Petechiae. Wait… what? … {June 2015}

As I type this Thaniel is in the hospital. The best I feel my country has when it comes to children. The Toronto Hospital for Sick Kids.  This would be a big long post with a big long explanation of how we got here to this point and what’s happening next, if he wasn’t a few nano meters from me sleeping for the first time since we held him down and poked him over and over to draw blood and place an I.V.   I’m just going to say this for now and post an update later.  Thaniel has petechiae all over his wee body.

Apparently that means his platelets are low and they are testing for all kinds of things now. Including leukaemia. The dreaded L word in the Down syndrome world.

I’m going to stare at his angelic face until they come back with results that say otherwise. Until they do… Stand by1433907527064-178693054.

 

*Update*   October 7.2015.

Well we ended up staying the month at Sick Kids. Thaniels results of those first blood tests came back and cleared him of everything except for low platelets (Praise God!).  He was worn out and sick. Enterocolitis, RSV,  dual ear infections , adenovirus with a very nasty and strong version of pink eye (that he shared with mommy and a couple of the nurses)  and something called C-Difficile . The month that followed was a veritable tight-rope. Enterocolitis needs a strong antibiotic to fight it, conversely C-difficile feeds off of antibiotic use (the lack of good bacteria) and both are potentially deadly.  I watched the medical staff fight alongside Thaney everyday.  He was constantly dehydrated as a result of the diarrhea brought on by the c-difficile, but his wee veins would blow out and render his I.V useless. His veins were limp and difficult to get an I.V because of the dehydration and the Phlebotomy team was called up several times a day to move defunct I.V’s to another sight until all options were exhausted and a Central line was placed. For 24 hours that gave Thaney a leg up until the line moved, coming out of the heart and lying dangerously close to it causing some arrhythmias and concerns about keeping it in. That 24 hours however bought his little body just enough advantage and he seemed to turn a corner.  As soon as safely possible Thaniel was taken off of as many of the antibiotics as he could be and the c-difficile was treated. Eventually the irrigations produced more than just putrid green water and Thaniels bowels began to work again and after four weeks of TPN and crossed fingers he ate his first solid meal by mouth and the light appeared at the end of the tunnel.

All in all the month was a blur for me. Exhaustion added to my own immune issues and I struggled with illness and eventually went on powerful antibiotics of my own to ward off what I could. Thaniel and I floated from day to day leaning on the strength of the nursing staff and the prayers of family and friends at home.

I have to say honestly that I broke down more times than I care to think about as my ability to laugh it off and see the positive was drowned out in a sea of question, doubt and helplessness.  I wasn’t alone.  Nurses cried with me when we had to hold Thaney down for another painful procedure, and one time I was even graced with a beautiful display of compassion and empathy; when an exasperated nurse, upon hearing that one course of treatment had created a brand new issue for Thaniel, put her face in her hands and cried a few of her own tears for him.  I owe them all a huge debt of gratitude.

I didn’t come back to the computer to update because quite frankly it was a difficult season and there has been a storm of activity since.

Firstly Thaniel was accepted into a great clinic that specializes in Down Syndrome care… Someone finally listened to my frustration over his health and he is seeing doctors from a plethora of specialties to pinpoint exactly how to help him out. And secondly he hasn’t slept a solid night thru since June, waking three and four times a night and having to be comforted back to sleep.  (yes I have tried the ‘cry it out’ method… it’s cruel and unusual when your little one is sick, just sayin) . Mommy is bone weary. Balancing home and family with work and Thaniels issues has left me thin in the ‘extra rope to cling to’ department. Some mornings I am literally sick to my stomach from lack of a solids night sleep, and feel it must be said… having babies is a young chicks gig!

As I type Thaniel is home with pneumonia.  It began as a cough he brought home from hospital following surgery September 11th and it hasn’t let up, settling farther and farther into his wee chest. The puffers are back, the humidifier is back on, the trial doses of antibiotics and vitamins are in full swing. His fever is a few days old now and climbing.  This is definitely the “down” side of ‘down’s’

But here is my declaration for anyone who cares to hear it.

My God is enough!. YHWH is more than enough!  All I and Thaniel and my family have needed HIS hand has and will provide and GREAT is His faithfulness to me! Stay tuned to hear how God turns every trial into good for us, because He was, He is and He will!

 

Lost and Found.

Some years ago I lost a baby.

That’s not news worthy, barely noteable.  It makes me another one in four who have experienced loss through miscarriage or stillbirth or infertility. I have girlfriends who have suffered, suffered longer, suffered more.

What is of note {for me} was my reaction to the loss.

I am, for the most part; a person of joy. Silver lining, cupcakes and unicorns, bright side looking kind of person.  I have a long standing belief that you can laugh or cry about a situation and it will not alter the outcome one iota, so you might as well laugh, and I do…a lot.  I know that rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, so you’d best learn how to dance in the rain. That’s just who I am.” Baby I was born this way”.

