Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's a Heart Condition

Do your kids ever complain? Do they always complain? Are they never happy? They get mad because they have to have Sprite at the restaurant. They don't like the coat they have. They are mean to their siblings. Nothing ever goes their way. Nothing is the way they like it. They just always get the short end of the stick.

This is a heart condition. I am afraid to say that we have one that suffers from it. So, what do you do? There isn't some operation that can fix this type of heart condition. This isn't something you can take them to a doctor for.

So, I pray, pray, pray. I have consequences for their actions. I talk about their "heart condition" to them. I am honestly concerned. If their heart and desires don't change now, what will they be like when they are a teenager? When they are an adult? When they are a parent? I want to help mold their heart till it is headed in the right direction; God's direction. I heard recently a pastor say that you don't want to just correct the behavior, but the heart. You want them to eventually self-correct. That is what I want for my children. I want them to come to a place that they can self-correct. They can see when they are going to make a bad choice, and then turn away from that choice and choose the right path. I've seen people that had to have God do a heart operation on them. It wasn't pretty. The "valley of the shadows of death" is where the operation is usually done when it gets to that point.

As parents we want better for our kids. I want to save mine from making the horrible decisions I did in my youth. I want them to desire holiness. BUT am I modeling that now for them? How selfish am I being? How is my heart condition? We all get in a funk from time to time. Our kids see that and they are watching for how we self correct. I believe in the MOPS motto: Better Moms Make a Better World. So, am making myself into a better mom? What does that look like? What am I showing my children? What am I making a priority? I can not just tell them to serve with gladness and have a happy heart if I don't.

My challenge for myself for the next week (and the rest of my life, really) is to serve my family with gladness. For them to see the joy that really is in my heart. To find contentment in my daily chores. For Christ to shine brighter than I do. I know that I won't be perfect, but I can try. Isn't that what we are called to like Christ? He is the perfect parent, and one that I want to model myself after. To be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled.

Friday, October 23, 2009


It sometimes slips my mind how literal my three year-old, Andrew, is. Take as an example what happened today. Yesterday, I told him not to drink my sugar out of the sugar container. You see, I have one of those containers like they have at coffee shops or Waffle House. So, instead he first poured it into a cup and then drank it. He made sure that I knew that he didn't drink it from the container.

He is a very literal child. If you tell him to clean his room, he takes everything and puts it in his closet. Therefore his room IS clean. You have to make sure to tell him that he needs to clean his room and his closet.

I know that I need to make sure that I explain things better to him, but it just doesn't seem to happen that way. As parents, we are so busy making sure everything is done and giving orders that we often forget what each child needs. They all understand and process things differently. I am sure all my teacher friends are very aware of that. However, as a mom I find myself forgetting it. I need to find more creative ways to express to my children what their boundaries are, what we expect, AND how proud we are of them.

So, my challenge to myself and to you is to figure out what language your child speaks, and then practice speaking it to them.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Living with Lupus

Two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with lupus. I can't believe that it has been that long. It is a hard disease to understand, hard to diagnose and hard to live with. For those who do not know what lupus is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissues. It occurs mainly among middle-aged women, characterized by skin eruptions, joint pain, recurrent pleurisy, and kidney disease, among other symptoms. It is a disease that flares and has times of remission.

So you may be asking yourself what causes this disease. Well, they really don't know. They know that you can have genes that give you the predisposition to develop it. Usually something triggers it. For me it was having my first child. After having my daughter is when my symptoms started, although I did not realize it at the time. I was told by my OB-GYN that the symptoms that I was having was "just the way my body was". I was patted on my knee and told I was fine. After my pregnancy with Andrew is when it got extremely worse, and was later diagnosed. I thought that every mom was tired. By this time I had three kids to take care. Of course my body hurt, I was always toting something or someone. I had sores in my mouth because of stress...I have three kids. I have headaches because, you guessed it...I have three kids. They do make noise, you know. So, I went to my PCP for the ulcers in my mouth. He said it seemed like I had "some sort of autoimmune thing going on". Those were really his words! He sent me to a specialist who asked a bunch of questions, and asked me to tell him everything that bothers me, even if I don't think it is unique or important. He then decided that I probably have lupus. More blood work was done, I was put on medication. At first the meds really helped. I was able to walk up the stairs without having to nap afterwards. Most of the sores went away. What I thought was a heat rash didn't appear as often. He also told me of precautions to take to help myself not flare as bad. Those things are pretty much taking my meds on time twice a day, taking vitamins, staying out of the sun, and resting a lot.

As for me right now, I am in constant pain, have constant sores in my mouth, am always tired, have a light molar rash on my face (can be covered by makeup), headaches, and am extremely sensitive to the sun and to heat. All that said, my lupus is controlled right now by medication. It is not getting worse, as in it is not attacking my liver or kidneys. I know I am blessed by that.

Lupus has no cure. They have medication that can help control its symptoms. They said mine was caught early, and so if I stay on my medication I should be able to avoid my organs being damaged by it. Let me restate this...I know that I am blessed. I could have a form of lupus that made it completely impossible for me to take care of my family. God gives me the strength I need. He understands my pain like no one else can. He catches each one of my tears (Psalm 56:8). He has a plan that is not to harm me, but to give me hope (Jer. 29:11). I hold true what the Psalmist said in chapter 147: He will heal my broken heart over this and bind up my wounds (v3), He is mighty in power (v5a), His understanding has no limits (v5b), He grants peace (v14).

Some days are harder than others. It seems that I am having more hard days since moving to Texas, and leaving my family and support group three hours away. I appreciate their prayers, and know that God is still God. He is God over lupus, and every other disease. He cares, and He will give me what I need, when I need it. I serve an awesome God. He is my Lord, and what I choose to put my hope and trust in.