Sunday, February 19, 2012

Emergency Rooms and Memory Triggers

Yesterday afternoon Christopher was downstairs playing by himself when he started crying.  It didn't sound like he had gotten hurt, but just an overtired, whiny kind of cry, so I ignored it as long as I could.  Finally I couldn't take it anymore, so I went to check on him and he was at the bottom of the stairs holding a mast from a Playmobile pirate ship in his hand.  He told me that he hurt his eye.  I looked at it, didn't see much damage, so I carried him upstairs and told him that I would put some drops in it just in case, and that he should come up and lie in bed to rest while the drops healed his eye.  He ended up falling asleep (a blessing for sure!) and two hours later was back up and running around like before!

At supper, I glanced over at him and about threw up!  His eye had started to bleed and the white cornea was now bright red!  Oh - my - goodness!!!  It was not a pleasant sight, let me tell you!  Trying not to panic, Fred and I made plans for me to take him to emergency while he stayed here and got the other boys bathed and in bed.  I'm so thankful that Christopher had that two hour nap in the afternoon, because you never know how many hours you're going to be sitting in an emergency waiting room, right?!

We decided to go to Cambridge hospital instead of Kitchener, hoping for a shorter wait time.  After I parked and we walked toward the emergency entrance, I was hit with a flood of unexpected memories.  The last time I had been in that emergency room was ten and a half years ago.  I was two days shy of being twelve weeks pregnant with my first baby, and I was hemorrhaging profusely.  While I was hoping that being in the emergency room would help me, I also knew that I was most likely miscarrying and would lose the baby. 

These were bad memories that were flooding back.  I don't think one thing has been updated in that ER since that time as even the glass on the triage nurses' window made my stomach lurch. That had been where I stood, blood pouring from my body, tears pouring from my eyes, begging for help.  Last night when they called Christopher's name and we walked through the frosted, electric doors back into the emergency department, once again I almost burst into tears.  We passed the bathroom where I had sobbed as more bleeding occured, so many years ago.  Then we entered the very room where I had spent six hours lying on a table waiting until an operating room was available so that surgery could be performed to scrape the remains in my uterus.   There was no longer a baby, but just remnants of a placenta that needed to be removed.

That was the last I remember of that emergency room as I was wheeled off to who knows where after that and only remember waking up in the recovery room.  When Christopher and I left the hospital after he was done, I walked outside into the darkness and a sadness fell on me that once again caught me off-guard.  When I had gone to that hospital ten and a half years ago, my mother-in-law was with me and stayed with me as long as she could.  For some reason, when I walked out and saw the side of the building, I just felt so lonesome for her again.  I missed her terribly.

I tried hard to be upbeat and happy with Christopher because he was done (in just a little over an hour, too!), and there was no serious damage to his eye, but at the same time, I was overwhelmed with haunting memories of the past.  You'd think that over time, things like this would just go back into the deep recesses of your mind and you won't be affected by them ever again, but that was not the case.  Even now, my throat is tight and my eyes are blurred as I remember that sad, sad day that I lost my baby.  I try to explain it on here now, but even my words are not portraying the emptiness that my heart feels, an emptiness that I thought had been filled and healed.  Maybe, even though God does heal our hurts and binds our wounds, maybe those memories never truly die.  I'm sure there is a reason for that, and I won't bemoan the fact that my unborn baby died, but maybe God wants to remind me that even in those saddest of days, He was there.  He took me through those, and He will take me through future events as well. 

We left the hospital last night and came home to tell Fred the good news that all was well with Christopher's eye.  My sadness turned to happiness and thankfulness, but there is still this little pocket of my heart that is filled with surprise at the response of those memories.  I will give them over to the Lord again and ask Him again to comfort my heart and bring back the peace.  He will.  I know that, because He did it for me back then, too.  He is a faithful God and He can still my soul and fill it with praise...and with MANY more beautiful memories!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Christopher's Hands

This morning Christopher wanted me to help him get dressed.  At five years old, I know that he is more than capable of doing this himself, but for some reason it must have seemed overwhelming to him today.  I said to him, "You do it yourself.  You've got hands!"  He replied with a smile, "I've got hands, but I don't want to use them for this."

(I have a book of quotes and comments that I've kept for Stephen and Timothy since they were little and for some reason - third child syndrome I'm thinking - I didn't do that for Christopher.  The other day we were looking back at old blog posts of when the kids were very little and we were laughing at the things that they said. I told Christopher that I would start writing down some of his sayings on here so that we have them for the future.  Stay tuned for some of his funny lines!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Timothy and Zach

The two older boys are participating in the Sunday School's Hidden Treasures Bible verse memorization contest at church.  They have a list of verses that they need to learn in order and word for word.  They have the opportunity to win a trip to our church camp as well as a cash prize, depending on how many verses they learn by the middle of May.

I found out that the youth group had some members that wanted to partner up with some of the Sunday School kids to help them learn their verses this year, so I jumped at the chance to talk to the coordinator to see if Timothy could have a mentor to help him.  I was thrilled when I found out that Zach wanted to work with Timothy (because he thought it would be cool to take Timothy to Tim Horton's to study!) because Timothy needs someone (other than Mommy) to help him learn these verses. 