When I lost that baby I was already in a state of ‘unknown’ , where just about the only thing I knew for sure was that I loved this little one.  Held my hand over my still flat tummy and whispered promises of love and security.  I wanted this baby as much as I had ever wanted anything, despite the surrounding circumstances.  I had dreams at night of his sweet downy head laid on my chest, and I sang… as I always do, to this little angel. Joyful Hymns, love songs, lullabies.

However, at the time I was stressed and scared and slept little.  I’d been training hard in the weeks prior and even sparring. This wasn’t the first baby I’d carried and sparred in the ring with or even trained hard during the early weeks (without knowing I was expecting) but when I began to bleed, I also began to question,  judge,  condemn.  When at last in spite of my pleas for him to stay, in spite of my tearful prayers for God to spare him, he slipped from my body in a wash of agony and tears and was forever lost to me.  I knew, I mean I KNEW, I was to blame.

mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I get pregnant and deliver healthy babies. I just do. The pregnancy may not be uneventful, I may experience bumps along the way, but at the end of all things, downy wee heads rest on my chest. So clearly and without a doubt; I had done this. I was to blame. I was guilty.

That guilt began as a niggling idea and grew on a daily basis, until it was a constant companion.  I was angry at myself all the time.  I didn’t deserve to mourn and so I held the ache like a gnawing rot that would slip out in groans at night. I became reckless. I trained to exhaustion. I pushed the boundaries of my pain limits. I stopped eating if I felt I didn’t earn food.  I lashed out at others while I mentally punished myself. I shoved my loved ones farther and farther away and embraced a solitary thought life. I lost relationships as shame urged me to push away anyone who might see me for what I was , I lost faith in my right to approach the throne of God , I lost myself and hid the map.  I felt utterly lost.

Not the only woman to ever feel loss, but convinced I was the only one who’d deserved it. In my mind, I had failed my son and the One who had gifted me with him , I’d cost this sweet baby his little life… I was a killer.  Even now as I type this I’m choked up thinking of how hard it was to finally kneel at the site of my sons burial place and say anything other than a strangled out ‘I’m so sorry’.

jaze

Enter Thaniel.

I guess you’ve got to have a skewed sense of stuff to really follow my thinking.  Try this, look out at the world, tilt your head to the right , squidge your left eye up and stick your tongue out of the side of your mouth… there you go! now you see the world as I do.

Because I’m guessing that someone looking at things straight on would have figured that I saw Thaniels coming, and the diagnosis of Down Syndrome as punishment. Just desserts for past crimes.  I’ve heard of women and men who have said “what did I do to deserve this?” or “why me God?” and I said those things too, just not with the anguish or anger… I said all those things with awe.

God had seen fit to give me a second chance!. He’d opened my womb again in spite of staggering odds and was giving me a chance to redeem the loss. I couldn’t ever replace him, but I could honour his life with how I lived mine.

When I met Thaney for the first time and he put his downy head on my chest and those almond shaped eyes looked at me with such quiet trust and acceptance, I knew I was forgiven.  I couldn’t believe God had entrusted me with someone who would need more than just a mommy.. he’d need an advocate, a champion, a vigilant protector.  Oh how good God is!!

Like Peter who’d betrayed Jesus three times and KNEW his guilt, felt it, wallowed in it, carried it like his own splintered cross until Jesus offered him an equal opportunity to answer for his yuk… God had given me a baby I’d not only have to love but fight for over and over.

Such incredible grace poured out for my sake.

Yesterday a little girl from the school was at my desk and looking at a picture of Thaniel. She innocently asked a myriad of questions and then summed up our conversation like this.

“So not everyone gets to have a baby with Down Syndrome?”  {notice the word ‘gets’}

I reply “nope”

and she says “then I guess you’re pretty lucky , cuz you got one huh?”

*Holding back tears and trying valiantly not to grab her in a bear hug*

Yes.. yes angel I am. Lucky, blessed, cupcaked, silver lined, unicorn kissed, bright side sunburnt.

Found.

Thaney1

Down for the count.

Just before the advent of Thaniel, I was training for a figure competition. Kind of like a bodybuilding competition but less muscle-ey and more bikini-ey.  I did two a day work-outs, weighed my meals, Ran, stressed over poses, worked out some more, fretted over lifts and reps and revelled in the power I felt in the gym, in my body and in the control I had over shaping it all. I was winning. My coach was pleased. And then the stick turned blue.

As soon as the ultrasound tech and the midwives confirmed that Thaniel was outside the norm, I began to research. I understood he may be born early (and given that my last two babies were a month early it seemed likely) I knew low birth weights were a factor in all kinds of issues and so I ate. And ate. And ate. I gained 80 lbs with him, kept him in the 85th percentile throughout the last half of his pregnancy and at 6 weeks early he weighed a whopping 6lbs8ozs. I’d done it!

However, I’d done something else.

