Perfect

This may come as a surprise to you but…wait for it…I am NOT a perfect mother.

I drop the ball.

For example, I took Weston to an allergy doctor this morning. I had planned ahead. The diaper bag was packed with all my baby tricks (toys, extra bottle, diapers, etc…). I had looked over my directions to make sure I knew where I was going. I had the baby carrier in the van.  I had filled out the paperwork they had sent me and it was safely packed in said diaper bag. I had my coffee in hand and I had actually eaten breakfast.  We left on time and got there 20 minutes early. Which is unheard of for me as I am notoriously late.  We are the family that is late for church…for the late service.

Anyway…so I had all my ducks in a row right? So far anyway. I found a good parking spot.  Weston was happily babbling in his car seat.   But, I took one more sip of coffee and reached down to grab my diaper bag and discovered that I had left my diaper bag at home.  By the back door.  With my insurance card and my ID.

Yep.

Didn’t have time to go home and it would take months to get another appointment.  Awesome.

Thankfully, everything worked out fine.  But I hate those moments when I “fail”.  When I feel like a “bad mommy”.

But do you know who didn’t care?  My son.  All he cared about was that I was there for him.  To wipe his tears and make him feel secure. That’s all. He wasn’t looking for perfect…he just wanted his mom.IMG_6003

A good lesson for me to remember.

Last Sunday was a typical crazy, rushed morning and we were typically late. Singing had already begun and my heart and mind were distracted.

I was trying to get focused on what I was singing about but one of my kids (who shall remain nameless) was being repeatedly disobedient and after repeatedly correcting said child, I was frustrated. How could I sing when I was not focused and having peaceful thoughts? How could I worship when it didn’t feel like I was offering something perfect?

Wait a minute…there’s something wrong here.

And God tugged on my heart in that moment.

When have I ever offered “perfect” worship?

When has God ever required perfect worship?

Answer – never.

So, in that moment I offered up my distracted and frustrated heart to worship God and I found no condemnation.

Only acceptance.

I was humbled in that moment to think that this honesty was more worshipful than any false perfection…scratch that…pride that I could offer.

How many times have I told others that God wants us to come as we are and here I was needing to believe it for myself.

I do love when I can put all my attention to corporate worship. I love it!

But that is no more of a sweet aroma than when I come with an honest…albeit distracted…heart.

Because when I honestly acknowledge my imperfections, that’s when I can fully experience God’s PERFECT grace.

And that’s so much better than putting on the facade of perfection.

 

Our 1 year old

IMG_5777This boy turned 1-year-old last week and I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that!  I’ve been so blessed by this sweet boy.  More than I can find words for.

I love love love this age!  His little personality is coming through and he loves making us all laugh.  He fits right in with all the other hams in this family!  He’s pretty quiet and reserved in new situations but he can make some noise when he chooses.  He is very curious about the outdoors and loves to go on walks.  He’s such a sweet little boy!IMG_5733

We have been searching for answers for some weird food issues Weston has.  I started solid foods with him at 6 months and at first he did fine with them.  But after trying a couple of things he started a pattern.  2 hours after eating he would start vomiting and then continue every 10-15 minutes for several hours becoming more tired and lethargic as time went on.  The next day he’s perfectly happy and fine.  Anyway, we are still on the hunt for answers and for foods Weston can tolerate.  We’ve seen several doctors and run a bunch of tests…some of them a little scary…but they have all come back negative.  Which is a good thing!  Meanwhile our little 17 pound peanut is otherwise healthy and active…now if he would sleep through the night!IMG_5768

Taking Weston to all his appointments has brought back so many memories.  Some good…some not.  I have had to work through some tears and I’ve had to come to terms with having yet one more child with some medical issues.  And in the end I’ve had to lay it all down and rest in the fact that God has this too.IMG_5747

Weston,

From the moment I held you and looked into your eyes for the first time…my heart swelled with so much love for you!  You are the best surprise I have ever received.  I love your little grins and your rare but infectious giggles.  You can pretty much bat those killer blue eyes at anyone around here and get exactly what you want.  I love your curios and yet suspicious nature.  I love to listen to your babbling and I love to watch you explore and play.  I love all the funny little games we play…and that you expect everyone else to know them too.  I love your fuzzy little head and I’m hoping those are curls growing!

You are such a blessing baby boy.  I love you Chicken.IMG_5715Love,

Mom

Reflection

Time has such a unique way of changing your perspective.  You no longer have just the emotions and thoughts of the moment.  So when I look back four years to my twenty-five year old self sitting in a dimly lit hospice room watching my husband take his last breath, I remember it all so clearly.  But time has made it just that.  A memory.  This day every year has become like my New Year’s Day.  It’s a day I remember and reflect.

It was the day that Josiah’s life ended here and his perfect life began.

It was the day that, for the first time, I watched death…and somehow my fear of it was taken away.

It was the day that changed my life in so many ways.

It was an end and a beginning.

And God has been faithful!  He has carried me when I was in the desert of my grief.  He healed, restored, and made deeper my broken heart. He made Himself known to me in ways I never dreamed.

