No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it. 1st Corinthians 10:13

Sep. 28, 2007

Change really IS good

It's been a great week. We're all busier but settling in to the new routine and all in all, I'd say it is going quite well. Our time is precious and this house runs a lot more smoothly when we're all working together.

I've found myself thinking a lot about change and transition. There are times when change is thrust upon us and seems to go against everything we want; other times we make decisions or choices that we know will result in change but either way, adjustments are definately required and attitude plays a big part in how we travel the new leg of our journey.

I found myself thinking about other times of change in my life and there have been many! The most obvious of them for me has been the addition of each baby; definately a happy, expectant time, however not without its difficulties, either! Any woman who has had a baby knows that there is a period of adjustment after having a baby and new moms can often be surprised by just how much adjustment there is! In fact I recall how busy I seemed with one.....and then came another, and another, and anotehr.....It doesn't matter how many babies you have had, there is always a period of adjustment; for myself, this hasn't always been easy.

Declan Hewitt will celebrate his 4th birthday in March, about a month and a half after baby #8 is due! Declan was born on a Tuesday, and during my two day stay in the hospital my husband received an offer from a friend that just couldn't be refused. We had a few days to give Peter an answer, but it was "Yes". I came home on Thursday and Brad had his baby by the weekend. On Monday, just 6 days after having Declan, we were in private practice with a full client load. My pre-delivery dreams of spending idle days resting peacefully with our newest child at my side never came to fruition and I had many, many times when my thoughts were "I can't do this!" A baby brought with it change; for me it was like starting over, like I'd never had a baby. Running an office I could do however the combination of the two of them often seemed too much to bear and for a time I resented the fact that these two answers to prayer had happened at the same time!

A little background - this very busy season with a new and thriving law practice had followed a dry time financially for us; one we wouldn't have survived without the assistance of close friends and the faithfulness of God. Brad had gone to work for a company who ceased paying him and broke their contract just months after he'd started so we were behind on our mortgages, phone bills, utility bills......you name it. We very much lived day to day; there was little in our cupboards in the way of groceries, yet we never missed a meal. We got through the winter by filling 2-10 gallon gas cans with diesel fuel almost daily because we couldn't afford the fuel delivery trucks. As difficult a season as it was, we learned some great lessons during that time and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Now we found ourselves thrust into somebody else's schedule. Brad had clients that he had to meet with and court appearances to prepare for; it was definately a time of sowing for us.

As Declan got a little older and a little less dependent, so did the law practice and by the time "they" were a year old I looked back and was reminded of all the times I'd said "I can't" when in fact I had. There had been talk of getting help off and on, but help in a rural bedroom community of Ottawa is hard to find and never arrived. Then we learned we were expecting another baby....

Rhys Daniel arrived October 17, 19 months after his brother and again there were adjustments. It was a more difficult time for me post-pregnancy, as I've shared in an earlier post. There were MANY days spent thinking "I can't do this" but again, time proved me wrong. I have many experiences as I look back over life, my married life especially, that have proven God's grace and his faithfulness time and time again.

As I was pondering these things this week and two of my favourite verses came to mind....again.

Phil. 4:13 says "I CAN do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me". The Message puts it this way: Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

1 Cor. 10:13 say: No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.

I have at different times hung on to these verses but I got to wondering.....what would my days be like IF instead of once in a while, typically in a time of crisis, but everyday I choose to rely on the truth of God's word rather than how I felt? What if I wake up saying "I Can" instead of "I Can't"? It sounds so simple as I write this but these things usually do. God's word is full of truths, full of promises that are for us and though we know them, it isn't until we put them into practice, until we apply them to our daily lives that they really take on life for and in us.

So, I've been working at removing "I Can't" not only from my vocabulary, but from my thinking and applying I CAN do ALL things, I CAN make it through ANYTHING, all because of the One who knows me, loves me and made me who I am.

Sep. 19, 2007

Expectations

Okay, so I was really tired by Friday night.....weary I believe was the word. I felt somewhat sorry for those who came into contact with me Friday.....I was a bit, um, short. Monday, however was a difficult day emotionally. Yes, there are the ever-present hormones to contend with, but this was more than that. It was a day of realizations. Realizing that this next phase isn't going to be easy; realizing that adapting to the changes around here will take some time and realizing that I need to again adjust my expectations....of others, yes, but particularly those expectations I place on myself.

