Thursday, March 27, 2014

Butterflies

It's Spring Break.

Which in the life of a wife of a guy who works for Ocean Rescue can often be more stressful than enjoyable, but so far it hasn't been bad at all. For me. And now JT's weekend has begun.

Aquaman is reveling in his week off from school. It's been a break for me as well not to have to supervise homework (mainly trying to keep The Dude from scribbling all over it), pack lunch, and make sure he has had plenty of breakfast before he leaves.

Today we're planning to bring the whole family to my OB appointment (Aquaman has been begging to hear the baby's heartbeat) and then they will go do something fun while I get a little work done. After that, hopefully we can just relax and enjoy our day.

It probably won't involve the beach if JT has anything to say about it.

Health wise, despite my ever growing belly, I'm not feeling as "pregnant" lately. Tuesday he dropped just a little bit more, and my body is still definitely gearing up, but it doesn't feel quite so....terminal.

Last Sunday we hired someone to clean our home for 5 blissful hours in which the boys and I went to church, had a picnic at the school playground (which is where our church is now meeting), and then relaxed in the indoor "Play Plus" playground.

The floors, which have been bombarded with crumbs, dirt, sand, kid pee, dog pee, kid poop, dog poop, and dog vomit, and which I have felt were impossible to get really clean...are finally clean (or they were, for about 5 minutes after we got home. They've already been puked on again by the dog). In fact, the whole house felt so clean that when we came home and I realized I had forgotten to ask her to clean inside of the cabinets, I decided I would just go ahead and take care of it myself. I had plenty of energy, I had been enjoying quality time with the kids all day, surely I could tackle this myself.

I cleared out most of the cabinets, and then stepped on a bottom one to clean the very tip top shelf.

It broke.
I fell.

I bumped my protruding belly hard on the shelf below. Baby E, who had been blissfully sleeping, lulled by my scrubbing, jumped about a mile, then promptly fell back asleep. Two small scraped up bruises appeared above and below my belly button. And I panicked. Certain I had separated the placenta, or give my baby brain damage. He didn't move.

I walked into the living room and found the boys, having thrown all the clean laundry off the couch and onto the floor and removed all the couch cushions, bouncing around having a grand time.

I ate a Popsicle and lay down. The baby gave an obligatory bump.

I fussed at the boys for being wild, and they both slunk away. As they started to disappear up the stairs, I called them back and told them what happened, and that I was upset because I was scared I had hurt the baby and not because of anything that they did. I asked them to pray with me, and they joined hands enthusiastically. We prayed that God would protect the baby. We prayed that I would be more patient. When we said Amen, Aquaman looked me straight in the eye and said "Mom, God already answered your prayer. He told me."

I was dumbfounded and humbled. Through the mouths of the smallest of children, God speaks.

I ended up calling the doctor anyway, who eventually called back and said just to make sure he moves normally, and everything should be fine.

He was, and is.

When JT returned from work and I showed him my belly and the shelf, feeling careless and ridiculous, he responded with only grace (and the very slightest amusement).

I love that my husband never makes me feel stupid. That he always sees my heart, and only the best things in my heart, and not my clumsy attempts.

I love it because it always reminds me of the heart of God. There are things about God's love that I never fully understood until I met my husband. He is anything but perfect, but the mercy and grace I have found in him have been astonishing and life changing.

I am a perfectionist. I want to do things right and well. I want to suffer when I don't. But there is so much freedom in escaping that kind of illness. In accepting mercy, not in a self-deprecating way, but in a way that allows you to fly above your own limitations.

On Saturday, Aquaman's first official day of spring break, I asked the boys what they wanted to do. Not wanting to rush out of the house like he so often has to, Aquaman's only request was to make The Dude a butterfly out of coffee filters and clothespins like the one he had made at school. They were very enthusiastic, and though we didn't even get to it until the next day, it was the perfect start to Spring Break.

That Sunday night was somewhat chaotic, and in an effort to rush an overtired Dude to bed, we skipped story time. After The Dude had fallen asleep, I lay next to Aquaman for a while and asked if he wanted me to tell him a story since we didn't get to read the Bible story. I took out his butterfly. I asked him if he remembered how butterflies started out, and he recalled "The very hungry caterpillar". I told him that we were just like butterflies. That we were always meant to be butterflies, but because of sin we were born as caterpillars. So we slug around on the ground, held back by our awkward bodies until we ask Jesus to save us from our sins, and then we can become butterflies and be beautiful, and fly. I told him that I'm a butterfly, but sometimes I still act like a caterpillar.

I told him that I hope he becomes a butterfly, like he was always meant to be, someday. For the 2nd time in a day, he looked at me with eyes that were so much older than his 5.5 year old impulsive little boy body, and said "I will, mom. You just keep reading these Bible stories to me every night so I can understand. But I will be a butterfly."

I fluttered out of the room.

And I thought about how I'm a butterfly, but lately I have so been struggling inside this body that I have seen myself as only a fat little clumsy caterpillar.

And I've been so free since that day.
I've been free to clean the house if I want to, but not feel enslaved to it.
Free to stay by the bedside of my children as they are drifting to sleep, and not feel guilty or rushed, but just touch them, and say a prayer for them.
Free to enjoy this small baby (who is more than likely my last baby)'s last month or so inside of me.

And free to give my children, and everyone around me, the same mercy and grace that I have gotten from my husband, and most of all from God.
Not to immediately assume the worst of their carelessness, but to look for the motivation of their hearts, and draw out the good there.

I think, truly, that some of my exhaustion spiritually has been struggling through these law filled Old Testament books of the Bible. The God of these books, though Holy and certainly powerful, feels harsh and distant and merciless.
I don't know if I can comprehend the meaning of all of it just yet. Why it had to be that way for so very long.
The only way I know to reconcile it is that, from the very beginning, that harshness, and distance, and lack of mercy, was never God's plan. And that He did everything He could to formulate a plan that would save us from that kind of relationship with Him. It had to be intricate. It had to be precise. It had to be very very painful. But He didn't like feeling distant from His people either.

So He made a way.

A way for us to be butterflies.

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