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.  Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?  Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.  ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’  I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you…” Job 42:2-5

Much was taken away from me…but God has added beyond what I could imagine.

God has brought me a second Love of my Life!

“God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. 

He does everything by His power that is working in us.” Ephesians 3:20

God has added not one…not two…but three children to my heart!

And when I see this sweet face:

Imagehow can I not just be in awe of God’s plans?

“I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord.  “I want you to enjoy success.  I do not plan to harm you.  I will give you hope for the years to come.  Then you will call out to me.  You will come and pray to me.  And I will listen to you.  When you look for me with all your heart, you will find me.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13

There are no words to accurately describe what’s in my heart except for maybe this…

I vividly remember the first words that I murmured after Josiah died were “Thank You Jesus.”

And those are the words that so clearly ring in my mind and heart tonight.

“Thank You Jesus!”

Motherhood

Wow.  This blogging funk has gotten out of control! I have felt no real zeal for writing lately and have very little time for it anyway.  Plus with the sleep deprived fog I’m in I’m not sure I’ll make any sense anyway.  I had forgotten what torture it is to not sleep! Coffee works wonders for sure, but there are days when that doesn’t even work. Homeschooling the four older kids is going really well this year and for that I am thankful!  But it is still work.  Lots of work.  Also, we are building a house and we are all sooooo very excited about that! I can not wait until we can move in and get settled and am so thankful for God’s provision for it!  But I can’t say I’m excited to pack up the house we are living in…so I’m just procrastinating on that. 

So much going on.  So much living and life and fun and joy and frustrations and worries and weariness.  Motherhood continues to stretch me in ways I didn’t think were possible.  There are so many articles and Facebook statuses about how amazing and wonderful motherhood is.  And that is all very true!  I still totally believe I am blessed with the best job in the world.  But…it is SO hard too.  There are days when I really do not like my job.  There are days when I start questioning if I’m really meant for this.  There are days when I think anyone would do a better job than I am.  There are days when I cry in frustration.  There are days when I lose my temper.  There are days when the responsibility of what I’m doing feels like a heavy weight.  There are days when I let the pressure and stress get to me. 

But it is in those days and those moments when I am given more grace than I deserve.  It is in those days when I see more clearly the work that God still has to do in me. And it is also in those days when I can be most thankful that God doesn’t need a perfect performance from me to love me.

Oh, how He love me!

And it does seem that when I am at my lowest, God blesses me with something unexpected.  I have a moment of connection or laughter with a child that so fills my heart I can’t describe it.  Or, I actually get a decent night’s sleep (Hallelujah!!).  Or I read something in my devotions from God’s Word that gives strength.  Those are the moments that make this job so indescribable!

Because motherhood is not pretty.

But it can be beautiful!

Image

A gift

I would like to introduce my sonIMG_1670Weston James Rankin

Born May 3, 2013  3:18pm

7 pounds 6 ounces 20 inches

Yes.  He is the cutest baby on the planet.  And yes, he is a month old (crazy!) and I am finally getting around to writing about him.  But true to form, his birth was not without some drama.  I can’t seem to have a baby without a story.

(To preface this story, Weston and I are fine.  Just enough drama for a blog post, not to cause worry.)IMG_1680My due date (April 29th) came and went and little Mr. was perfectly content to stay where he was.  What can I say, I make a good oven.  Three days later I went in for an appointment and ultrasound.  Everything looked good.  Found out I was carrying some extra fluid.  Quite a bit of extra fluid.  And baby was measuring big.  Both were totally opposite issues than I have experienced before.  There were some potential complications due to the extra fluid and I was already past due, so we decided to induce the next day.IMG_4794I was pretty bummed about being induced again (I was with my other two labors as well), but I was at peace with it.  Dustin and I made plans for the kids, finished packing our bags, and had a nice evening together.

The next morning we got up nice and early and headed to the hospital.

Oh, and did I mention it was May 3rd and we were in the middle of a snow storm?IMG_1664Anyway…

We got to the hospital, checked in, got settled in our room, and started the dreaded pitocin drip.  After about five hours my doctor decided to break my water.  When they broke my water, the cord went below Weston’s head and with every contraction I had after that, his heart rate dropped.

I’ll spare you a bunch of details but trust me when I say they don’t mess around when something like that happens.  I was wheeled into an emergency c-section at 3:12 and a screaming Weston was born at 3:18.IMG_4739Going into surgery so many thoughts were swirling in my mind.  I was scared.  I don’t take for granted that everything is just going to be ok anymore.  I also didn’t hesitate to do whatever I needed for my baby.  But that’s just motherhood.IMG_1751I was also thinking that, because I was being put under general anesthesia, I wasn’t going to be awake when my baby was born.  And I still kinda hate that I missed that.  During this pregnancy I have had a short list of specific prayer requests.  One of them being that I would be able to bond with Weston right away.  Maybe that sounds like a strange request to some, but it was very important to me.  My whole pregnancy was difficult.  Plus, with four children already, it was also incredibly busy.  I felt like there was so much on my plate that I didn’t really have the time or the energy to put a lot of focus on my baby.  I loved him.  No question about that.  But I wanted that euphoric moment right after a baby is born and you get to see them for the first time, so very badly.  I know what it feels like to not bond with your baby right away, and I didn’t want to experience that again.

