Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Boots and Bottoms

Sometimes we are fresh for a prayer meeting but not fresh for cleaning boots {or bottoms}.

Being born again of the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, as surprising as God Himself. We do not know where it begins, it is hidden away in the depths of our personal life. Being born again from above is a perennial, perpetual and eternal beginning, a freshness all the time in thinking and in talking and in living, the continual surprise of the life of God…

Being born of the Spirit means much more than we generally take it to mean. It gives us a new vision and keeps us absolutely fresh for everything by the perennial supply of the life of God.

Oswald Chambers

He's the littlest of the big kids, and he's the biggest of the little kids! Barrett, this little one, makes me laugh every single day! 
This is an actual "conversation" we had not that long ago!

Barrett: Hey Mom! (Yelling loudly from the backyard)

Me: Hey Barrett! (Yelling equally loudly back to him from the kitchen)

Barrett: I poo-pood! (Even louder)

Me: Oh, Barrett, NO, not in your underwear! (Mentally, bracing myself to clean up another mess)

Barrett: No, Mom. I poo-poo outside. Can I have my gum ball now? (The big boys who were nearby riding bikes quickly scattered! Maybe they caught a whiff of Barrett's accomplishment!)

He was so proud of himself! Hmmm....I guess I need to be a little more clear about what's ok to do outside and what's not ok! 

Life with a bunch of little boys {and girls} is never dull

A few weeks before Haddon was born, I decided that it was time to get Barrett potty-trained. He turned three the end of December, and although none of the older boys were potty-trained until they were 3 1/2, I decided to give it a try with him. He was pretty motivated because he knew that he would be rewarded with gum balls, and I was highly motivated because I could not imagine having 5 in diapers at the same time... 

{We know that Faith Ana will have to be in diapers until she's older, and we are able to explore some different options for children with spina bifida. And with the regression we have been experiencing with S, we have had to put her back in diapers for a while even though she has been potty-trained since last winter.} 

So, between Barrett, Evie, S, Faith, and Haddon, I knew we would be going through lots of diapers!!!

I am happy to report that Barrett was successfully potty-trained by the time Haddon arrived. We had a few messes and a few traumatic days, but, overall, he did great, and I readily add this to my list of mercies! I'm thankful for every small victory these days!

Evie insisted on sitting on the potty every time Barrett did, in part because she is fiercely competitive like her momma and wants to do everything her big brother does and also because her daddy gives her candy every time she tries. This smart girl has learned the system! Anyway, she is yet to be potty-trained, but I 'm optimistic that we will celebrate another victory with her before bringing Faith Ana home.

We've since abandoned the diapers with S. Like mostly everything with this little girl, she always chooses whatever is easiest and requires the least amount of effort. 

{For example, she prefers food that requires the least amount of chewing. Without being pushed, she'd be more than happy to have us dress her, although at almost 8, she is perfectly capable of doing it herself. Unless we encourage her to say the whole word, the few words that she is capable of saying, she's content to just say the  beginning sound. I could give you countless other ways this plays out every day, and wearing a diaper is just one more example.} 

Wearing a diaper caused her to regress even more, and so we threw out the diapers and opted for cleaning up lots of messes and washing lots of sheets. Lots and lots and lots! Every day, sometimes multiple times a day, for more than 2 months, we've had messes, and it's been incredibly frustrating , especially because we know this is a way that she's expressing her anger and frustration and seeking to be in control. We have tried many different strategies, including rewards and consequences, and like many kids who come from hard places, we have had very little success with either. Finally, finally over the past few days, I feel like we've had a breakthrough. She's been dry five mornings in a row, and this is huge! We are definitely celebrating this victory, and we are so thankful for all of you who have been faithfully praying for S!

Thanks to so many generous friends, I've yet to buy a diaper for Haddon, which is pretty remarkable considering how many diapers newborns go through! This is yet another example of the Lord's faithful and perfect provision.

So, in lots of little ways and quite a few big ways, prayers are being answered. It's been messy along the way, but that just goes with the territory

Sometimes it's hard to choose thankfulness, especially when it involves something unpleasant. It's much easier and comes much more naturally for me to dwell on what's hard and frustrating. But that's when I have to remember that being thankful is a choice. {Thankfully} I'm getting lots of opportunities to put this into practice! 

Make friends with the problems in your life. Though many things feel random and wrong, remember that I am sovereign over everything. I can fit everything into a pattern for good, but only to the extent you trust Me. Every problem can teach you something

The best way to befriend your problems is to thank Me for them. This simple act opens your mind to the possibility of benefits flowing from your difficulties. You can even give persistent problems nicknames, helping you to approach them with familiarity rather than with dread. The next step is to introduce them to Me, enabling Me to embrace them in My loving presence. I will not necessarily remove your problems, but My wisdom is sufficient to bring good out of every one of them.

Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

I laughed when I read these words by Sarah Young, but it's so true and such a good challenge. There are so many times that I catch myself either saying aloud to Will or just simply muttering under my breath, "this is miserable!" especially when it applies to these particular kinds of messes! And, lately, the Lord has really convicted me to change my vocabulary and just to eliminate that word miserable altogether! I've yet to come up with a nickname like Sarah Young suggested, but I'm working on it. 
In fact, maybe I should commission the boys to help me since they have no problem when it comes to "potty talk."

Boots and bottoms...

Stinky, little boys and stubborn, brown-eyed girls… 

I'm celebrating each of them today, messes and all!

in everything, give thanks

1 Thess. 5:18


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