Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jesus isn't a wife, mother, or female, but that's OK

I was frustrated at Jesus today.

I was frustrated because as I was reading Luke, it dawned on me that He and I are so very different. Not just because He unconditionally loves His neighbor and by contrast I dream of ways to take out their yapping bird under the cloak of night.

But I realized that I am married, a mother, and a female.

He is single, no kids, a male…and well…the Son of God.

I even had the thought creep in that God couldn’t allow Him to parent because He needed Jesus to remain sinless. Seriously, I had this thought.

It’s been a rough parenting month.

As I continued to reflect on His life there were several passages that jumped out to my desperate position of tired mother of 5 and cruddy wife to 1.

Jesus had times where He needed to find a desolate place to huddle up with the Father.

This was Jesus’ “Hide in the bathroom, lock the doors, and feign a menstral moment." I need to redeem those 5 minutes locked in the bathroom. The problem is that I often spend those 5 minutes checking email or reading the back of the shampoo bottle because my brain is working on ½ a cylinder. Jesus knew that the most refreshing thing He could do was to escape to His Dad.

Jesus often had hords of people shouting demands at Him.

“Heal me, feed me, show me where to go!” This is Jesus’ “When’s dinner? Mom, Charis stuck Jell-O down my underwear! Makaria is throwing up in the bathtub!” Jesus understood my brain being split into hundreds of pieces and trying to attend to the needs of the desperate. Instead of balling up into the fetal position and sucking on a ring pop, He patiently healed and feed and wept with His people. He did not in fact weep because He was spent. He wept because He was compassionate.

Jesus walked around with 12 passionate, clueless, and utterly dependent men who often brought friends along with them who wanted to eat.

This is Jesus’ “Walk through the market with 5 children clawing at my purse, crying for water and screaming when they don’t get what they want.” He understood what it meant to look after a ragtag group of children when crossing the street. He understood that when He was talking to the Jairus, he was also teaching the disciples. His words were held and remembered by twelve. 

As a wife and mother, it's easy to feel like I just want to escape. The thing is, Jesus did too. He knew that there were times to be encircled by needy people. But there were also times He needed to receive His refreshment and work orders from His Father. He didn't escape to Facebook or the blogging world. He escaped to the Father. There are so many times that my prayer life feels like just another task in my day. Jesus' life has reminded me today I it's not a task, it's a lifeline. That if I want to parent out of holiness and not just "suck it up-ness," then I needed to be sitting with Him at some point in my day. 

I'm working on putting Bibles near the sink or in the kitchen so that I can grab one for 1 minute. Or putting on music that will fixate my mind on Jesus, even for 30 seconds. Jesus knows my struggles because realistically, they are human problems, not just wife, mother, female ones. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Contradiction of Adoption

There are  not many situations in our lives that are so deeply rooted in contradiction.


The family born through hurt, anger, poverty, disease, and abandonment.

The laughter peeking through years of late night weeping.

The smiles forcing their way out of night terrors and a childhood lost.

The perseverance of parents wanting to love a child deeply, but finding the bricks built higher and higher in his fortress of protection.

The task is not just about loving a child. It's about allowing yourself to be abandoned. Allowing the words of the Lord speak for you when the end of yourself seems too far.

The time lost to poverty and sickness. God can redeem.

A word spoken in harshness to a child wrapped in hurt and confusion. God can restore.

A child afraid of being abandoned. Again. A parent longing for a hug from a child who sees a hug as threatening, not loving. God can remember.

The heart can seem lost and the days can seem surrendered to impatience. God can refresh.

God never promises us easy days. Quite the opposite actually. He understands having a son betrayed and mocked. He cares for His children who scream curses and walk away, turning their backs on Him.

But only for a time.

His redemption is sure. 
His restoration is complete. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Confessions from a Dad with ADHD

This will be a brief blog post. If I'm not careful, I'll start fixating on every detail and it'll become a chapter in a book. As evidence by the fact I'm desperately trying to keep my dissertation under 300 pages, so I'm more than prepared to write and write. 

ADHD doesn't go away. 

It just gets managed...hopefully. It's not simply a problem kids' have. It's biological, neurological and even protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ADHD expresses itself in two ways. In lay terms, it's expressed in fight or flight. The fight comes from hyper-fixating on something such that disturbances just push you over the edge. By flight, I mean flightiness of sense of being frazzled. This second person may say, "Ah, butterfly! Oh, another one. And one more...." The first person just gets ticked the butterfly won't be still (that is, assuming he or she even notices because the person is thinking hard on some problem in his or her head).

The deal is that no one––including yourself––knows when you are under its influence. Because it involves your attention, one obviously can't simply get outside one's own thoughts to notice, "Hey, I'm hyper-focusing right now."  To be frank, it is often extremely difficult to discern between what is sin and what is ADHD. Those around you just ask in frustration, "What's your problem?" 

This has some negative effects on parenting. I can only speak for myself (I'm the "fighter" type). Here are a few, which I'll label as:


You simply don't spend the time you need with your kids. You may even avoid some activity because it really overwhelms you. The constant change, noise, and the need for the creative even disoriented thinking of kids play drive you to excuse yourself from the situation. After a while, patterns develop and you don't even know there's neglect. But there's always the guilt. 