I’d gained an entire person in extra weight that didn’t leave when he entered the world.

I let it go at first, because I believe life and birth are tantamount to everything else. I gave myself the year to nurse him and be the mom and be soft and relaxed. But then when I weaned him I began to turn my eyes toward ‘getting back into shape’ .

I’ve lost 30 lbs so far. And a lot of opportunities to ‘enjoy’. I’ve denied and passed up and felt bad about every ‘failure’ since I began to diet. And today I’m wondering if what I’m doing has merit. Will it be enough? Will I ever be satisfied? Who gets to say when I’m done?

Don’t get me wrong. Fit and healthy is awesome. I need to be fit to handle the future Thaniel and I have together. But am I expecting beach body glam when I should be aiming for play date darling?  Is it vital that I’m a size four or can I just feel fabulous now?  A pound from now?, a size from there?

I have to be honest, a lot of my ‘person’ is tied to my looks and how I view them (even tho I’d love to not be that shallow) and so I won’t lie and say that I can do sweat pants and ponytails and be ok. And I love to box.. I mean I LOVE boxing and you can’t do it without a certain level of fit-ness. But do I need to be ready for the golden gloves? or can I stop mid class and take a breather?   How good is ‘good enough’?  For a praise and glory hog,  self admitted people pleaser and affirmation needer ,that’s a tough question.

may 046

Thaniel needs hearing aids, maybe surgery, maybe implants, and this whole last week I hover on the brink of tears.  I had to leave devotions yesterday morning before I dissolved into buckets of unshed grief-stricken blubbery sobs. The message was on asking for help, for getting the prayer we need, on coming boldly to the throne..chutzpah. I didn’t/don’t have that right now.

Mrs.Farrow…I’m nebbish.

Am I sad about his hearing? … yes, but the doctors are fairly sure the damage can be reversed.

I am bent double over the fact that I knew something was wrong and in an effort to not be ‘that mom’, I allowed my head to be patted and my fears to be shelved and I did NOTHING.   I took him to the audiologist and was ok with the “wait and see” we got.  I had him seen by family doctor and pediatrician and swallowed the uneasy feeling when I heard the reassurances given.

Now “hear” we are.

I was not good enough as his mom and I let this rather large ball drop.

If you were telling me this story, I’d serve you up all of the phrases we reserve for just this time. “you are doing the best you can” , ” It’ll be ok” ,”You can’t do it all” and others. But we don’t receive them unless we believe them, and I don’t believe them.

Just like I don’t believe I’m ok at a size 8.   How good is ‘good enough?’

The bible has an answer for that. It says there’s no such thing as “good enough”. That we’ve all fallen short, we all miss the mark, and even the good we think we posses is ‘filthy rags’ compared to God’s goodness. And there’s where I’m hiding. In God’s goodness. In God’s strength. In His ability to take the wasted and the broken and the weak and make it beautiful, make it right, make it whole. And I do believe that!  Lord, heal my unbelief.

I am not a size 4, I’m not a perfect mom, and I can’t back up when I punch… God and my coach both know.  And if you pass me this week and I look a little teary, please ignore it.  Failure cripples me, but God heals me, so I’m fairly sure I’ll be fine in no time. Perhaps like Thaniels ears, there is a chance for complete healing.

BTW’s if you haven’t done it already.. get your wee ones hearing checked.  And double checked! (haha).   I’m pretty much loving the E.N.T  (ear nose and throat) doctor who caught this now and set off all the alarms.

Call in your area for hearing clinics, most infant hearing tests are covered.

Thank you, Dr.Riddell.. as well as The Orangeville Hearing Clinic -http://www.hearingclinic.ca/

Should I be worried yet?

I’ve met a lot of parents in the last 20 months.  And they all willingly and welcome-ly share their journey. For the most part its.. ” yeah… the first three winters were rough”  Or, …”yeah, he had that, he got over it tho. They grow out of it.”    And “Hold on, it’s gets easier”.   A few say “Enjoy this, it gets a LOT harder.”

But through each telling I have a niggling. My questions are not truly being met. Their story is being told, and for THEM it is a solidifying and affirming experience, but for me, the question looms.

Should I be worried yet?”

htc 121

The general feeling I get is “NO”.

Nothing what-so-ever to worry about. Because these others all came thru, these others all came out on the other side, these ones are ‘fine’.

Except.

Some are not, Some did not.

And those ones don’t come to ‘group’ anymore. They aren’t talking. They are silently nursing their grief, anger and sadness. And I don’t want to join them.

My son is still coughing.Too much. He is still wheezing, a lot. He still lays his head down on top of the radio to “hear” the music and now he doesn’t hear me when I enter the room.

He doesn’t hear me.

I come in, call to him, clap my hands, and sing his name, but he doesn’t hear me.  I’m thinking it’s time for a second opinion. A louder voice. A ‘bigger’ doctor to weigh in on Thaniel’s ‘Rightness’ .