But God answered my prayer anyway!  After I woke up, my first question was if my baby was ok.  Dustin assured me that he was doing great and showed me a picture.  I was so emotional and I wanted to see my baby so badly, but I was also in a lot of pain and spent the rest of the day trying to get control of that.  Weston was being monitored closely and needed some oxygen for a while.  That night I just couldn’t hold it together any longer.  I needed to see my baby.  I had lived through not being able to see or hold my baby before and while my head knew this was a completely different experience, my heart just couldn’t take it.  I found out later that my wonderful husband had already stopped by the nursery and made it clear that his wife needed to see her baby.  I also had a very supportive nurse and between the two of them I got my moment that night.  Different than I had anticipated but every bit as magical.IMG_1678My heart was completely bonded with him before I even saw him.IMG_1769He is the surprise gift I didn’t know I wanted.IMG_1764I am forever thankful that God’s ways are perfect.

I am forever thankful that God knows exactly what I need.

And maybe it’s because he’s a fifth child and I know how fast these years go.  And maybe it’s because I know that life is not a guarantee.  And maybe it’s because I’m a few years older and a little wiser.  And maybe it’s just an answer to my prayer because God knew that I would need to be so in love with this little guy to help me deal with the extra craziness that is my life.IMG_1739Whatever the reason, I know that I am totally soaking up every moment with my sweet baby like I have never done before.  God orchestrated a lot for his little life to happen.IMG_1906And he is a precious gift.

You know you are nearing the end of your pregnancy when…

You know you are nearing the end of your pregnancy when…

  • Going up a flight of stairs leaves you so winded you think you might have just climbed Everest.
  • Rolling over in bed makes you feel like you need a nap.
  • The thought of wearing adult diapers is sounding more reasonable by the day.
  • Your nesting urges are getting out of control.
  • Those tiny little flutters and jabs are now so strong you feel like it’s bruising your insides.
  • You’re not even sure you still have a belly button.
  • You day-dream about laying on your back again.
  • You had a bunch more ideas of witty things to write…but you can’t remember a single one.
  • Oh yeah…you’re heart is so full of thankfulness that you have carried this baby full term and you can’t wait to HAVE HIM OUT!

This day…Grace

March 27th.

Just another date on the calendar to most, but to me it simply means:

Grace.

March 27, 2006…seven years ago…Ava was born. I became a Mom and my journey has been filled to the brim with unexplainable, undeniable…grace.

When I think of that day seven years ago, I don’t really think of birth pains or that right after birth euphoria when you finally stare into your newborns eyes for the first time.  Yes, those things were a part of that day.  But mostly my heart is just filled to the brim with thoughts of God’s great grace.

I can replay those first few days like a movie in my head.  Going from seeing my perfectly formed newborn…to a baby I didn’t even recognize within a few short hours.

Sitting in the waiting room as the doctors cut a line down her brand new chest and pulled her tiny ribs apart to work on her broken little heart.  I remember hearing someone else’s baby crying nearby and not being able to hold back the sobs that racked my sore and exhausted body.

I remember touching her for the first time after surgery and instead of feeling soft baby skin, I felt skin so swollen and pale that it felt like sand paper.

I remember the days following feeling little movements inside of me that were reminiscent of the life I once held and it was such a sharp reality that my baby was no longer safe and sheltered.  No.  She lay exposed down the hall on a sterile hospital bed with more tubes and wires coming out of her than I could count and enduring more pain than I could imagine.

I could go on and on and on telling story after story.  About the time when she almost died in my arms.  Or the time they came and told me that her heart stopped.  Or watching her go through drug withdrawals.  Or the days and weeks that turned into months sitting by her hospital bedside.  Or all the sleepless nights at home just watching her breathe.  Or all the doctors appointments and medications and delays and specialists and worries and tears.

But instead, all I can do is lift up a heart so full of thanksgiving that it aches all because of….grace.

God’s grace and mercy is personified in a tiny seven-year old in pink glasses racing through my house today.  Life is frail and fragile and not something that we can hope to hang on to.  But I am praising the One who holds her life, my life…your life…so tenderly in His hands.

Ava is still tiny. 38 pounds.  Still fits into her size 4T jeans.  Runs like the wind.  Is deep.  Is silly.  Learning is still a struggle for her.  She is sensitive and sassy.

And I will never be the same after watching God’s work in her life.  Because as God was healing her tiny life…God was doing surgery in mine too.  Showing me that I was NOT in control…but also showing me Who was.  Bringing me to the very end of myself…so that I could see Him in a deeper way.  Revealing His promises in a much more real way in my life.  Seeing a glimpse of the power of prayer…God’s power.  And so much more.

To the tiny blonde blur in my house…well, her mind is filled with what most seven-year old girl’s minds are filled with on their birthday.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

But this Momma’s heart is filled with one thought.

Grace.

Thank you God for your amazing grace.

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9