Parenting Riddle: What’s More Fun Than Taking Your Child to the ER Thanksgiving Weekend?

fullsizerender-4 Why, of course, taking both your children to the ER Thanksgiving weekend!

The first merry incident involved a pea and Joy’s finger pressed firmly up her nose. With ten adults surrounding her (including two nurse practitioners) we tried a variety of homespun methods for dislodging the pea. Straws. Snot suckers. Pepper to make her sneeze. At one point Ben pulled out the central vacuum but was outvoted 9-1.

I found him later in the garage (aka temporary laboratory) with the rubber of a slingshot attached to a large and particularly dirty funnel used for changing oil… Again, he was vetoed.

Alas the time came to forfeit large amounts of money and head to the hospital. It wasn’t all bad at least. They did give her a stuffed animal in the end.

Less than 48 hours later, I woke up from a mid-day nap to hear Isaiah’s bloodcurdling screams and discovered Ben hauling the bleeding boy up the stairs. This time the culprit was an old pair of blinds. And off we went again.

The moral of the story?

Stickers. Always bring stickers to entertain your kid at the ER.

No no, I can do better than that.

I was praying this morning a prayer similar to Psalm 51:1-2:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

As a gal who finds herself bending over approximately 300 times a day to wipe up something the twins so carelessly (and gleefully) drop on the white linoleum, I immediately thought about how weary and dreary and unappealing my request to God was, particularly when considering this wasn’t about a bright kitchen with a few spots on it. I was requesting God to go to the very depths of my heart, to help me with my current negativity and blot out the worst parts of me—the parts I work so hard to hide from anyone else on earth.

And I thought, “What is my view of God, the creator of the world, that I so absentmindedly make this request and assume He will just be a happy camper about complying? For that matter, why do I just assume God wants to spend all this time with me, knowing the worst parts of me, working tirelessly with me as I consistently try and fail and try again, when no other human would be interested in such a task?”

I suppose it’s because God makes it so clear throughout Scripture that that is exactly what He wants to do.

And suddenly I’m grateful.

Just like Ben and I didn’t hesitate to break away from our activities, scoop up our children, and get them the medical help they needed, God doesn’t hesitate to go to the depths for us.

In this season of celebrating Christ’s birth on our behalf, of remembering just how dark and deep God went for us, may we find a renewed spirit of joy and thankfulness.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

 

Blessings,

Melissa Ferguson

 

Bathroom Shelves and Old Books

The car ride to my in-laws was the breaking point this weekend. The babies decided halfway to Knoxville to scream with all they had in their tiny lungs. For an hour. Normally I just deal with it but on Friday I found myself cowered in the passenger seat, head on the glove compartment, hands pressed over my ears. I felt pathetic. There my husband was, one eye on the road and the other on his crazy wife, seeing me fall to pieces over the same amount of stress he manages to deal with so nonchalantly every day. I felt guilty. There I was spiraling into despair when there are such real and devastating issues of sex trafficking and ISIS—to name a mere two of 1,000,000. Finally, I was just so frustrated at myself. Why was I allowing my mood to ruin what was supposed to be a wonderful evening?

Of course, it wasn’t just the stress of crying babies. There were and are a dozen deep-seated issues that I’ve been shoving aside for some time, not realizing as they’ve quietly mounted like piles of snow on a chilly Vermont curbside. But cowering does not solve such problems; allowing my chest to get so tight it’s about to explode doesn’t solve anything. And I knew it. I just (felt I) couldn’t help it.

And of all the places and people and ways for God to speak to me, to comfort me and bring me back to logic and perspective, it came in the bathroom.

In the quaint little guest bathroom–the place I ran to for escape–there are three shelves in the corner, stacked with magazines. And on the bottom shelf, I saw an old copy of My Utmost for His Highest. I plucked it up and the passage spoke to me:

There are certain things we must not pray about—moods, for instances. Moods never go by praying, moods go by kicking. A mood nearly always has its seat in the physical condition, not in the moral. It is a continual effort not to listen to the moods which arise from a physical condition, never submit to them for a second. We have to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves, and we will find that we can do what we said we could not. The curse with most of us is that we won’t.

Just like that, I had the strength to follow through and pray about the things going on in my life. Just like that, God met me and helped me pitch the tar off my heart, freeing me to both enjoy the evening and rationally discuss how to deal with my current issues.

As Oswald says, sometimes it takes a good kick of sturdy words to get back in the game.

 

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

-John 14:26

 

Et tu, Brute?