This is a new season of transition and though I was thinking about it before all the changes actually occurred, I need to continue to re-think and re-sort priorities and my time; as you know some of our responsibilities aren’t forgiving! Though working from home has its benefits, it also requires a lot of discipline, organization and self-control and guess what?? These are areas I struggle with; hmmmmmm. Thank you Lord that you are working all things together for my good; help me to be not only be willing to allow it but help me to work WITH you!

Must go; I'm pretty sure there is a bum that needs changing.....

Sep. 15, 2007

The Challenge


It has been an interesting week; by last evening I was feeling pretty......weary; body, mind and emotions!
Noah and Ben helped load a fridge, table and chairs, microwave and some odds and ends and I took them over to the house in Ogdensburg. Brad went over yesterday afternoon to watch Cam's game - Cam wan't able to play much because he had only been to two practices since school started. They suffered a disappointing loss when they shouldn't have (but between you and I, I prefer them losing when Cam isn't playing!). Today Brad is helping Cam get caught up with his homework; that will go a long way to decreasing his feelings of being overwhelmed. I imagine we'll go back over tomorrow afternoon with more stuff and I'll likely stay the night. This has been quite an adjustment for Cam; for all of us. It is relatively easy for him to have a desire, a passion to play football but the walking out of his dream will require hard work, perseverance and sacrifice on the part of all of us. The kids that are left get stuck with Cam's share of the chores!
I mentioned in my last post that I'd been challenged myself this summer. It wasn't pleasant, when I heard that my actions weren't lining up with my words. I had agreed with my mouth to do what I could to support Cam in making this move, however the closer it came to a reality the more I balked. Not with my words, but with my actions.
Have you ever had someone you love and respect hold up a mirror and confront you with something and it isn't what you want to hear or see? When it happened I of course denied it, I pointed out all I had done, I made all sorts of excuses, I cried (nothing worse than a crying, hormonal pregnant woman).....but it didn't change what I knew to be true in my head. When I was alone, when I got myself to think beyond the hurt I felt and the emotions that arose, I knew in myself that truth was being spoken.

The second time it was mentioned wasn't any easier to hear than the first. Even though I had known it was true, I refused to admit it out loud. Change does not come easily for many of us most of the time and I knew that if I went to others and explained "my side of the story" I would find sympathy and another opinion. I'd done that before. I also knew that the man that I love, trust and respect, the one who knows and loves me best other than God, was being honest. Brad knows me. He knows how I think, he knows my heart, he knows my desires, he knows I want to grow and change and he knew my reaction before he ever opened his mouth. He knew that it would be hard for me to hear, but he loved me enough to say it anyway and he challanged me to think; to be honest.
It took me about a day and a half of feeling sorry for myself and being completely miserable to everyone to do that; to think and to pray. I realized that I was afraid and that though I'd been saying all the right things, when I was honest with myself my greatest concern was what this was going to cost me and deep inside I really didn't want to make the necessary sacrifices. It was only when I realized that , when I could admit it out loud that I had the desire to change it.
Cam is his mother's son in many ways! We struggle with many of the same things and often when there is tension between us it is because I see myself in him and it frustrates me! His journey has not been easy and he has a tendancy is to think negatively about himself. However, we have watched some of that change for Cam since he got involved in football, and we've allowed him to swagger a bit as he's developed a new sense of who he is. Growing up he wishes desperately to be a "normal" size; now that he is benefiting from the size that God blessed him with he loves being "above normal".
A few days after my "epiphany" Brad and I were going to Cam's football game - the first he was able to play for OFA. I took that opportunity to share with him what I had been thinking and what I'd come to realize, and to thank him. I now see that as difficult as it is to be the receiver of a challenge, it is also difficult to be the deliverer and in the 21 years we've been married Brad has never abused that priviledge. I am thankful for the relationship we share that allows him to speak into my life; to challenge my thinking and, along with the Lord, to help me overcome and change. Then I in turn can be more of a help to Cam.




Sep. 13, 2007

Change



I knew it had been a while, but June 4? That was the date of my last entry.....summer has come and gone and I don't think I even thought once until recently about sitting down to write something. It certainly wasn't for lack of material; the summer was a busy one, full of surprises, unexpected circumstances and challenges. Sounds like life.

