Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wake-Up Juice

Ugh. Home-brewed iced coffee - even a few swallows! - is wake-up juice if I ever had it. Or maybe the reason I'm wide-awake while the hubby and baby are snugly sleeping (as they should be - Chris watched Elayne while I had some grown-up time and she screamed his ears off for two hours) is because thoughts of a loved one lie heavy on my heart.

Even now, I sigh to think about it. This loved one is hurting badly, and turning to everything except Christ to find answers. Now he's turning inward, hiding away, and it pains me greatly to see. I pray for him often, though not nearly enough. However, I know it is not my prayers nor my words that can ultimately help him. Only the Holy Spirit can do that, by opening his eyes to the love of Christ and the blissful hope that he offers through his death and resurrection.

Thus unfolds one of the biggest challenges in my life: comprehending that it is not I, nor a perfect series of words or actions, that can help or save a person. I find it confusing - it is obviously not wrong to want the person to be helped or saved, yet it is wrong for me to trust myself rather than God to do the work (1 Corinthians 3:6-7, 2 Corinthians 3:4-6). I can't seem to let go of the notion that my own power plays a part, somehow. I am allowed to play some part in the sense that I can petition the Lord for souls, but it is not because I merited that privilege by earning Good Christian Points. Reconciling that in my mind is difficult, to say the least.

In addition, I feel that if I say the wrong series of things in an effort to point this loved one to Christ, that I will undo whatever work has already been done in his heart. When I step back from this idea, it is laughable - as if my weak and transient words could override the work of the Holy Spirit and the plan that God has sovereignly ordained! Yet I continue in this line of thought, day after day.

I don't want to indulge the sin of distrust even as I do something that would please the Lord if done rightly. I am glad that he knows the motive of my heart. I hope that the motive, at least, pleases him. After all, the Lord understands how I feel about this loved one, how much I desire that he discover Christ  as all-sufficient, for he loves this person more than I could even imagine loving him. I am thankful that he's allowed me in this person's life so that I can act as his ambassador. Blessed privilege that is! May he give me grace and help to trust him ever more as I represent his glorious person on this earth.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A New Type of Mortification, or The Post I Couldn't Finish

 Let me be honest with you. I wrote the following section of a blog post but couldn't finish, because I'm just not there yet:
Lately, I've noticed classic mom folly crop up in my life. I've felt angry because I couldn't control Elayne, taken out my frustrations on Chris, and tried to handle my anxiety and stress alone instead of taking it to God (a la Philippians 4:6). 
I usually deal with conviction of sin in a quiet, introspective environment - going to another room if I'm in a fight with Chris, for example, or removing myself from a situation to sketch my thoughts in my journal. While there's still room for me to do that sometimes, I'm finding that my busyness is (obviously) more ongoing with a new baby. Therefore, I'm going to have to learn to daily kill my sin in the midst of the swift flow of life - a skill that I am bound to need eventually when Chris and I go into full-time ministry. 

I started writing this last Sunday and let it sit on my computer screen, telling myself each day following that I was going to compose the second half "in a little while." However, throughout the week, I found myself doing all the same things I spoke of in the first paragraph. I felt very discouraged, and I'm still struggling to figure out just how I'm going to actively mortify my sin when my brain is swimming with a million details of day-to-day life.

If you think about it, then, you can pray for me in this spiritual venture. I know the Lord is faithful and that he will see me more sanctified in the days to come as I trust in him!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Better Days

I am happy to announce that these past 2-3 days have been significantly better, and all I can say is thank God, and thank you for your much-felt prayers!

I've been able to find much more joy in Elayne and her infant antics, even in the wee hours of morning. Much of this is because I've been intentional in meditating on God's perspective of children. The Bible says children are a blessing from the Lord. It also says that we are his children, so in taking care of Elayne, I can get to know God and his perspective and care for me more truly and deeply. That's very encouraging. I've often asked myself how I'm going to "do ministry"with a small child, "ministry" existing in a tight box that I've constructed over my college years. However, my spirit was lifted when I realized that if I get to know God better through raising Elayne, I will inevitably serve him more wholeheartedly. As we see God more clearly, we become more like him, and that cannot be constricted to just a few areas of life. It'll spill over into everything, praise him!

 In addition to all that, I've been able to carve out some time for reading in the afternoon (my quiet time, and maybe some of Shepherding a Child's Heart) and before bed (Wheel of Time book 5 re-read, baby!). The addition of these very regular and encouraging activities gives me hope that Chris and I can discover our "new normal" sometime soon.

In other news, I'm trying to decide whether or not to attend the Wordsmithy writing conference August 2-4. Chris pointed it out to me and said we can make it happen, if I want to go. It sounds great, but I'm quite insecure about my writing at the moment. Not that I think it's not good or anything, but it's been a bit long since I've sat down and worked on the second draft of my novel with any consistency. Indeed, I let it go to the wayside during my first trimester (understandably - I pretty much slept any time I wasn't working or trying to keep the nausea down) and haven't picked it up since. So, we'll see. The idea of a writing conference has always both excited and intimidated me, so it's not a surprise that I'm jumping on the excuses for why it would be inappropriate or whatever for me to go.

More later, dear reader.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Trying to Figure This Out

Maybe that's my first problem - I'm trying to "figure this out."

For those of you who may not have heard, Chris and my first child, a daughter, was born on Sunday, May 27, at 1:39 pm. Her name is Elayne, she was 6 lbs, 4 oz, and 18 inches long. She's a beauty, and we are so very proud to be her parents.

This first week of parenthood has been interesting and difficult. I don't do well with change, and this is (obviously) a change of tremendous magnitude. Thank God for giving me a husband who takes this kind of thing in stride, and has very realistic expectations for what new phases of life will look like. So far, parenthood is kind of like marriage in that it is wonderful, yet hard in ways that you can't fully understand until you've been there. Not that I think I'm some veteran - au contraire! - most of the time I'm asking myself, "What on earth am I doing?!"

If you've been on my Facebook page lately, you might have seen that Chris and I think I may be experiencing postpartum depression. Apparently, 1 in 4 women go through this veritable maelstrom of malicious hormones, and those who have had depression before (read: me) are much more susceptible to it. For those of you who have never been depressed, the best way I can describe it is this: a depressed person's thinking is limited to a concrete cell. A wall rises up in front of the person's mind, and the more depressed they are, the more incapable of penetrating that wall they feel. It prevents them from seeing the greater perspective, finding hope, and deriving joy from circumstances. That's where I am right now - when I see Elayne, I find myself feeling sad and hopeless, and harboring dread about the future (for example - "I'll never get good sleep again...things will always be this difficult...Chris and I will never get time together...I'll never get to do anything I personally want to do because the baby will take up all my time forever...").

I guess you could say I feel a bit more prepared to deal with depression this time around, since Chris and I have spent almost three years learning how to battle it off together with prayer, encouragement and the truth of God's Word. That sounds really nice and spiritual, but in reality, it stinks in epic proportions. I don't want to be here again, and I'm asking for prayer that God will deliver me out of this very soon. I want to enjoy every moment with Elayne, for she is truly a treasure. If only my brain would meet up with my heart there.

Hopefully, I'll have a more positive story to post next time. I mean to start blogging more consistently, now that the little one has arrived. Perhaps I'll post my birth story eventually - we'll see (not everyone wants to hear about that, and I understand!). In the meantime, I wanted to give you this brief update. Over and out.