Tag Archives: faith

Lesson From A Blackbird

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It’s been raining heavily the past few days, which has suited my mood.  I’m in a place of confusion and wondering when there will be a break through in certain situations I find in my life.  I see no way out, no way of improving things.

The children both went for a rest earlier this morning, and I came down to the kitchen with a heavy heart to make a hot drink.  I looked out of the window while waiting for the kettle to boil, and there on my lawn (I say lawn loosely as it is more a churned up section of mud with tufts of grass in patches after having two dogs and children trekking around on it) was a blackbird.  He was out there in the pelting rain and wind gathering his meal for the day.  He looked unaffected by the adverse conditions around him; more like he was rather enjoying it as there was food aplenty for him.  After he had his fill, he hopped up onto the fence and lifted his little head into the rain seemingly soaking it in and rejoicing.

I heard a little voice inside reminding me, that even though things may look bleak and unchangeable, and even if it doesn’t feel like it, there is opportunity in every season of life.  And much like the blackbird needs the not so nice weather conditions to bring more worms to the surface, so we also need storms in our life so they can shape our character and teach us valuable lessons.

Nothing has changed about my situation since seeing the blackbird, but my heart feels a little lighter and more encouraged knowing that even if I don’t see it yet, there is some good, some opportunity to come out of it.

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Our Citizenship

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Today is election day here in the UK.  After voting closes this evening and all votes have been counted, we will find out what direction and shape our government is going to take for the next 5 years.  It is easy to fret and worry over which party will win.  Will the right party get it?  Will they make the right decisions for the country?  This morning I was reminded of the verse in Philippians chapter 3 that states: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Things today may not go the way you or I hope they will, but we must also remember that our true citizenship is not of this world, and there is One greater who knows and understands and is in control of the outcome.  And in the wise words of John Newton:  “People do their country more service by pleading for it in prayer than by finding fault with things they have no power to alter.”  Be encouraged today.

Messy

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One thing I am learning and becoming all too aware of as my daughter grows is that motherhood is messy.  It’s messy in a literal, physical sense where there are always sticky hand prints around, or toys in the wrong places, or mud trekked in through the house via the soles of little shoes.  I am ok with that side of messy.  Yeah, I have to clean up the same thing a gazillion times, but still, I can cope with that.

There’s the other side of motherhood that’s messy though and not so easily cleaned up-the emotional side.  Ever get those days when everyone just falls apart?  Voices rise, tears fall, harsh words come gushing out, doors slam.  The mess is nasty, and hard to sort through.  It puts cracks in relationships, builds barriers and everything is stressful.

We have had so many of these messy days lately.  Developmental changes have brought new challenges for both of us as we try and figure out how to live harmoniously with each other, with our needs and our personalities.  Miss E has been fashioned by God’s good hand into a very independent and strong character.  All the qualities that are such a difficulty for me right now as her mother, will, one day, stand her in good stead as she ventures off into the world alone.  But it’s getting from here to that point that is proving difficult.  It’s a fine balancing act and a skilled dance as we figure this whole thing out together, and often we get it all wrong.  We fail to understand each other.  We fail to communicate with each other in loving ways.  We fail to choose loving reactions.  Yesterday was one such messy day.

On these messy days, I am thankful for two gifts:  GRACE.  Grace to try again.  Grace to start anew.  Grace to change.   Rich, abundant grace.  Where would we be without it?  NATURE.  Our happy place.  A therapy for the soul.  A place we can go together to ease the stresses and rediscover our way on this journey.  There is colour therapy given via the flowers and the greenery, music therapy from bird song, the wind, water passing by, raindrops falling.  There is peace, time to reflect, time to reconnect.  Grace and nature: our balm to soothe away the strife.  How do you cope with the messy days of parenting?  How do you reconnect with your child?IMAG0604

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I do not understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where are but does not leave us where it found us.

~Anne Lamott~

Thoughtful Thursdays

We Are Never Having Any More

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The words, they hit my heart like a freight truck and they rip it wide open each and every time.  I’ve heard it said to others in front of me as well as directly to me.  In front of others, I smile and laugh, because really the world would very much agree with those words, even if they didn’t have the struggles I have had and am having to bring life into this world.  Children are perceived as a burden to be limited to one, two at the most.  Alone, however, they are a wound too deep, too raw to ignore and laugh at.  It is no laughing matter.

As a teenage girl, my only dream was to bring forth life into this world and my heart saw many beautiful little souls calling me, ‘Mama’.  Nothing else mattered to me, not fame, not success, not a career, not money, for, when I am at the end of my days those things aren’t going to keep me company, nor are those things going to make this world a brighter, more beautiful place.  I have battled fertility issues to get to where I am today, fighting every day to bring another child into this world.

