Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Parenting: Finding Rest

I remember back to Chase's early months where he'd fall asleep on me or Brian and how I just loved it. I loved knowing Chase was resting on me and that nothing could harm him; I could feel him breathing and hear his little sighs. I would lay there no matter how uncomfortable it was just to cherish those moments with my son.

As he's gotten bigger, he doesn't exactly like to sit still, much less fall asleep on us. But sometimes, just sometimes, if I wrestle with him long enough, I can convince him that I make the best resting place.
Does anyone else think it's funny that when your kid is sleepy, they fight their nap more than anything?! Why is this? You'd think someone tired would find enjoyment in being laid to rest.

I'm learning that rest is not only a discipline for kids to learn (one which affects their mood all day), but also that I myself struggle with resting. I'm not necessarily talking about enough sleep. I mean rest as in, not pushing myself beyond my limits; actually having a cutoff for what is to be "worried about today" and what is left for tomorrow. I think I mistakenly go after each day carrying the wait of not just daily burdens but long-term burdens. This makes me wearisome from the get-go. (On a sidenote, I admire those who have hearts big enough to be long-suffering without getting depressed over life's sorrows; those who let their hearts grieve over the sin that has entered the world without relying upon distraction to survive; those who have a disciplined work ethic and yet find enjoyment in rest, trusting that rest is a good thing and that God not only allows for it, but prescribes it. I think I will only know that balance in heaven.)

I am typically a super-disciplined person. But that's the problem. I have a love-hate relationship with rest: I know that I need it and that it's good for my sanity and I'm probably a much nicer individual when I get it; but I hate its unproductive, lazy, wastefulness. Part of me would much rather be checking items off my to do list; but this is my "do-it-myself" mentality.

Unfortunately, this extends to the gospel. I'd often rather rely on my hard work than simply come to my Father's arms and rest. The truth is I don't always know how. My body, mind and spirit seem to fight rest and yet I crave rest and peace of mind.

God has to wrestle me (usually through feeling sick or overwhelmed) to the point where I give in. Fortunately no broken hip as in Jacob's case.

Today I feel like waving the white flag.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Grief Observed

Grief seems to be pervasive in this season of my life. I don't mean to sound depressing; in fact I think grief, especially when you are simply sharing in others' grief, can lead to thanksgiving. The harder lesson is obviously being thankful when the grief is your own.

There are three incidents specifically which have spurred me to think more about grief. (and start reading C.S. Lewis's A Grief Observed.) You've probably seen the news of the terror strikes in Mumbai, India around Thanksgiving. For most, this is a little removed as it is half-way across the world. But for me, it is very close to home. This is the hometown of much of my Indian family and the hotels attacked were common stomping ground for both tourists and locals alike. In fact my dad normally spends Thanksgiving there. I feel sick just thinking that he could have been there!

It's unbelievable to think that last New Year's, my husband and I were in that exact hotel taking pictures of the city and enjoying India's culture.
The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, India

Here is the lobby in which the terrorists entered and started shooting. The front desk made phonecalls instructing people to stay in their room but this wasn't until the terror has already begun.

Here is the pool.

You may recognize this shot from the news. We took this photo to record how beautiful the architecture of this hotel really is.

Here is "Old Taj". This part of the hotel was originally here; notice the winding staircase and the oculus that opens up to a blue sky. When some of the survivors on the new reported climbing down 18 flights of stairs, we aren't talking short stairs!

Survivor, Jonathan Erhlich reports his escape.

Here is an interesting shot of this beautiful hotel side by side with India's vast poverty.

Here we are inside the beautiful 5 star room (myself 6 months pregnant). This is where people literally hid for 48+ hours while some were taken hostage. (You'll see some trying to escape the flames and gunfire here.

Here is the gateway of India which is backed up the the Indian ocean. In fact our hotel room looked out towards this historic monument. It is postulated that the terrorists came by boat and arrived at the gateway of India to start their attack.

"According to details available with Indian intelligence and the information given by the terrorist who was picked up by the Mumbai police in an encounter near Chowpatty, the terrorists hijacked an Indian fishing boat, the Kuber, somewhere near Pakistani waters. They beheaded the majority of the boat's crew of six and only allowed one crew-member, Amarsinh Solanki, to live so that he could help them with navigating the boat to Mumbai. The coast guard found a Global Positioning System abandoned on the fishing trawler that was drifting nearly four nautical miles off the coast of Mumbai early on Thursday, November 27 morning, several hours after the terrorist attack began... Arms, ammunition and plastic explosives were quickly transferred to the waiting boats that took the terrorists to the Gateway of India which was the pre-arranged launching pad for the terrorist attack."

(cited from Saikat Datta, "The Gateway of India",,)

I grieve for those who lost loved ones, who must now pick up the pieces of the rubble; those who are orphaned or without shelter, jobs, or support. My heart hurts for the hospital patients who were seeking healing only to be ruthlessly targeted. I grieve for the tourists who came to broaden their world perspective only to be buried there; but even worse the locals who are haunted by their memories and cannot escape the ruins of the attack.

Now that 200 are dead and hundreds wounded, what will India do to cope with such a loss?

I am thankful indeed that God protected my relatives who live there and also my father from the brutality that occured.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Parenting: In His Image

Ever wonder why, as parents, we love to take pictures of our kids? They are just sooo precious.

I think the reasoning is more than vanity (that our kids are cute b/c we think we are attractive.... okay, that may play a part I guess... perhaps I'm doubly guilty as many say my husband and I look alike. hehe. I promise we are not related!)

But I truly think there's more to it. Something innate in us.

My son Chase looks so much like my husband, it's crazy! I could just sit for hours looking at pictures of how Chase's eyes are so blue (like Brian's) and how he is just so cute and expressive and how his soft profile is the same one I see in my husband. (see for yourself!)

I am convinced that God, Who made us in His image, has put in us (parents) a desire to see our kids grow up to be just like us (well, minus our flaws of course!). They are more than physically like us; they are reflections of who we are, inside and out. The more we reflect our Maker ,the more our kids will see that they too are- in fact- imago Dei (the image of God).

My heart is warmed when I see pictures of Chase with his daddy. I don't always see myself as a child of God, bearing God's image. But delighting in the similarities I see between Chase and Brian must only be minuscule compared to the joy it gives our Heavenly Father to look upon His children who seek to become more and more like His Son.