Tonight was Zach and Timothy's first official night to practice their verses together.  At supper, Timothy was making up songs for his verses so that he could remember them.  I kind of forgot about that, until Zach approached me afterward to fill me in on their evening.  I guess when they first sat down to start reciting, Timothy told Zach that they should sing their verses so that they could remember them.  Zach told Timothy that he wasn't the best singer, but he'd try.  And then Timothy said, "Ok, go!"  Poor Zach didn't know what to do!  It seemed that Timothy wanted him to make up a song for them to learn and Zach just sat there dumbfounded!  I was laughing hysterically as Zach was telling me about this because Timothy was so very sincere about his desire for Zach to start singing and Zach was just totally thrown off guard.  I guess Timothy eventually sang his song for Zach since Zach didn't seem to be able to make up a song off the top of his head like Timothy could and Timothy was satisfied with that.

I know that the two of them will have a great time learning their verses together and who knows,  maybe while Zach is teaching Timothy his Bible verses,  Timothy will be teaching Zach how to ad lib songs!  In the meantime, those verses will be hidden deep in their hearts and a friendship bond will be formed.  Mentoring is a good thing!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Committment Quandary

I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but lately I've really had to search my heart and mind about my commitment quandary.  I'm a doer, a worker, a people pleaser as well, to be honest.  I enjoy serving  and being busy (my name IS Martha, after all).  If someone needs something done, they know that they can ask me because, chances are, I will say yes.

Well, lately I've been convicted that I'm pouring my service into the wrong ministries. There is so much that I enjoy doing: teaching Sunday School, going to Gleaners, participating in the Counselling Committee at church, babysitting before and after school, etc, etc. There are so many more ministries that I want to be involved with, too!  I would love to go deeper into the women's prison ministry, be a more active participant in the school council, participate in another small group at church, the list goes on. 

It seems like over the past few months, though, every time another opportunity comes up to be involved in yet another activity, barriers also pop up and unrest settles in my heart until I break down and say "no".  This is not easy for me.  I WANT to be involved!  I WANT to serve!  I WANT to be active in many ways, but I believe even more that God is telling me that it's time to stop.  I thought at first that maybe it was just the momma bear in me wanting to be with my little cubs, and then the self-doubting started and I thought that maybe I just couldn't be as effective any more anyway, and then I was just plain tired (this perimenopause stuff can really throw you for a loop!).

I've been hearing more clearly lately, through miscellaneous comments from friends, family, even the radio announcer today and Chuck Swindoll's program this week that it's time to start saying NO.  No, I can't organize that get together.  No, I'm sorry, I can't be on that committee.  No, it is not possible for me to attend that meeting next week.  No, I will not commit to going there every single Monday for the next six months.  No!  I am not available!

Here's what I've been convicted of:  my ministry right now is my family.  God has placed one husband and three boys in my life and I am the only wife and mother for these people!  If I'm not here for them, no one else can take my place!  Someone else can pick up my knife and chop vegetables at Gleaners, but no one else can console my eight year old boy whose very important Lego piece has fallen down the heating duct, never to be seen again, like I can.  Someone else can drive the women's prison van to take the inmates to their appointments, but no one else can faithfully sit here and read Katy the Caboose to my five year old over and over and over again like I can.  Someone else can chair the committee to decide on Teacher Appreciation Day activities, but no one can cheer on my husband when he's landed a new client like I can. 

My family is my ministry and if I'm so busy taking care of everything and everyone else, how can I minister to my family?  Is it fair of me to be upset with my kids when they are whining and crying during that arsenic hour between 4:30 and 5:30 every night?  They're hungry, but we can't eat yet because I've just run home at the last minute after a day full of ME ME ME activities and didn't have supper prepared!  It's not their fault, it's mine!  I want to be available to take my kids to their swimming lessons, cheer them on and then surprise them with an extra 30 minutes of play time at the YMCA.  I want to be here when they practice their piano lessons and then join them on the bench and sing along with them as they play.  I want to be prepared and organized enough in my day that when they ask me to play a game with them (even the long and boring ones like Monopoly, Life or Clue), I can spare the time to sit and play with them. I want to be here in the evenings so that when Fred doesn't have to do any after hours tapping in on clients' computers, we can sit on the couch and watch a Walton's episode together.

I think you get my point.

I'm still working hard at saying no.  I'm not very good at it yet, but I am working on it.  Someday my children will not need me any more and I'll have more time with my husband, but for now, I want to fill my life with the ministry of wife and mother first!  Then in my free time, I can participate in other activities IF they don't interfere with my other, most important jobs!  I am thankful that God is still allowing me to participate in some of the activities that I greatly enjoy, and I know that if there is something that I really should be doing, He'll shuffle things around so that I can add it to my responsibilities, but I certainly don't need to heap on the guilt and be active in every last thing that is thrown my way. 

For now, Proverbs 14:1 is what I'm meditating on and trying to consider with every new opportunity presented to me.  The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. (NKJV)  I want to be building my home by making this my number one ministry!