Money = Unhappiness

In a past article I have posted a book review regarding Randy Alcorn’s Safely Home.  Definitely one of the best books I have ever read. I started to read one of his first books Money, Possession and Eternity, after reading his personal testimony. Which you can read here. It is an awesome story of grace. Randy preached about giving up money and possessions to serve the Lord and when the Lord called him to do so, he left all to follow Christ.

In our Shepherd Group this month we are also reading a book called Radical by David Platt. Another great book challenging me to abandon all especially money, and love of this world to follow Christ. To love the gospel as I should and live as a true follower of Christ. Void of the weight and distractions of this world.

I love that God is using (not so subtle) hints to draw my heart to Him. What are the odds that after reading Safely Home in my book club, reading Money, Possessions and Eternity as a part of my devotions, and now Radical in my Sunday School class. Below are a few quotes that the Lord has really used to challenge my American, consumer driven life to turn my heart back to him.

“The soul is a spiritual thing, riches are of an earthly extract, and how can these fill a spiritual substance? How man does thirst after the world, but, alas, it falls short of his expectation. It cannot fill the hiatus and longing of his soul.” Thomas Watson

“Most people chase their mirages with money, but they run out of money before they run out of mirages. So they still believe the lie that ‘if only I had more money, then I’d be happy.’ But Solomon had it all. He had more money than he could possibly spend. He chased down every mirage. He ran out of mirages before he ran out of money.” Randy Alcorn

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To the Mother With Only One Child

I read this article today and loved it. I was encouraged by my current state and also looking forward to my new little one along the way. Hope you enjoy.

To the Mother With Only One Child

by Simcha Fisher Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dear Mother of Only One Child,

Don’t say it.  Before the words can even pass your lips, let me beg you:  don’t say, “Wow, you have nine kids?  I thought it was hard with just my one!”

My dear, it is hard.  You’re not being a wuss or a whiner when you feel like your life is hard.  I know, because I remember having “only one child.”  You may not even believe how many times I stop and reflect on how much easier my life is, now that I have nine children.

All right, so there is a lot more laundry.  Keeping up with each child’s needs, and making sure they all get enough attention, is a constant worry.  And a stomach bug is pretty much the end of the world, when nine digestive tracts are afflicted.

But I remember having only one child, and it was hard—so very hard.  Some of the difficulties were just practical:  I didn’t know what I was doing, had to learn everything.  People pushed me around because I was young and inexperienced.  But even worse were the emotional struggles of learning to be a mother.

When I had only one child, I truly suffered during those long, long, long days in our little apartment, no one but the two of us, baby and me, dealing with each other all day long.  I invented errands and dawdled and took the long way home, but still had hours and hours to fill before I would hear my husband’s key in the door.

I cared so much what other people thought about her—they had to notice how beautiful she was, they had to be impressed at my natural mothering skills.  I obsessed over childhood development charts, tense with fear that my mothering was lacking—that I hadn’t stimulated her enough,  or maybe had just passed on the wrong kind of genes.  I cringe when I remember how I pushed her—a little baby!—to achieve milestones she wasn’t ready for.

I lived in terror for her physical safety (I once brought her to Urgent Care, where the doctor somewhat irritably diagnosed a case of moderate sniffles) fearing every imaginable disease and injury.  In my sleep-deprived state, I would have sudden insane hallucinations that her head had fallen off, her knees had suddenly broken themselves in the night, and so on.

My husband didn’t know how to help me.  I didn’t know how to ask for help.  My husband had become a father, and I adored him for it.  My husband got to leave the house every day, and sleep every night.  He got to go to the bathroom alone.  I hated him for it.

When I had only one child, I told myself over and over that motherhood was fulfilling and sanctifying and was filling my heart to the brim with peace and satisfaction.  And so I felt horribly guilty for being so bored, so resentful, so exhausted.  This is a joyful time, dammit!  I should enjoy being suddenly transformed into the Doyenne of Anything that Smells Bad.

I loved my baby, I loved pushing her on the swing, watching squirrels at the park together, introducing her to apple sauce, and watching her lips move in joyful dreams of milk.  But it was hard, hard, hard.  All this work:  is this who I am now?  I remember!

So now?  Yes, the practical parts are a thousand times easier:  I’m a virtuoso.  I worry, but then I move along.  Nobody pushes me around, and I have helpers galore.  Someone fetches clean diapers and gets rid of the dirty ones.  When the baby wakes up in the middle of the night for the ten thousandth time, I sigh and roll my eyes, maybe even cry a little bit for sheer tiredness—but I know it will pass, it will pass.

It’s becoming easier, and it will be easier still.  They are passing me by.

