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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Friday, March 07, 2014

Considering Snowflakes

This season has been a season of snow.  I think we here in the Kentucky bluegrass aren't used to so much of it!  As much as this part of the country has seen since last fall, the fact that there are no two snowflakes alike is astounding!  I need to travel to the arctic to really appreciate that truth... but not soon.

I love snowflakes.  I love them because they are so incredible to study up close and when they link together, they blanket the earth and objects on the earth in a way that refreshes the terrain.  Even the most dilapidated old barn is like a delightful piece of art when covered by fresh snow.  I appreciate the symbolism of the snowflake as they remind me of the ones frozen, waiting on a chance to live.  But even more, I love to see them just as they are created, up close.  Such a view gives me opportunity to marvel at the intricacies that make up their individual shapes.  A couple of years ago, Micah bought me this book featuring photography on a micro scale of snowflakes.  As I turn the pages, I expect to find two alike.  I do not.  

There have also been snowflakes dancing, sometimes running, jumping, stomping, through our home with a flurry of unique characteristics and capabilities.  They, as am I, are all fearfully and wonderfully made-- made in the image of their Creator, yet bringing their own gifts, needs, and struggles and to serve different purposes in the days numbered for them.  Their stories may have similar origins, but God holds the pen in each of their lives as He holds the pen in mine.

One hands-on lesson in learning about the originality, complexity, and artistry of the Creator is by spending time with each of my children, just like I take time to study a snowflake--- Becoming a student of created things, especially those I love, can be wonderful as I am constantly surprised at the shapes of their souls and facets of their personalities.  But knowing them more can also be anxiety producing when there are things I learn that go beyond my understanding.

To speak more specifically, Eliana has been having breath-holding spells.  It stems from an immaturity of a part of her brain that regulates stress.  It can be triggered by anything from a startle to an injury to strong disappointment (usually over being corrected--- no she cannot stand on the dining room table or jump on the edge of my bed).  She will start to cry and then just not cry.  Or breathe.  Until she turns purple--- or sometimes pale.  You may remember me mentioning over Thanksgiving, after falling and hitting her head, she did pass out.  Thankfully, her body, through losing consciousness, provided a reset and she did begin breathing again.  It is terrifying!  Every time, I do a quick recall of infant/child CPR in my brain, make sure I know where the phone is, and try not to panic--- within the seconds it takes her to take a breath.  It feels like an eternity.

Isabella has always had trouble with her eyes draining properly.  She has developed a large stye occluding part of her vision on her right eye.  After spinning in circles trying to find a doctor that could help, we finally found one that provided us both medical and nutritional suggestions to help it heal and we are hoping that it does soon.  There are things I can do to help in prevention of subsequent styes, as she seems to have the propensity to develop them now.

She and Isaac have some type of respiratory illness that has caused me to remember back to when their lungs weren't very strong and as a result, they need a little more help now and again.  It is never easy to see a child struggling to breathe.  Last week, we hit an impasse with Bella.  With Andrew pulling Isaac and Eliana in the wagon, and with Elijah carrying all the parent with small children paraphernalia, I took her to the ER.  She was breathing more than 60 times per minute and had vomited all over herself in the van on the way to the hospital from her tachypnea.  She had her right arm tightly wrapped around mine, exhaustion in her eyes, clinging to Mommy in distress.  After a scary few hours, multiple breathing treatments and meds, I am so glad to report that she is doing much better.

I recently read this verse in Matthew 4 that seemed so unspecific and factual.  It journals Jesus' travels in the beginning of His ministry:

And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.  Matthew 4:23

We know of specific miracles preformed by Jesus as recorded in the gospels.  But yet there are more we may not see in the scriptures!  I am amazed at the Savior, who took time to reach so many in just the ways they needed.  His ministry was specific and effective and covered spiritual, physical, and psychological needs ~every affliction~ of those He met.  And it was just a part of His journey, as journaled by Matthew, to move through the landscape of peoples and places.  He is Healer.  He is Redeemer.

Now at this point, you are probably thinking that I am good to immediately go to Jesus with them.  The truth is, I don't always get over myself and my desire to fix them.  Sometimes, I want to make their problems go away.  I just want them to be better.  This mommy doesn't want to see my little ones suffering.    I would have done anything in those moments when Bella was struggling to take that away from her.  And I know there are Mommy's that love children through much more difficulty that I.  And even more selfishly, I want to take them to public places, even nurseries, without having to be so conscious of what they might be exposed to that would challenge their immature immunities.  Let me just tell you, when one person in a household of seven gets sick, I plan on weeks of sickness.  It is no fun, y'all.

As children grow, I am aware that in the heat of my ---I want to be God for you--- approach, I may and most certainly will cause parts of them to melt.  And as much as I don't want it to happen, it happens.  And it is hard.  And when it happens, I am showing an unbelief in God who is able to be God for me and for them simultaneously.  I have a job and it is a very important one.  I will keep doing the best I can to care for them.  But ultimately, my main job is to stand in the way and point them ahead to Jesus, the One through whom their preemie lung issues, broken bones, developmental delays may be redeemed as a part of a bigger story.   I know there have been things in my own life that God has used to lift my chin toward heaven and many have been physical problems.  Those things don't give me or them their true identities anyway.

By the way, this is even worse for me when it comes to parenting in light of personalities, temperaments, past struggles, etc.  It is way more simple and more complicated all at the same time.  But that is another blog for another day.

And what do I do when I don't do as I should?  As in all things, I repent--- in submission to the One who made provision for my anxieties and control issues.  I believe again in the perfect life of Jesus lived on my behalf.  I confess my unbelief.  And I thank God for the growing He is doing in me.  The good news is, even learning that I cannot control my children in all the ways I think I want to control them is part of my own growing.  Then, I ask for His mercy, as He is tender toward the sufferings of mothers as they carry their children to Him.  I think He knows much more than I about watching a Son suffer and it is with compassion that He takes from me what I cannot bear.  These are things I have said here before, but it is not a once and done situation.  I need to be reminded over and over again as we all move along this road together.

But regardless of the forward momentum, it always leaves me in a familiar place.  Again, they need Him, and so do I.  Today I sit, with that in mind, watching my frolicking snowflakes drift through their own lifetimes. I wonder where they might land, causing in each their own way a beauty reflecting their Creator to dress a landscape.  

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