Passive Attention

This sort of attention aims simply to pacify your child. You are either not all there or you are just paying the time keeper until you get back to something else. There's no heart connection and consequently your kids learn to expect distance from you and so they to get good at being distant themselves. Because there are not obvious signs of neglect, you never actively deal with it.


This refers to when everyone is paying attention to you because Dad (or mom) is upset or stressed. For me, this happens at meal times, typically at the beginning when everyone is transitioning. Things like smacking, tapping of forks, and yes spilt milk lead to someone to cry because dad's upset that the child is "not paying attention" to what they're doing or to what you've said 786 times before. No one feels like they can breath.

All the while, you don't even know you it. You are isolated in your own head. If you do realize it, then you feel trapped by your "personality." It's not something you can explain where others "get" you and your experience. But the fear grows.....One day, I'll wake up and the house will be quiet because the kids are gone. Finally, you can think clearly. Then, you'll realize how much you missed out on and how little your kids had of their dad or mom. That fear is painful. Your try not to fixate on it, but then again, you will because that's what you do....fixate your attention. And so, you find a distraction to calm the mind and conscience. And the cycle repeats itself.

Well, so much for a short blog entry. 

Friday, June 08, 2012

Iphone photos and a ridiculous potato analogy

Parenting is like a potato.

You start out fairly round, clean, and firm. Then you birth children. The first one maybe changes your potato shape, but you are still clearly a potato. The more children you birth, the more these random green shoots start appearing. Each one is unique and holds it own place on the potato. No longer do you look like a potato, but rather a monkey gym for overgrowth. But as you look closer, each shoot is different from the others. They all stem from the same potato, yet they all seem so different. How does it happen that under the same roof, 5 distinct personalities emerge?

Playing the part of Bono: Kesed age 4

There is more to those eyes than just seeing: Makaria age 3

"Mom, if I could spend 5 hours inside reading, it would be the best day of my life!" Malachi age 8

My old soul. She belongs in a Jane Austen novel. Selah age 10. 

Free spirited and thoughtful.  Charis age 6. 

As for the potato analogy, I am sorry. It is late and I should not be writing on anything public. Not even on a bathroom wall.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Peanut Butter Frosting and My Issue with Chocolate Chips

Our friend has a birthday today. He told me that if these cupcakes weren't a part of his birthday meal, then he would break up with our family. Someone had sent us a box of Duncan Hines Double Chocolate Fudge cake mix. Boxed cake mixes are akin to buying a wedding dress in our little China world.

You caudal it, stare at it, and dream about the day you will get to use it. 

Today was that day. I added three simple ingredients, stirred, and popped those bad boys in the oven. Oh how I miss the land of processed foods sometimes. 

It was at this point that I chopped up some Dove chocolate. Chocolate chips are a rare find here, so I just chop up some chocolate and make chunks. I'm actually more of a chocolate chunks girl anyway. 

Chips feel like the prepubescent version of the Chunk. 

Then I threw together this recipe for Peanut Butter Frosting

1 c peanut butter
1/2 c butter
4 c powdered sugar
1/3 c cream
(I used whole milk because cream cost half a billion dollars here)

I don't own a mixer, so I had to borrow one. This is the non-China friendly element to this recipe. I tried using a blender and it just looked like mush. You can stir it, the mixture just isn't quite as fluffy and your boys will tell you that it looks like poop.

Yes, literal poop. 

Here's the instructions from allrecipes (aka my go to gal for recipes):
  1. In a large bowl, beat butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in 1/2 of the confectioner's sugar. Mix in 1/4 cup of the cream. Beat in the remaining confectioners' sugar. If necessary, add a little more cream or milk until the frosting reaches a good spreading consistency. Makes enough to frost one 2 layer 9 inch cake or one 9x13 inch cake.

This is a super easy frosting and I will tell you that people have named their children after me when I brought these to an Easter party. They are super good. At the end of frosting the cupcakes, I threw on some chocolate chunks. 

Not chips, but full bodied chunks.


Friday, June 01, 2012

Fruit Fly Invasion-Take 2

(This was the most benign picture of a fruit fly I could find. All the other ones make you start to itch like you have a sudden onset of leprosy.)

Ok, so the post I did where I claimed victory over my little fruit fly invasion? Well, it seems as if they were simply laying low for a late night guerilla warfare attack. The next morning I woke up to another swarm of them partying like it's 1999 over my kitchen table. You see, these little flies exist only to frustrate mothers whose husbands are currently out of town. 

I was trying to be a good parent and explain to my children the beauties of creation, when this little infestation threw a wrench in my sanity and my poetry. See, I can think of no reason that fruit flies exist. When this happens to me, I resort to the "Well, frogs eat them and God created hungry frogs." Clearly I am saying to my children, "I have no idea, so let's just make something up because I know that God does everything for a purpose." 

Fruit flies seem just as arbitrary as Paprika.

We have set more traps. The problem now is that we are in some type of reproductive cycle with our little visitors and I am stuck explaining why all these flies are giving piggy back rides to their friends. My husband is in for quite the surprise when he comes home. 

I have mustered up Katniss Everdeen type determination against these things. It's like they are flying around mocking my efforts and yelling to their friends, "Hey guys come look at the crazy lady swatting her slipper on the bookshelf 87 times a day!" 

And now I'm mad. 
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