I’m broken in.  There’s no collision of worlds.  We’re so darn busy that it’s a sheer delight to take some time to wash some small child’s small limbs in a quiet bath, or to read The Story of Ferdinand one more time.  Taking care of them is easy.  It’s tiring, it’s frustrating, but when I stop and take a breath, I see that it’s almost like a charade of work.  All these things, the dishes, the diapers, the spills—they must be taken care of, but they don’t matter. They aren’t who I am.

To become a mother, I had to learn how to care about someone more than I did about myself, and that was terrible.  But who I am now is something more terrible:  the protector who can’t always protect; the one with arms that are designed to hold, always having to let go.

Dear mother of only one child, don’t blame yourself for thinking that your life is hard.  You’re suffering now because you’re turning into a new woman, a woman who is never allowed to be alone.  For what?  Only so that you can become strong enough to be a woman who will be left.

When I had only one child, she was so heavy.  Now I can see that children are as light as air.  They float past you, nudging against you like balloons as they ascend.

Dear mother, don’t worry about enjoying your life.  Your life is hard; your life will be hard.  That doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong—it means you’re doing it right.

Coming to the Finish Line

I have about 8 weeks till my due date of March 10th. I’m hoping I will not have to wait that whole time, but trusting in the Lord’s timing. I really feel like my instincts are telling me that I will have the baby early, but I have learned not to trust my instincts. They are usually wrong. I thought that my firstborn would come early and she wound up being a week late. So, I am getting things ready just in case, but preparing myself to wait.

My parents and Derick have been a huge help in my preparations. Derick has just been an all round awesome husband. He has been taking on more responsibility at home. He has helped around the house, with Sophia and is huge in helping me remember to take vitamins. I would not be able to do this without him. Also, we finally are close to picking a girls name. We have had the boys name since before Sophia was born, but girl’s names are always so hard for us to pick. It takes us forever and is the beginning of many arguments. But I think we are finally getting to the place of finding one. I will reveal the names soon. Derick says we still need to let the names soak before telling anyone. I am always afraid of letting him stew over any name since that usually means we are going back to the drawing board to start picking a name all over again.

My parents have been a huge help in getting us what we need for the new baby. For Christmas we got some gender neutral clothes for the hospital stay and first week of the baby. When Sophia was born I didn’t pack any clothes for her and she wound up staying in her hospital assigned hat and little t-shirt and blanket. Derick thinks I’m over dramatizing it, but I really feel bad that I basically left my daughter naked for 3 days in the hospital and am determined to dress my new child. Okay, now I see the exaggeration.

Also, for this new baby we will be using cloth diapers. We are looking forward to saving the money, but a little apprehensive about the cleaning. However, I realized since we are still potty training doing the extra laundry won’t be so bad.

I have also entered into my nesting stage. Although I can only do so much without my back hurting to the point of not being able to walk. But at least there is progress. This week my dad and Derick hung some shelves in Sophia’s room since the baby will be moving in soon. We hung the shelves to keep Sophia from getting into everything (read previous post). I don’t know how we ever lived without them. And now I am finishing hanging some decorations and still have to put the crib together and we will be all ready for the baby. So, as we are coming the end of the pregnancy I am getting more and more excited to meet my new little boy or girl. I hope to post some pictures soon of the finished nursery/toddler room and then of course of our new family member.

Nap time + Sophia = Disaster

For the last 3 days every time Sophia (my beloved two year old) has been put into her room for naps or bed time the result has been nothing short of disaster. Here is the order of events:

1)Walk in to find the Vics jar open with the Vics smeared all over Sophia, her bed, and on a couple of toys.

2)Walk in to find a whole wipes package emptied onto the floor about ankle deep.

3)Walk in to find half a bottle of hair product (like lotion) in Sophia’s hair, all over the bed, and sheets.

4) And the worst, walk in to find Vaseline spread all over Sophia, her bed, books, cd’s, walls, and night light she just received for Christmas.

Sorry there are no pictures, I realized I am not the kind of mom who runs for the camera. I am the mom who is working on being spirit filled so that I can discipline my daughter without sinning. Thankfully Derick was there at each of these times too and was able to give me a hand to clean it up. Unfortunately the night light didn’t make it, but I was able to save the book and cd’s.

You might be thinking why would you let this happen four times, but I honestly must say that each of the times we put away things we thought she would get into, and yet she still found a way to make a mess. She also was in trouble each of the times. I remember before I had kids both Derick and I thought surely those children you see disobeying and throwing temper tantrums were children who were not being disciplined by their parents. I am here to tell you this is a lie. The sinful nature is great and regardless of discipline there is still disobedience. I am amazed at Sophia’s capability to willingly disobey knowing that there would be consequences.

So, we have emptied Sophia’s room of all toys and things that she could possibly get into for the time being while we wait to get some more child (Sophia) proof containers for her room. One thing this has taught me is humility. I see my own sinful nature in all of this and am amazed again at God’s forgiveness and patience with me. I do a lot more than smear Vics and Vaseline on the walls of my life.