Friday, December 26, 2014

My Most Favorite Name of All {Part Two}

If you haven't read Part 1, you can click here!

This year, I didn't even attempt a family Christmas picture. The reality is simply that it is extremely rare for every single one of these little people to be happy and smiling all at the same time! And guess what I've learned this year. It's ok. It's really, really ok. Christmas Day was far from perfect, and it included multiple meltdowns by multiple sleepy children {and sleepy parents}, and by mid-morning our house was once again in a state of massive mayhem, but this is ok. He was here with us. Emmanuel. God with us. God With us in our mess!

Do you remember what Advent means? Advent means coming, and, even though, Christmas is over, we are still waiting and we know that He is still coming. We are waiting for the day when He comes back again and makes all things right, all things beautiful, and all things whole. We are waiting for the day when there will be no more tears, no more sickness, no more brokenness, and no more mess.

That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, 
God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along...

Romans 8
The Message

I know that His Spirit helped us along throughout this Christmas season. There's no doubt and no question in my mind, He was here with us in our mess. He was here with me in my messoffering grace for the many times I reacted {often ungraciously} to their mess. And though we had many hard days {though I had many hard days}, we've also had plenty of joyful days and an abundance of reasons to celebrate! 

And, yes, there are plenty of unknowns in the days ahead. An upcoming surgery for Faith Ana, a possibility of some changes in our schooling situation, just to name a few...

There will, quite possibly, be a great deal of hard and challenging days as we move into 2015. There will be innumerable tantrums, plenty of rages, untold sicknesses, and lots more tears. 

There will be countless lapses of judgement {this is guaranteed with a houseful of little boys-growing-into-big boys}, a multitude of mistakes {many of which will be mine}, and probably a few more failing grades {although we are all learning that scores and grades do not define who we truly are}. 

Without question, there will be a multitude of messes. 

But without fail, He is Immanuel

And, without a doubt, He is…

God With Me In My Mess.

Because of this, we welcome and celebrate this new year {just as we welcomed and celebrated Christmas yesterday and today and will do, Lord-willing, again tomorrow} with hope and anticipation, knowing that He is coming back again… 

Christmas might be over, but this is true Advent.

I saw heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven. Gone the first earth, gone the sea. I saw Holy Jerusalem. new-created, descending-resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. 

I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making His home with men and women. They're His people, He's their God. 

He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. 
Death is gone for good - 
tears gone, crying gone, pain gone - 
all the first order of things gone." 

The Enthroned continued, "Look! I'm making everything new…"

The main street of the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. But there was no sign of a Temple, for the Lord God - the Sovereign Strong - and the Lamb are the Temple. 

The City doesn't need sun or moon for light. God's glory is its light, the Lamb its lamp! The nations will walk in its light and earth's kings bring in their splendor. Its gates will never be shut by day, and there won't be any night…

Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. 
Never again will anything be cursed…

He who testifies to all these things says it again:
"I'm on my way! I'll be there soon!"

Come, Lord Jesus.

Revelation 21-11
The Message

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We are adventurously expectant that 2015 is going to be a year full of great blessings!


P.S.    If we had attempted a Christmas picture, which we didn't, I'm sure it would have gone something like this:

#1, #2, & #3) Web, Palmer, and Hank would most likely cooperate during a Christmas picture attempt, especially if I bribed them with candy. They have each been working very hard on self-control, listening to Mom's voice, and accepting Dad's answers. However, daily, often multiple times a day, we have our moments. There is a fair share of wrestling matches and disagreements and disobedience. But when all is said and done, my big boys really are growing up to be good helpers. They are kind and considerate, and they are slowly learning to put the needs of others above themselves. I know the Lord is at work in each of their little hearts, and I am so thankful for each of my big boys.