I’m so Canadian, so polite. The thing that holds me back are the smiling faces and soothing voices of all the mommies saying “oh don’t worry.. My little guy did that until he was…” fill in the age here.

But what if he’s not?

I allowed the same polite nonsense to mess with the first few school years of my third child Joel.  His teachers insisted something was wrong,  his father and some well meaners insisted there was not. He needed more discipline, “we didn’t have such a thing as A.D.D, back in my day”  He needed prayer to ‘pray’ it away, I needed to add more structure to his life, take sugar out, put greens in, take gluten out, put juices in, take wheat out, put fish oil in, take sulfides out, put minerals in… the list was endless, the expectations lofty… I tried it all and each failure was mine and his. His father called him ‘retarded” and asked his little four-year old face “what is wrong with you?”

By grade two he was uttering such phrases as “I’m too stupid to live” and “I’m sorry I’m me”.

It is to my shame that I let it get that bad, but it was at that point that I stopped being polite, and I called in the big guns. He was seen, and seen again and tested and tested again, and one tiny pill, for a few paltry years restored my sons dignity, his ability to form social relationships, the self-control to sit thru a class and follow instruction and by the end of primary school he was weaned off of it and had learned the coping mechanisms to take himself thru to the end of high school.

Could I have acted sooner? Could I have prevented harm? Could I have protected my son?

YES.

But I didn’t.

Should I be worried yet?

Some will say yes. Some will still say no. I’ve heard all about colloidal silver and green diets, wheat free and oxygen therapy , paleo and vegan, red meat deficiency and my favorite so far.. the “wait it out” method.   I’m starting to get hinky.  I’m starting to wonder if I learned anything the first time around or do I need a two by four to the forehead to understand that I AM THE MOM.  … “I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men.”   To quote a much better writer than I.   And the time for being polite ended the day my first baby boy took his first stuttering breath 22 years ago.  Who knows, maybe I just needed this nudge today. Maybe I just needed this push.  Feel free to add your own if you have wisdom to share.

However, if you have some new fangled,  shiny bangled, prepackaged, free ranged, hocus pocus diet and exercise plan that involves my son and I dancing under a full moon while chanting nursery rhymes….um.. Thank you politely , but we are full up.

phone pics April 002

come and see

Today’s staff devotions have been tumbling around in my head all morning like a load of towels in the dryer, heavy.  The video clip played dancing on my sub conscience and my heart like a river dance troupe ( https://vimeo.com/79288467 ).   The song ‘there is a fountain’ is the playlist that accompanies my thoughts and I’m driven to write. To get it out, to pour out of me the thoughts that want to be set free.

Today’s staff devotions dealt with a Christian perspective on homosexuality.  Specifically our response to it.  A loaded and emotionally charged topic to be sure.

I have two people in my life that I hold heart deep, to-my-core-important and I cherish them both with all of me. Two people I would stand and testify are true. Honest. Wholesome. Loving. Christ like really… if you could for a moment remove the un-Christ like element of homosexuality…  in other words, imperfect.  But then, aren’t I??

Let me tell you, I struggle.

So much.

I envy. Nearly every day I have one moment of unabashed envy for the relationships I see around me… Mrs. Pamela Heslinga and her handsome husband who is faithful and kind (not to mention the fact that she is tall and perfect without a speck of make-up on). Mrs. Cabral and her faithful loving husband who is clearly a great father… and countless others.  All I ever wanted was to be a wife and a mother and to honour God with the family I made. I don’t have that and ENVY those who do. Envy is a sin.

I covet.  The house someone else has, the car they drive that doesn’t have dents or french-fries in the cup holders, the time they have to pursue the gifts and talents and passions they have, the voice of another singer, the body of another … I covet, even tho it is clearly a sin.

I have gossiped, lied, stolen, hated (a sin God lists equal to murder)and the list goes on.

So who do I think I am that I can turn my head in the direction of someone else and point my nose in a downward direction?

Am I talking about inside the church? No. Judgement begins with the house of God. If my sister sitting beside me in church is living in unrepentant and flagrant sin, I have an obligation to love her enough to call her into question and love her into forgiveness and restoration. And she has the same responsibility regarding me.

I’m talking about that outward gaze we cast on the world and condemn them with our ‘holier than thou’ attitude.

“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7) … I would have had to leave my stone and join that woman in the center of ridicule, had I been there for that incredible moment in history.

Here’s what I think. I can be free of my sin. I can put on the life of Christ as my mantle, my identity, my cloak, and shed the stigma and struggle of my sinful nature. I can be free, thanks to Yeshua and His sacrifice.  And if I can…

Look at Him… at Jesus, sinless son of God most high, sitting at a well

John 4:17-18   17  The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”…

20″Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.  22″You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23″But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24″God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”…

28So the woman left her water pot, and went into the city and said to the men, 29″Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?”……

In spirit and in truth.