Fertility issues and hyperemesis already eat away at my confidence as a woman.  Pregnancy and bringing forth life into this world are two of the most natural parts of womanhood, or so we assume, and yet so many of us suffer from the feeling that our bodies are somehow inadequate, a failure in many ways.  We cannot get pregnant, or, if we do, we are literally fighting daily for our life and that of our unborn child as we hit complication after complication.  It isn’t helped by those around us falling pregnant seemingly easily, or breezing through text book pregnancies with multiple children.  There must be something wrong with me, we think.  Why is my body no good at nurturing life?

“We are never having any more.”  The words they sting.  They rub tons of salt onto that gaping hole of inadequacy and confirm all my fears and beliefs that I am no good.  I am no good at this thing called motherhood.  I am no good at the very thing that sets me apart from a man; my ability to grow and nurture another life.  If even my husband has no confidence in me to go through this again, then I am clearly no good.

I can fully understand why he feels that having more is not a good idea.  I battle daily to care for my daughter, to care for myself and give the best to my unborn child.  I fight sickness and SVT and SPD.  I have legs that are on fire caused by some unknown burning, itching rash.  He had to witness me haemorrhaging after the birth of our first child, and see me collapse twice and have swarms of medical professionals rush into the room, and be ill and bedridden for most of her first six months.   No, it isn’t easy for me to bear children, and I am very blessed to have carried three, and hopefully soon to deliver a second into this world.  Maybe we won’t be blessed with another, and that is fine, I am truly beyond happy with two.  But to have someone take away my choice, without giving a second thought to how I feel, as they can’t cope with me being so ill is such a blow to who I am as a woman; to my confidence; to my dreams.  I have already sacrificed so much to get to where I am; please don’t take my dreams as well.

I cannot change my husband’s mind.  I cannot make him understand how it feels to be me and why it is so important to me.  I cannot guarantee him that I will be any different or any more capable of carrying another child problem free even if he were to consider it.  All I can do is pray.  Pray for healing, not just physically, but emotionally.  Pray for affirmation of who I am.  Pray for understanding.  Pray for grace to get through each and every day I have left of this pregnancy.  Pray for a miracle.

We survived!

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Last I did a proper post, I mentioned about a trip we were going on and how concerned I was about how Miss E would cope.  I did a lot of praying and God answered.  She coped wonderfully well the whole trip.  We did have some issues with her sleeping in the evenings, but I would rather have coped with that than a tantruming toddler who’s so over meeting her extended family.

We took the overnight ferry on the way there.  Miss E enjoyed exploring the place and looking out at Liverpool all lit up while we were waiting to set sail.

staring out on Liverpool all lit up at night

staring out on Liverpool all lit up at night

 

We docked at 6:30am, collected the keys for where we were staying and then drove to our destination.  we unpacked and got all settled in.  Miss E then went for a long nap.  We woke her up about 2:30pm to go get some ice cream.  Mr P has a favourite ice cream parlour he always has to visit when we go, and Miss E needed her first taste as well.  We went onto the little children’s play beach as well so she could go on the swings.

On the Sunday and Monday we visited family.  Miss E enjoyed that very much.  She lapped up the fuss and discovered a new game of walkING as she calls it.  She wants to walk everywhere but can’t do it on her own just yet 🙂  She also played for ages with one of my favourite childhood toys.  A big yellow teapot.

 

the 26 year old teapot that's still got years of life left in it yet for little ones

the 26 year old teapot that’s still got years of life left in it yet for little ones

 

When we weren’t visiting family, we took Miss E to a few different beaches around.  Oh, how I miss living so near the sea!  We had a daytrip to the zoo as well.  While we were eating lunch at the zoo a peacock was hovering around eating all the scraps he could get.  He eventually stopped underneath our picnic bench where he helped himself to all the treats Miss E was dropping.  He got rather too close for (my) comfort and I was worried that he might peck Miss E’s hand, so I asked Mr P to throw another treat down for him, which he gobbled up.  Miss E then wanted one, and we assumed she wanted to copy daddy in throwing it down for the peacock, but, no, she wanted to hold it for the peacock to take from her hand, and before we could register what was happening he’d come and pecked it out of her hand with great force.  i think we were more shocked than Miss E although she did have a little whimper like she was about to burst into tears, but then her attention was diverted back to her food.  We also took a day to go and visit a National Trust house and grounds.  I’m really starting to see there being a benefit in National Trust membership!  Something to think about for future I think as they are great days out with a good combination of history and grounds to run around in.

