Communion and the Church Nursery

So we put M in the church nursery for the first time today. I was definitely ready, but it was still hard. I was distracted nearly the entire first 30 minutes of the service.

Is she screaming her head off?
She did look a little apprehensive when I handed her over. Did I leave too quickly?
Not help her make the transition from me to a stranger?
Shoot, I didn't tell them anything about what she likes - to walk around, to look at other kids, to sit on the floor and play...but you have to watch her so she doesn't fall over.

Then it came time for communion. Communion! I had to get focused.

"Lord, you know I'm totally distracted. Please, please help me to concentrate on you at least during this part of the service. I need this time with you."

Maybe I could just slip out while everyone's head is bowed. I'll just go listen. I won't go get her; I just want to know if she's crying.
I wonder what they'll do if she's crying.
Don't worry. I'm pretty sure the lady I handed her to is a mother, too. I think. Is she?
What did Ted just say to picture? Man, I can't stay focused!

And then it washed over me: the reality of what God did when He let Jesus die on the cross. It's sort of like what I've been thinking about lately…about how parenthood adds such a depth to my perception of things that I never could experience before.

"Lord, how did you do it? I can't even leave my child in the nursery without worrying about her. You let your child come to Earth where He was challenged, rejected, hated and put to death. I'm having trouble thinking about the fact that she might be in there crying because I'm not there. You had to remain silent when Your child hung on a cross, calling out to you. I'm going to leave this service, and go pick her up – and she'll be fine and happy to see me. You had to watch the broken body of Your son take on the sins of the world when He did no wrong. How, Lord? And why? Why would you do that…for me?"

I can't say that I remained focused the rest of the service. And yes, I did leave one time to just go check. And yes, she was just fine. But I'm still pondering the encounter I had with the Lord during that service. I want it to stay with me as I prepare for Easter, so I don't miss it this year. Who'd have thought leaving my child in the nursery would be such a learning experience on so many levels?


Sickness that comes with parenthood...

27 charged in child porn sting
Web site containing live 'molestation on demand' shut down

That's the headline on CNN right now. When I heard about this story on the news earlier, it literally made me sick to my stomach. I know before I was a parent, stories like this bothered me - but now that I have a sweet daughter of my own, this goes right to my core. I am saddened, angered, scared and mostly sick. I can't even begin to imagine how being a partaker in this kind of activity brings any sort of pleasure or satisfaction. In fact, I can't even think any more about it.
It's amazing how stories you hear affect you differently once you become a parent. I watched a few of Oprah's "catch these FBI's most wanted child molestors" shows, and my heart broke. I told my 6 month old daughter to not talk to strangers and even to yell "Stranger Danger" and run away if anyone ever tried to force her to do something she knew wasn't right. We watched Extreme Makeover, Medical Edition..um, I mean Miracle Workers...the other night, and I couldn't even imagine what it must have been like for that sweet couple to watch their son be taken away into the operating room, not knowing if this surgery would paralyze him forever.
What a responsiblity we have, as parents! Yes, it's awesome and I wouldn't trade it for the world - but it's also completely terrifying knowing that there are some things - some wretched, horrible things - that could happen to our children that are beyond our control. I have to entrust God with her everything, and while that's hard sometimes, it's a lot easier than trying to protect her all by myself.


It's all fun and games until someone throws up...