Let’s be truthful.  We don’t see here a great alter call, and this woman being made to repent and made an example to all… Jesus calls her on her “truth” and then speaks to her about a deeper truth, spirit deep. God is Holy, we are not , and no mountain or city or church pew is going to make us Holy. Only HE will make us Holy and we can’t get there from here. Not from judgement or good works or wishful thinking or membership. Worship HIM. Invite HIM in.

This woman goes back to the men of her village and she changes the landscape forever with those simple words…This is not the Christ is it?.

Isn’t this Christ?

He didn’t accept her sin… but He invited her to worship Him. I can’t stay in my sin and worship Him. Worship changes me. He shows up and it changes me. It’s that transforming empowering love I want to live in… Jesus says, ‘come and see where I dwell’  And I have found it’s a beautiful and grace filled place.

A short story to illuminate my point.  Many years ago my van was stolen, the van I drove my (then) five children around in. My ‘Christian’ church going ex refused to help me.  However, my gay friend, whom my ex routinely referred to in horrible derogatory terms as in “keep that ‘f’ away from my kids” opened his cheque book and shelled out 1200.00 for the repairs and didn’t bat an eye. Who acted more Christ like there??  Beloved, lets be mindful of who sits in the seat of judgement and who doesn’t. Lets be grace filled… and lets learn to love. Until the whole earth knows us by our love.

There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,

And sinners plunged beneath that flood Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see

That fountain in His day;

And there have I,

though vile as he, Washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood Shall never lose its pow’r,

Till all the ransomed church of God

Are safe, to sin no more.

E’er since by faith I saw the stream

Thy flowing wounds supply,

Redeeming love has been my theme, And shall be till I die.

 When this poor, lisping, stamm’ring tongue

Lies silent in the grave,

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save.

Fighting my natural instincts.

I was probably born face up.  I was a caesarean baby, but even so, I was probably up facing the doctor and daring him to move me all the while hoping he would move me.  My whole life has been that kind of paradox.  Wanting the things that I need, but having the things that I don’t.  Longing for normal and courting the crazy.  So it only makes sense that I should be the single mother of eight.  Me. Lover of solitude and independence.  My idea of an ideal day is as follows. Summer:  a warm canoe, fishing rod over the boat, and a glass like lake.  Winter: a warm fire, over-stuffed chair, glass of wine, great book.   However, no matter the season, when I finally tumble into bed (if it’s not got a child or two in it) it’s typically with a happy smile after chasing and cleaning and correcting and cleaning and refereeing and cleaning up after the whole wild lot of them and I’m so content it’s next door to criminal.

We wouldn’t have been complete without Thaniel.  It wouldn’t have been right. Thaniel was the candied cherry on top of our nutty Sunday.  My two oldest daughters say often… “Mom.. is he the cutest baby ever??”  or “I don’t know what it is.. I love my other siblings, but there’s just something about Thaney…”

That’s why, when someone pokes the bubble of my happy place I take it especially hard.

There are some people who view Thaniel as a burden or a hardship.  (I’ve only gotten to enjoy the ‘puppy’ phase of his life so, you parents of older kids please excuse my delirium) to those I say “hardship is size 2 pantyhose when you are clearly a 4”.

Some view my plate as over full and my hands under equipped.  You would be right, which is all the more reason for my obnoxious grin and hearty singing during the Sunday morning service.

I once heard a story that fits that whole mentality….  ‘There once was a single dad who sent his son to Sunday school each week just to get the boy out of his hair for a few hours. A staunch atheist, he was hopeful the childish bible stories wouldn’t sink in too deep. One Sunday morning his worst fears came true when Jr. Came home exalting over the miracle of the red sea crossing. He stopped his son’s exuberant retelling and attempted to correct his son’s theology. “Son” he said, “ it wasn’t the ‘Red sea’ it was the ‘Reed sea’ . It was only a little marsh kid,  a few inches deep and a stiff wind blew it aside so there was dry ground to walk on”

The young lad LOST it! He danced, he whooped, he shouted “hallelujah! God is great! Praise God!”   The dad was stunned. What had his son misunderstood? How could this impress the boy?   “Son” the dad said “what is it?”

When he had calmed down enough to speak the boy replied, “That’s even MORE incredible dad!! That means God drowned all those mean soldiers in a few inches of marsh!!!”

Take that all you poo-poo-ers.

Some don’t say anything at all.  They smile and nod. And it’s in what they don’t say that I find all sorts of barbs.  It’s in those silences that the face up-ness of my spirit comes out.  I want to shout back, and goad.. I want to dare those eyebrow raisers and thin lip smilers to just go ahead and speak.  My name means ‘loving’, ‘sweet as honey’, But I am itching for a fight and daring anyone to throw the first punch.

But who does God ask me to be in the quiet?  Who is He saying He is in the midst?

“In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” Isaiah 30:15.