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On the Saturday we had a wedding to go to which I was also dreading as I wasn’t sure how Miss E would be during the service.  She’s always fine in church, but I have this fear that when you’re in a more pressured situation that’s when it will all go wrong.  I came armed with snacks galore, books etc, but Miss E was an absolute angel throughout the whole thing.  She got a little bit tired and grumpy during dinner, but she is usually fast asleep by the time we were sitting down to eat.  Still, she overcame that and was as happy as anything allowing us to join in with the first dance of the ceilidh before we went home.

So, really I shouldn’t have stressed as God had it all under control, and the missing cat even came home as well……as soon as her owners were back and called her name, figures!  I was so busy worrying about the trip and praying for it, i forgot to pray for our return.  We’re getting all the tantrums on this end and I am also struggling to get back into any sort of workable routine.  Oh well, haha!  We had a lovely time, we were blessed with absolutely fabulous weather, Mis E enjoyed meeting all her relatives and they also enjoyed finally getting to meet her too.  Stress over!  For now at least 😉

 

It’s Not All Fun And Games

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While there are many fun, joyous, sweet moments on this journey of motherhood,  there are times when the road is long, the terrain rough and you feel totally unprepared and inadequate at dealing with the role.  I’m not the only one who feels like this, right??  There are those days that just go completely wrong, where tempers flare, tears fall, harsh words spill out, and you want to crawl into a hole never to see daylight again.  You wish there was a way to resign; you wish you had the ability to have a few sick days; you wonder why on earth this child is in your life as you can’t seem to handle them, appease them or understand them.  That’s exactly how I have been feeling.  If you could hear my prayers you would often hear phrases like, “God, you’ve made a big mistake here!” “I’m not cut out to be a mother.”  “You placed this child in the wrong home.” and so on.  For a while now, my health and energy levels have been pretty low.  This leads to low moods where everything just seems so dark and extremely daunting, which triggers my Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which leads to further low moods; add to this a screeching, unhappy, will not be settled by anything, clingy, grouchy, needy child and it’s a total recipe for disaster.  Dealing with that further depletes my energy which leads to low moods, and so the vicious circle goes on.  Of course, my low moods have caused Miss E’s behaviour to worsen further which really doesn’t help at all!  I have felt trapped; I have felt frustrated; I have wished for a way out; I have felt distant from my child; I have felt isolated, depressed, angry, sad, guilty, pretty much every emotion there is to feel.

I don’t want to feel this way.  I want to get back to feeling happy, healthy, balanced and to have the energy I need to face the day.  One day last week it all just came to a head and got way too much.  I seriously wanted to just run away from it all as I felt like a total failure.  Alas, as a mother, there is no way out; there is only a way through.  Finding that way can be hard and it can take a while.  I’ve taken a few steps to try and improve our situation, and it has made some difference. There is still a way to go, but our week did get brighter.  I went to bed super early….rest was clearly much in demand by my body, so ensuring I got lots was a huge priority.  MrP made a suggestion that has helped immensely.  Instead of  me feeding Miss E as soon as she wakes up and getting us getting breakfast and getting ready after he has gone to work which resulted in our days getting off to a stressful start, Mr P takes Miss E down for breakfast once she wakes and brings me my breakfast in bed-those moments are a great time to have some peace to gather my thoughts for the day ahead and ask God to help me to keep a clear, focused head and to remain calm and patient (this does not come naturally to me; I was not born blessed in this area).  I then shower and get ready while Mr P sorts Miss E out with her clothes etc.  Once we’re ready she then has a feed from me, and we start our day fully prepared at 7:30ish.  This has really helped to get our days started off on the right foot and sets the tone for a calm and peaceful  time together.

Another thing that Mr P has helped me with is to draw up a daily routine.  I find I need structure to my day and, without it, the whole thing just falls apart.  We flit from one thing to another and never finish anything.  Now with my new routine, it’s amazing how I can fit everything in with less stress (notice I didn’t say zero), but I’ll do a separate post about our routine.  So, I am hopeful that with taking care of my body, my new routine and Mr P’s support I will be better equipped to cope with Miss E and her difficult days as other areas of my life are in order and not adding to the stress pile.  I want to be the calm, under control, peaceful influence in Miss E’s life that she truly deserves.

 

Despite my extremely low moods, we have managed to have some good times this week:

 

Off on a stroll to the library

Off on a stroll to the library

 

A trip to Belton House to meet up with a friend and her little ones-talk therapy with a dear friend is the best!

A trip to Belton House to meet up with a friend and her little ones-talk therapy with a dear friend is the best!

 

 

an outing to White Post Farm with more friends and their little ones

an outing to White Post Farm with more friends and their little ones

What strategies do you use to cope with the not so fun moments of parenting?  Have you got any hints or tips that would be worth sharing?