He was betrayed. All this time he had trustelegos smalld her, and all this time she had been there for him. But now…

Et tu, Brute?” he asked through tear-filled eyes. “Even you, mother, would betray me?”

He threw his body around wildly. The strength of her arms, however, as she pinned him down was uncanny. He cried out, but onlookers hardly glanced as they passed by. It was hopeless.

“It’s okay,” she said soothingly, but he saw past her façade.

Out of the corner of his eye her fingers edged toward the black bag. She unzipped it, dug inside. Then there it was—the cloth of ice cold death—in her palm.

He gave one final scream, arched his back with all his might, and kicked with a force that could take down a fleet of Lego soldiers. Still, the game was up.

His diaper would be changed.

 

My twins are a whopping 6 months, and since the moment they entered the world they have eyed me with suspicion. Sure, they love me and all that, but every 10 minutes or so they make a point—via screaming—to inform me that I’m doing this mom thing all wrong.

Don’t try to put me in that contraption (ie car seat). I insist I ride in your arms instead.

Let me have that shiny thing (ie knife)! Selfish girl, you’re just trying to keep it for yourself!

 

So often my twins’ inability to understand the world, claim to understand it, and fight against me and my better knowledge makes my task harder. The short of it? Because I love them I deal with their insistent thrashing. Because I love them I end up with poop on my hands.

And then I wonder: how much poop does God have on His hands for me?

 Yancey states,

“Queen Elizabeth II had recently visited the United States, and reporters delighted in spelling out the logistics involved: her four thousand pounds of luggage included two outfits for every occasion, a mourning outfit in case someone died, forty pints of plasma, and white kid leather toilet seat covers… In meek contrast, God’s visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants present and nowhere to lay the newborn king but a feed trough. Indeed, the event that divided history, and even our calendars, into two parts may have had more animal than human witnesses. A mule could have stepped on him.”

All the Israelites were waiting for their idea of a perfect Messiah: a wealthy, powerful Jewish king who would swoop down and destroy their oppressors (the Romans). But Jesus, poor insignificant Jesus, threw them for a huge loop. And wasn’t it the best plan of all?

 

Thank God that He so patiently sticks with us through our whining,

adolescent thrashing, brazen accusing,

and puffed up questioning.

Simply because He loves us.

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways submit to him,

And he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5

 

Check it out!

Daily Reading: Proverbs 3

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 20-21; 2 Timothy 4

 

Reference: P37, The Jesus I Never Knew, Phillip Yancey.

 

 

Magic School Bus Days

old-school-bus-1431364-1599x1066Ms. Frizzle was transporting a school bus of kids into a digestive tract on TV as I pursed my lips, squeezed my eyes shut, and put the ruler to the top of my head. Careful not to move my hand up or down one millimeter, my pencil scratched against the door frame. Quickly I turned to see. Nope. I dropped the ruler and got into bed. I had not grown shorter.

Yes, for a brief time—spurred by my middle school love interest in a boy 1 foot shorter than me—I prayed nightly that God would make me shorter.

I am tall. Really tall. And in sixth grade, I was about the same height I am now (6 feet), which meant I was lucky enough to be the giant in braces, wearing large purple glasses, walking around with jeans four inches too short that sagged against my skeleton frame.

It was bad enough that my 7th grade teacher pulled me aside out of the blue one day to say, “Don’t worry. One day boys will be taller than you.” I was that awkward.

Oh, and it didn’t help that all my best friends happened to be gorgeous.

But Hebrews 13:5 says, “Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.’’”

Life is chock-full of things we want to be or have. We are nearing the Christmas season and guaranteed there are going to be people walking around December 26th in beautiful new Nikes, pea coats with oh-so-chic collars that’d make me feel like Sherlock Holmes or a New York model, shiny new Apple watches that, again, makes one feel like Sherlock Holmes of the future… you get the point.

Instead of trying to brainwash myself not to think about all the pretty things I want or wish I could be, I find it essential to read and reread the second part of Hebrews 13:5. We can be content with everything in our lives because and truly because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

If God—you know, only the greatest most important Being in the universe—wants to create me and have a relationship with me and promises not to abandon me no matter how selfish and annoying and boring and immature I am, why not be satisfied?

Being with God—now and forever after—is much more exciting than a pair of shoes.

 

Check it out!

Daily Reading: Hebrews 13

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 1-2; 1 Timothy 3

 

Let’s Discuss:

  1. What do you wish you had? What do you wish was different about yourself?
  2. If you had what you wanted, what else do you think you might want? And if you had that too, what else would you want? Do you think you could ever have enough that you’d be totally content?

Write a comment below if you like! I’d love to reply:)