I’m supposed to answer back in kind. With a silent nod, and a genuine smile.  Hard as it is to ignore the unspoken challenge.   God help me, I’m trying! Haha.

dinner is served.

 

i won’t go

you can’t make me

i won’t shake

you can’t break me

and i’ll bow

but in victory

so keep talking

keep walking

I’ve forgotten your game

you get high

standing on things

you get by

pulling puppet strings

but i fly

i’ve got seven wings

so keep talking

keep walking

limping and lame

cut the nose from your face

hide your face in the sand

watch the hourglass

eat your words

eat your words.

shoot yourself in the foot

put your foot in your mouth

bite the bullet and

eat your words

eat your words

Needed: 27 hour days.

I’ve been stuck on a particular piece of scripture for some time now. If I were to paint you a word picture, here’s what that would look like. This scripture is like bread dough and I keep kneading it.. and then I set it aside to rise… then I come back to it to punch it all down and knead it again. I think there’s something I’m supposed to be getting from it, but I haven’t pinpointed it yet.  The thing is, I’m thinking it might hold the key to what I’ve been struggling with the last few months.

I just feel short.

Not in stature. But in time, money, patience, sight, resources, wisdom, energy, joy,  and so many other things. Not empty… short. Not. Quite. Enough.

Now for some, not enough is ok. a little short is close enough. But I get bent about it in the worst way. I won’t show it, my pastors kid upbringing doesn’t allow for running around with anything less than “blessed” tattooed on my face. But at night when I should be sleeping peacefully (ha-ha) I am staring at the ceiling with these ridiculously fat tears running silently down the sides of my face into my fundraiser bought pillowcases (Thanks for those by the way Mrs.Heslinga.. soft as clouds) .

Not enough. Not enough. It’s like a mantra my addled brain has set up on loop. I’m missing the mark and dropping the ball, I’m letting the team down, pulling my punches… throw in your own sport related euphemism here.  There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in my day, and so I don’t get to listen with both ears to Jude as he tells me about the awesome way he led his basketball team to victory today, or look Gabe in the face as he tells me about his ‘Canada’ project and what he thinks we should make as his sample of Canadian food, or take Joel to get some new pants so he can interview with confidence for a new job.  Marcailyn is struggling in functions class but I didn’t invest in it until she announced she was dropping the class and by then it was too late, I haven’t taken Ben to butterfly park like I promised six weeks ago. I keep meaning to sit down and have coffee with my mom and really give my attention to the renovations she has planned, and there’s Josh who at times I feel has become a near stranger, we live in the same house but speak sporadically and I’m afraid I’ve lost the once incredible bond we once shared. Madison and I only connect on the household business as she has really stepped in as the ‘other adult’ in the house. And here’s a mother of the year award… I have all of the cake supplies for my son’s birthday cake sitting in a grocery bag on the dining room table…a birthday he had three weeks ago. That’s just the short list of people I fail daily, I don’t have the physical strength to type out all of the housework un-dones, or the project half-begun’s or the bill graveyard where on-time payments have gone to die. I have friends I fail to connect with and an ex-husband I promised to call a week ago to discuss our kids and every time I remember I’m square in the middle of something else… I’m pretty sure he wants to divorce me all over again.  (If only that were possible huh Paul?)

And then there’s Thane.  He really needs so much more from me, but he gets table scraps. I’m gone all day and home a few hours from his bedtime and those hours are spliced into a thousand efforts so that he just gets slivers of my attention, and everything I’ve read talks about how crucial giving him my undivided attention is to his development, but honestly, the only time he gets that is when he’s been taken to the hospital and I have nothing else pressing against me but the bars of his hospital crib.   I’ve just discovered this week that he should have been in speech and language therapy long before now and the fact that I dropped THAT ball is dragging behind me like a ships anchor. I have this picture in my mind of him as a 20-year-old unable to communicate with anyone and it’s because I failed to get him into speech and language therapy on time!

So what peppy piece of encouraging scripture am I talking about?? There are dozens that declare me loveable and all good in Gods eyes… but it’s nothing like that. It’s found in 1st John.

1.   See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.  2   Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

That last bit is the part that keeps grabbing me.  I think the secret is in there.  And here’s how… follow me if you dare.

Growing up my mom was our worship leader in church and she spoke often on the spiritual concept of God showing up in our worship.  ( Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of His people,)  and we are told in the Word that Where God’s spirit is, there is freedom and change  ( 17 … The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit .  2 Corinthians 3:17-18 )

…” when He appears , we will be like Him…”

And so here’s what I think, I’m not what I should be, or could be or will be.. but when I worship, Jesus shows up, and when He’s around, I become more like Him, I’m changed, I’m free. I’m enough.  I think the reason I’m stuck in this bit of scripture is as simple as that.  In my own strength I’m never going to have enough, be enough, know enough, give enough, get enough, to be all the things I need to be to all the people who need me to be them.  As ‘me’ I’m always going to fall short.  But if I could just be more like HIM I could be. And I can’t be more like Him unless He’s around. I need to invite Him to inhabit my days, my hours, my space, so I can see what He is clearly and be changed.  Hmm, Just typing it out helped.

