Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Circle of Blessings

I grew up in the Catholic Church, and every Sunday my parents let me put the offering in the plate.  I thought I was big stuff putting that envelope in the plate.  It felt good to me to be able to participate at church.  I didn't know what it meant or what was in the envelope, but I liked feeling important and a part of something, and I knew that it was for Jesus.

Isn't it funny how our young and innocent minds work.  I was just excited to put an envelope in a plate because I knew that it was a gift to Jesus!  Well, now in my adult years, I have a much better understanding of what the offering is for and why we are called to do it.  It means something more to me now and I enjoy it for different reasons, but one reason remains the same...because it is for the Kingdom of Jesus.

I have also run across times of financial hardship, when I couldn't put as much in the "plate" as I would like to.  And because of my financial constraints, I give what I can.  This doesn't always mean money in the plate.  Sometimes, for me, it looks like giving people things that I have, which they can use.  And when I don't have any worldly possessions to give away, I give the most important thing to people.....time.   I give away my things and time to people who need them because that what God calls us to, even if I need that item too.  Someone may need something more than I away it goes. 

What has been revealed to me in the recent days, is that God LOVES this.  This has never come full circle for me before, like it has now.  I know he loves this because he shows me by lavishing me with other blessings in life.  I have recently been blessed by friends extending a helping hand with my kids, pampering me to a spa day, cooking me meals, and dropping off gifts for my children.  I also have received random gifts of diapers (at just the right time, I might add).  He blessed me with a work at home opportunity which brings in a little financial cushion each month.  It amazes me how God uses people in my life to bless me.  And I know that this is by no mistake.  By taking on the attitude of giving, which He calls us believers to, he continues the circle of giving and blessings.  How simple, yet so difficult for many of us to do.

I admit, sometimes it is hard to part with something that I need.  Or hard to give someone a little of my time, when I am so pressed for it.  But I am amazed at how the circle comes back around and blesses me even more in the end.  I am so thankful that my parents modeled this behavior for me in church every Sunday.  If not for them showing me this simple "giving" attitude, I might struggle more with this, and I might not be as blessed as I am now.  My husband always asks me "why do people like you so much?"  My answer is usually...."I don't know, but I know God loves me." 

Being obedient to our parents doesn't stop when we become adults.  I have to remember to be obedient to my Heavenly Father as well!  I am so blessed!!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beautiful Blessings

Today I learned, from a good friend, of two infants that lost their lives at 17 months and 7 1/2 months old.  It wasn't a car accident or anything "preventable," both lost their young lives to health related issues.  Once I read their stories and the struggles that the family went through accompanied by the heartache of losing a young baby, my heart hurt and I immediately thought of my own precious children.

I can't imagine what life in those parents shoes must look like now having to go home without hearing the cry or voice of their innocent child, or the joy of seeing a smile creep across their face, or the excitement of watching a new developmental milestone achieved.  What an empty feeling they must have to endure now.

With my children reaching 7 1/2 months old, they are learning how to crawl, testing their boundaries and limits with mommy and daddy, and learning to vocalize their feelings.  My daughter is in a phase where she cries if she is not held when she wants to be held, or doted on when she feels it appropriate.  Her cries have, in all honesty, been driving me nuts.  The reason being is because I know that all her needs are met....hunger, diaper, sleep, love, affection, discipline and play time.  I stay at home with my children, so when they are awake, I feel it is my job to be active with them.  I don't deprive them of attention or of one on one time with mommy.  But with two infant children, I can't hold them constantly, and I don't want to create that habit.  I want my children to grow and learn to be independent.  So, I let her sit on the floor surrounded with fun toys to play with and cry, while I take on an attitude of frustration.  Until today.

When I learned of these children's stories and the heartbreak for the parents, I looked at my children playing on the floor and tears were dripping from my eyes.  And while my daughter decided to pull her crying stint yet again because she wanted me to pick her up, I smiled at her and delighted in her cries rather than assuming a frustrated attitude.  I realized how very lucky and blessed I am to be able to hear her crying.  When my son turned and looked at me because he finally learned how to army crawl to his favorite toy and was so proud of himself, and grinned at me with all four teeth showing while drool was falling from his gums, I began to bawl.

I was taken back to my 2 1/2 weeks stay in the hospital, when I was miserably pregnant with the twins and in pre-term labor for the duration of my stay.  I remember thinking to myself that my doctor was being cruel by delaying my labor as long as my body would hold out, while each day brought on more contractions.  I remember begging him to induce me at 34, 35 and 36 weeks.  I cried many days and nights knowing that my other friends who have had twins had all been induced or scheduled with a C-Section by these gestations.  I was thinking only of myself, but my doctor was 100% thinking of my unborn children. 

I finally was sent to the ER for an emergency C-Section at 36 weeks and 4 days.  That day was the best day for me because it meant that I didn't have to endure the pain of a twin pregnancy anymore.  My doctor would have liked to see me go to 37 weeks.  However, he warned my husband and I of the extreme possibility of our children needing time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), due to their premature birth.  I still was only thinking of me and the fact that I was soon going to be out of pain and no longer pregnant.  I thought, bad could it be to have children in the NICU.

As a blessing from the Lord, my doctor cared for my children better than I did during those couple weeks in the hospital.  If it were up to me, they would have been born at 34 weeks and put in the NICU.  Thankfully, my doctor knew better and so did the Lord above.  I gave birth to our twins and they did not have to spend one second in an incubator or the NICU.  They were healthy!  They were ready to go home before I was!  And to this day, the only serious health problem they have had is a few weeks of a common cold virus.  When I learned of the two infants who lost their battles due to serious health problems, I look at my children, raise my hands, fall to my knees and cry with joy to thank the Lord.

Now, I thank God for my blessings.  I thank Him for my doctor and the nurses who kept me sane.  I thank Him for my children (who really are His before they are mine anyway), I thank Him for the discernment He gives me as a parent/mother, and I thank Him above all for entrusting me with His beautiful creations. 

I cannot imagine life without either one of my children.  I cannot imagine even one second of not knowing their fate.  I have now turned my attitude of frustration into an attitude of humble thankfulness every time I hear my children cry.