Friday, June 28, 2013

Learning Patience from a Poop-Slinger

     Well my daughter Autumn has officially learned how to take off her diaper. Sigh. Tuesday morning I got up, peaked into her room and saw her bare butt cheeks sticking through the bars of her crib. So I got her up, put her in a bath, stripped her bedding because she had apparently peed out a gallon during the night, and continued on with our day.

     So a few hours later I lay her down for her nap dressed in a skirt and tank top. Then I exercised, peeked in at her to make sure her diaper was still on, and then took a quick shower. And that is when it happened. I heard her talking to herself so I stuck my head in her room and saw an awful scene. Autumn had shimmied out of her skirt, pulled off her diaper, and thrown pebbles of poop around her room. Her hands were covered in poop, her blankets had poop on them, there was poop on the floor, poop on her clothes. So much poop.

     And what was the first thing that popped into my head? "I have to clean this up... There is literally no one that I can pawn this job off on. I have to clean this up... by myself. Ugh." And then I lost my patience. I pulled Autumn out of bed and started cleaning her up while yelling that poop is yucky and that she needs to leave her diaper on. Then I parked her in time out while I got another bath ready. Once she was in the bath, I tackled her room and started yet another load of Autumn's bedding. All during Autumn's bath she kept repeating "Poop ucky. No, no" over and over.

     Finally, it was time for Autumn's second nap, so I laid her down (now dressed in jeans that had a zipper and a button). Once I finally was able to sit down for a minute, I realized that I had completely lost my temper. And then defeat settled over me. I had yelled at a child that did not know that she was doing something wrong.

     Oh, my heart sunk.

     Immediately, I realized my deep need for patience and gentleness. So throughout the rest of this week I have been consciously trying to practice patience. I have been purposeful in lowering my voice and slowing down my speech when I am trying to communicate something important or disciplining Autumn. I have been focusing on the joy she brings to my life rather than the brief moments of difficulty.

      But, on bigger picture, I need to be patient with her because the Lord is patient with me. Autumn did not know that she was doing something wrong, but how often to I purposefully disobey God? How often do I act out of rebellion? Yet, God is gracious toward me. Psalm 145:8-9 states, "The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that He has made." I am so thankful that my Father in Heaven is more patient than I am.

Shane and Shane "Psalm 145"

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


     This past week I have been reminded of the goodness of my God. The past week has been insanely busy, so it has taken me a few days to process and meditate on how much the Lord has blessed my family.

     First, as I mentioned in a previous post, my husband and I celebrated our five year anniversary. It has reminded me that the Lord was not required to give him to me. My husband is a reflection of the goodness of the Lord because the Bible states that "Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change" (James 1:17). Jacob is unfortunately one of the Lord's gifts that I most often take for granted so this reminder has been necessary for me.

     Second, Sunday was Father's Day which has reminded me of the immense blessing my own father has been in my life. My Dad is one of the heroes of my faith. I look at his walk with the Lord and it pushes me to grow deeper in my faith. I have been blessed beyond measure because my father is a wonderful representation of the love of God. God has chosen to reveal Himself to us through the picture of a Father. For some people this imagery conjures up feelings of abandonment or anger because their early fathers were not invested in their lives. I have never had to deal with this struggle. My Dad found unique ways to connect to my siblings and me. He somehow managed to juggle work and his ministry at the church while still making our family essential. When I was in high school, I played two sports and acted in the play; yet, my Dad and Mom rarely missed a home game and came to my performances. They even traveled to some of my away games. Even though I am one of five kids and my Dad had a lot going on in his life, my parents made sure we each knew we were important to them. As I have gotten older, I have really come to understand how much of a blessing this was and how many people do not grow up with fathers like mine. I deeply love and respect my Dad.

     Third, yesterday my sister Rachel received the results of her MRI. He doctors said that the chemo has shrunk her tumor some and they were really pleased with the results. It appears that the Lord is granting us some time with Rachel which is a huge blessing. In January, after Rachel's surgery to remove the tumor in her brain, she had several grand mal seizures and then was placed in a coma to keep the seizures from continuing. For a time, the doctors were not sure if she would wake up. I was at church when I received the news and I broke down bawling and said, "I just want some time." In that moment, I was unsure if I would ever have another conversation with my sister. The Lord has answered my prayers and generously allowed my family and me to have some precious time with Rachel.

     Sometimes I genuinely struggle with having joy and hope. Sometimes I feel like the Lord is singling me out for pain and misery. But then the Lord grants me a week of remembrance. He provides a week that reminds me at every turn of His love and enduring faithfulness.

There is none like You
No one else can touch my heart like You do
I can search for all eternity long and find
There is none like You

Your mercy flows like a river wide
And healing comes in Your Name
And helpless children are safe in Your arms
There is none like You

Shane and Shane "There is None Like You"

Friday, June 14, 2013

5 years

Us in high school
     As of today, I have been married for 5 years. And I am finding that it incredibly hard to write this post without sounding super cheesey and sappy. So hopefully I wont completely sound like a love-struck 13 year old.