4) Barrett would also probably cooperate for a family picture, unless he was sitting next to Evie. It's highly likely that Evie would get mad at him for absolutely no reason at all, and he would feel it necessary to defend himself. (Bless him! She can be pretty ferocious, and it requires tremendous self-control for him to not retaliate, especially since he knows he's not allowed to push, shove, hit, or bite his sister.) After our massive moving mayhem a few weeks ago, Barrett and Evie are now bunk mates, and it's been extremely lively and comical helping these two learn how to share a room. They are hilarious together!

Christnas Eve Communion Service
{My sweet mom and sister offered to stay with S, Faith Ana, and Haddon so that Will and I could go together!}

5) Evie would probably be screaming "NO" just as she was doing when we attempted our Thanksgiving pictures to use as thank you cards a few weeks ago. It's her favorite, most used, most expressive word. It's often accompanied by a full-body crashing and kicking episode on the floor. I cannot figure out who this strong-willed little thing takes after, but I'm certain it couldn't be me! She is a hoot! She copies everything that "Bear-tret" does and follows him wherever he goes. I'm pretty sure she thinks that she's one of the boys, and as you could probably tell in most of her pictures from part 1 of this post, most days she has her shirt off and refuses vehemently to wear a bow or even a clip in her hair, which is always in her eyes. I love this child!

6) S would be throwing up. (She's was sick the entire week leading up to Christmas.) She continues to have a difficult time, lately struggling with more attachment issues. Right now, she's having a very difficult time (no matter how clear we make it) of separating herself from any correction or discipline we might be giving Faith Ana. Meal times, in particular, have been brutal. For example, I might say, "Faith Ana, first finish the bite in your mouth before you get another one" and S will erupt. If I make Faith Ana finish her water, S will rage. If I encourage Faith Ana to put her pants on all by herself, S will get hysterical. It has been extremely challenging, and we are pretty sure that this throwing up episode we are in the thick of right now is just another example of the long-term and very damaging effects of whatever trauma she might have experienced or witnessed or perceived. She displays many, many signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, and we continue to struggle to know how to help her function on a daily basis without multiple meltdowns. Right now, she is an emotional mess. 

Finally, by Christmas Eve, S began feeling better, and I started to see that pretty smile again! I'm learning to appreciate the happy moments!

7) Faith Ana would, undoubtably, have a mouth full of food stuffed in her mouth, and we would be reminding her for the thousandth time to not talk until she finished the bite in her mouth. And unless she was highly motivated, this could take a very, very, very long time. We are talking hours not minutes. We witnessed this on her birthday a few days ago, and we weren't sure she was ever going to get to her chocolate peppermint cake! But, finally, she did, and she loved it. She especially loved the little necklace that we gave her. This funny girl loves sparkly jewelry almost as much as she loves to talk! 

{We have a tentative date scheduled in January for surgery to treat her hydrocephalus. It's something we've debated and prayed about for a while, but feel like it's the right time to move forward with. I'll be sure to share more details in the coming weeks.}

8) Haddon might be a little fussy, most likely chewing on something or somebody, and he would definitely be drooling. He's cutting his 8th little tooth. Bless my littlest boy. He's such a trooper, and for the most part, when he's not teething, he is a happy-go-lucky baby. He's already walking, a full two months before any of our other babies learned, and this little guy can get himself into quite a bit of mischief. He loves to get into Henry's dog food, into the boys baskets of legos, and into every single one of my kitchen cabinets. Thankfully, he's finally sleeping {almost} through the night. This is the main reason we did this massive rearranging/swapping out rooms. And although his tiny new closet of a room is still painted pink {since it was originally S's room and then Evie's room}, he seems to love it, and we are thankful, which makes all the created chaos very much worth it! 

9) And if you weren't looking very, very closely, you might miss Number Nine

Our Surprise Christmas Gift! 

We are trusting and believing that He knows every single detail in our lives and will work it all out into something good. 

He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked out into something good.

Romans 8:28

1 comment:

  1. Melanie!! Congratulations! Baby news is always happy news! Praying for you...