I’m sure there’s a theology professor somewhere shouting at the computer screen that 1st John is about Heaven, and being made like Christ when He returns and takes us home… and if you’re that professor, please don’t write me and expound on my improper use of scripture, I promise you I’ll agree with you. I’m not saying my little revelation is theologically accurate, I’m saying I’m blonde, it’s early and I didn’t sleep so much on account of all the big fat tears and such and this morning this is what works.  I’m compiling a playlist on YouTube and getting ready to invite Jesus to hang out on a Thursday with me and see if by the end of this day I wasn’t a ‘little more’ than I was when I started out. What could it hurt?

I’ll let you know the results.

I’M PROLLY GUNNA CRY ALL DAY.

Today is NOT world down syndrome day, but since Brampton Christian School (greatest school on the planet FYI) will be away on March break for the celebration, they flipped the date 3-21… and we are celebrating today 3-12.  B.C.S is decked out today in multi-coloured crazy socks to show their support for MY SON and people just like him, people like me and you and you and you… all different but so much the same.  And the whole thing has made me crazy emotional. I’m crying as I type.

Can someone please explain to me how this little boy with his crooked smile and his squinty almond eyes has turned me…fiercejoy, into a blubbering mess??  At the first hint of support or love that is shown to him by anyone, I melt.  I’ve spent a good portion of this last year crying rivers of happy tears, emotional moved to soggy-ness tears.

It’s as if I’m expecting the worst.

I’m expecting stares and whispers and pointed fingers and when I get open admiration and respect instead, my eyeballs get so shocked they spill.  And maybe in part it’s because I want to protect him so badly. I watch him fight so hard and struggle for every inch of his growing and becoming that I feel this fierce and overpowering drive to put a hedge around him and make his way easier. He does his fighting with a smile and baby jabber and I do mine with watchful eyes and clenched fists.

I am so crazy proud of my school today. Not just for the socks… that’s fun, and everyone likes fun. I’m proud of the way they asked questions during my classes with them these last three weeks, and became irate when I quoted the current abortion rate for kids with T21.  Of how they ask about Thane nearly everyday,  and add him to their classroom prayer lists, how they call him “so cute” and the littlest ones ask if he can come to school with me yet?. I’m proud of the way my colleagues hold us up in prayer all the time, and how they love me by loving Thane.  I’m so proud I’m prolly gunna cry all day.  The rainbow of colours that line the hallways today screams that bullies don’t have room here, that discrimination doesn’t have a place, that inclusion is a forgone conclusion and that LOVE WINS.

Every time.

When I became a single mom a year ago I woke the following day with a crisp and clear resolution. That Thaniel would never feel the gap. That he would lack for no thing that I could offer him, whether it be material or emotional or spiritual.  I didn’t have a plan as to how I’d pull that off mind you, just that resolution.  Days like today I see it. I feel the fullness of the life he is going to lead, it reminds me of the way air enters a balloon and pushes out the sides. Each deep breath in when we are at our end and struggling; finds it’s release in the awesome sauce way we are held by our friends and family and Thaniel’s world becomes bigger.

I realize that these are the easy days, the days when he is little and cute and you really can’t tell if he has deficits or not and everyone just wants to “hug the baby” . I realize that the real mountains are ahead.  When he is big and maybe loud and silly and I’m the only one that finds him adorable.  But for today I’m gathering his army of supporters around us like a squirrel with nuts to carry us thru.  And when I go home tonight I’m going to pull him into my arms and bawl like a big girl and tell him all about the school that put on crazy socks and wore ribbons and celebrated HIM today.  Thank you Brampton Christian, it means the world to us.download_20150312_123136download_20150312_123130

Thank you Mrs. Jacobs.

Why do feminists see abortion as a right and not as just one more way we are robbed of what rightfully belongs to us?

I’ll probably hear some noise about that, but it’s what’s rolling around in my head today.  It’s no secret to those who know me that I harbor some deep feelings regarding abortion. But maybe the people who know me don’t realize it has little to do with my faith-based upbringing and so much more to do with my feelings of inadequacy. I really struggle with feeling like I am “never enough”

Until I had a heart to life encounter with the God I serve, I had always assumed He loved me because He HAD to, He is a father, and like my own parents, He had little choice in the matter. He was in essence FORCED to love me because that’s what parents do.  And I got it. I mean, who would willingly, knowingly CHOOSE to love me? I am awkward, clumsy, broken, flawed, noisy, thoughtless, simple. I haven’t got the brains God gave bugs bunny.  I was a target in school for bullies,

and predators.

But God met me where I was and convinced me of His CHOICE. To love me no matter. To love me anyway.. and in crazy awesome sauce fact.. BECAUSE of my faults. In my weakness, HE shines.