Since my last post I learned that we were expecting our eighth child. This was a surprise; I'd just settled in my own mind that we were done. That was easier for Brad; for me there was a fair bit of emotion to work through.....the thought of being "finished" was one that took a while for me to settle. I'd just given away all the baby boy clothes a week or so before (baby girl clothes are LONG gone) and realized I should have had a visit from Aunt Flo. If there is no visit from Aunt Flo, there is only one reason so I bought myself a home pregnancy test and it was positive. My husbands response was.....interesting; he laughed and said "you're kidding".

Nope.
I've shared before of the difficult time I had after my last pregnancies, particularly the last one, so there were thoughts to battle with in terms of that. A good friend reminded me to enjoy the pregnancy and not to worry about the after.....it will take care of itself. Put me in mind of a bible verse. Matthew 6:34 (Msg) says: Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. If it was as easy to live by as it was to say, I'd be all set.

We've lost two kids this week....well, lost may not be the right word. Let me explain.

On Saturday evening family and friends celerated, honoured and blessed Meg; she is doing her 3rd year of undergrad (majoring in Economics) at Tomas Bata University in the Czech Republic. Travelling has always been a passion of Meg's and incorporating it into her studies was her goal. On Monday we took our first born to the airport in Montreal so she could wing her way across the big ditch to study (and travel) til June. There were no big teary goodbyes; I think it will take some time for it all to sink in and she will be home for a short Christmas break. I had wanted to go over there to visit her this year but the baby will hamper that......the doctor doesn't seem anxious to see me winging my way half way around the world. I got word this morning that she arrived in Zlin (pronounced "Zleen")safe and somewhat exhausted. She's feeling a bit overwhelmed which is understandable; I felt that way this morning!

Fourth born, #3 son Campbell has long had a passion to play football. At 8 years of age his dad took him out for football tryouts where he was told that he was "too big" to play football and to bring him back next year. Well, he didn't get any smaller but each year for 3 years Brad took Cam out for football and each year they turned him away. "Bring him back next year". He was, and is, a big boy. 10 lbs 12 oz at birth we heard that he'd slow down at some point; at 15 he's 6' 4.5" and 260 lbs and he hasn't slowed down; in fact, in the past year he's grown close to 3 inches and since last August has put on 80 lbs (he had to get down to 178 last August to get in under the weight limit). When he was 12 he announced to us that he was going to lose weight so he could play football. Brad took him out for football camp and after one look at him they told him if he could make the weight (had to lose close to 40 lbs that year) they'd take him. He made the weight. The next year he had to lose close to 30 lbs and had grown a couple inches but he did it again. It didn't come easily; Cam needed a lot of support and encouragement. There were many times when we as parents questioned his desire; if this is what YOU want, then we're here to help in any way that we can, but it has to be what you want. Its tough sometimes as a parent to know where your hopes and desires for your kids ends and theirs begins. "We", but particularly Brad, has always taught the kids to think, to not put limits on themselves OR God, to dream "in technicolour", to "reach for the stars". We hear that stuff all the time, but what does that mean? What do you do when you have a son who passionately wants to play in the NFL? Do you sit him down and tell him to settle for something less? Do you prepare him for the possibility that he may not make it? Do you discuss with him the severity of the injuries he could sustain IF he makes it "all the way"? Do you remind him that getting into the NFL is the easy part, staying there is where the real work kicks in? OR do you walk alongside him providing encouragment, pushing him when he needs it, supporting him when he's discouraged and yes, sometimes nagging him because he's not only told you what his desire is, but he's shown you - not all the time, he is a kid and self-motivation is hard for adults too. I found myself challenged by Cam many times over the past few years - he is his mother's son in many ways, but this summer was where the rubber hit the road for me; where my words needed to match up with my actions, and they didn't - they fell far short. More about that another time.....this is already too long.
I'm a US Citizen by birth and will establish legal residency in the US so that Cam can pursue his dream. Part of the joy of being in a "team" whether it is family or not is walking alongside one another during the good, the bad and the ugly. Yesterday afternoon Cam entered the US and is now staying at the little house we bought this summer in Ogdensburg, going to school at Ogdensburg Free Academy, attending football practices and playing football. Cam is 15 years old and has been on his own journey, pursuing his own dream.....his success doesn't lay in what he achieves at the end, but in each step that he takes along the way. I am very proud of Cam; his is a true story of the strength of the human spirit.