know at our anniversary dinner last year that i was already pregnant. 
we didn't know that about two weeks later we'd get the shock of a lifetime. 

all we knew is that we were on our way to becoming parents, one way or another...
and it was good to be together and dream of the way our future was about to unfold.

but we couldn't have dreamed up the turns our life was about to take.
and tonight, we'll do it again.
we'll drop off our kid (gosh, when did we become old enough to have a kid?!) and we'll talk and dream about what this next year could hold.
the possibilities seriously are endless, and thrilling, and just a tiny bit scary.

but the possibilities are good, so good
and we're in it together
so really, what more could i ask for?

happy anniversary my love, my husband, best friend, father of my firstborn son
you are incredible and i'm so lucky to call you mine.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

21 memos from your child

i saw this {here} and thought it was quite thought provoking as a new mother...
thought maybe you would too...

21 Memos From Your Child

1. Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not have all I ask for. I am only testing you. 
2. Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it, it makes me feel secure. 
3. Don’t let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages. 
4. Don’t make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave stupidly “big”. 
5. Don’t correct me in front of people if you can help it. I’ll take much more notice if you talk quietly with me in private. 
6. Don’t make me feel all of my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values. 
7. Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way, sometimes. 
8. Don’t be upset when I say “I hate you”. It isn’t you I hate, but your power to thwart me. 
9. Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I need. 
10. Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf. 
11. Don’t forget that I can’t explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I’m not always very accurate.
12. Don’t make rash promises. Remember that I feel badly let down when promises are broken. 
13. Don’t tax my honesty too much. I am easily frightened into telling lies. 
14. Don’t be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you. 
15. Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real to me and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand. 
16. Don’t put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere. 
17. Don’t ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover that you are neither. 
18. Don’t ever think it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm toward you. 
19. Don’t forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be very difficult to keep pace with me, but please try. 
20. Don’t forget I love experimenting. I couldn’t do without it, so please be patient with it.
21. Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of understanding and unconditional love, but I don’t need to tell you that, do I? 

original author unknown

Monday, June 13, 2011

the playmat's not just for babies




Sunday, June 12, 2011

our little family







Picture Effect Magic


*iphone app used is called Picture Magic.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

to canada

i already told you what i did half of the trip to canada - 
the other half was spent sitting shotgun while curtis drove.
he wanted company up front, so i busted out my favorite hipstamatic iphone app and started clicking away

i didn't have to worry about Micah
he was a champ and literally (ps. can't say "literally" without thinking of that one episode of parks and recreation!) slept the entire way - with one "breast-stop" as my dad liked referring to them as.

at one point my mom was sitting in the back next to the carseat and i looked back and Micah was gripping one of her fingers in each of his little palms in his sleep. it was the cutest.

anyways, these are some of our roadtrip pics...













Friday, June 10, 2011

to the moon

to the moon

thanks to my sister-in-law Tara, i am now hooked on embroidery.

after a few trial projects on some scrap material, i decided to take a plain white onesie
with us on our trip to Toronto last weekend. because i obviously didn't have an iron with me in the car to do an iron on, i simply looked at it and drew on the onesie freehand-style with a pen (not the best way i'm sure, but hey, it worked)

i then spent the next few hours in the car (while Micah slept like an angel) embroidering until my fingers hurt and my eyes were tired. but i had finished my first little project and i think it's pretty cute.

too bad he spit up on it not 10 minutes after i put it on him.

but at least i have the pictures.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

bathroom photoshoot

bathroom photoshoot

last week me and M had a little bathroom photoshoot because he was all smiles.
however, as soon as i whipped out my phone, he was more interested in it then in smiling
(see bottom left photo - totally had eyes only for the phone screen)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

nana's pool

better than a kiddie pool in our backyard is my Nana's pool a few cities over.
last week me and the boy made it there twice.
once with my sister and my mom and the second time with daddy.
here are the pictures to prove it:






Tuesday, June 7, 2011

sunday = the day of rest + swimming in a frigid kiddie pool

baby pool

the fright on his face in the top right photo is less about Curtis' attempt at making Micah float as it is the sheer grief of a hose-filled kiddie pool of ice-cold water.
even after numerous kettles of hot water poured in africa-style, the water was no less icey and resulted in a ten minute adventure.
but in those ten minutes we gave the good sport a sudsy bath and got some super duper blackmail shots for his future wife to mock. (shots with his cold little peepee will not be featured on my blog anytime soon!)
it was cute, but next time we'll definitely be letting the water sit for a few hours in the sun before we shock his system again.

Monday, June 6, 2011

the progression of his faces







today i busted out my iphone's hipstamatic app while Micah was playing away in his high chair (Monday's are my get-it-done days and he was keeping me company as i was working at my desk)
anyways, this is the outcome. one semi-serious baby turned happy face.
he obviously likes the camera, or at the very least, tolerates it well as it really is always in his face.

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