And so I came to see that I was of value. Absolute intrinsic value, not because of anything I had in me, but just because I am.

I was expecting my fifth son when my world, already shaky and crumbling seemed to slip out from under me and come crashing around my ears.  My husband had been unfaithful for years, and I KNEW he didn’t love me, no really.  I think he wanted to.  I mean I think that was his original intention, but it wasn’t something he could actually pull off.  I’d given him four other beautiful healthy babies who were perfect and should have done something to endear him to me.. but the endless months of pregnancy, the swollen legs, pulled skin, sleepless nights, hours and hours of pain filled natural labour, morning sickness, tandem breast-feeding, potty training… the whole kit and caboodle did little if anything to draw his affection or admiration. I wasn’t enough.  Now 28 and pregnant with beautiful baby number five my heart began to quake, quite literally. An abnormal heartbeat began, chest pain and shortness of breath followed and suddenly I found myself in the cardiac wing of our local hospital, 12 weeks along and listening to our chief of medicine say “perinatal cardiomyopathy” and the quick and succinct explanation of what that was.  He declared my pregnancy “not viable” and ordered meds and tests that were not “compatible with fetal development”  and I almost went along.

here’s what went on in my head.

1. My husband NEVER wanted any of the babies. I mean he was all ok with the making of them, but his reaction to their coming was always negative, always put blame on me, as if I had done something wrong on my own to create this child and his disinterest and distance with me during their pregnancies was a strong message about how he felt about them and me. Also, it was typically during a pregnancy that he chose to cheat. I never had a pregnancy wherein he remained faithful.

2. This was my life. My heart was failing and I was NOT enjoying it. It was painful and I was afraid.

3. I had four other babies at home. They needed me. God knows they needed me.

I was lying in my hospital bed, the monitor leads coming from everywhere out of my hospital gown. It was late, I was alone, and I was crying.

I’m not sure why, but a conversation I’d had with a woman from my father’s church came back to my mind just then.  She eventually had seven children herself and I won’t go into the details of her life, it is enough to say that she is everything I hope to one day be and her children are a screaming pointing finger to excellence in parenting and faithfulness and complete and utter awesome sauce and she didn’t even get to live to see the half of it. She was a lifeline in those early years. I owe her much… but JUDAH owes her more.

She and I had an encounter in a book store. I was six weeks along at the time. the news was fairly fresh in me. I’d had pneumonia the weeks before (the cause of the eventual cardiac trouble ) and was in that book store weary weak and down. We ran into each other by chance and I shared my ‘joyful’ news and she understood my tears.  And then she began to preach.  (in season and out right Marguerite?) She spoke of Leah in the Bible, of how she was not chosen. Of how her husband wanted another. How she kept giving him these beautiful babies and he never gave her what belonged to her. Respect! Love! Honour!  And then finally she carried her fifth child, and when he entered the world she didn’t name that baby for his earthly father or his family, but instead she lifted her head toward heaven, looked her creator in the face and declared “THIS TIME I WILL PRAISE THE  LORD”  and named her baby Judah. (which means ‘praise the Lord’)   What that friend of mine shared after that, about her own life, her own daughter ‘Judith’ and how she had turned her heart toward the ONE who loved her completely ; suddenly came back to me there in that bed, and I began to ask “whose child is this?”

Was this baby just a product of biology? was this some cosmic mistake? an accident of chemistry? medical issue? or was I gifted with something of the divine? What if I was  a part of a creative process that was bigger than me? What if I wasn’t the one doing the choosing? What if this baby meant something to someone other than me?

It took the night. I wrestled, I gave up, I gave in… I lost me and gained everything.

When our chief of medicine came in the next morning with his staff, I calmly announced that I would not be going along with the plan, that I needed a doctor that could not only work around my pregnancy but work for it and then asked for support to make the choice FOR my child should my life no longer be ‘viable’ .

Seven months later on my bed, Judah Timothy slipped into the world. And I have ever believed that he is my emancipation, my victory, my freedom, my praise,my promise. He was MINE! a gift from God and no mans. Not put here for the glory of some man, and not the design of any man. I deserved that sweet little boy, he and I were made for each other.  And I defy anyone to ever suggest in the future that it is anyone’s ‘right’ to rob me of what is mine.

My divine animal right to procreate, my right to bear children, to continue, for entire generations to come through me and live on because I was available to creativity.  It is my right as a woman.  I fought for that right. I sacrificed for that right, it cost me. Dearly.

So when Thaniel’s pregnancy presented itself I didn’t have to wrestle. I didn’t have to ‘choose’.  I already knew his intrinsic worth. His peer status with me. He and I are loved the same. We are created the same, we have the same rights and freedoms, the same available destinies, we have the same creator who loves us BECAUSE of our flaws and imperfections and glories in all our humanity. And Thaniel was my ‘right’. I CHOOSE him! He’s right. All right.

God help the man who tries to take that right from me.