      This past week, I have been reflecting on our marriage. It certainly hasn't always been roses and walks in the park, but it has always been rewarding. We have made it through times of unemployment, financial struggles, personality conflicts, and a number of other struggles. We have worked, gone to college, had a baby, and tried to serve in our church. We have fought and learned how to disagree without cutting each other down or losing our temper... most of the time. We have had times of distance and times of closeness, but we have always made our marriage a priority and worked to stay connected to each other. We have learned that we will never have marriage figured out, but it will always be a work in progress.
Engagement pic

     I feel so blessed to be married to this man. I have known Jacob for nearly half of my life, and he has walked with me through the majority of the difficulties in my life. He has listened to me rage and cry. We have laughed so hard that I have snorted... and then laughed some more. We have years of shared history. He is genuinely one of the most serving and selfless men I have ever met. He is nerdy beyond all belief (He owns the Zelda sound track and can tell you which area in the game each song belongs to and what items can be found there). He is a deep thinker. He is affectionate and kind. But most importantly, we share a pursuit of godliness and a passion to grow in our faith. When one of us is broken, the other finds the strength to guide us to the love of God. I cannot imagine going through student teaching or my sister's diagnosis without his support.
Engagement pic

     So I would like to share a few (fairly obvious) things we have learned over the past 5 years.

  • You cannot go into marriage with an exit strategy. If quitting is an option in your mind before marriage then at some point when life is kicking you while you are down then leaving will start to look awfully appealing.
  • Pride has no place is a marriage. Marriage has shown me that I am often wrong and that my selfishness hurts others. When I allow pride into my life then being "right" and "winning" the fight become my priority.
  • Love isn't only a feeling. Some days you wake up grumpy and you just don't feel it. At that point you have to choose to act in a loving manner.
  • The joys of marriage are worth working through the difficult times. I have experienced so much joy from our marriage. I love Jacob and I love the family we have together. I love spending time with him and having someone to share my life with. he  is my encouragement and my ministry partner. He is my best friend and the person I can share my heart with. I thank God that He has allowed me to have Jacob in my life.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pity Parties and Re-dedication

     Doctrine is so inconvenient. I am angry. I am angry about feeling like God has been silent even though I have been seeking Him. I am angry because I have tried to be faithful even when I don't feel like it. I am angry because I feel like God is picking on me. I am angry because I have yet to be angry about my sister's diagnosis. I am angry because I have been trying to be content and my resolve has been tested over and over and over.

     And even in the midst of my anger, I know that I am completely unjustified... which makes me angry. I know that I am throwing a HUGE pity party. While I am complaining about God being silent, I have "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10) running through my mind. I feel like God has not kept His promises, and "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb 13:5) enters my mind. I am angry because I can't seem to be content and I am immediately reminded that Jesus promised "In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). As I am feeling miserable about everything wrong in my life, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice" (Phil.4:4) springs into my mind. Doctrine is really inconvenient because it takes the pity out of this party. Truly irritating.

     I want to quit. I want to mope. I want to give up. I want to be angry and rebellious. But doctrine prevents me. Knowing that your wrong really takes the fun out of being angry. As I have been hurling empty accusations at God, I am rolling my eyes at myself because even I know that everything I am accusing God of is completely and totally wrong. As I am complaining to Jacob about how unfair God is, I am reminded of His past faithfulness and, even through tears, I know that I am wrong... sigh... I hate being wrong. Seriously, I hate being wrong.

     But, honestly, I have been truly grateful that I have a solid doctrinal foundation because I have seen the result of believing a lie. And it was not pretty. When Rachel had her first battle with cancer, I was only about 7 years old, so I had no idea how to process the fact that my 4 year old sister had brain cancer. So, at first, I thought that God was punishing me for being mean to her. But, I soon decided that was ridiculous. But I was angry and I didn't know who to be angry with. I mean, I couldn't be mad at God because "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” (Rom. 8:28). Well, I loved Him. Cancer wasn't good so it couldn't be God’s fault. So I decided it was Rachel’s fault that her sickness changed every member of my family (it was rational in my 7 year old mind). As a result, I treated my sister awfully, damaged my relationships with my parents, and lost years to anger and bitterness. It took years to rebuild those relationships and the trust I had trampled on.

     So even when I was crying because I knew that my feelings were wrong and I know that God is good; I am thankful that I have grown in my faith. I am thankful that God can handle my anger. I am thankful that I dug deep in my faith over the past several years. And in the tears of apology for my lack of faith and perseverance, I silently started singing “I Surrender All” in my head.

     I wanted to be angry. I wanted to quit. I didn't want to see anything positive. Instead, I found surrender and then finally peace.

     My sob fest ended with this song. It is a reminder of who God really is even when my feelings don’t align with the truth.
Starfield "Cry in my Heart"