Thursday, February 11, 2010

Change of Seasons

There is a time for everything,
       and a season for every activity under heaven:
 a time to be born and a time to die,
       a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 a time to kill and a time to heal,
       a time to tear down and a time to build,
 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
       a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
       a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
 a time to search and a time to give up,
       a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 a time to tear and a time to mend,
       a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 a time to love and a time to hate,
       a time for war and a time for peace. 
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I find myself in an interesting and welcome season. More accurately, I guess, it's a change of seasons. You know how it is after a baby is born? How, for four or five months, you're learning the "new normal" of parenting an extra child, dealing with sleep deprivation, and so on?

With our dear little CA, that phase lasted a crazy two years. She never slept well in her first year (at night), and during her second year, it became downright insomnia...her awakening in the night, unable to go back to sleep. It was never less than 30 minutes awake for her, and at its worst, it was close to three hours occasionally. As I've mentioned several times here in the past, the Lord used that difficult season in countless ways to make us more like Himself, teach us to trust Him and His sovereignty more fully, and many other lessons. It wasn't a season I accepted easily - believe me, I did not welcome it or deal well with it for quite some time.

All praise to Him, CA began sleeping normally right at her second birthday this past August, which meant our sleep-hungry bodies began the process of recovery! August, September, October went by. Oh, the wonderfulness of a full-night's sleep! Life felt a bit wonky and off-balance during those months, but I had to remind myself, "we're exiting survival mode, and it will take time."

After three months of sleep-recuperation, we were shocked to learn that God had a surprise in store for us: baby number 5 - very welcome and at the same time quite unexpected! Several weeks into the pregnancy, as those first-trimester symptoms set in, life necessarily had to slow down for a bit, which made me feel frustrated. It hit me that we were kind of back in survival mode. God makes no mistakes, but I really did struggle during those weeks with a lot of guilt over all I wasn't doing/couldn't do for the family. God is still teaching me now to trust Him - that He had His perfect, loving Reasons for it all. One wonderful thing was to see BB graciously step in and carry the family along through those weeks (which turned out to be mostly through the holidays). He was, and is, truly a servant-hearted godly man!

So, here I am, in February, at 17 weeks. The nausea is over; energy is increased. And I'm writing today just to thank God for seasons, for changes of seasons. He's poured out all kinds of little joys on me/us in the past month. I've so very much enjoyed getting back to a *little* baking and generally a better job of getting good, interesting meals on the table most nights (the other nights, well, think bacon and eggs or whatever we can throw together!). I have been praying for the Lord's guidance and wisdom - asking Him to show us different ways we can make our home life more orderly and efficient, while at the same time fostering more responsibility in the girls (read between the lines here...we deal with a MAJOR uphill battle against clutter and general lack of discipline in dealing with personal items and such). The Lord is answering, one little solution at a time.

And He's allowing me to micro-nest. I've coined a word! No real time these days for hours-long projects, though I could whip out a list as long as my arm, I bet, of many such jobs to be done. But, oh how satisfying it's been to go through this tub of toys or that one small bookshelf or that stack of papers and just clean it out, deal with it, let us breathe easier, minus the unnecessary stuff around (in a few places anyway!). One biggish job I've been able to finish: the seasonal clothing switchout. Oh my. Yes, I removed spring/summer/outgrown items from the girls rooms in (sigh) November and they've been in a barely organized heap since then. Here we are in February, on the cusp of spring, and ta-da! It's done! What a relief - and it's so nice to see the floor again.

Praise God for new seasons, for changing seasons. There is a feeling of growing balance that has not been there since late in my pregnancy with CA. I rejoice in this and find happy satisfaction in the current new normal that is emerging. But I hold to it lightly, for it must not become my peace, my source of stability. It may be a fleeting stage. Either way, I must fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning the shame..." Hebrews 12:2 And, with His help, I need to be doing this: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3


Mercies, more mercies:

27 bathroom soliloquies and solos - love it - the girls clearly believe they have total privacy behind a closed bathroom door!

28 having a dishwasher

29 that I can sing "Guide me, oh Thou great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land," and know He hears and does guide

30 the birdies hopping on my back porch, after the stale bread we threw out there...and after the popcorn kernels we unsuccessfully tried to grind in an attempt to show how the Aztecs, Mayans, etc got their cornmeal.

31 Valentine's Day. I've always loved it. Hearts, flowers, doilies, goodies, love....

32 the color blue, nearly any shade

33 Five Little Peppers Midway


  1. I loved the Five Little Peppers!
    Blessings on you with your pregnancy. I understand the feeling of leaving crisis mode only to re-enter a few months later.

  2. Margo - thanks for the blessings and thanks for visiting, for reading (especially this post - it was way long!).

    I had never heard about the Peppers series until we found the first book in a pile of yard sale books my mom gave us! We all love them!

  3. I love that first shot, the Valentines -- beautiful.

    Your accepting attitude to various "seasons" always challenges me. I think I'm in denial right now about the "survival mode" to come in the next few months.

    I've just finished reading Phillip Keller's, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 and one of the main themes in the book and the Psalm is that of the comforting presence of our Shepherd throughout the various seasons that we encounter.

    Boo received the Five Little Peppers for Christmas.

  4. Beth, I came over from Christian's blog when I saw your comment and I was curious to see your blog. This post is wonderful. I am 31 weeks into my first pregnancy and am often frustrated at the lack of energy I have to work full time, try to clean out/organize/nest to prepare for baby at home as well as the myriad of other things we all do all the time. :) This post is really good for me to read. Thank you for your perspective. I am glad to have found your blog. Congratulations on your pregnancy! Kelly

    p.s. I bought the Five Little Peppers for my mom, a children's lit professor. :)

  5. Kelly - thanks for stopping in! And many congratulations on your little one on the way! How exciting, and what a gift that is. Ha, everyone seems to know about the Peppers - I was late in discovering them!

    Christian - you know that the acceptance of the hard seasons has often come for me only after God has corrected me for my LACK of acceptance! :-)

  6. Love those eyes with that cookie! Missing you all terribly.