Well, M had her first cold this weekend. Six months and this is the first time she's sick - not so bad. But it still stinks! Actually, we both started getting sick on Friday. Poor thing. We gave her some of that "grape-flavored" Dimetapp (which we later tasted and it is BITTER), and it totally made her gag and throw up. It's amazing how as a parent, I don't really mind. I still scooped her up to comfort her.
And she totally hates having her nose wiped. Micah, man, I sympathize with what you're saying. I'd let her have a snotty nose if it'd keep her from crying...even though it drives me crazy.
All in all, I have to say, she has been a real trooper. In fact, it's made me realize that we really do have a very happy baby. I guess I didn't think of her as a happy baby because the beginning was so...well, fussy. Then recently it seems like everyone has been commenting on what a happy girl she is and what a wonderful smile she has. She does have a huge smile. I kept blowing it off, saying, "Well, sometimes she's happy..." But you know what? I've been paying more attention to it - and she's really happy almost all the time. Now, she's definitely opinionated. She let's you know when she's bored or tired or hungry. I can't really call that unhappy, though. She's actually just communicating.
And that smile..it's so big. She smiles at the funniest things too. Her favorite thing to smile at is unquestionably the dog. She loves to smile at her daddy too. And then there's the random thing like cast iron trivets I have hanging on the wall in our kitchen. I still haven't figured out what's so funny about them.
Anyway...(talk about your stream of consciousness blog!) I think we're on the downhill stretch for getting over our colds, and I think we're gonna make it. Phew!


Anger Management

So the sermon this Sunday was on "Slow to Anger". Generally, I don't think of myself as an angry person. But then I started to reflect on what had happened the night before.
I had been trying to put M down for a nap, just after we had started a game of Cities and Knights (expansion of Settlers of Catan) with my parents. She fought me for a while, and then drifted off to sleep. Easy? Not so. As soon as I put her in her crib, those big brown eyes sprang right open and looked at me - this wasn't the sleepy child that was just in my arms! So after Mr Bink and patting did not help her get sleepy again, I picked her up. She fought me again. This time she spit out the pacifier a couple times, and I searched in the dark for it on the floor while trying to hold onto her as she tried to wriggle free from the swaddling. Finally, she drifted yet again off to sleep. I held her a little longer this time, just to ensure that she was sound asleep. I didn't want a repeat of the last time. I eased her gently into the crib, and as soon as her head hit the sheets...you guessed it, wide awake once again. At this point, I was getting a little frustrated with M...but even more so with my husband. Where was he? He hadn't even come in to check on me yet. He was too preoccupied with playing that stupid game. It's not that I wanted him to take over so I could play, I just wanted him to check on us. I picked M back up, who was now staring at me and grinning with her pacifier hanging out of her mouth. I started struggling in my mind. He had taken care of her all day, while I had essentially played. He needed a break; I understood that - that's how I feel most days during the week. (M spit out her pacifier again, and I was madly searching for it on the floor in the dark). But it had been thirty minutes. He could have at least come to check on us, but he's so obsessed with that stupid game that he forgets I'm struggling with OUR daughter in here. (where is that pacifier?) Okay, don't become angry. Remember our study in James, slow to become angry, slow to become angry, don't get angry. (found the pacifier, but now she doesn't want it. I hate it when she fights me like this). Why can't he just come ask if I need help. He doesn't have to take over; I don't mind doing this. He's so selfish! (lost the pacifier again) I do this all week, and he can't even handle one day. Wait, don't get angry. Don't get mad at him. He helps out a lot. He had her all day. Don't be angry. Then my husband came in to check on us...finally. And what did I do when he asked if he could take over? Despite my self talk and best efforts, I blurted out "No, just go play."
"Here, let me help you find the pacifier?"
"No, I can find it. Just go play."
"Do you want me to play for you?"
"No, just take me out of the game. I've missed too much already anyway. I don't want to play anymore."
Anger. I spewed forth venom and frustration and anger. Why is it that I feel like I'm getting angry at my spouse so much more often than before? I decided I better pay more attention to this sermon. I think it was being given just for me.
So what did I learn?
1. I am a selfish, selfish person. I need to pray every day that God helps me become Christ-centered, and not Tina-centered.
2. I am trying to meet a desire within me that only God can satisfy. I need to ponder this one a little more.
3. For me, slow to become angry doesn't mean that I can't feel angry feelings. But that I see those as a flag to stop and ask myself what need or desire am I trying to fulfill with something other than God? I also need to realize that my self-talk will not keep me from being and acting out in anger. I need to turn to God for help with that too.
I may not have it all down yet, and I'm sure that it's not the last time that I will speak in anger, but I think now I have a better approach to anger management.
To listen to the sermon, click here and select the one from March 5, 2006.